Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What a 9 month old does for kicks

So what does a nine and a bit month old do for kicks, you ask? Well, this one spends a lot of time discovering buttons on clothes and on toys, and is fascinated by wheels of any kind (he always upends a toy with wheels and uses his hands to spin the wheels round) which leads me to wonder whether I have a budding engineer on my hands. Fortunately, Little Green is also proving to be a consummate book lover like his mother. Every fortnight or so, I visit the library and check out a fresh stack of board books so he -- and I -- won't get too... bored. I have always been a library supporter, not to mention have you seen the price of books lately? He has definite favourites (luckily we tend to share the same taste). It started with The Gingerbread Man when he was only four months old. Mummy memorized it after the first hundred readings (sharp mummy!) and ultimately would recount it after returning the book after the nth renewal. Then there was Mr Brown Can Moo, Can you? by this guy you might have heard of named Dr Seuss. Now it's Silly Sally walking backwards upside down, but really the list goes on and on. He loves books not only for their playful language and visual phantasmagoria, but for their tactile satisfaction. He sometimes will help flip the page. But more often than not he happily turns a book over and over in his hands, thinking god only knows...

Otherwise, a typical week for us looks something like this: a trip to a baby gym and another trip to a music class. Both of these classes are part of franchises and as a result, the plugging for other 'products' is almost constant. I guess the ethos is that it's never too early to bring out the consumer in you! The baby class industry is a huge, insanely lucrative market. After all, you've got mothers with time on their hands starting to feel like Jack Nicholson in that big lonely hotel in The Shining. I go because there are many unstuctured hours in a day. Having a class to go to once or twice a week breaks up all those hours and tends to shape the day. I admit it, the classes are probably less about the little Green one and more about me, safeguarding my sanity so that I don't crack out a lipstick and start painting 'redrum' all over the walls. (You may laugh but I've come close a few times.) And I'm fairly sure it's the case with other mums too. I kid myself that he loves music (he does); I convince myself that the socializing is good for him (no doubt on some level it is). But in truth most of the time he spends the classes looking around or playing with the little rug he happens to be sitting on while I battle, sometimes futilely, to engage him in what's going on.

Maybe years from now I'll look back on this time and laugh, mirthlessly of course, at how seriously I took it all when I should have been relaxing on all fours without a care in the world. But raising a child is serious business. Play is hard work. After all, I just read that something like 80% of a child's intellectual potential is already realized in the first 12 months. And I think a further 10% by the time they are five years old. Explains an awful lot in my case. There are genetic limitations, obviously. But the scary fact remains that whether he turns out to be Borat or Einstein is largely under my control. Yowsa. Never mind Silly Sally. Think it's high time I dusted off my Complete Works of William Shakespeare and got down to business...

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