You know how it goes, this game for babies. You find a receptive tot and you mug a little to get their attention. Then you take a blanket or your hand, whatever, and you cover your face. You wait a beat, drop the thingamajig and — surprise — it’s your face. The baby smiles, maybe even laughs, game over. Yawn. See, when it comes to infant cognitive development, I like to “think different.”
Janet, they said, why mess with a classic? Play peek-a-boo the way it’s always been played. Right now, it’s simple; no props needed and the little one learns something about object permanence and differentiation of self. Make things easy for yourself!
Sorry, but I’m not about just going with the flow. Where would we as a society be if everyone did things the way they’ve always been done? We’d be naked and sitting in the dirt, trying to eat the bugs that fly past our mouths. Each of us has a responsibility to push the human race forward. At least, that’s what I believe.
So when I play peek-a-boo with some cutie pie, I leave the blankie up in front of my face. Peek-a-boo! I shout, then wait a beat and shout peek-a-boo! again. I can’t see much, but I’m pretty certain the kid is all: who’s yelling that? Where’d they go? Pow! Suddenly they’re questioning everything they’ve learned about the world.
Or, I’ll wave at some little angel, put my hands over my face then jump onto a nearby tricycle and pedal furiously away. They’ll totally forget that youngish and still-attractive lady they met in the park. That is, until two or three hours later, when they’re headed home. That’s when I jump out in front of their stroller from behind a trashcan. PEEK-A-BOO!
I briefly considered earning a degree in early childhood education. Alas, I soon realized that my approach was deemed too radical by the powers that be. They took issue with my stated goal of industry disruption, sniffing that the only thing I was “disrupting” was a healthy attachment process. Well, I found their coddling approach to be a disservice to this country’s future tastemakers, in the long, long run.
Sure, you could call me an innovator. Innovators make waves. They aren’t afraid of making people — of any age — a bit uncomfortable. It’s been proven that we humans learn best when pushed out of our comfort zone. So when I’m in a playground and I spy a chubby li’l cherub, I’ll position myself right in their line of vision. Then I’ll hold my hands flat in front of my face and wait a few beats before lowering them slowly to reveal cold, dead eyes and a horrifying maniacal grin, frozen in silence. Marinate on that, you adorable rug rat! Where’s your rapprochement now?
Rarely, there’s a tiny rascal who looks ready to create some neural pathways in a next level way. When I’m sure mommy isn’t looking, I’ll get that sweet moppet’s attention and pull the flap of my jacket in front of my face. I pop into my mouth a generous handful of these blood capsules I keep on me especially for these occasions. When I pull my arm back I’m making this awful gurgling noise while crimson ooze flows out of my mouth and drips into the sandbox. Admittedly, this is a tougher one to land. It’s very difficult to shout peek-a-boo over a screaming kiddo when your mouth is full of thick colored syrup.
Sure, I’ve been chased out of playgrounds by a few touchy mothers. I don’t let it get to me; the status quo will always have its defenders. For real change, you need to impact the next generation directly. I can tell that this precious darling is lucky to have a forward-thinking parent such as yourself who undoubtedly agrees that — okay, stop pushing! I’ll leave.