dad from day one: Playtime with an Infant

Week 1.

It doesn’t take being a full week into this to realize that there are predictable patterns of my baby: he eats, he poops/pees, he plays, and he sleeps.  Of course the word “plays”, when referring to a week-old infant, is somewhat limited being that he doesn’t really have active neck muscles yet.  I have to turn his head to show him where the action is, but that’s okay.

When he’s more awake, I like to box with Baby Jack.  He instinctively puts his hands out like a boxer- and because we keep mittens on his hands to keep him from scratching his face, it’s only natural that he makes for a perfect baby boxer.  Of course, it’s his fists versus my pointer fingers.  And I only push my fingers up against his “boxing gloves”.  We are in the beginning stages of “dad wrestles son”.

Another playtime activity is when I lay back against a wall or the bed headboard, placing him in my lap.  Then I use my legs as a sort of elevator/recliner, which serves as a fun ride for him.  Something else I can do in this position is to flex my stomach muscles very hard, straining hard enough to cause my stomach to vibrate or shake quickly.  That makes Jack vibrate and shake too- it’s an easy way to get him to smile.  When playing with him, I basically just think to myself: “What are all the ways I would like to annoy a cat if it would let me?”  It gives me good direction as a dad.

dad from day one: Instantly Becoming a Complete Goofball to Entertain the Baby

Twenty-seven weeks.

I know nothing about how to take care of a baby, yet.  But what I do know, and what I have always known when it comes to babies is how to make them laugh and play with them.  In the way that women instinctively speak in a high, falsetto voice to babies (I’ve read that that’s the frequency babies hear when they’re that young, as opposed to a normal speaking voice), I automatically become any given idiot monster when I find myself in a situation where a baby is looking at me, waiting for some kind of confirmation.

The default character I play while entertaining babies could best be described as Popeye mixed with Grimace mixed with Beaker: A smiling, squinty-eyed, beeping mutant.  But what can I say?  Babies like me when I am this fictional goofball.

And really, that’s what happens to any adult when a baby is set in front of them.  Adults become ridiculous.  That’s one of the many reasons people like babies.  Because adults get a free pass to act stupid.  All in the name of making a baby happy.

Needless to say, I am so looking forward to my free pass.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: