Come On Baby…Maybe Grandma Needs A Nap

imageIt’s been a full day, little one. We’ve played, read books, went for a walk, spent time at a “dance class”, had breakfast, lunch, and a snack. What we haven’t managed to make happen is a nap!  Now Grandma is ready for a rest.  I tried putting you to bed and firmly left with a quick “Have a good sleep.”  You drank a bottle, played with your nuks, and chattered away for awhile but sleep was not part of this time spent in your bed.  So, I got you up and  we played some more, read some more books and walked to the grocery store and back.  Still, no sleep in those eyes.  Maybe if I let you watch me rest, you will get the idea.

imageI tell you what, little one.  I’ll just sit here and have you sit in your Pack and Play.  I’ll even give you another bottle and your nuk.  There you go.  Just relax. It’s good for you. Little boys need down time.  It helps those dendrites, you know.  So just lay  back for awhile. Drink in the good life.

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There you go. That’s the idea.
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Relax!
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Maybe sleep will come.
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Oh-oh. Whoops! Don’t stand up. You can’t sleep standing up.
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This definitely doesn’t look like you are resting.
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“Ok, Grandma. I’m rested.”
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“I’m ready to get out of here.”
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“Here, you can drink this if you want.”

 

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I’m
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WAITING!

Needless to say.  There was no sleeping.  It’s a good thing you’re so cute!  Maybe sleep in overrated.  Love you, little man.  I can rest tomorrow.

Opinionated, Stubborn and So Darn Cute!

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It’s time to eat.  You say you’re ready. Bring it on, Grandma.  I’m hungry.

So into the chair you go.  You are busy learning the skill of feeding yourself so, trust me, the bib is necessary! It has this cool pocket at the bottom that catches all kinds of treasures for you to find later and it also works as a great…

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eye shield for playing “Peek-a-Boo!

Playing games while eating is part of it all, isn’t it?  In the beginning of eating (solid foods), you ate anything brought your way. As time has passed, though, you have opinions about this stuff called “food”.

 IMG_7137 For instance, you love blueberries.  One after another, after another.  Keep ’em coming Grandma.  Blueberries make me very happy. But then there’s…

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that other stuff that you try to sneak into my mouth.  What is that stuff anyway? Are you kidding me?  People eat that stuff?

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Well, sometimes you like it. Really you do!  It just depends on the day…or the moment, actually. 🙂 But, you get so dramatic!

And then, you do that thing that you know Grandma hates.  You discreetly, or not so discreetly…

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drop it on the floor.  Oh-oh.

Then, you give it that look like: Hmmm, I don’t know how that happened.

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And then you do this…

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  I try to stay firm telling you that dropping food on the floor is wrong.  You know the sign language for “All Done” but it seems much more entertaining to bat your eyelashes at me and that look simply makes my heart melt.

Game over.  You won.

Time For A Fieldtrip

What are we going to do today, Grandma?  I’m kind of tired of just hanging around.

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I’ve played and played with my toys. Aren’t you bored?  I’m bored.  Let’s get out of here!

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Ok, so I understand that you’re bored but you have had a cold.  Where could we go where you would be warm?  Where could we go where you wouldn’t be able to spread your germs to others?  Your mom had a great suggestion:  “Why don’t you go to the Domes.  What a great idea!  So off to the Mitchell Domes we went.

On with your winter coat and hat, packed up the extras that we might need, just in case.  And away we wentw.  The drive…11 minutes 🙂

There are three separate domes that are supposed to showcase different environments, however, we were told right away that one of them was closed for replanting.  So, our choices were the Tropical Dome and the Desert Dome.  Both were warm.  Perfect.

We hit the Tropical Dome first and you loved the waterfall and the fish.

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After studying both for awhile, I figured it was time to wander over to the Desert Dome.  You weren’t all that impressed with that one. In fact you thought things looked a little dead. 🙂

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So back to the fish, we went.

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The best part, for me, was watching your hair get wavy in that humidity.  We were there for only an hour and a half but we managed to get you some fresh air and change up the environment a little.

Oh, and this is sign language for “Flower”.

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Either that or your nose was running.

imageTime to head back home.  Another great day with the little man.

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

The weather report is for dangerous wind chill temperatures.  Grandma has no interest in being outside, nor do I want to go through all the work necessary to not only wrestle you into your clothes but than continue on with a winter coat and all other things winter.  So, what are we going to do to entertain ourselves all day?  Hmmmm.  Well, here were your suggestions:

IMG_7128First of all, you WALKED away from me!  And that, all by itself, has changed our time together.

