I've noticed that Lauren has developed real "play" in the last year. When she was little, she explored things but her attention span was too short to really stay with anything for long and I could see that imaginative play didn't really happen. However, during the course of this year, she started doing the "pretend" stuff and it has become increasingly complex in nature.
Currently, her two favourite pretend games are putting her dollies and animals to "sleep" and going "shopping". The putting to bed ritual involves changing pretend nappies, feeding, burping and then tucking into bed (bizarrely always face down - I think she gets this from nursery where I've observed they tend to sleep them on their fronts or their sides. I've tried to tell Lauren that she should put her dollies to sleep on their backs, but maybe that's just me being too serious and bringing my doctor role home!). She then sits next to them for long periods of time patting them on their backs and telling me "Shush, Mummy. Babies sleeping!". I love watching her do this.
Shopping involves taking her little pink handbag and asking us what we need. I give her a list of things to get and she trundles off to her imaginary shop to pick them up, sometimes with Babies in tow. She always returns to put the imaginary fruit or vegetables in my hand at the end of it.
She also plays with Jocey, although Jocey isn't always sure of how to play with Lauren yet. Here are the two girls in our beach tent, which I erect in the garden on sunny days.
I think sometimes they get a bit frustrated with each other because Jocey doesn't understand what Lauren wants to do and Lauren thinks that Jocey isn't playing "properly". However, the vast majority of the time they seem to be happy together and clearly love each other very much.
Their current favourite game together is jumping on our bed. Lauren runs upstairs, clambers on and starts trampolining on our bed. I take Jocey up and bounce her up and down as if she were trampolining too. This is always accompanied by gales of laughter. It always finishes with the two of them "falling over" in a very exaggerated way. Jocey even does the flopping back on my bed when Lauren is not there now and bursts into laughter when she does.
I can't help laughing too, even though I know the springs stick out a bit more on my bed now...