The world of a toddler – strictly VIP

She travels to places I can’t see, whispering hushed words of reassurance to her dolls and teddies, her “friends” who she believes speak back to her.

At night, I hear her conversing with John Jelly Moo, the other friend I can’t hear. He lives by her side, although sometimes he’s not there. He’s real in her mind. She can see him.

Outside, she talks to the birds. Shouting or laughing, stretching her arms wide as she tries to reach up to the sky. Frustrated, she bends down to the earth, searching for worms she can whisper to. Whispering is her new favourite thing.

When the rain whips at the windows like angry tentacles, she retreats into an indoor world of supermarkets and baking, houses and boats. It’s a world I’m sometimes given restricted access to, but only when she needs a customer to visit the shop.

Toddler shop playOur house isn’t a house. It’s a secret cave, flying saucer, rowing boat on a rapid-filled river. It’s a place of adventure and magic, fairies and frogs.

Inside her den she arranges the toys around her, gathering the troops for the next installment of her mission. “Get the playdough,” I hear her whisper. “We need a cushion now,” she commands. No one moves, but she seems happy enough with their efforts. “Good girl” she mutters, before closing the curtain and buttoning herself away.

Den building

I’m on the outside, looking in. Entry to this world is strictly VIP only. You are deemed incredibly special if you’re allowed inside.

There is one game I am needed for though. It involves hair and a brush. I’m instructed to sit quietly and wait. “I make you pretty Mummy,” she nods knowingly. I submit to the pulling fingers of a toddler immersed in the new role of hairdresser.

Toddler hairdresserFor five minutes, I’m a VIP, on the other side of the curtain. I smile as I take a look around this secret place. And then I raise my head, realising I am alone again.

My toddler has gone to fight crocodiles.


  1. says

    I LOVE toddlers’ imaginations – something special. Mine has started to show a glimmer of an imagination (she’s 5 months younger I think) – the other day she was eating a rice cake, took a large bite, looked at what was left in her hand and said “Look Mummy! A boat!”
    Made me grin.

  2. Ghislaine Forbes says

    Just clearing a place down in the little wooded end of the paddock so F can build her first proper outside den….hope she likes worms and creatures because there are plenty of them! Love ma x

  3. says

    Beautiful post. Today my daughter took her doll, sniffed it’s bottom, declared poo and changed it’s nappy. I looked on and felt all goeey inside. This is what makes parenting wonderful.

    • says

      Bless her! Mine dropped her doll on its head, looked down and said “Sorry. But don’t be drama queen about it!” Shows us the things they pick up from us!

  4. says

    It’s so magical hearing the stories they weave. Takes me right back to my own childhood. I love the made-up songs, too; we had a great one about cranes (of the construction, rather than bird, variety) today!

  5. says

    What a lovely post, beautifully written – so poetic! They have such wonderful imaginations at this age don’t they? Mushroom often wants me to join in with him (boys, I’ve noticed, seem less happy to play alone for long periods) but I must often get it ‘wrong’ as I stir his fake vegetable soup/build a tower with him as he’s forever saying ‘No! Mummy…’ and rolling his eyes at me!

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