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The good news is that I’m not having much trouble getting in my 10,000 recommended steps a day.  The not so good news is, you already move really fast and you don’t really care what you have to step over to get where you want to go.

Luckily, I can keep up with you and, so far, there have been no bumps or bruises. So, up I get, and follow whereever you go.  First stop – rhythm instruments:  a little jammin’ with the baby.

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First you turn on a little music.  You love pushing buttons right now.  Green means go.  What’s the song choice?

  • Mary Had A Little Lamb,
  • I’m a Little Teapot,
  • Yankee Doodle,
  • London Bridge,
  • Old MacDonald Had a Farm

I’ve got the advantage.  I know the words to all these songs.  I sing.  You bang on the tambourine.  I’m singing away, “Mary had a little lamb, little”…oops, you changed the song.  Ok, I’m good.  “I’m a little teapot, short and”…whoops, another change.  “London Bridge is…Old MacDonald…Yankee Doodle went to…I’m a little…Mary.”  And then you’re done with music time, or whatever that was.

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And you’re off…

TO THE STAIRWAY?

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I can do this Grandma.  

Don’t worry.IMG_7106

I can climb these steps.  I’ve been doing these steps for  months now.

Come on, Grandma. Climb with me.

So up and down the stairway we go.

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This is fun, don’t you think?IMG_7100

Ok, I’m done with that.

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Whoa, Grandma,  What’s this stuff?

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It’s called snow and it’s cold, really cold. Can you hear the wind blow?

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Well, it’s interesting, but…

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 I’m done with that. Come on, Grandma. Read me a story.

And so we read; book after book after book.

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IMG_7124  Today’s favorites are books with sound buttons and you don’t always want to hear the whole story read.  Instead, we go through looking for things you know.  So, I just say, “Find the star. Find the crab. Find the football.”

Ok, so that sounds really random but you like it.

And you like books that have doors that open and close, fuzzy, furry, touchy parts, and cats…and dogs.

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Books save the day.

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Now, just repeat all activities three or four times throughout the day, add a nap…or two if lucky, lunch, and afternoon snack, and we successfully make it though our snow day.  No problem.

Here Comes Santa…Who?

You are thirteen months old now and you were only one month old that first Christmas.  So this was officially your second Christmas.  And, bless your heart, you put up with the insanity of it all both times…while periodically taking naps.  We could all learn a thing or two from watching you.

So, year one…

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It was all about the lights.  There is something mesmerizing about those little twinkling things.

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And you let us dress you in silly (cute though) Christmas duds.  Truly, as long as you could eat and sleep, you didn’t care.  So, the adults relaxed along with you.  We each took turns admiring the lights with you and you set the tempo of the day for us.  We took heed and just went with the flow.

You were, very clearly, the best present for all of us grownups.

And now it’s been a year and you may still be teaching the grownups the importance of Christmas.

This year, you got to stay in your jammies because they won’t fit in another month or so and the theme was right.  Still some would say that you kind of blended in with the wrapping paper.  Whatever, you didn’t care.

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 And the hat?  Well, that was a silly grownup thing but you think all hats are a little unnecessary.  This one was no exception.  It was discarded in seconds.

So the presents were piled high, under and around the tree.  Now this was cool. You thought they were put there as an obstacle course for you and you were ready for the challenge.

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But, drat! Mom, stopped you just as you prepared to master that final assent.

And look at you.  You do blend in with the wrapping paper. 🙂

So we give you boxes that you can “unwrap” and you’re confused.  “See, you can rip the paper.  Go ahead, rip it off.”

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Well, there you were pointing to the pretty pictures on the paper and there we were ripping it and I imagine that you were thinking about all other paper that you tried to rip this past year only to be told “No, don’t rip”.

Now, there we were saying, “go ahead, rip.”

Adults are so confusing.  I know.

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Then the pretty paper was gone.  The box was gone.  And all you were left with was the “educational” toy.  You put one or two in your mouth to see if they at least tasted good                 and they didn’t, so you crawled away.

 After, what must have seemed like hours, this thing we call gift giving had finally come to an end.  The last of the pretty paper had been ripped clean away.  The cool big boxes had been crushed and hauled away and your new toys were…somewhere.

You didn’t really care. You were exhausted.  Mommy layed down on the floor.  She must have been exhausted too.

You decided that she needed a love.

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and then, whoops, in comes daddy, ready to play, and you think, “Here comes Santa…who?”

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Thank you, once again, little man, for teaching us the real meaning of Christmas.

Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo. How about You, You, You?

This excursion dates back a ways but still it’s worth archiving.  You and I had a “family pass” to the zoo so we could have gone time and time again this summer.  Still, we only got there two times total.  Maybe your mom and dad will give us another chance next summer.

Here’s what we learned this year:

1.  Go early to get a great parking spot but don’t forget to dress for chilly temperatures.

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Ok, so I forgot to bring your hat.  I thought it was going to be so much warmer.  So then, I had to buy a hat there and guess what?  They didn’t have kids hats 😦 .  So there you are wearing who knows what but at least your ears were warm.

Then, I felt bad and had to buy you a giraffe!  What can I say?  Grandmas can do that sort of thing. I chose the giraffe because it was actually an animal that you could see from the stroller.

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We walked and walked but found very few animals that you could actually see.  Still, you remained calm and just enjoyed watching people for awhile.

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But at a certain point, you just looked up at me with those questioning eyes as if to say “Grandma, why are we here?”

2.  Know ahead of time if there are actually things that a baby can see from a stroller.

And then we found something that you could actually see…the fish tank!

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IMG_5489You LOVED the fish tank.  I think it reminded you of your crib toy: so much so that watching these fish almost put you to sleep.

We found some other animals that you could see but we learned that zoos don’t really cater to stroller height.  So, you can just imagine that I was a little dubious about taking you to yet another zoo, this time in Mexico.  But this time, we found the secret.

3.  Find a Petting Zoo

IMG_2660 IMG_2663 IMG_2665We found animals that you could reach out and touch!  Ok, well it freaked Grandma out but, lucky for you, your mom was along and she held the bird up close to you and you got to touch an alligator and a snake!  You loved it all!

Now we can’t go to Mexico every time we want to touch animals so we are going to have to find a petting zoo close to home.

4.  Not to worry, baby boy.  Next time we go to the zoo, Grandma will be more prepared.

Loving A Walk In The Woods – For Different Reasons

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It was a beautiful fall day.  I decided it would be great to take you to my favorite place these days, the woods behind my apartment.     This photo looks like I sent you sailing down the hill on your own.  Not to worry, you were braked.

As we walked along, I tried to point out the things that I loved.  You were not necessarily impressed.  So, I decided to get you out of the stroller so you could actually FEEL the textures.

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IMG_6107You were interested, a little.  You humored me anyway.  But then, a stranger wandered by and you waved to him.  I caught that in a photo and when I looked back at it, you looked more like you were begging for someone to rescue you from this pile of dried stuff.  So, needless to say, we moved on.

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It was time for a break anyway.

We strolled on until I found a spot that I thought you would love.  You did! But not for the reason I thought.

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I thought you would love the view.  I mean just look at the beauty of the trees and the pond.  You, on the other hand…

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loved the wood chips!

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Ok, fine.  I let you play while I enjoyed the view.  We both had a great time.

We ended the walk at one more site that I love and your reaction was a surprise…you enjoyed this location but…

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IMG_6153once again, you weren’t looking at the beautiful view.  You could have cared less about where you were, you were happy…

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being with me!

I love you, little man!

Walking, Walking, Walking

What do you do with a baby all day long?  Sure, you would sleep a good deal but you were also awake for many hours during my “shift”.  So…what to do with a baby who can’t walk.

Well, that’s what strollers are made for, right?  And, I’ve known since my kids were young that fresh air is good for all of us.  And exercise is good for grandmas.

So, we hit the road (er, sidewalk) often.

Early in the spring, we would walk to mom’s work.  She would know we were there with a photo of you taken from right outside her office and sent to her via text message.  Your little face made her smile every time.

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And we would go to the swing park as soon as you could sit up by yourself.

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But the first summer, one of our favorite places to go every Tuesday was the food carts close to mom’s work.  She and some of her friends would join us too.  One day was a really hot day and our favorite food cart wasn’t there (Roll MKE) so we had to settle for other things.  A fruit smoothie seemed perfect for the day and oh my, you loved it!

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It was a magical messy event!  We all loved it! IMG_1905

Over the summer, we walked and walked.  As the fall season came upon us, I wanted to be outside as much as possible.  Walks to the lake were a big, big hit because at the end of the walk was a whole store of kites.  So, the blanket went down and we just sat there and enjoyed the warmth of the days and the beauty of the kites.

IMG_5348Love, Love, Love IMG_5349            The next post will capture all of the great outdoors that we found this first year.  You definitely had lots of experiences.  We need to get all caught up on year one before I start blogging about our current day to day activities.

