I hope what I am writing today will help but you know what, there is no right or wrong way to do things, I am sure every parent has their own ideas and all are lots of fun for the little one.
When your child is very young they pretty much just lie around, working out what the heck is going on, they will be happy looking at bold pattern so I brought black and white crinkly rag books that have velcro loops to attach book to cot or to childs wrist. There are loads of these books about, I have a faces one and a farm one. Both available at www.play.com or www.amazon.co.uk
As Christopher got bigger,play surprisingly became more difficult. We had a baby bouncer, not a high teck, super wizz bang one, just a bog standard old fashioned red one. I could just manage to slide him into his bouncer and fortunately,as it was an ebay buy, the buckle to secure him in the bouncer was easy to use.
From his bouncer I could do the usual shaking of rattles, reading books to him etc. He also could watch Waybaloo on tv from here safely whilst I got on with making his lunch. Around 3 months, you do the play, you shake the rattles, you show them the books etc.
At 4 months we felt it was time he started to work for his play! So we brought an activity gym that stands on it own, not attached to any floor matt, just a simple arch with feet so we could put him on the bed and his gym over him, or in his baby bouncer and put his gym over him etc. Ikea do a baby gym arch not attched to any floor matt, I got mine from Argos,I enclose a picture of it and a link from Amazon to buy one new, you can get them new from e-bay at very low price though:
Fast forward to 8 mths and boy has it changed! He wants everything and seems to have Mr Tickle, arms every where! We have his Bumbo seat to sit him on our bed, or on the sofa, the manufacturers say don't put the Bumbo on a high surface so please keep common sense in mind and make sure Bumbo is in the middle of a large double bed or watched on a sofa (excellent if you have leather sofa as the Bumbo is made out of a leather ish material so the two surfaces grip), you can get a cheaper seat than the Bumbo but it is an imitation and we are never sure if they are false economy? We find this seat easy to put Christopher in as you just pop your child in and there are no straps, the seat holds the child really well and you can get trays for them too. His arms are not restricted by harnesses and therefore free to grab rattles,passing dog fur and anything else! Highly, highly recommend this seat for any disabled parent able to hold the child enough to be able to pop him into the seat. They are available every where from www.mothercare.com to www.e-bay.co.uk
We do water play, this is a mission but worth the hassle. We fill up a washing up bowl, spread out a roll of water proof banquet table cloth onto our bed. Christopher and I sit on the table cloth, although Christopher can sit un aided now, I put him between my legs as the table cloth can get a little slippy. Then we start slinging in any plastic toy into the bowl, he will splash the water sometimes, all good fun stuff,I think even teddy has gone for a swim! You can buy a roll of banquet table cloth from most party shops, its dirt cheap and probably we'll find it useful later on in Christopher's childhood! By the way if walking with a heavy bowl is difficult then obviously get a plastic jug and be prepared to make three or four trips from tap to bowl, it is worth it!
Rattles are available that are easy to pick up with your mouth or low grip hands,you have to remember a lot of baby toys are designed for poor grip as a baby's grip is not refined so you shouldn't find rattles a difficulty.
We can't get our son on the floor easily but he doesn't miss out, even building a tower with his soft blocks we do by sitting on a bed with a big sturdy foundation book and then we commence building whilst he commences bulldozing! If you don't want blocks to be buldozed onto painful hands then www.ikea.co.uk do some felt blocks!
|My wrists were not enjoying building activity until I found these!|
A decision to purchase a door bouncer was made about a month ago because my sister came over and bounced Christopher on her lap holding him in a standing position and he enjoyed it,we can't do that so the bouncer was a good option. If you are able to do a dog lead type clasp then I can not recommend "Baby tippitoes" highly enough, we had a Lindam bouncer but that was difficult to get on and the fastening was impossible and required so much hand strength, in the end we had to adapt it by going to Go Outdoors and buying a climbers hook, removing the old fastening of the bouncer and sewing this hook in its place.It worked well but was fiddly to put on him, the tippitoes has an easy clasp to attach the harness to the door hook,its easier to put on the baby than the lindam because there is just one strap and clasp to do up around the middle and the clasp is easy, the Lindam has velcro and a buckle to do which makes for an excellent fit but it is fiddly. I hate to keep pressing this point but if you find poppers or buckles hard to do then please think about e-bay because someone has loosened the fastenings nicely for you.
Another mummy recommended the "rainforest jumperoo" because there are no straps or clasps to do and there have also been suggestions by other mummies that the "first years tigger bouncer" is easy as all you need do is just sit them in a bucket type seat with no fastenings to do up to secure the baby. I can see both of these items would be a lot less hassle but we were given the tippitoes bouncer and we made the mistake of buying the Lindam so we feel there is no need for us to buy any more door related bouncing equipment.
When we go out we do cheap things that are quiet and gentle, we take him around the garden centres pet store which has geese, ducks,hens, lizards, rabbits, snakes, he loves it. We take him to the library, we go to the field on windy days and fly his kite, Daddy has a little more reach than I do to throw the kite in the air but when that goes we have the plan to put kite around my assistant dog, throw her a ball and hope it goes up without taking my dog with it!
I appreciate there are some reading this like me who couldn't do kite flying. It doesn't matter, there is no wrong or right with play as long as it isn't hurting or upsetting the child. Chat to your child, sing and laugh. Never feel because you can't move like "normal" parents that you are failing your child, as long as he or she is smiling I don't see anything is wrong. Don't take too much of what magazine articles suggest to heart because they are full of what you should be doing,could be doing,could be spending or what others are doing. The reality is every parent is in the same boat, just trying to make their child smile and happy and if that is done on a floor, running around with him or her in arms or in a field with your dog attached to a kite that she is trying to fly for the family, then does it matter?!
I am writing this blog as a record of being a parent with physical limitations, I am worried about what not being able to play on the floor will do to Christopher's development. I stick him on his tummy on the bed and he is strong in that position but he is not making attempts to crawl yet. I just can't allow myself to get stressed about it because I really do not know what I can do. My mother occasionally pops him on his tummy on the floor at her house, but we only go over once every two weeks. I guess I'll let you know if limited floor play had any impact on his development.
Pictures of bouncers as bellow and recommended by other disabled parents, all in stock at Amazon,Mothercare and Argos to date of writing this blog 29th Aug 2011, don't forget lovely E-bay too!
Jumperoo by Fisher Price
Tippitoes Doorway bouncer
Happy playtime every one x