Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Serious Business of Play

Two days before Christmas and a blanket of snow sees me grinning like a mentalist, building tiny snowmen in curious places and quick-step-quick-step-sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide-flail-flail-slip-stepping to the office.  I'm looking forward to Alex being old enough to enjoy the snow, as it will reduce the number of disparaging tuts I get for playing about in it.

Alex, meanwhile, is settling down to some serious play.  When you're teeny-tiny, play is pretty damn important.  How else do you learn about the world and how it works?  Can you eat your own hand?  Only one way to find out!  How about standing up?  Can that be done with one leg bent?  No, but it does result in Daddy pulling a funny face and catching me as I plummet Earthwards.  Interesting.  Will this duck ever sink?  Just what is that thing between my eyes, and why does it go "beep" when it gets poked?  Or is that Dad being silly again?

All of this is tremendously amusing for Nic and me, but not quite so funny for Alex.  Some things do amuse him; the nose beeping for one.  Others require absolute seriousness and concentration.  It's strange as an adult to watch someone jumping up and down (with assistance, obviously) with a look of absolute concentration on their face.  He's obviously contented (he'd be crying if he wasn't), but he doesn't look happy as such.  It's more the face of someone concentrating on a particularly difficult but satisfying structural engineering problem.  Enjoyable, but not amusing.

I can't help but wonder how much of these behaviours will evolve into "fun" play, and which will just drop by the wayside as Alex gets the hang of them.  Standing up seems to be far more interesting at the moment than sitting down, but will that last?  Will the jangling bumble-bee remain his preferred rattle, and will it ever be fun, rather than just totally absorbing.  ("Whoa!  That bee, man, it's like, totally jangling my mind!")  Will he ever get bored of being tickled?  (Not if he's like me he won't.)  Who knows?  It'll be fun to find out though.

Happy Christmas!

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