My daughter is a little mimic. She looks at the actions of her parents and tries to replicate them. One of the actions that she often sees us doing is talking on the phone. Except our phones don’t look like phones, not in the classical sense.
My wife and I are part of a growing number of people who don’t have landlines. We only have cellphones. And the cellphones that we do have are actually smartphones. A Blackberry and an iPhone, if you want to angrily debate their merits in the comments.
So to my impressionable toddler, phones are simply rectangular black devices. Anything that fits into this mold is a phone. And my daughter will pick it up and pretend to talk on it.
One of her favourite non-phone phones is a calculator. She’s never seen Mommy or Daddy perform math on the calculator. So the calculator is a phone. She holds it to her ear presses the buttons and pretends to have long distance discussions while she practices multiplication.
It’s rectangular and black.
The remote control is also rectangular and black, so it’s a phone.
“Hello, there’s nothing on TV.”
Rectangular and black is the phone default. But many colourful and non-rectangular objects get dialed in.
Construction Ernie is a phone. A wooden banana toy is a phone. The Baby Monitor is phone. A small stuffed animal is a phone. A spatula is phone.
To a toddler anything is a phone. As long as you can hold it up to your ear and say “hello.”
Her Fisher-Price ChatterBox Telephone is a phone, albeit a toy replica of a phone. It’s the phoniest phone toy she has and she doesn’t really use it like a phone. On occasion she does, but most of that toy’s playtime involves dragging it along the floor.
When my daughter answers the phone all she says is hello. She never continues the conversation, she’s either a really good listener or ignoring telemarketers. I assume in-depth phone conversation won’t start until her teen years when she’ll spend hours discussing the latest iteration of Disney’s teen singing sensation.
Lately she’s begun to hand the “phone” over to my wife or me, so it’s probably telemarketers.
“Hello, yes I’m interested in this special offer.”
There have been a handful of times where she’s identified the caller. It seems to always be Grandma or Grandpa. Though one time it was “crocodiles”, calling long distance I presume.
Despite all this faux phone calling, my daughter doesn’t know what to do with an actual phone. My wife and I have put her on the phone with each other and she doesn’t say a word.
The request of “say hi to Mommy/Daddy” is met with silence and/or heavy breathing. It’s much easier to say hi to Mommy and Daddy through a banana toy that doesn’t have reception.