A Photo a Day: Our Couch is a Highway

DSC_0049As I’ve written about before, Cora is presently in love with the movie Cars. And from the first time she watched it, about two months ago, the collection of Hotwheels and Matchbox cars she’s inherited from her Dad and brother has been her greatest plaything. She oragnizes them by color and occupation. Race cars to the left, construction trucks to the right, please. She drives them on the edge of the bathtub and parks them between the keys of the piano. Together we have drawn cities for them to drive through and made buildings out of cardboard boxes for them to live in. (More on those later, perhaps.)

This is the second fixation Cora has had with a movie. Toy Story was first and it had me worrying a bit. What could watching the same movie again and again be doing to her little brain, I wondered. Then, I remembered that our music teacher touted repetition as an important part of toddlers’ cognitive development as it related to music. Could film work the same way? Like reading the same book over and over again, which I am also known to do upon request.

Articles like this one from a child psychologist on an Australian parenting forum, also helped me recognize that these fixations, rather than obsessions, are innocent and may even be beneficial to some degree. If every moment of every day were filled with cars, if she wouldn’t ever watch anything else, if she couldn’t play any other games or with any other toys – then we’d have a problem.

And so, we’re off to listen to the Cars soundtrack while playing with cars, in the car.

3 thoughts on “A Photo a Day: Our Couch is a Highway

  1. Love the photo. Louisa also loves cars (the objects; she hasn’t seen the movie, yet). The old matchbox cars are by far the best…they last like no other toy, and they look cool, and she loves them. (She has observed that “it doesn’t work”, i.e. emit sounds or light, likes many of the newer incarnations–and yet, so fun anyway). Also appreciate the perspective you offer on these preschool “fixations”. It takes young children a lot of repetitions to master things, so they’re like little film nerds…watching again and again, and progressively noticing more and figuring things out. Cora is a little scholar! Just like her mom.

  2. So happy to know other little girls are enjoying cars. One thing I didn’t write about in this short piece, was the gender issues related to this particular fixation. I am personally thrilled to have my little girl playing with cars instead of Barbies. Requesting this movie rather than Cinderella. But, she’s already being exposed to gender-stereotyping in those moments when she offers her cars to other little girls to play with and they seem unsure of what to do with them, pronouncing their preference for princesses. I hear that when they start pre-school this becomes more pronounced which makes me apprehensive for the fall when she’ll be out of the house two mornings a week.

    • I have noticed that L is more interested in fire engines and construction sites than my other girls ever were…just thought it was her personality, but maybe it’s lack of exposure to stereotypes, as you suggest. She’s starting pre-school in the fall, too, so it will be interesting to see if she develops an interest in princesses (so far I don’t think she knows what a princess is–though she does enjoy dressing up). I will say this: the princess thing comes and goes, like everything else. By the time they’re six, pink is extremely uncool. (Or maybe that’s just NYC).

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