"Do you hop?" And the frog, being agreeable, demonstrates. "hop, hop, hop!"
Good job!" says the mermaid. "Let's do it again!" And the frog, ever accommodating, complies.
For about the last six months, Simon has been using his toys to reenact scenes from favorite TV shows. This was pretty exciting in and of itself -- he was talking, a LOT (I'll take language in any form!), thoroughly entertaining himself, and lately he's added dramatic vocal inflection. The most exciting part, however, was that it seemed like he was practicing -- getting ready to try playful interaction; to create a 2-sided dialogue of his own.
Over the weekend, I noticed that Simon was playing with toys in a slightly different way. He was talking ABOUT them. Not reciting, not repeating. He was also more specific about what he wanted to play with. When I gave him his pirate captain, he told me he wanted the pirate's friends, too.
Wow, I thought -- that's different. Simon is becoming aware of friendship -- and he likes it! How incredibly amazing, wonderful, miraculous...!!! I found a few more crew members and Simon sang some pirate songs and I looked on feeling more optimistic than ever. I've been avidly eavesdropping on his playtime utterances ever since, looking for more glimmers of spontaneous social awareness.
My rapt attention was rewarded tonight -- frogs and mermaids have never been more eloquent. There were just a few lines, but they were all Simon's own.