This post comprises five promises from a dad to his son on five separate pages. At the bottom of each promise is a link to the next promise, or you can jump directly to a page within this post. Comments left will be visible on any of the five promise pages.
11) “I promise to share lots of music with you.”
The Little Professor doesn’t play with toys much. He doesn’t really “get” imaginative play all that well. What that means for us is that he either needs focused interaction to do something creative, or screen time (educational stuff on iPad, not-so-educational stuff on NintendoDS, or TV), and we have a no-video-games rule on school nights. [Note: he only owns an iPad because he uses it as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication device, and for the educational software.] But one thing he does love is music. For as little as he can actually say, and it’s very little–grunts, mostly–he loves to sing. It’s mostly just syllabic grunts, but it’s definitely music to my ears. Lately he’s been adding in gestures and hand motions with the more dramatic songs, and he loves to dance!
So for Yule (Christmastime) in lieu of toys that he’ll rarely-to-never play with, I got him a small mp3 player and put a bunch of Disney songs on it, along with a few classic favorites (Billy Joel, Heart, They Might Be Giants, etc.). I stuck it in a speaker carrying case, and I’ll be darned if he didn’t carry that thing everywhere he goes. It’s still not as entertaining has his iPad, but he loves it. And when he goes for the high note at the end of a dramatic song and lifts his hand in the air, it’s freaking magical.
First of all, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always know what kind(s) of presents to buy for your kid. I struggle every single holiday and birthday to figure out what TLP will actually use and enjoy. And when you have two other typically-abled kids, it’s easy to run into guilty feelings over the fact that you know exactly what to buy them while remaining completely clueless about the other. And don’t mistake fixation for inspiration. Despite the fact that TLP asks to play his DS no less than 37 times a day, I do not buy him new DS games very often.
Do get creative. Does your child have sensory issues or fine motor delays? Get some Moon Sand or Silly Putty. Or better yet, make your own versions of Moon Sand or Silly Putty. Does he respond well to music? Play some music. Make some music. Have a dance party. The key here is trial and error and engagement. Sit and play with your kid, and if something doesn’t work out, do something else. You probably know your kid better than anyone. And if you don’t, make a point of getting there, then share in what he loves.