My baby wakes up from his nap. Either something woke him up early, and he’s extra cranky, or despite a two-hour siesta he’s whiny and fussy. I try all my tricks — books, snack, cuddle time — to no avail. Ugh. I have a fussy baby for two hours until dinnertime. Now what?
My baby is demanding personal time from me. And unless I want to listen for screaming for two hours, I get to find something fun for us to do together.
When my children woke up fussy as older babies and toddlers, the first thing I did was read to them. For some of my kids (I have four), that’s worked. When my daughter was ten months old, I could bring out a book and the tears would literally freeze on her face. But when my 13-month old is cranky, a book does not comfort him. He grabs it from my hand and hurls it.
The other day, after trying the books, the snack, and the cuddle, I wondered what to do next. My eye caught the jar of buttons in our play dough cupboard. Usually I work to keep small items from my little guy, but I was going to sit right with him. Why not? This worked out great as a Mommy & Me baby play idea.
I set out a mini-muffin tray and a jar of buttons (the tiny ones had been removed). I loved how excited he was. Buttons? For me?? You’ve never let me touch these before!
In the last month he’s shown great interest in putting things into containers. So I pulled out a mini-muffin tray and showed him what to do. He was busy for a long time. (By a long time, I mean about 5 minutes. Baby attention span here :).)
He was so busy that he didn’t even try to put buttons in his mouth– right away. The few times he tried, I was right there with him (it’s Mommy & Me, after all!) and was able to stop him. He’s old enough now to understand “No! No! Not in your mouth!”
He learned while he played:
- explored shapes (circles)
- experienced the feel of different buttons/textures
- practiced fine motor skills of grabbing, dropping, and placing in and out
- heard language: in/out ; no eating!