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Now that Simon is getting a bit older, he’s quite fun to play with. I like to read to him, and I love playing silly little clapping and lap games. The thing is, my stack of favorite books is rather short, and my repertoire of fun games is equally limited. How many times can you play itsy-bitsy spider in one day?

So I ordered a book of games and another fun book to read from Chinaberry. My order arrived Wednesday, and I was very excited. I spread out my outdoor blanket on the bed in a bid to save my bedspread from spitup messes, plopped Simon on top of it, and read “I Kissed the Baby!” to him. While reading, the text prompted me to tickle him, sing to him, and then kiss him. He loved it. He smiled, squealed, wriggled his feet, the whole nine yards.

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” I thought. “Let’s see what else he might like.” So I got out the book of games and did about 25 in a row. Toes were wiggled. Hands were clapped. Fingers were bent. Bottoms were bounced on my knee. Babies were lifted overhead. Cheeks were stroked. Noses were kissed. All the while I sang and made faces like a demented clown. It was an all-out aural, visual, and tactile assault.
You can guess how things ended, right? (No, I didn’t drop him. Guess again.)

As I should have known, while playing with all my new toys at once was great for me, a bored thirty-something, it was too much for Simon. Way too much. And thus, after an hour or more of happy playing he laughed at me with slightly too wide eyes and filtered out all this excess stimulation the only way a young baby knows how: by wailing uncontrollably.

Poor guy. I had to then pull out nearly every trick from his fourth trimester days to bring him back down. I swaddled him, gave him a pacifier, pulled down the shade in his room, turned on the white noise, glided with him, shushed him, sang softly to him, and stroked his forehead and brows. It took 20 minutes to settle him into sleep.

Next time I will try hard to remember that while new books and games can be fun, it’s better to space them out a bit. You really can have too much of a good thing.

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