For the past couple of weeks, we've had a new craze in this house: Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Aaron has had a couple of these books around for the past six months but never took a keen interest in them. Then, all of a sudden, its Thomas, Percy and James all day long (except for when its The Wiggles). Luckily one of the books is a 6 in 1 book and there is plenty to look at. Personally, those little engines just don't grab me. I also don't think its the engine that is grabbing Aaron either.
In any case, I'm now an expert at drawing trains, making train sounds and improvising household props to make trains. While all the effort seems to be focused on trains, its not actually the trains that are interesting to Aaron. He must be going through some development on recognizing emotion because its actually the faces of all the trains that he's looking at. He doesn't want me to read any of the stories or point out anything else on the pages. All we do is identify if each of the engines are sad, angry, worried, surprised or whatever. We do this page after page after page.
And then, over the past few days, he's started to apply that to the people around him. He keeps looking at my face and then saying 'Mama is happy'. Or when he's done something wrong and even without me saying anything, he now can recognize when Mama is angry. And he'll say it in such a cute way that it ends up diffusing the situation a little. My favorite is when he says 'Mama is sad' and gives me a big hug.
So, Thomas and Friends may seem a little dull at first but they've been very useful in teaching Aaron about the various emotions.
By the way, at first glance, there appears to be just different colored engines. But when you study their faces closely, they all look different and are in fact 'individuals'. I did find that aspect of the books interesting.