I realise there are much worse problems out there and I'm not even convinced it's a problem, but it bemuses me and at times I do feel like there's something a bit odd going on.
DD is 26 mo, and extremely reserved with anyone other than me, DH and a few close friends. She's especially wary of other toddlers who she doesn't know. She had a couple of unpleasant experiences some time ago with other toddlers - the usual matter of toys being taken away, plus an incident with her face getting scratched, plus hair pulled a few times - and her reaction has been to shrink away whenever another toddler comes near and abandon whatever toy she's been playing with. (I think I didn't help matters because very early on - over a year ago - she went through a very brief phase of occasionally taking toys away from another toddler who she knew well, and I always took them away from her and gave them back - I hadn't read Alfie Kohn back then.
Anyway - in the last few months she's developed this game of pulling the ears or biting the noses of her stuffed toys and saying "ow ow". If we say something like "oh that must hurt [insert toy's name here]" she laughs uproariously. It doesn't matter if we say it in a light tone or an admonishing one, she always finds it hilarious regardless.
I thought maybe it's a way for her to work through her feelings about the experiences she's had with other toddlers. Sometimes her reaction seems funny to me, but then sometimes I wonder if we should try to discourage her from doing it - are we sending her a message that it's ok to be mean??
Or on the other hand....maybe I should just lighten up about the whole thing? It's not like she's doing it to living creatures - she won't even touch cats or dogs!
Any thoughts much appreciated!