There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll just come right out and say it: until recently, my daughter had no balls to play with. I’ve failed in my responsibility as a parent in allowing her to reach eight months of age before I made sure she had some balls to play with. On a trip to Target a month or so ago, however, I found a package of four whiffle balls for 99 cents. Since Nerf balls are apparently no longer carried at Target (at least in Carmel, IN), that seemed to be the best I could do. I tossed the package into our cart, and hoped for the best. Turned out to be an excellent purchase, one of my best yet.

The package included two types of whiffle balls. Two each of the fake, solid baseballs with plastic stitching and the standard whiffle balls. (Sorry Gail, no plastic softballs were available.) Both were instantly popular. M.┬áliked the true whiffle balls because she could get her fingers stuck in them and drag them with her as she crawled around the house. Her hands were just big enough to grip the psuedo-baseballs, and she liked to hold those while she flapped her arms (I’m still not sure what the arm flapping means, although she usually laughs when she does it, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it). Sometimes, and I’m sure to an outsider by complete accident, she would fling one of the balls in my general direction. I’d roll it back to her, she’d knock it back to me. Hours of fun, at least for dad.
She’s now advanced to the point where she’s a little like a cat. She’ll lay on her stomach and smack at them, causing them to bounce around. Eventually, they fly away crazily and she chases them down. I can’t help but think of Will Ferrell’s cat imitation when she does it.
As soon as she can stay upright, we’ll start working on kicking them towards the goal (fireplace). The next Mia Hamm may very well be groomed in our living room. I just need to make sure I teach her at an early age to keep her shirt on if she scores the winning goal in the World Cup one day.

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