Monday, March 23, 2009

Improvised mobile

After we discovered that Teresa enjoys playing with things hanging from the bar beside her changing table, David and I talked about providing her with similar stimulation in other places. We don't have a mobile or an activity mat (the kind with bars arching over it and toys dangling down), but we do have a small collection of toys on rings that my grandmother got secondhand. So we brainstormed ways to rig up a truly mobile mobile - one we could use when Teresa is in her co-sleeper, on the couch, or, really, anywhere we put her.

I had kept some broken hangers (you never know what might become useful!) and tried putting them together and hanging the toys from them...didn't really work. David drew diagrams of poles with movable joints to vary the height of the dangler, but I thought his contraption would be too labor-intensive to construct and would require spending money (why wouldn't we just by a mobile if we were willing to spend money?).

Last night David had an aha moment and practically ran to the coat closet. He pulled out a 3' PVC pipe he's had for several years, slid the rings onto it, and used couch cushions to position it over Teresa, who was resting in her Boppy. Perfect!

Here are some videos of Teresa playing with our improvised toy. Once again, please forgive our silly background conversation!

Of course her arms can move over her midline! I now realize that she probably can't see things directly in front of her very well (her eye coordination is still developing and she probably has some blind spots).

Along the same lines as my comment above: perhaps she really is seeing the toys in her peripheral vision even though her pupils seem to focus on the rings.

Teresa entertained herself in this way for 15 or 20 minutes last night, while David and I worked in the kitchen. David cautioned me not to let Teresa play with the toys too long/often while I'm home alone with her today, lest she become bored with them. I am very interested in others' experience with rationing toy use with babies. Do they really lose interest? Does removing and reintroducing a toy help maintain its entertainment value?


Lillian said...

When they get bored they just stop playing. But I don't think they have a memory like older kids who say, "Gosh, I've played this toy too much, I want a new one."

I don't think babies sit around thinking about it. I think they are just in the moment. They either want to play (really, they want to put it in their mouth) or they don't. And the next time or day its the same. So, I wouldn't worry about rationing her toys. If she doesn't want them she'll let you know.

But if they're available she can practice hand/eye coordination, trying to grab, and finding her mouth (the ultimate goal).

ANother thing I do for my babies is to put a picture or plague of OUr Lady on the wall next to their changing station. Never too early to get familiar with their "other" mother.

Just my two cents.

Diane said...

I think Lillian is right; she'll let you know when she likes or dislikes things in the moment. Sometimes toys work, sometimes they don't. As for her seeing them or not, I think you are correct that her vision is still developing. It looks like maybe if you were to raise the toys up some and get them more over her head she might "see" them better, but who knows? Teresa will make you aware of her pleasure if it works ;)

WOOD said...

Yeah, I agree, at this age I don't think she would get bored with a toy as much as reaching new developmental milestones will make her interested in new/different things or she'll play with it in a different way. (swatting turns to grasping turns to mouthing, etc etc)

Although you would laugh to see Joseph playing now with all the "baby" toys that I put away b/c he had outgrown them!! I don't think he was ever as interested in them as a baby!

*carrie* said...

What a creative idea for making a mobile for Teresa. Switching the room or something else in the environment (turning music on/off, etc.) was effective when Nathan seemed restless.

Guess we'll see this second time around . . . =)