Posted by: workforcookies | March 4, 2009

Child’s Play

 

When my son was an infant. I raced home from work every night and try to cram in as much “quality” time as possible.

“What does the owl say? Who, who.” I would croon at him while his eyes drifted down and to the right, a sign that my baby books told me meant he was over-tired… over-stimulated. Still, I desperately forged ahead. I left for work too early to see him in the morning, so evenings were the only time I had to spend with him. But these evenings seemed to drift by with my son’s gaze and all the opportunities I had to witness his growth. I knew he was making discoveries all day and I wasn’t there to see them. Everything from breakfast to bedtime was scheduled for my son, but I couldn’t schedule when he would notice his feet for the first time, or say his first word. Those happenings were as predictable as falling stars.

As my son got older, he could stay awake—alert—for longer. Still, he wasn’t responding to my pleas of “Who, Who,” Nor did he seem to give a flip about “Moo, Moo” or  “Bah, Bah.” What he did seem very interested in was the Kleenex box. Anytime he could get near it, he pulled tissues out at an alarming rate, which gave me an idea: I read my son three books, sang two songs then put him in his crib and went rummaging through my closet in search of old scarves. I stuffed them into an empty Kleenex box that I carefully placed in a basket where a collection of baby toys was beginning to grow in the living room. 

The next evening, I traded in animal sounds for the tissue box—much to my delight and my son’s. He peered into the box as I pulled a scarf out for him. He stared wide-eyed. Slowly, he began to join in until he was giggling, squawking and peering in to find more scarves. For the first time in months, I relaxed. Watching him explore and discover was the falling star I’d been wishing for.

Soon my son’s fascination turned from pulling scarves out of the box to putting them back in. Next came  Peek-a-boo with the scarves, then running around the room and dancing with them. Of all the toys in the now burgeoning toy baskets in our living room, the Kleenex box remains a favorite. Sure my son tossed it aside when Santa brought him a Fire Truck and a Thomas the Train, but he still comes back to it from time to time. For now my daughter has claimed the Kleenex box. Watching her discover all the games it offers has once again fulfilled a need for this mom. But it’s also fostered play between my daughter and son. In fact, he’s teaching her how to play Peek-a-Boo, and she loves it!

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I’d love to hear what sorts of sorts of toys you’ve found that help you connect with your kids!

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