Meet Rody, an inflatable horse (donkey). He is at once, a rocking horse, space hopper, climbing frame, airplane entertainer, seat on crowded subway, and Ronan’s best friend. Ronan first met Rody when he was 16 months old. We’d borrowed him from my brother when visiting. Now coming towards 3.5, Ronan still loves Rody. No matter where we are Ronan can get the movement that he needs, rocking back and forth or bouncing up and down. Rody has provided a productive outlet for Ronan’s need to rock, particularly in a confined space, like an airplane (yes – Rody fits in the overhead compartment).
Rody has been the seat of many games. On the trampoline, we spent hours bouncy on Rody singing Rody, Rody, don’t you stop (to the song of Horsey, horsey don’t you stop) as Ronan learned to fill in the words. Ronan also learned most of his body-parts sitting astride Rody. And of course, all of our sensory stories took place on Rody.
Rody also goes everywhere at home. He comes to dinner and goes to the bath. Ronan learned to bath Rody instead of bathing a baby doll. He learned to summon people, by calling Rody to come to the dinner table. Rody now has a stable and Ronan has learned to feed him and lead him by the reins. This was Ronan’s first understanding of pretend play (as riding is something he has always loved). Ronan even kisses him goodnight before bed.
Rody was particularly helpful in Ronan developing a stronger walking gait outside. If we held Ronan by the hand, he would always pull backwards stiffening his body when walking. Holding onto Rody’s ears, and me onto the reins, Ronan could walk at speed safely and comfortable. Ronan no longer needs such help, but it was an important transition point around Ronan’s third birthday.
Every parent has a favourite toy – mine is Rody.