- a garden
- a small slide
- a slightly flat soccer ball
- a toddler
- a Dad (not required for single player version of Slideball)
- Mom who brings biscuits and juice
- toddler positioned at ladder end of slide with arms resting on top
- Dad positioned at bottom of slide preferably sitting down
Rules of play
- Dad must begin by hitting the ball up the slide
- Toddler at top must attempt to catch ball if it goes far enough
- When toddler catches ball he must then release it back down the slide to Dad
- When Dad catches the ball he should fall over dramatically
- Single player version involves simply releasing the ball to see how
far it will go before running to pick it up
- The one who laughs the most …
Earlier this evening I was working in our spare room upstairs whilst my wife was chatting with her Dad downstairs and our 18 month old son Ben was playing. She brought him up eventually to start getting ready for bed and plonked him on my lap whilst she went to go get some stuff sorted for his bed. Ben loves sitting with me whilst I'm working on the computer (we spend a lot of time Skyping his Gran in Cape Town) and I therefore keep an old dead keyboard handy which I place on the desk in front of him to bash whilst I can carry on typing on the real keyboard. He also managed to get hold of the mouse occasionally and was enjoying clicking the buttons and scrolling the wheel (nearly deleting a Google Doc at one point) when my wife called for him to come and get his PJ's on. Ben is walking but only with a hand so I tried to put him down to walk him into his bedroom and he threw a proper tantrum. Mean old Dad for taking him away from gadgets he is only just learning how to use!
At that point Grandad came round the corner holding one of Ben's favourite books, Each Peach Pear Plum, and reading aloud from it. Ben stopped yelling straight away, looked thoughtful and then grabbed my hands so that he could charge after Grandad, yelling with happiness all the way. Gadgets were completely forgotten about, he wanted to read his favourite story especially his favourite part at the end of the story when we always yell 'Everyone!'
Can I read anything into the way he suddenly forgot about gadgets to go after his favourite book? Probably not, Ben can be distracted by just about anything including food, Mommy walking by and the wheels of most of his toy cars. I just thought it was a sweet example of how the analog can every so now and then triumph over the digital.
Photo is of Ben and his Grandad enjoying another one of his favourites – Found You Little Wombat! Quilt is by his Granny in Cape Town.
Last night I was about to go for a run – my boy was about to go for his bath but before I left I had a short play with him on the bathroom floor. Normally he waves some of his toys around, explores others or throws them a bit but last night he did something a little different which made me feel very special. We have an old spinning top where you have to push down to get it to spin. Ben decided to clearly hand it to me and with a ‘Da’ I knew he wanted me to spin the toy for him. This was the first occasion where my boy asked me to help him out with something and I tell you this it felt brilliant. He did it again this afternoon with a little windup toy and I clearly feel something has changed in him which can only improve from now on. One very happy daddy
Sent from my iPhone
Been a while since I wrote about the parenting thing. I should write more though as these moments aren’t really going to come round again. In my parent’s time (sorry Ma! I’m making you sound old!) they at least had the benefit of well trained cognitive functions to help them remember things. Nowadays as more and more of us (myself included) can’t seem to remember anything without needing online calendars, tasks lists or blogs perhaps storing some of my thoughts as well as photos in the great Internet cloud is a good thing. Besides one day when my son is an old man and living on Europa during the summer holidays perhaps he will do some research on what his old man had to say a while ago.
I suppose what I want to try and get down tonight (despite the rambling intro) is just some thoughts about how even the ‘down moments’ can sometimes be the most profound of a parents experience. Tonight my boy hasn’t been well – nothing too concerning. Just standard baby stuff he is working through so the bed routine was filled with a little bit more than your usual quotient of yelling and fussing. However when I had him propped up and ready for his evening bottle his demeanour changed and after his usual squawks of happiness/frustration at finally seeing his bottle he settled down into his usual routine of sucking down 210ml of formula at the fastest possible pace. Both he and I could finally just stop and have a look at each other. He has had an on/off day but a moment like that makes it an on day for me.
Last December he had a bit of a fright with a respiratory thing and ended up being checked over in hospital late at night. To see your pretty healthy baby boy being poked with needles and sensors attached to him isn’t the best of experiences at all (and my heart goes out to any parent who has to go through even longer stays of their children in hospital for whatever reason). But at about 2 in the morning after going home to get some stuff for my wife I had one of those moments which says a lot about being a dad and a parent.
I came back into A and E and my wife had just finished feeding him. She carefully laid him onto the bed ( making sure the cables were in the right place) and as his head was laid down in his drowsy state he saw me, smiled for a few seconds and then closed his eyes and went to sleep. That to me is what being a Dad is all about.