Making it an Adventure Article

Essentials for Playing with Your Baby

While playing with babies comes naturally to men, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Short Field of Vision at First
For the first couple of weeks, a baby's vision is fuzzy and he'll fixate on things that are about a foot from his eyes. Place a picture or toy with highly contrasting colors in his line of sight to catch his attention, and then move it back and forth slowly so he can track it.

Her Favorite Mug
She will also fixate on your face and can recognize it at about one month. She might be able to imitate you sticking out your tongue, so give it a try. If it works, make sure you treat your buddies to a show.

Just You and Him
There's no one else around. It's time for ELVIS! Or Bruce Springstein, Radiohead or whatever you like. Got a comedy act buried deep? Time to drag it out. No matter how bad you are, he'll think you are the best. And when he starts rocking out, you'll be taking him on tour to whomever you can get to watch.

If He Is Easily Upset
Start gently, perhaps with massage and music, and then ramp it up over time while making sure to stay in tune with his temperament.

Stop When She Has Had Enough
She may be finished before you are, and it is important to recognize the signs before you irritate her. If she turns her face away, arches her back, or whimpers when you expect her to be having fun, there is a good chance she is getting worn out or overstimulated and it is time to quit.

Don't Scare Him
Inadvertently scaring your baby might elicit a funny response, but it is not good. And not just because it will trigger crying. Remember all those neurons firing for the first time? You want him wired to trust you and his new environment, and not grow up anxious.

Be gentle and careful about situations - sudden loud noises, people getting too close or picking him up roughly - that may frighten him.

Nurture an Adventurous Spirit
Notice when he's reaching out for something and encourage his exploration. Let him take his time. Let him try for something just beyond his reach. Before you do something for him, let him try to do it himself. Encourage, but don't frustrate.

Put your own creative stamp on playing with your baby; build your repertoire of games that only she (and you) know. Opportunities abound; make your sock into a puppet and make it "sing" to him. Dip her toe in ice cream and give her a taste.

Start to blow raspberries on his tummy and then stop a couple of times until he is bouncing with anticipation. Then cut loose with a big one.


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