A Breakthrough?

October 15th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  5 Comments

Stayed home this morning for an extra hour or so, to wait for a repairman, and kept my son at home–mostly because I didn’t want to run out and back before 9 a.m., but also because I spent so little time with him in the past week, it seemed like a way to get in some daddy-and-baby time. And it was, in fact, hectic fun. Something interesting happened, though, which I haven’t really experienced before. As I got dressed, he sat and played with a few of his blocks and other toys, quietly, in a corner of the bedroom, for something like ten solid minutes. I didn’t have to do anything, other than talk to him when he made conversation.

This is, as I say, new. (My wife noticed it for the first time a couple of days ago, while they were out of town together.) Play, in the past, has always been squirmy, and has always required a parent to constantly be there, and be involved: keeping him from frustrated and teary, or just plain getting himself killed on some hazardous household implement. Since we’re a no-TV household (until he’s asleep, that is; after that, we start mainlining), I’ve literally never seen him sit and amuse himself till now. Suddenly we can…well, not ignore him, exactly, but actually get something done. Clean, cook, answer an e-mail or two, whatever.

Is this the flickery beginning of a (small) return to civilized adult life for me? Or am I fooling myself? Remember, he’s 19 months old; parents of 2-year-olds, please enlighten me, down in the comments.


  1. Nathan says:

    October 15th, 2010at 10:19 am(#)

    Yes, this is good news. It’s for real. They begin to need you less. At this point Nico wakes himself up, and will even play a while alone before coming to hustle us. The bad news: they begin to need you less.

  2. jennifer says:

    October 15th, 2010at 10:46 am(#)

    Our little dude is 20 months; he has, for some months now, always been able to entertain himself for 10-20 min after his breakfast while ma and pa are finishing up coffee, getting ready for work, &c. (with the occasional exception when he’s just cranky or needy). He lies on his belly on the floor and plays with Matchbox cars – “driving” them along or pushing them under and over things. But as the day continues, his ability to entertain himself quietly for even 5 minutes wanes dramatically. That’s what our experience has been. I think a lot of this is driven by individual personality, too. He often plays the same way in the sandbox, although when other kids are around, he does want to approach them and trade toys and such.

  3. Judy says:

    October 15th, 2010at 1:33 pm(#)

    I have a 5 year old and I can tell you, it’s just a phase. This is all an estimation, so here goes:

    0-10 months: a leech
    10 months – 3 years: some independent play
    3 years – 4 years: they realize they can play together with someone, usually, you.
    4 years and beyond: 50/50

    I agree with Jennifer. Personality is really important here. My son, at infancy, was able to entertain himself for 30-40 minutes at a time. I’m not joking. He even taught himself how to turn on a mobile to entertain himself while the parents were passed out.

    My girl who’s 10 months is only now starting to entertain herself for 10-20 minute segments. Most of the time she needs to hear me/see me.

  4. The Momma says:

    October 15th, 2010at 4:39 pm(#)

    Oh god, this gives me hope that someday my kid will someday be able to be still. And sit and play.


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