Friday, February 22, 2008

Entertain Thy Self

Samson was lying on the living room floor on his fuzzy blanket this morning--I'm a genius, see, I've been training the dogs to KEEP OFF of this one fuzzy blanket and to KEEP THEIR NASTY GERMY DOG TOYS OFF of this one fuzzy blanket so that Samson can have a nice little place to lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling or eat dog hair or do whatever 3 1/2 month old babies do when they can't roll over or sit up. Um. And let me tell you, there is NOTHING that Ozzy wants to do more than lay on that one fuzzy blanket. And there is NOTHING that Nanna wants to do more than place her disgusting slobbery tennis ball or dead pheasant on that one fuzzy blanket. It takes great control of every fiber in her being to place the disgusting dead pheasant half an inch from the blanket and not on the blanket. She's such a good dog.

I was reading this article in Parents magazine--you know, the one that contains nice orderly lists of all of the things I'm doing wrong? And nice four-page layouts of all of the things my baby should be doing at this age but isn't? It wasn't an article as much as a brightly colored ad for various baby products I need in order to be a good mommy. It was in the form of a time line on what to do during the day to keep your baby happy. And there were at least three different activities that called for baby to entertain himself, amuse himself, and hang out solo, and there were little captions about how important this skill is and how if your baby doesn't master this crucial skill immediately, he will most likely grow up to become a serial killer or a dog kicker or a republican.

Samson's big on NOT being alone. He can spend a few minutes here and there entertaining himself while I feed the animals in the morning or fix lunch, and we have a very specific routine that buys me about 20 minutes, allowing me to take a shower and, if I'm very lucky, wash my hair. But all this self-entertainment is kind of like some wonderful dream, one where my baby plays contently in my spotless living room, my impeccably groomed pets at least 12 inches from his fuzzy blanket, and I am folding laundry UNINTERRUPTED for THIRTY WHOLE MINUTES.

So of course this article-advertisement made me feel incompetent and I decided that today Samson would play BY HIMSELF in the morning, the time during which I am usually lying on the floor next to him, endlessly shaking jingly jangly toys above him and encouraging him to reach and grab (he's getting soooo good at grabbing, by the way), or inflicting the cruel torture of tummy time upon him, or reapplying a sock that has been expertly removed. I'm also singing dumb ass little songs to him about zebras jumping on beds and where the hell is Thumbkin and an itsy bitsy spider who crawls up to Samson's nose over and over again. It would probably be quite amusing and more than a little pathetic to be a fly on my wall.

Instead of all that fun togetherness, I gave Samson a pacifier, put his softer than god's toilet paper giraffe in his arms and made sure there were at least 800 toys under his arms and at his fingertips, easy for even the most sedentary of babies to grab and shove in their mouths. Then I sat on the sofa, about three feet away from him and began to fold laundry. Everything was awesome for about four minutes and then his squeals of delight started to morph into moans of discontent. Anyone who's met this baby knows that he can go from zero to sixty in no time flat, so once he started furrowing his eyebrows, I knew that this experiment was going to end badly. The horrible whiny fussing started, and I did my best to ignore it and fold laundry while Samson figured out that we was going to have to AMUSE HIS OWN DAMN SELF so that he could grow up well adjusted with a high earning potential. But oh the howling. Ozzy looked up at me with eyes that said Why aren't you doing something to make it stop? And Nanna looked up at me with eyes that said WHY AREN'T YOU DOING SOMETHING TO MAKE IT STOP??? And I crawled over to Samson and sang him the song about the zebra jumping on the bed and all was right with the world.

Maybe we'll work on self-amusement next month.


Karry said...

Maybe you could get him to entertain himself if you gave him that damn magazine to shred! Ignore them! If you wanna play with baby and baby wants to play with you then that's what should happen. My kid still can't amuse herself and I'm pretty sure she isn't going to be a serial killer! Difficult teen, definitely, serial killer, probably not.

The Moores said...

ARGH! when you figure it out, let me know. You know that colorful rug you like? I'm VERY familiar with that rug from hours and days and weeks of playing on that rug. And poor FFM only gets to play with the toys I like to play with, at least until he can pull the toy bins out on his own.