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Imaginary hands - anyone had any experience of this? Child psychologist advice welcome.

(15 Posts)
puzzlesb Wed 24-Aug-11 12:51:29

Please be nice to me this is my first time on here - I was advised to ask here by some friends who are very interested but don't know how to help.

My daughter, age 3 years just turned has hands that have names (we will call them L and C as somehow I feel I'm betraying her confidence telling you the names she uses!). They consistently have the same names for each hand. I can't remember when they came about - probably around the time my son was born (he's just turned a year) but couldn't be sure. They come and go - as in she talks about them more or less. When they first started I had no idea what she was talking about for ages, and then it occured to me that it was her hands. They would regularly have conversations in the back of the car - imaginary play type stuff where it would be one of their turns, then the other and you would hear 'no C... don't touch that', 'no L.... it's my turn' etc.

Now though, the hand names are fully in force and constant. Its' starting to get in the way of her development (I think?) When she gives you a hug you get a hug from C, then L. When she drinks, C holds the cup, then L. Now when she DRAWS or WRITES or PAINTs both C and L have to have a go. So she has gone from nearly writing her name independently to scribbling because both of her hands need to have turns, quickly one after the other. I'm not sure what to do about it - I've let it ride but these hands seem to be dominating her play. She even coughs with L then C! It's just at the time I want her writing her thank you cards for her birthday presents but she can't/won't do it as L and C have to scribble together. Prior to this she was a firm right hander - from earlier than 6 months everything was done with the right hand. I bought her a 'write and wipe' book and told her that only L is allowed to use the special pen .... this didn't work...
She also does certain play particularly we are leaving the house where she will touch something/do something and say 'that's gonna be one more time C, that's gonna be one more time L' and repeats about 3 or 4 times.

Any ideas?

lucysnowe Wed 24-Aug-11 13:20:05

How interesting! It seems as though she maybe kind of got the idea of sharing and taking turns from when your DS was born, and that got transferred to her hands and became a bit of a key theme.

It does seem to be an adaptation of the imaginary friends thing and the general advice about that is not to worry about it, unless your daughter is getting anxious about it.

sittinginthesun Wed 24-Aug-11 14:12:02

At 3 years, I wouldn't worry too much. I think it is around that age that I had an imaginary friend, and my eldest son had an entire imaginary world!

Between the ages of 3 years and 4 and a half, my eldest would sometimes completely withdraw into his imaginary world - it had a name, rules, and only certain people were allowed to visit. If he was at nursery and was asked to do something he was nervous about, he would go and sit in a certain place in the room and say he was going to his world.

It gradually stopped, and he has no memory of it at all.

It is probably healthy, as it shows imagination etc, and she is probably practising all sorts of things, like reasoning.

olibeansmummy Wed 24-Aug-11 15:17:29

It's probably just related to something her brain is developing at the time eg sharing or friendship. I know it's frustrating when they're so close to doing something new, ds (2.2) loved learning letter sounds for a while, he learnt 23 and now is totally uninterested in his sounds, but loves doing puzzles constantly. They just do what they need to in order to develop. Tbh I think it would be unwise to try to stop this/ make her do the activity you think she needs to do as she is learning valuable social skills and their brains are very good at telling them what to learn and when (with your support of course) smile

nickschick Wed 24-Aug-11 15:27:21

Shes 3 shes trying to understand the world and having had a new baby shes had the 'sharing' idea introduced too.

Its a lot for a little mind thats so quickly absorbing other things too and probably somewhere in the middle of all this learning this confusion has occured.

To her it makes perfect sense,to her it is 2 different characters.

She may grow out of it and move along to the next fixation as small children do - she may not and this may be a very eraly trait of something else going on ( I can tell by your post you are concerned about ocd etc etc).

I think shes far to young and its far to early to 'investigate this' but what you can do is, through play help her see how her hands 'work together' 2 hands to clap to hands to skip - left hand reaches right up in the air - right hand writes her name beautifully - left hand sorts the jigsaw pieces right hand places them but they work best together etc etc.

Dont worry I used to worry myself senseless over ds1 and now he's 18 and not 'unusual' in any way.

puzzlesb Wed 24-Aug-11 20:54:38

Don't worry I'm not planning on sending her to a shrink! I just find it fascinating in the most part, albeit the writing and drawing thing fairly frustrating. At bedtime we discussed L doing the writing for her thank you cards and C putting a sticker on and she seemed quite keen though I'm not holding my breath! Thanks for your replies smile

Olifin Wed 24-Aug-11 22:04:38

See puzzles, you didn't get eaten alive ;) (I'm off of the other place. Obv.) :D

sproingle Wed 24-Aug-11 22:20:30

Me too, just checking up on you grin

Olifin Wed 24-Aug-11 23:12:24

Oooooh, wonder who you are sproingle. Hmmmmm. An English teacher who I'm a bit in love with? or someone else?

nokissymum Wed 24-Aug-11 23:23:02

Ahhh! What lovely friends you have puzzle, like others have said i think it may just be a developmental stage she is going through. Speaking to your health visitor may also help to understand a bit more and give you peace of mind.

whenIgetto3 Fri 26-Aug-11 18:04:50

If it's any consolation my 4 year old starts school next week and she has names for her hands and her feet. We will be driving along in the car and they will suddenly all have a fight or argument over who loves her the most confused

She will even take her shoes and socks off on a long journey as X and Y are getting hot and need some air to talk to each other. Think it must just be a stage they go through, although my older 3 had imaginary friends not appendages grin

puzzlesb Sun 28-Aug-11 20:21:32

Whengetto3 - thank you for sharing that! Glad I'm not alone!!! smile

Olifin and Sproingle I want to know who you are now ;)

L & C were having an argument today cos one of them wasn't doing up her shoe properly and the other one was getting annoyed! smile

puzzlesb Sun 28-Aug-11 20:24:42

Nokissymum - maybe I have rubbish health visitors but I have yet to have a useful comment come out of their mouths! Lol!

mediawhore Sun 28-Aug-11 20:37:16

I want to know who they are too!

As for the hands, my kid has started naming things VERY specifically too - but only in the past few weeks. Must be an age thing.

cory Mon 29-Aug-11 08:46:29

imaginary friends can be quite a nuisance even if they are not hands- wanting their own seat on the bus and extra rations of cake grin

but you do miss them when they leave home <sentimental emoticon>

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