When Orlando mom Kim Prunty gets home from work, she wants to spend time with her 9-month-old, Will -- but sometimes she just wants to crash. She's become an ace at entertaining her son while horizontal. Her repertoire includes:
- Participatory songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It," "Pat-a-Cake," and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"
- Lots of board books
- Mirrors ("Like most men, Will loves looking at himself. He can stare at his reflection for a good bit of time.")
- Blowing bubbles
- Noisemakers -- rattles, change purses, anything you can shake
- Wiggly Giggly -- a colorful, mesmerizing ball that makes silly noises
- Peekaboo ("I play the game with whatever is covering me up while I'm trying to relax.")
- Serve finger foods when possible. Pureed squash doesn't lend itself to hands-on eating, but cooked pasta and cereal can go right onto the high-chair tray. No spoons or dishes necessary.
- Gear up. Protect the floor with an old sheet or anything easily washable or disposable. The circumference of the surface should be in direct correlation to the baby's flinging potential. (Consult your old physics textbook for the exact formula.)
- Roll slippery pieces of fruit, like peaches and bananas, in crushed cereal before placing them on the tray. There's less chance that they'll go sliding out of little hands.
- After she eats, give your baby a warm, damp washcloth to play with while she's still in the high chair. Rinse off the tray while she cleans herself up a little.
- Get a dog. It will sniff out and lick up any errant bits of entree.
Become a regular at a restaurant where the waitstaff loves to carry your newborn around while you eat dinner.