Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sharing hobbies with Sonny

We were reading Audrey's wise words on bonding with one's teenagers (click here for the post, on her 'Parenting Tips and Ideas'), and how parents should share an interest in their children's hobbies, and we thought: Very true, but why wait? Admittedly, since he's only entering the 16th week of life, the range of Sonny's activities is greatly circumscribed. But there are some things that we can already participate in together...

1) Read: No, we've not fished out 'War and Peace'. But Sonny seems to enjoy it when we read aloud the cloth books we've borrowed from the library ('Colours', 'Nursery Rhymes', etc). Occasionally, he burbles his approval at an especially exciting episode ('And Jill came tumbling after'!), and is otherwise pretty attentive. He'll even desist from his thumb-sucking, which is something we absolutely won't be subscribing to ourselves, and against which we've been raging (see 'Our little terrorist understands threats').

2) Reflection-staring: We're not just fishing for chuckles here. Sonny especially enjoys gazing into mirrors or any reflective surfaces, so Pa recently decided to find out just why this was so captivating. Now, it's unlikely he's enjoying the same experience as Sonny, but he reports that stuff that you see in the reflection can seem ever so much more interesting than when directly viewed. Try it. How messy my hair is, Pa had thought when he began the experiment. My shirt's so wrinkled. I need a shave. I thought I stowed away that useless rocking chair that doesn't calm Sonny at all. That stool is grimy. Why am I wasting my time staring at... well, we'd best interrupt the stream-of-consciousness here, but you get the general idea. Presumably, Sonny isn't doing as much thinking when he's reflection-appreciating, but the world does seem a weirder, oddity-crammed treasure house.

3) Wriggling: Doesn't our young 'un love this. Put him on his back and he'll flap his limbs and cycle his arms and... well, isn't it just like warming up for fitness exercises, specifically the ones Pa hasn't quite gotten round to yet, despite many vows. The least he could do is to get the arm-swivelling, push-ups and stomach-crunches going, as even Sonny has, so Pa's been shamed into at least minimal action. Mum's not holding his breath on a resumption of the full routine.

4) Conversation: It wasn't long ago that we complained that Sonny wasn't being responsive to our ministrations. But that's begun changing of late, and his grandmother and infant care staff have all noticed that he likes it when he is being spoken to, without condescension. No 'goo-ga-boo-boo' gibberish for this fella. We'll be explaining the principle behind having a fan in the house (for air circulation and all that) and Sonny will be all ears. At times, he'll respond with a stream of nonsense-sounds, which sound for all the world as though he's trying to make a point or refuting an argument. Finding time for some 'serious chat with Sonny' seems to be rewarding enough, and Pa's happy to favour him with his latest philosophical observations.

And Mum's quite happy to relinquish the role of sounding board on that front. Some hobbies, presumably, aren't worth the sharing...

4 Comments:

Audrey said...

Reading to kids is HUGE. I've read to kids their whole lives. Even now, I'll read them an article, a paragraph etc. Reading is the most wonderful gift we have. Sharing that with our children is truly giving them a wonderful gift.

Cloudsters said...

Wonder if any particular sort of reading material would be best for very children though, Audrey. With minimal multi-syllable words, perhaps, or plenty of pictures to go with the text? Though, of course, the young 'un wouldn't be listening with comprehension anyway.

Sydney said...

There's a study someplace (I can't find a link right now, drat!) that said just having books in the HOUSE can make kids a better reader, because kids see that their parents value books. At this tiny stage, it's more about hearing your voices to the little ones. I'm particularly fond of Dr. Seuss and Sandra Boynton for their fun rhyming patterns. Hey, if I'm going to get stuck reading the same book over and over, at least it can be fun to read aloud! I started reading to Alex right after we came home from the hospital. Now he's three, and he is just as happy sitting and looking at books as he is playing outdoors. You are fostering a love of books in Sonny! Good for you!

Cloudsters said...

We've always envied folks with beautiful wall-to-wall bookshelves. And now we learn that these have good-parenting spinoffs too...