I’m going to admit something here, and I do it in the almost certainty that all other parents are secretly doing the same thing. But there is that 1% in the word almost that has me a little afraid. I tell you what, loyal readers, if anything you read below shocks or appalls you in any way whatsoever, feel free to assume I was joking and put it all down to poetic license. No need to call social services on me just yet.
As a mum who only works part time, I spend a lot of time at home with my son. As a one year old, he puts absolutely no effort into planning our time together. Seriously I dont think he even gives it a second thought. He doesnt lie in his cot planning conversational points to spark chatter, he doesnt plan games or activities for us, or even places to go together to while away the time between food. The pressure is all on me.
As I’ve said before, I have an irrational fear that my baby thinks I’m boring. Yes yes, he loves me in that “youre the only thing I know about / complete reliance on me” kind of way, but does he enjoy my company? I worry not.
But as parents, we all know what that incredible moment feels like when we hit on a winner. We suddenly try a weird face or funny noise, that we may or may not have tried before, and our baby smiles. Sometimes even laughs. We repeat it, and they laugh again. They might even try to copy us. They might touch our face to make us do it another 2 or 3 or 30 times. It’s an amazing feeling. My child is entertained. Not simply putting up with me, not having a pleasant time, actually enjoying himself, as a direct result of something I am doing! Wow.
But it isnt always a face or a noise… sometimes, it’s an action… or a game.. And let’s not beat around the bush here, it’s normally a slightly less than safe one. Why is it, that our kids enjoy high risk activities? Sure, I might get a small smile when I blow a raspberry in R’s direction. But the peals of laughter I get when I hang him upside down by his ankles are just not comparable! I’m pretty certain it isnt just my son who is into extreme sports, which leads me to the obvious conclusion that all children enjoy such well known fun adventure games as:
- Whoops, nearly dropped you!
- Ahh! Dropped you but caught you just in time.
- Can you balance? (props needed may include but are not limited to: window sills, banisters, kitchen counters and the like..)
- Piggy backs even though the child in question doesnt even begin to comprehend the words “hold on..”
- Where’s the baby? (While said child is lying flat, tummy down, on your head and you’re spinning round and round)
- 1,2,3,wheeee.. (the numbers accompanied by swinging baby through the air, cumulating in dropping them on a bed slash sofa type object.)
- Pretending to slap each other round the face, making the “ow” sound loudly. (Really? No-one?)
That last one might just be us. Either way, I do sometimes wish my boy got his kicks from some situational comedy or observational humour, rather than all the physically exerting amusements that really his father is more suited to performing.
The hypocritical thing is, if anyone else played any of these so called ‘games’ with my son when I wasnt around, they wouldnt be looking after him again. Why don’t you play with a nice jigsaw puzzle, or let him show you his shape sorter? I don’t want anyone else teetering on the edge of acceptable playtime behaviour with him, after all, what if something HAPPENED? I’d rather they had him vaguely attentive and having a pleasant time, even if it does mean they miss out on those adorable baby giggles.