Living Through Your Eyes

IMG_5678  What are these things?  I like them.

IMG_5677 Can I touch them?  Is it ok?

IMG_5681 What?  You want me to pick one out?

IMG_5683 Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe.

IMG_5682 I can’t decide!

IMG_5675 I want both of these, ok?IMG_5686 Now, who is going to help me carry them away?

These are photos taken in October 2014 capturing your first experience with pumpkins. How can you not love watching a baby experience something for the first time?  The key, for us, the day we went was to relax and let you really experience it.  So many people were hovering around and lines stood to make their purchases.  You simply sat in the middle of all of these pumpkins and just enjoyed them… and we enjoyed watching you.  While we watched your joy, we relaxed.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.

No TV. That’s The Rule.

Even before I started taking care of you, I was given the house rules.  Number one was “No tv.”  Lots has been written about this subject with the major belief that a child does not learn from a television and actually ends up with language and motor delays if too much time is spent simply sitting and watching a screen.

So, when you were teeny tiny, we filled the quiet space with music.  You and I listened to Pandora’s Kid Radio every day. Do you know that they play the same songs over and over and over again?  My favorite was “You Are My Sunshine.”  Your favorite was “Rockin’ Robin”.  I think you liked that one because Grandma would dance all around acting silly with that song.  It wasn’t long though and you were bouncing a little too.

Who Needs TV When You Have Music?  Since you started crawling, the music has moved to little push button toys.  You and I would go for walks and find ourselves at Walgreens, often.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker for teachable toys.  That means that you have more than one of those little push button musical toys.  Now, from those, I think your favorite song is “If You’re Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands”.  You used to clap your hands and stomp your feet along with the song.  Now, you just bounce up and down to the song while you play with other toys. The best of these toys was one that’s like a baby CD player.  It has 4 different discs so I don’t have to listen to the same songs over and over again.  That’s a bonus.

Then There Are All Those Books And Building Language!  The other thing we do together, several times during the days, is read books.  Some days the number tops 25.  Well, they’re short books you know.  I love this time together, though, because you sit on my lap.  You sit there engrossed with the pictures, pointing to the things you want me to name.  You even started making some of the animal sounds. Animal Alarm is one example of your cute attempts.  Early on, I could read “Are You My Mother?” everyday and you would sit and smile at specific pages every time.  Then you fell in love with a Thomas the Tank Engine I Can Read books because it had push button sounds along the side.  Now, at a year, your favorite day after day book is an Elmo’s Favorite Places book that has little doors that you can open.  Each page is based on a different theme: farm, sea, bedroom, and the alphabet.  It’s fun to see if you can find specific things on each page, time after time.  It’s easy to see that your receptive language is growing and growing but so far the only “word” you say is dada.  You do, however, also know the signs for “more”, “all done”, and “drink” and you shake your head “yes” and “no” with meaning.

And Motor Skills!  Such simple things entertain you.  Crawling lead you to the steps leading to the upstairs bedrooms.  Ok, mom and dad could have put up a gate to keep you safe or we could all work at teaching you how to do steps.  I’m not so busy.  Let’s do it!  Up and down the steps with me right behind.  In the beginning I felt like I could see your brain working as you tried to figure out whether to slide down from step to step on your butt or to turn around and slide down on your belly.  Now, you make a game out of doing a little of both.  You come down those steps faster than me and even though you might be able to do it all by yourself, I stay very close.

When you’re not by the steps, you are playing with the same toys day after day.  I keep them new and interesting by pre-sorting them into baskets:  all musical toys in one, balls in another, containers with lids in another, and things that can be used to build (or knock down) towers in the last one.  You love dumping everything out, tossing it around, and examining each thing like it’s new all over again.  What I have seen so far is that you do different things with the items week after week.  I spend my time picking things up behind you and keeping it continuously interesting to pull things out again.

Add Eating and Napping and We’ve Filled An Indoor Day Without Screen Time

Although you love pushing buttons and have turned the tv on by pushing those little things on the remote, you do not watch television.  We do, however, watch one or two 3 minute videos on Youtube called “Barefoot Books“.  They are cute short stories with a small amount of animation and the words scrolling along the bottom of the screen.  At 11 months, I added an app called Parker and Pixel.  This is, again, a book but it allows the child to interact with the story so that the sequence of events changes every time you watch it and it teaching a child how to touch the screen.

One year has passed and the No TV rule stands strong.  Well, except for football games on Sundays with dad.  (insert smiley face)