Life is fun when you’re a baby. Everyone is constantly tickling you or shoving stuff in your face — sparkly things, rattly things. They’re always making oogley faces and stealing your nose. There are bright colors, lights, strange animals that fly or bark, interesting sensations and OMG WATER! I can’t help but compare infancy to an extremely long and intense acid trip.
When babies are in good spirits, there are endless ways to entertain them. After all, they’re experiencing everything for the first time so it’s all new and exciting. It’s like the complete opposite of adulthood, am I right? (No matter how hard I try to mind-ninja myself, I can’t help but think of laundry as just laundry, no matter how colorful or soft the clothes are.)
But even for the best-tempered babies, the days can still be long and having your nose stolen gets f@#$ing old. By 4:45 P.M. on most days, babies basically hate everything and everyone in the world, and parents have to get really creative with how they choose to entertain their little one. The “witching hour” is very real, and it’s clearly why God invented happy hour.
As the keeper of one very time-sensitive baby, I fill up my red wine and try my best to keep everyone alive until dad gets home, so I can greet him in the most normal way I know how — exasperated and half drunk with a screaming kid on my hip and another one … somewhere!?!
If you need a few new ways to entertain a baby during desperate times, this list is for you. (Please note: I didn’t say they were good ways, but perhaps they’ll help get you through the dreaded end of the day.)
- When the baby starts screaming in his high chair and trying incessantly to knock it (and himself) over, take him out and sit him underneath it. Food is more fun when eaten off the floor. (Hint: This will buy you a minute or two to chug your first wine.)
- Give him the remote to point at the TV and pretend to change the channel like a big shot. This one is kind of legit … until he throws it against the wall and breaks it.
- Let him chase the cat.
- Go out in the yard so he can pull up all the weeds.
- Or daisies. Whatever. You can have a pretty yard one day … a long time from now.
- Pull out all the tupperware and if you’re really feeling adventurous, fill it with water. Baby splash zone.
- Better yet, if you have a water table … um, why are you still sitting here??? Oh, because it’s covered in a thick coating of slime and requires a lot of time and energy to keep in good shape? Yeah. Mine too. Let him play in it anyway.
- Turn out all the lights and make a flashlight into a strobe light. IT’S A BABY RAVE!!!
- iPhone. There, I said it. It doesn’t count as screen time if he’s eating it.
- Drums. Keyboards. Shakers. Anything loud and obnoxious. GIVE IT TO HIM NOW!
- Pull out your old computer that barely functions and let him slam on the keys until it’s really, really broken.
- Let him pull your hair or eat it. If it makes him laugh, it’s worth the pain.
- Dump a bunch of straws on the floor and yell “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
- Repeat until help arrives, bedtime, or until you pass out from sheer exhaustion. Whatever comes first.