Some mommies just ‘get it.’
The minute they find out that they have a bun in the oven, they devour books detailing the essentials of infant care. These moms spend their free time in the first trimester (in between trips to the bathroom…for whatever reason) thumbing through thousands of pages of advice. When it comes time to registering, they’ve already narrowed down their carseat, playard, and stroller based on consumer reviews and safety ratings. These superwomen have watched hours of video tutorials on the best way to swaddle a baby. Perhaps they’ve spent their Saturday touring the maternity wing at the hospital or taking a few parenting or breastfeeding classes.
I have a confession to make.
I was not a mommy that ‘got it.’
Before Bennett arrived, I read classic literature. I spent my free time in my first trimester napping. When it came time to register, I took the registries of two of my girlfriends and copied each of their wish lists. I never watched a tutorial on how to swaddle a baby. I spent my Saturdays watching football with my husband. I figured that my job was to grow a baby and that I would figure it out when he arrived.
Three months into this parenting gig, and I am still figuring it out as I go along. As I suspected, every baby is different: from every other baby and from day to day. Bennett keeps me humble, in that, I cannot say with certainty that he ‘always’ does something. Take, for instance, sleeping for twelve glorious hours. There was a golden era for about three weeks when he would sleep from 8-8. When the first of June arrived, I was confronted with the old familiar hours of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 a.m. If someone tells you their baby ‘always’ does something, don’t believe them. Babies are human beings who are inconsistent. As hard as you try to keep them on a schedule, it doesn’t always work.
From the end of week two until now, Bennett and I have attempted to follow the Mom’s on Call schedule as well as the Baby Wise philosophy: eat, activity, sleep, your time (or mommy time). I reaaaaally struggled for ideas of mixing up play time when Bennett was really little. I would start with tummy time. Then I would try to put him on a play mat, but as he has just figured out what to do with his hands, it was a whole lot of staring and waiting for me to tell stories. Truthfully, I ran out of things to talk about to my son, so I began reading him pages from Jane Eyre. I figured it was the best way to build his vocabulary.
Here are the five playtime essentials that we’ve found in our time learning from each other. I figured I would pass along for other mommies who…haven’t attended a birthing class yet.
1. Sophie the Giraffe
|Sophie the Giraffe retails for $22.99 via Toys R Us
I get it. Hearing that you’re going to have to fork over $23 for a toy sounds gratuitous. Let me assure you. It is not. Sophie was the first toy that Bennett took a liking too. This squeaky little gal is the easiest way for babies to begin to get interested in playtime.
|O Ball Football retails for $6.99 via Toys R Us
The minute your little one starts to get interested in toys, they’re going to want to bring every single toy to their mouth. I find that if I have to put something away in the kitchen and cannot supervise play consistently, I feel much more confident that Bennett is playing with something that he cannot choke on. For seven dollars, I really love having this little piece for peace of mind if I look away for a moment.
|Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym $69.99
Your baby will spend a lot of time on his or her back. Give them something colorful to look at. Bennett loves staring at lights and hearing nursery rhymes. Everything is new and you will love watching your baby discover every. little. thing.
|Pokey Puppy is the best for tummy time…Also..where did my little babe go!?
I am supremely blessed with the most gifted mother on the planet. She is a creative and talented quilter who puts more thought and effort into her work than anyone else I know. We got these three before Bennett arrived, but I had no idea how much we would use them. Here is my advice: no matter the cost, invest in a piece like this for your baby. After all, the toys will be packaged and sold, but the quilts will become something you can pass along to his family…or keep to remember the time when you got to snuggle.
|Fisher Price Luv U Zoo Jumperoo $69.99 via Amazon
This has become a Bennett favorite over the last week. Some babies can roll over within the first weeks of life. My little guy has only rolled over once. Instead, he LOVES to stand. Any time he fusses, it is the surefire way to calm him down. Because he is a little shorter, I put a pillow beneath him so he can still jump and stand to his heart’s content. There are a million things to see, touch, and hear on this jumper, so I have a feeling this will grow with him until he is ready to start walking.