Roughhousing

Because Edith doesn’t have a dad, I try to think about what sort of traditionally father-initiated type activities and experiences she might be missing out on and ensure I am providing them, and one thing that the books mention is that dads tend to roughhouse with babies more than moms do, and so it tends to be dads who first notice when a baby is ready to push their physical limits further.

It’s true that it never occurs to me to, say, put Edith on my head and run screaming around the house with her. I never think to toss her into the air and catch her, or spin her around in circles while holding onto only one part of her body. And while I do sometimes lie on the floor and fly her overhead and then lower her down to me, I am so careful and slow about it (and she is, in turn, so baffled by what I’m trying to accomplish) that it looks more like a deliberate and very serious tandem yoga exercise we’re executing than any sort of playful frolicking.

Honestly, I still constantly envision tripping and squashing her beneath me while I’m carrying her around even at a careful walk, so I definitely wouldn’t tempt fate by galloping about the house with her, although I do feel she’s sturdier every day (she can for sure land a punch these days), so I imagine I’ll gradually stop treating her like she’s made of glass?

So far (knock on wood) I have only taken one spill with her. When she was a newborn, and I was getting out of bed at night to change her, I had one foot curled beneath me, and when I got out of bed with the other foot, the foot I left behind got tangled in the bedsheets and I fell over. I twisted around and landed on my back with her on my stomach and she was completely unbothered by it, but I was horrified.

Anyway, I don’t know how important roughhousing is for a baby under one year, but if it’s crucial, maybe I can take her to one of those foam pits and do some more adventurous physical play in a fully padded environment. That is, if I can rent out the entire space (because COVID), and they agree to sanitize and replace all the foam cubes first.

5 Comments

  1. You do not need to roughhouse with your baby. Maybe pump her legs or waggle her little arms a little bit (carefully!). I don’t think I started throwing my children around until they were at least a couple of years old, and surely the world will have been destroyed by the time you hit any of those milestones, so you can probably put off worrying about it and concentrate your worries elsewhere (e.g. “was there a ball bearing next to the baby before and did it mysteriously go missing, or am I misremembering?”).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is very reassuring, thank you. Edith is a very physical baby just on her own, and her four limbs are pretty much constantly pinwheeling, especially around 4am directly into my face, so I do think she gets a good workout in.

      Liked by 1 person

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