|a few of her favourite things|
Humblet has a huge array of toys, ranging from her toes to sophisticated rattles which promise to train a baby's hand-eye coordination or something like that. Playtime at home is a serious affair and it is compulsory to include laughing, giggling and having fun.
Having a child of my own reinforces my belief that store-bought toys are overrated and that we underestimate our children's ability to create, to imagine and self-entertain.
The subject of my research is none other than little humblet of course -
Since discovering her hands, she's been going at them with a vengeance. I catch her at times ferociously attempting to stuff both fists in her mouth or trying to smear her saliva evenly over her entire face. Of late, her new trick is accidentally grabbing things in her vicinity. Towel, rattle, stuffed toy etc. And needless to say, they all head right into her mouth.
Like any other parent, I want the best for humblet and this certainly involves giving her toys.
Her favourites include a paper towel roll, a glass bottle of green beans and a ribbon which came with a gift box. The roll we use when we want to tell her a secret, and we whisper these quietly through the tube making her giggle and squirm. The green bean shaker we use to get her attention and the ribbon we hang up for her so she can practice grabbing it while her diaper is being changed.
But the ultimate toy (not featured in the picture because it was probably being used) is a 1.5 litre empty mineral water bottle. Best equipment ever! All parents with newborns should get one! I cannot even begin to tell you about it's amazing features. It's a wonderful percussion instrument, it's lightweight and easily available. Most of all it stops a baby from crying instantly! I kid you not. Grab a ballpoint pen and run it up and down the ridges of the bottle and the baby stops instantly!!! Stop reading this and go get one!
Some friends come over and are unable to hide their surprise when they see humblet playing with an empty cereal box. Other friends tell me outright, 'can you not be such a cheapskate?' Yet others quickly offer to buy her real rattles, real mobiles. . . real toys they say.
Will I ever allow humblet to play with 'real toys'?
Certainly. But she shows me everyday that everything around her is fun and can be used for playtime. For humblet, practicing sitting up is fun, singing is fun and lying on a blanket is fun. The keys in my pocket is a rattle, the wooden coasters on the dining table are castanets and the fruits in the kitchen are fantastic for exploring different shapes, sizes and textures.
Why do I want to restrict her by creating in her a need for toys when she has her chubby hands and long feet as well as her squeaky voice to entertain herself with? Why do I need to constantly engage (interfere) her when she's more than happy to sit in her training chair and take in the world around her?
|humblet on her training seat|
When humblet goes to school, they will introduce tablet computers to her. When she's with my friends, they will take selfies with her and show her pictures and videos on their smart phones. When she's with her grandparents, they will let her watch the television.
SO when humblet is at home, I would like her to be able to be unplugged and at ease with that. Enjoying tummy time or blanket time on her own. Happily having books read to her while attempting to touch the pages with saliva-covered hands. Smiling at us while she watches us have dinner. Home ought to be a safe place for her, free from noise, over-stimulation and unrealistic expectations. Home is where she can roll around her cot for ages and laugh at herself.
And this is how I will show my daughter that I love her.