Babies love sitting quietly while you watch Law & Order SVU.
Well, mine did when he was a squishy newborn and breastfeeding took an hour per feed and then he’d snooze in my arms between feeds. We made it through season after season of Detective Benson’s hairstyles and Ice-T’s one-liners (“Does it look like I’m going to chase you, punk?” *cocks gun*).
But then one day, the baby lifted his head and looked around like, “okay lady, what else ya got to do around here?”
So I googled “how to play with your baby.”
We had obviously already been doing tummy time regularly. [This is where you put the little blob on its tummy and stare at it while it develops neck muscles or something. It’s super important and suuuper boring and led me to google, “how to make tummy time less brutal.” But that’s a story for another time. Or not. Tummy time was annoying and I’m glad that stage is over. Take THAT, Canadian Pediatric Society!]
The internet told me to read to him, so I grabbed an old copy of US Weekly and read him a full article about Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton’s divorce. Yeah that’s right, the full article! Cause I’m a good mother. And I like to think that this early exposure to celebrity scandal helped him develop empathy. But I’m not a psychologist.
Anyway, we kijiji-ed our way to a play mat and some other toys. The dog loved them. The baby eventually did, too. I think. Who knows?
While getting ready for our trip to Spain, I solicited advice from other parents regarding what toys to pack. The prevailing wisdom was not to bring anything because, wait for it… The world is his toy. Ummmm kay.
My Type-A brain hated this, because I wanted a definitive list of The Top Toys for a 9-Month Old. Then I would buy those, bring them, and the baby would play with them and life would be easy!
But I also love shopping for baby stuff and my sneaky brain saw not bringing toys as a way to later justify a Spanish shopping spree. Unfortch, it hasn’t been necessary.
The owner of our apartment in Madrid has kids, so there are some toys here. Mostly horrendously age-inappropriate choking hazards, but some keepers as well. And there is other random crap that has become a toy. Because my baby is a genius and inventive AF.
Like this decorative basket/peekaboo machine.
Or the table legs/jungle gym.
And we try to leave the apartment when the baby isn’t eating or sleeping (as long as it’s not raining, cause my hair). So the world really is his toy. You guys, I’m serious, THE WORLD IS HIS TOY.
This is fantastic cause it lets me off the hook and frees up the baby toys/entertainment part of our trip budget* to buying good wine. But max €10 cause who do I think am I, the effing Queen?
*Okay that’s a lie. There’s obv no budget for baby stuff… It’s all impulse purchases. But did I sound like I had my shit together for a second? Nevvver!
Babies are weird and they love random shit. My kid’s fav toy, to this day, has been an empty paper bag from the liquor store.
In summary, I recommend playing with your baby the same way you do anything: safely (uh doyy), but then however the eff you want.
Do we always have the energy to crawl around and play tickle monster? HELL NO.
Do we therefore finagle ways to play with the baby while barely moving? HELL YES.