The Great Pretender

I am not sure when it started, but Eddie likes to pretend and it might just be the cutest thing I have ever seen.

I think it started with his cars.

making his cars “do stuff” on my pregnant belly.

Instead of just putting them on the track or lining them up into “parking lots,” he was narrating what they were doing and having them talk to each other.

Where are you going?
I’m going to my new house.
Let’s go over here!

Then I noticed that he was making his food talk to each other. He first did it with his dinosaur chicken nuggets.

They would talk to each other and then he would bite their heads off.

It’s cuter and less violent than it sounds.

I distinctly remember one evening when we were having spaghetti when he set out four noodles nice and straight next to each other.  He announced they were mommy, daddy, baby, and grandma.  Then he had them talk to each other.

wait for me! wait for me, mommy!
hurry up, baby and grandma!
oh no I broke because I am slow!

Cort and I just sat and stared.  And then giggled.

We asked him questions about his noodle family and he had all the answers.

It became a regular show each meal that he would see something other than “food” in front of him.  Each item on his plate could be something else.

Tonight, for example, his watermelon chunks were racing cars.

look, mommy! it’s an apple smile!

This summer we saw the pretend bust out from the dinner table and cars and into other areas of his little life.

Recently he asked me to “play stuffed animals.”  I said ok, not knowing really what this would entail. He explained to me that he would be the big Pooh Bear and I would be the tiny Pooh Bear and we would play.

Um. Ok. So I followed his lead.

Eddie: Hi. What you do today?
Me: I am going to Target.
Eddie.  You come to my new house?
Me: Um. Ok. Where is your new house?
Eddie: It’s ovah hee-ah. On mine own bed.
Me: Um. Ok. (puts Tiny Pooh on bed)
(and this is when Eddie just sort of takes over because I don’t do it right.)

I am SO not good at playing pretend.

But Eddie is.

Pretending is now just how he plays.

Playing with cars and trucks?  There is an entire dialogue about whether or not other cars and trucks need the help of the police car.

Playing trains?  I can hear him talking his way through whatever adventure his trains are on.

Playing with his kitchen?  He’s got an entire reason you need to eat an eggplant, box of granola, and a bunch of celery as your lunch.

In the tub?  Oh I don’t even KNOW what half of his boats and water animals are doing in there.  Today I heard and entire conversation about a school bus.  He does not have a school bus as a tub toy.

this submarine? had a back story. and of course he told it to me.

While we were at the cottage, Eddie’s level of pretend flew to a whole new level.

I had to feed Charlie, so Eddie stayed by the campfire with my parents and siblings and his cousin.  There was much laughter and hoopla going on and later I found out, it was from Eddie’s campfire story-telling abilities.

He told a story that went like this:

This one time I saw a brave dragon in the woods, and it turned into a juice box. And it didn’t sound good.

He made that up totally by himself.

Now, I realize it’s not really a good start for his first novel.  But it’s an excellent first draft, right?  I mean, everyone has to start somewhere.

I am pretty sure this story took about 10 minutes to tell because after every other word he tends to say, “and um, um, um, um” which is totally cute because you just know his little brain is working so fast his mouth can’t keep up.

this guy wants to tell you a story.

Watching him not just explore his world, but make up his own fills my heart with joy.  It also amazes me.

He picks up on everything and makes it part of his knowledge base and then synthesizes new scenarios and situations.

It’s astounding to watch someone learn.

And what a privilege to get to be his audience.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I love this too. Landon likes to take his trains on the screened in porch while I make dinner. There is all kinds of peril and adventure going on out there. So adorable.

    And!!!??? How did you get captions to work?

  2. Love! This is definitely one of the big perks of mothering little people. My sons also do the “biting the head off an edible animal-shaped items” thing. For us, it’s their bear-shaped vitamins. My oldest bites the head off, and then says “Oh no! My head! My head!” and then my 23-month-old says “Oh no! Head! Head!” And then they collapse into giggles and giggles.

    I am also not great at the story-telling. My husband rocks at it. His stories often involve lightning, crashes, explosions, high-speed car races (or firetruck races), and other forms of excitement. When it’s my turn for story time, I just sit back and let my son lead. I’ll say a lot of “and then what happened,” and go from there. Or I try to turn story time into a way to get him to tell me what went on during his day, or to turn it in a moral tale of why he shouldn’t hit his brother, or why he should listen to his mommy. You know, conditioning via bedtime story. It’s pretty effective, actually. But not very exciting to listen to.

  3. Clearly, he inherited his storytelling gene from you – it just needs a little refinement 🙂

    (see why I can’t wait for Monkey to talk??)

  4. You should just hand the keyboard over to him now.
    This is a great story and you’ll be so happy one day that you recorded it.

  5. SOOOOO cute!

    As a teacher, I’m sure you know how awesome that is that he’s pretending so much. He’s learning a ton by doing so, and he sounds pretty dang smart to me! Our four year old is still into pretending and we love to sit on the sidelines and watch and listen while he’s making up stories and games. Lately, he insists on being called “Thomas” (after Thomas the Train) or my favorite, “Optimus Prime”.

  6. So cute! My middle girl was the greatest pretender – still is sometimes. She would always crack us up because she would have such involved conversations with her dolls. Or a bottle of shampoo. Or a crayon. Whatever. But if we would comment on something she said, she’d always get so incredibly offended and point out that she wasn’t talking. Her dolls were. I can’t wait for this fun stage with my toddler boy!

  7. Kid’s imagination is just so cool. I could watch mine play and pretend for hours.

  8. awwwwww

  9. No way!

    The first draft of MY novel was about a brave dragon who turned into a juice box but didn’t sound good.

    (Not really. But if it had been, I’d probably be published by now.., ;-))

    Love this. So much.
    Keep it up, Eddie.

    The world needs more imagination…

  10. Yes, the world of imagination is a lovely thing. I’ve got 2 in the thick of it right now and those two can keep each other occupied for hours–which is a good thing because I really hate playing pretend. 🙂

  11. I love how kids make everything great!

  12. Adorable!

  13. Gunne’s been doing this, too. But the best part for me, is that his “voice” for all the stuffed animals and cars is a whisper. Like, he hears me doing “voices” for all of them, and he knows he shouldn’t have them speak in his real voice so the best he can do is whisper. Cracks me up!

  14. Lucas is really into pretend play too and it’s awesome and super creative. I love hearing him incorporate the things his dad and I say, shows he watches and books he reads, plus his wonderful imagination.

    Darling photos.