“PAK-ee-SEF-uh-lo-SAWR-us,” our three-year-old son enunciates proudly.
He’s correcting me, yet again, for mispronouncing the name of the Pachycephalosaurus, one of his favourite dinosaurs. It’s a frequent occurrence in our household.
Before becoming a parent, I was quite content with my limited knowledge of palaeontology, as well as the triassic, jurassic and cretaceous periods. Beyond the almighty Tyrannosaurus Rex of my childhood, did I really need to know the characteristics of each and every single dinosaur? No. Yet by virtue of wanting to be a supportive parent, I am becoming a reluctant dino expert too.
In the last two months, we have roared at mechanical dinosaurs at Jurassic Forest, driven three hours southeast of Edmonton to check out fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and watched far too much of the six-part documentary series, Walking with Dinosaurs.
While dinosaurs may be the quirky interest of choice in our house, I know we are not alone in navigating this phase. Look no further than the kids in the grocery store dressed as superheroes, the toddlers who can rattle off the names of sports teams or players, or a two-year-old boy named Thomas, who has an unusual fascination with vacuums.
So what’s it all about?
Obsessions with specific things or interests help toddlers feel secure, according to Blythe Lipman, the author of Help! My Toddler Came Without Instructions: Practical Tips for Parenting a Happy One, Two, Three and Four Year Old.
“And they start talking. So it also helps with the friendship deal because they both have things that they know in common and they love it.”
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