Pretend play is something that is a very large struggle for Ayden. Not because he can't do it, but he just doesn't want to. As I've mentioned before, we have a difficult time finding ways to motivate Ayden to do things and we have yet to find anything that will motivate him to "pretend". Until recently.
A few months back, Grandma brought a gift for the boys. A cute little rabbit puppet. Ayden was not impressed, but Issac fell in love instantly and claimed it for himself. He named the rabbit Frank. Since Frank joined our family, we have been talking to him and playing with him. Frank does everything with Issac from getting up in the morning to giving mom and dad kisses, to going on car rides. Frank even talked to Ayden quite a bit and waved hi to him all the time, but Ayden just backed away, vocalizing his disapproval of this communication and wouldn't go near him. He was almost afraid to touch him even and certainly was not okay with Frank talking to or waving at him.. But as the days went on, Ayden started getting braver and touching Frank quickly before running away, or picking him up by two fingers to move him. It got to the point where Ayden finally was okay with Frank.
And then it happened. It was the day Emma came home from the hospital. Mr Awesome was getting the boys ready for bed when Ayden picked up Frank and made Frank wave at Daddy. He then burst into joyous laughter as Daddy waved back. And did it again. And again. It was the first time we saw him not only pretending, but also initiating the play himself.
Since then, he has begun to add more types of pretending into his play. For a little boy who prefers to spin toys and play alone it really is something big. Add to that it was done without him being pushed, it's just an amazing milestone for him to reach.