Or in the case of this toddler, not so much dog eat dog world as rabbit eat tiger world.
N is obsessed at the moment with soft toys. He has a fair collection of them – only a couple teddies, the rest include his Peter Rabbit, a beany Tigger and Eeyore, a cow, elephant, other rabbit and a little monkey amongst others. He puts them to bed with him under his taggy blanket and duvet, sometimes they join him in plastic food meals, and other times they chill out with him on the sofa watching television.
But he’s also started making one of them eat the other (or me, or himself, or whoever is around’s leg). Quite often it’s Tigger eating something, sometimes it’s Peter Rabbit eating one of the others. But it’s a little disturbing when he also does the ‘nom nom’ yummy sounds as the animal is ‘eating’ whatever body part or soft toy that’s in its way.
It makes me think why he’s started using the animals to eat things. Obviously he can relate to people eating animals – we tell him that beef is from the cows and the pigs are for fattening for sausages and pork. But he’s not seen any meat eating animals in real life. (Well, I suppose the dogs, but they don’t chase their food on the farm!)
However, thinking about children’s books, even toddler level books, they can be a bit violent. Favourites at the moment include:
- The Gruffalo’s Child – not sure he’s really getting the moral at the moment, all he’s hearing is the Gruffalo either wants to eat the mouse, or the ‘big bad mouse’ is eating gruffalo flavoured foods.
- Dirty Great Dinosaur – the dinosaur wants to eat a family and dog and chases them round until the boy and dog make him apologise.
- Silly Suzy Goose (silly book in my opinion) – various animals wanting to eat Suzy as she tries to get away from her noisy flock.
- There was an old lady who swallowed a fly – ok, so he’s not fussed about that one, but there’s a lot of eating animals going on in that.
And that’s only 3 of the books, so it isn’t any wonder that he currently thinks it’s quite normal to role play chomping his soft toys.
Thankfully he’s not tried to eat any of the dogs yet, or grab any of the farm cats but let’s hope his books don’t encourage much more eating behaviour and he grows out of it. I don’t really want my leg being chewed off by a beany Tigger.