Do girls have more imagination than boys?

IT’S Bonnie’s third birthday this week. I know, time does pass scarily quickly.

And in the run-up, she seems to have gone completely bonkers. As well as ramping up her tantrum level to 11, she’s taken on several personas. She’s a hairdresser, a chef, a doctor and Tinkerbell the fairy, whenever the mood takes her.

Bonnie’s use of imaginative play is endless. And for us, it’s all new. The boys just didn’t do it. They’d never have thought to bring you a pretend cup of tea in a tiny plastic cup, or order you to present your ear to have pretend thermometer rammed in to check your temperature.

Yes, they did have a dressing-up box, but usually as an excuse to batter each other with toy swords, rather than actually imagine themselves as an alternate character.

The boys each had a favourite soft toy (Sick Monkey, Hippo and Rescue Bear), but rather than being part of their general play, they were only remembered if they were ill or we were going on holiday.

Bonnie has several soft toys who have to be positioned next to her at bedtime and individually kissed goodnight. Pom the ragdoll, the bears Fluffy and One-Eye, Lisa Simpson, Dora the Explorer and Peppa Pig cluster around her head while ‘Arfur’ Rabbit is her permanent side-kick.

Arfur gets brought to the breakfast table and is allowed to watch TV, while the other toys are left in bed.

I’m not sure if it’s a girly thing or a fourth-childy thing, but it’s fascinating for us as parents because we thought we’d seen it all.

Her favourite phrases at the moment seem to be: “Aww, isn’t that cute?” (something we certainly don’t say) and “You’re my best friend.” This latter one is a little disconcerting for our 20-something babysitter, Dougie’s 11-year-old-friend who sometimes gets a lift to school, and the postman, all of whom have had Bonnie swear her allegiance.

We’ve asked a few of her ‘best-friends’ from nursery over for her first non-family-only party, and she’s madly over-excited. Her brothers are already arguing about who will be responsible for the CD player during musical bumps. I think I may leave them to run the show. It’s going to be chaos anyway. Maybe I should have made it a fancy dress party?

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