Working as an English teacher in China lets me spend a lot of time at home with my daughter, Anqi, which is really nice for helping me bond with her. Unfortunately, as a part time writer I’m often busy trying to write an article while my daughter is awake and wants to play, and my wife is not available.
In an attempt to balance being a father and writer I’ve tried to come up with different things to keep Anqi happy and distracted while I work. At three months old this can be difficult as she doesn’t pick anything up and will drop baby toys after a few seconds or minutes. Fortunately I have found a solution.
My wife and I bought Anqi two colourful balloons earlier this week and when she’s awake we simply put one of them around her ankle. She will give a powerful kick to watch it move and smile as it bounces. Since the balloon moves in different ways and will move if there is a light breeze its fascinating for the baby to watch.
This improvised baby toy will keep Anqi playing by herself for several hours, working out her legs and even her arms as she tries to get the balloon moving in different ways. My wife and I can then get some work done, in the same room, in peace and quiet. Once we’re done working we can sit down beside her and give the balloon a big tug, which invariably brings a smile to Anqi’s face.
Helium balloons are best as there is almost no chance it will become a choking hazard, as it floats in the air the baby can’t reach it. A regular air filled balloon could fall on the baby’s face and she could possibly swallow the string, or pop the balloon. But it is still important to be in the same room when a balloon is being played with, as things could go wrong.
Once Anqi starts grabbing things and moving around more, we’ll have to be more careful with the balloon as she could wrap the string around her neck or pop it by grabbing it. But for now its an awesome baby toy for her and a time saver for us.