The other day, I came home and found my child lying on a strange contraption. He was on his back, kicking his legs in the air. Beneath him was a colorful mat, illustrated with trees, animals and odd looking people. At his feet, a large keyboard with colorful lights was placed just against his heels. Every time he tapped the keyboard, lights would blink and melodies would play. Above his head was an arch with plastic toys and a mirror that hung just in front of his face. My wife, who was standing above him, insisted that the mat received great reviews on parenting websites. I believe her. The little guy seemed very engaged. He stared at the plastic toys, kicked the keyboard, and waved his hands back and forth.
The apartment is now becoming filled with interesting tools to distract my baby. I have no idea what half of these things are, nor do I know why my baby finds them interesting. My wife, however, is a teacher, so her understanding of child development is superior to mine. She knows everything. If she wasn’t around, I would likely ask little O to come outside with me and play catch. After a few missed catches, I would probably go inside and tell my wife that the baby is terrible at baseball. Luckily, I have a wife that can provide developmentally appropriate toys for the child, and provide Dad with a little guidance so this never happens.
Each day, I find that new tools of child-engagement are being moved into the living room, where the baby often plays. We now have a few picture books, some rattling contraptions, and the keyboard-arch thing. Obviously, “playing” consists of staring at stuff and swinging his hands and feet back and forth. That’s why the hanging toy arch is such a big hit. He loves swinging his hands at the toys and hearing as they rattle against each other.
Now that he has mild interest in things other than food, he is an extremely entertaining baby. Even when the little guy did almost nothing, I found it impossible not to watch him. I could have stared at that newborn for hours. Now that he’s starting to do stuff, though, I don’t know how I’ll make it to work each morning. He is so much fun.