Posts Tagged ‘ playtime ’

The Future of Father and Son Bonding

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Nine months.

Due to Jack’s increasing mobility and creativity, he’s never been more fun to play with. Our newest playtime activity is for us to crawl around the coffee table, taking turns chasing each other. Ultimately, when one of us catches the other, we have a bear hug while growling in each other’s ears. Our chase game is a great way for the two of us to bond both physically and socially.

As the dad of a nine month-old son, it can be easy to feel like a third wheel sometimes; Jack obviously has a much stronger bond with my wife. But now, I am getting to a stage where I am able to feel more connected to him- as my son, not just my biological baby. I am so anxious to be able to experience more of this social bonding with him, as he continues to mature in communication.

I got a taste of this kind of heaven about a month ago while we spent several days out in Sacramento with my wife’s family. My wife is number 9 of 10 kids; that means I have a lot of nieces and nephews. Throughout the three years we have been married, I have gotten to know some of them better than others.

During this past trip, I really got to spend some quality time with her brother Jeff and his wife Joni’s kids- who gave me a glimpse of the social involvement and emotional connection that comes with a child, as opposed to an infant.

Several people took notice of the physical resemblance of their eight year-old son, Neil, and my son Jack. Coincidentally, Neil and I really hit it off this time around. Despite my lack of sports enthusiasm, I found myself tossing the football with Neil out in the backyard. Even stranger, I actually taught him to improve his football-throwing skills: “Just hold the ball a bit past your ear to where the tip of the football is like your nose, then move your hand forward like it’s being jerked by a rope.”

Now, for all I know, that could have been the worst football-throwing advice ever. Regardless, he started throwing the football straight after that.

I also spent some time with Neil’s older sister, Bella, whose artistic interests completely reflect my own when I was her age. She is such a cool girl and I really enjoyed getting to know her, through easy conversation. Bella really made me think of what it will be like if eventually I ended up having a daughter. In fact, Bella makes me want to a have a daughter.

Needless to say, I long to be able to communicate and interact with my own son the way I was able to with his older nieces and nephews.

Will Jack look like his cousin, Neil, several years from now?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

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Jack’s Stupidest Toy Ever: The Furry Bolster Pillow

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Nine months.

A couple of weeks ago while shopping at Super Target, I was standing in the baby food aisle, resting on Jack’s stroller as my wife finalized her selection.  I looked down at the shelf beside me and saw a hilarious looking, white shag carpet accent pillow.  It had obviously been abandoned in the wrong section. As I picked it up to examine the weird thing a bit closer, Jack immediately began laughing; he thought I was about to playfully ram him in the chest with it. So I did.

I should point out the that Jack loves to have random objects fly toward him and bump him, especially in the head and chest. It makes him laugh hysterically; always has.

The other reason that the sight of the pillow made him laugh was probably because it looks like the two dogs he has met in his life, one of those canines in particular reminds me of Falcor from The Never Ending Story. He has laughed at the sight of shaggy white dogs he has met, so he just associated the pillow with them.

Jack is at the age now where the kind of toy he needs most is a learning center with gears and gadgets for him to pull on. I realize that technically, that’s not how we should have spent $12 that day.  But I just had to do it.

So that was a few weeks ago and I must say, I incorporate the stupid shag carpet bolster pillow into Jack’s daily playtime- I sort of feel obligated to. Fortunately, he’s still crazy about the random, bizarre, giant rabbit’s foot.

I have this theory that some of the best toys you can buy for a baby boy are actually dog toys.  After all, isn’t this story a bit reminiscent of when I bought Jack the sock monkey dog bed when he was a newborn?

The truth is, I call Jack my “baby puppy” on a daily basis; especially when he follows me around the house with a big grin on his face.  So I throw him a bone. Well, not actually a bone, but a two foot long, somewhat awkward-looking pillow.

I’m not sure what he really thinks the pillow is.  Maybe he thinks it’s a friendly dog in the form of a cube.  Or the head of a giant Q-tip.

He’s sort of weird for liking it so much. I’m even weirder for buying it for him.

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