My son has been alive for 4 weeks now, and exclusively in our care for a little more than half that time. My wife and I have, of course, taken that care very seriously—tending to his every need, staring at him throughout the day, bending ourselves to the learning curve as he bends it. It’s been a lot of work, but not a bit of it onerous.
But it’s all been work, pretty much, insofar as everything we’ve done has been about what he needs in any given moment. Food, changing, comforting, etc. It’s fun to watch him, but a newborn baby doesn’t really do tricks yet or get too terribly interactive.
But a few days ago, we noticed his eyes starting to focus on things. On us. And his head swings around in reaction to sounds. Our voices. We’ve been seeing and hearing him for a month, and now it seems to be mutual.
So today we unpacked a hand-me-down baby playset that my wife’s friend had bequeathed to us, set it up, and the three of us did something altogether new: we played. The baby clearly saw the bright colors, liked the sounds of the rattling plush animals, and spent a solid 10 minutes with rapt attention paid to the fun we were all having. My wife and I looked at each other as if we’d suddenly remembered something that we’d intended to do all along, but this really had been the first moment when it made sense to put away needful things and do something that was just for fun.
It was a ton of fun, too. I can’t wait to spend some more time playing with my son, and now those piles of baby toys that have been arriving daily via UPS make sense. We’re going to continue to have a lot of things we have to do for our baby, and we’ll do so with smiles on our faces. But now that there are also a few things that are just baby-brain-stimulating fun on the menu, too, we’ll have some bigger smiles on tap as well.