Friday, November 10, 2006

Toy Bonding, Anything-Goes Attitude

This morning when I kneeled on the back seat to unlatch Ben from the car seat and carry him into daycare, I tried taking away a toy from him. He actually yelled, "Hey!," and pulled his hand back. My ten-month-old boy. So he took it into the building. I managed to get him to switch hands as I took off his jacket, but it was a bit of a struggle.

This red and blue rattle is one of our many "car toys," or toys we don't really care about and leave in the car for The Boy's amusement. I think we picked it out of the dollar bin by the checkout at Walmart. He's never really cared that much for it in the past, but today, it was his favorite.

I've been trying to get Ben to develop an attachment to a toy, a blanket or a stuffed animal since he was born. Stuff animals didn't work until he was around seven months old. Before then, he was scared of them and would cry if we wiggled one in front of his face. As for toys, eh. The only thing we have that comes remotely close to a favorite toy (for more than five sessions) is a soft little soccer ball (another Walmart bin toy). And that's only because he likes to suck on the tag.

Over the past few months he seems to really enjoy chewing on his burp rags, which are really just thin cloth diapers that have been laundered into softness. He likes to wave them around and rub them on floors, furniture, our faces... anything he wants to pretend to clean.

I guess I was looking at this whole thing from the perspective of "He needs some item that will calm him down and soothe him if he's upset." I figured if he had a favorite item, I could use it as leverage to get him to behave, like offering it to him as a bribe to be quiet in a restaraunt.

The good news is, pretty much anything works since he doesn't have a favorite. If he's tired and cranky, I can give him any "luv" (a blanket or burp towel) to put against his cheek, and he'll hold onto it for dear life as he settles to sleep. If he's bored, pretty much any toy will do. Spoons are good, but he tends to use them as drum sticks, and he doesn't enjoy the sound of a spoon hitting my purse or a pile of napkins. The hard tabletop gives so much more pleasure. :)

Ben's also never really been that whiny about needing mommy or daddy. Anyone will do. He has a few favorite ladies at daycare, but for the most part, he'll cuddle and play with anyone. He's never cried when we leave him there. I keep waiting for the Mommy or Daddy phase to start. But he's so easy going and well-mannered, he doesn't seem to care. We know he loves us most of all, and he's always really happy to see us, but there's not the urgency I see in other babies.

So here's my quandry. Is his happy-go-lucky personality healthy? And what the heck am I complaining about? That my baby doesn't fit some textbook's definition of a needy, whiny baby? Oh shucks.