As a first time mom, I am very excited about my child. He is now a fourteen-month-old toddler and incredibly excited about his newfound mobility and the independence that comes with it. And while I run around after him complaining about the mess he leaves behind and the scuffles we have, I am secretly enjoying every bit of this journey and probably a lot more excited than he is.
To quote the infamous Dr. Benjamin Spock, “All the time a person is a child he is both a child and learning to be a parent. After he becomes a parent he becomes predominantly a parent reliving childhood.” And I am enjoying reliving my childhood everyday with my toddler!
At the toddler stage, they are fully geared to be on the move. Walking, climbing, stomping, running, pulling, pushing, banging away noisily and stifling any observer complaints with a disarming smile! And when that doesn’t work, pulling faces and screaming in protest in the case of my little boy. But mostly, it is laughter and yelps of pleasure at various unexpected new discoveries in this miniature world of theirs they are so eager to explore each morning!
“The children, who are appreciated for what they are, even if they are homely, or clumsy, or slow, will grow up with confidences in themselves - happy. They will have a spirit that will make the best of all the capacities that they have, and of all the opportunities that come their way. They will make light of any handicaps.” ― Benjamin Spock, Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care.
I have been thinking of new games and interactions I can share with my toddler even as a working mom who only spends a maximum of three wakeful hours with my tot on weekdays. I have mostly improvised depending on what new activities he is able to do. Therefore, as the excited new mom that I am, I am sharing this learning experience with others like me out there and taking some inspiration from my own mother who was invariably a “Dr Spock Mom”;
I learned this game from my toddler. It is his way of attracting my attention if my eyes are glued to a TV programme he finds uninteresting. He squeezes up behind me on the sofa and peeks over my shoulder to look into my eyes and when I turn to look his way, he yelps with pleasure, laughing out loud and hides behind my back. I pretend to look away and he emerges to do the same on the opposite side of me. When I catch his gaze squarely in the face he’ll set himself onto my lap and prompt for a different kind of game.
The happy Clapping disco
I happen to have a few nursery rhymes on my phone and on some kiddy gismo audio book. We listen to one together and clap applause at the end of each. I get to sing along as he claps with me and does a little dance. We also dance to whatever rhythmic music we hear and crown each dance with a big “whoop”, a whoosh around the room and a hug and kiss for a job well done.
Yummy for Mummy
This game has been very useful at a time when my toddler feels like any time spent not playing is wasted time. So we play ‘yummy for mummy’ so he can eat a full meal while still maximizing quality play time with mummy. This is where he feeds me from my plate while I feed him from his. All the while, I make encouraging noises, which he echoes back. “Mmmm….Yummy!” and the sort. Naturally most of my meal will end up on my dress and the floor so Mamas who try this be ready to tolerate the mess. The reward is a very happy well-fed baby who will soon drift off to sound slumber, tired out from the concentration and effort of trying to feed his mummy!
I have also tried to be practical about toys and tried sticking to a few good quality educational toys that will stimulate toddler development and a child’s free thinking in an adult dominated environment. That is a different tid-bit to share another time!