Kaia has never really had any affinity to any stuffed animal. While she used to enjoy peekaboo with her elephant lovey that we named Shungu, and she occasionally grabs her elephant Babar and plays with his different sensory parts, she doesn’t seem to have an attachment to any stuffed animal. She’s never dragged a specific stuffed animal from one room to another or used one to sleep with. Once, I even wondered if it was abnormal for her to NOT have an attachment to a stuffed animal and even went down the Google rabbit hole of checking (it’s not a bad thing; in fact, over 50% of children don’t have attachments to any objects).
But we knew quite early on that she loved her books. She loves, loves reading, and now she loves repeating words and naming what things are in the books we read together. She goes through phases where certain books are her favorites, and she demands we read the same book over and over again. She will drag the book from one room to another as though it’s an animal friend. Currently, her favorite book is called Penguin and Pinecone, which is the story of how a penguin found a “friend” in a pine cone, but realized that they couldn’t grow and live in the same place because they needed different environments in which to thrive. Penguins need to be in cold areas, whereas pine cones need to be in the forest to thrive. But despite that, they always love and remember each other and their fun times together. The hilarious thing is that Kaia doesn’t seem to care about the penguin as you might assume; she is especially fixated on the pine cone. The last few nights, she has refused to let go of the book when we’re done reading it (you know, for the fifth time), and she ends up falling asleep either holding it or on top of it. I eventually have to sneak into the room after she’s fallen asleep to take it away. One night this week, she woke up after an hour to discover that the book was no longer with her, and she started crying, yelling, “Pine cone! Pine cone!”, until I returned the book to her side. She then immediately calmed down and went back to sleep.
Child development is so peculiar and fascinating. It’s been sweet and endearing to watch my baby grow into this very curious, thoughtful, cheeky toddler.