Friday, May 23, 2014

Stuff that Makes Him Laugh

Things that make him laugh
As you can tell, Jonah loved to laugh when I was in extreme pain.  He was not a “one-trick pony” however.  There were plenty of other times—aside when I am in excruciating pain—when Jonah laughed.

Reading a Book:       Sunday and I have tried to read a few books to him before he went to sleep at night.  Most of the time, I got this privilege and I loved it.  I would get down on the floor and Jonah would sit in front of me, looking at the book.

I usually would choose one of those board books, with the pages the width of a standard steel door.  Turning those pages makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something, mainly because one turn of the page equals one quarter of the book’s length. 

Jonah’s reaction to this, though, was great.  I usually had a choice:  I could read three different books, or I could read the same book three times.  Either way, Jonah was excited.  

I would read the title of the book, and then turn the page.  Jonah would look up at me as if he were saying, “Can you believe this?!?!  I have never heard such an amazing story!” 

Then I would read whatever was on the page.  (It’s usually something like, “And the puppy danced and played with his friends.”)  Jonah would look down at the page and back up at me laughing quietly.

When I would turn the next page, Jonah would look up at me again, as if were saying, “HEY!  There’s more of this.  And there’s that puppy again!”

I would read whatever was on the page, and Jonah’s laughter would increase.  By the time I was at the end of the book, Jonah would be doubled over with laughter, barely able to contain himself—which is why he wears diapers full time. 

My Singing:   Now this one may not come as a shock to you, mainly because people have been laughing at my singing for decades now, but Jonah got distinct pleasure at laughing whenever I opened my mouth to sing something.  I blame Sunday.  She laughs like that, too.

“Getting” Jonah:      This is a classic game, where the “getter” announces in a clear voice, “I’m gonna get you.”  Then, the “gettee” usually runs/crawls away from the “getter” with a pronounced sense of dreadful glee. 

Jonah didn’t quite understand this game at first.  I would get at the end of the hall, with plans for hours of chasing and laughing swirling in my head, when I would announce to Jonah, sitting at the end of the hall, “I’m gonna get you.”

He would smile and return to his investigation of the boot he’d found in the hall. 

I would crawl up a few more feet and announce, “I’m gonna get you.” 

He would look up from his boot as if to say, “Yes, I see you Dad.  You said that before.  Gotta boot here.  Catch you later.”

A little less enthusiastic, I would crawl a few more feet toward him and announce again, “I’m gonna get you.”

This time, he wouldn’t even look up from the boot, but he would begin laughing a little, as if to say, “Pleasant chap, isn’t he?”

By the time I would get to him, I would be more than displeased at his reaction and a tad frustrated.  Jonah, however, would have his eyes permanently glued to the boot and he would be laughing hysterically.  I would react by attacking his neck with kisses, sending Jonah into an outward, gut-laugh that most babies can only dream of. 

At this point, Jonah would choose to crawl away, and the chase would be on.  He would take two strides—is it a stride when you’re crawling?—anyway, it’s two strides and he would look back.  I wouldn’t move.  (When you’re this much bigger than your quarry, you don’t need to move in simultaneity.)  Jonah would move a few more strides and then look back again, just in time for me to announce, “I’m gonna get you.” 

He would sit up and wait.  He would actually want me to get him.  He figured, “Why am I moving away from this fellow who is telling me he’s going to get me anyway?  I might as well stay here and wait for him.”  

He would wait and I would resume my kissing attack on his cheeks, neck and throat.  It would be an onslaught of sugar and Jonah could not get enough.  He would roll around on the floor laughing and squealing until my lips chapped or he passed out. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Playing on the Floor

Jonah and I have a ton of time during the day to play and explore and generally get on each other’s nerves.  

My main method of getting him to play with me is this:  I lie on the floor and wait for him to pounce. 

In Jonah’s world, anything on the floor is fair game.  Toys, shoes, remote controls, and dog droppings all come into his realm and remain there, indefinitely, until he becomes interested in something else or when he’s sleepy.  It is his right and his duty to catalog and inspect such objects.  Thus, when I lie on the floor, it his invitation to investigate this strange new item.

As I await his appearance on my chest, my mind sometimes wandered, which was incredibly dangerous.  Jonah increased his girth to the point where he could actually cause severe and permanent damage to any sensitive part of my body, including, but not limited to, my eyes, gums, cuticles, and skin.  (You may have another sensitive body part that you can imagine him injuring.  Are you imagining?  Yep.  He’s injured that, too).  Thus, any activity that distracted from a hyper-vigilant awareness of his exact location introduced a danger to mi propio carne, if you know what I mean.

At the time of his arrival onto my chest, he had usually been playing around for a good half hour, making use of the toys scattered about the living room.  Thus, he was in a nirvana of investigation, a “crawler’s high” not unlike the excited energy found in most crack houses and all nursery school playrooms. 

Imagine his round head, rising from the side of my torso—like the Phoenix from the ashes—smiling, drooling, and babbling.  He would begin his investigation by lightly slapping my chest, then harder, then harder again.  I never thought I’d get a “pink belly” after leaving Middle School, but Jonah regularly slapped me hard enough to rival those Middle School bullies.  As he increased the intensity of his slaps, he closed his fists, and continued beating on my belly.  Toward the end of his recital, it sounded like a Kettle Drum was being played in our living room.

As I caught my breath and wiped the tears from my eyes, he’d climb on top of my belly and sit down.   Jonah recognized the face, so he felt like it was his right to investigate.  About this time, as he reached out to slap me upside the coconut, I would divert his attention by sticking out my tongue.  (I have learned that Jonah’s first effort at investigation is a good, firm slap.  I’m glad he hasn’t started investigating pudding).

The tongue, for Jonah, was an amazing thing.   When I revealed that I have a tongue, Jonah’s face had an indescribable look of complete wonder.  To verbalize the look, it’s like he was saying, “What in the world is going on with this guy’s face?  Is anyone else catching this?  That is sticking out of the middle of his head.  I think I’ll slap him.”

Instead of slapping me, though, he would try to grab my tongue.  As he reached for it, I would put it back in my mouth.  He would retreat.  I would stick out my tongue again.  He would reach for it again, and I would put it back in my mouth.  He would retreat.  This was repeated a couple more times before Jonah decided to investigate.

His investigations went something like this:  He would take his index finger—with its razor-sharp fingernail—and curl my bottom lip down, cutting a quarter-inch gash into my gums.  He would laugh and let go.  He went back to my mouth, looking for that tongue, but he would get to the teeth the next time and pry open my mouth.  Hey, maybe Jonah should work for the rescue squad as a “jaws of life.”  Anyway, he would get to my tongue and try to rip it out of my head. 

After he was done with my tongue, he noticed that I have a nose.  Here’s where Jonah brought the pain.  He was remarkably quick, especially since he just recently discovered that he could control the use of his arms and hands.  As I recover from bleeding gums and a bruised uvula, Jonah would savagely place his entire fist in my right nostril, giggling uncontrollably.  He loved it.  His laughing increased, reaching a crescendo when he was “elbow deep.”

At this point, I would grab his little arm because I fear that he might leave permanent scratches.    Before I could get his arm out of my nose, he would slap my brain and then laugh.