CLEVELAND - Mason is now 10 months old and has taken over our living room; he's crawling and being a typical kid exploring and making us chase him everywhere. To keep him entertained we make sure he has plenty of toys and noise makers.
When we set him down on the floor, we make sure to place his favorite toys in front of him. Of course we search the house making sure to pack every last one of them up for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's, but that has proved pointless as of late.
We discovered as many parents do, you can spend hundreds of dollars on the plastic wonders that claim to teach your child hand-eye coordination and speak fluent Spanish by age 3, but it doesn't matter. Mason has been most interested in the mundane things that fill our home.
His favorite toy isn't the Elmo cell phone that we programmed to say his name or the 15 other things that we thought he would like, his favorite thing is the newspaper. The Elmo phone is a close second, but the newspaper seems to be that one thing he can't ignore.
At my parents' house they keep the newspaper in a wicker basket, I can set Mason on the floor at the opposite end of the room and he will jet straight to that basket flip it over and start picking through the daily headlines. He doesn't have a favorite section as most of us do, some days he goes for the ads, taking after his mom, and other days he starts with the front page.
Playing with the paper has become by far his favorite thing. The crumpling, hiding under the pages, ripping and shaking will go on for as long as you let him go. Of course, this activity has to be monitored closely because he tends to tear off pieces and try and eat them, but it's a lot of fun watching him go nuts over such a simple thing.
Even when he's a little grumpy or even crying we can hand him a page of the paper and he will forget what is bothering him and go to town.
One note about the plastic toys that litter our living room. They are fantastic obstacles and good for a bruise on the bottom of a foot. I find it amazing how fast I can move and how high I can jump when stepping on what I imagine a bear trap feels like when finding one of these toys with the bottom of my foot.
The newspaper, however, can be walked on with ease and has yet to cause a slight limp.