My job, right now, is to take the sharpness off the edges of each day.
That’s what I wrote in my journal this morning.
Grandma’s job, when a new baby is born, is to be there; to just be there.
I try to remember back when my second child was born. Who helped me? My mom had died earlier that year. Still, I would not have reached out to her for help. She told me with my first “I raised my kids. I don’t want to raise your’s.” I am a different kind of grandma.
I am here…
This grandma learned, early on, that she needed to stay physically fit to keep up with growing baby number one. And, now that baby is two years old and we play together in bouncy houses and he challenges me to races in the hallway. “Run, grandma, run. Hop, grandma, hop. Roll, grandma, roll”. I get quite a workout from my little trainer.
I am here… to keep him busy while mama cares of the new baby.
The new baby had a need for doctor visits. Something’s not right. Mama and daddy are emotional and stressed.
I am here… to listen and encourage. “Trust that everything will be ok. Trust.”
Big brother doesn’t understand why things are different now. “Daddy, play!” Daddy is busy trying to help mama. Big brother gets louder and louder.
I am here… to give him another option besides screaming.
I try to remember how I did it when my two girls were little. How did I cope with the crying, the noise, the needs of two babies, and mountains of cloth diapers? How did I do it alone?
This grandma raised her children but has more to give.
I am here… to take the sharpness off the edges of the day.
Today’s world is so much different than when this grandma was a little child. Still some day, you might remember things that your grandma taught you. I hope that your clearest memory isn’t “No”.
This word is so familiar to you that, when it’s said, you shake your head back and forth, pause for a couple of seconds and then proceed with your quest. When I was little, the word “No” was said with a loud voice and followed by a hand slap. Lucky for you, I’m not that kind of grandma.
Right now, you love to push buttons! I didn’t know there were so many buttons in our lives these days. Buttons on the DVR have been guarded by your Pack and Play for so long but, now, you just push that out of your way! The remote control has so many buttons that you’d think it would be impossible to turn the tv on but you do that successfully any time you get your hands on that button toy.
Then there are the buttons on the washer and dryer, the stove front, and the doorbell speaker system, the refrigerator ice machine, and every computer, phone and ipad in the house. Today, I could only take photos from a distance because you wanted to play with the buttons on that as well. This might mean that you may be seeing an over abundance of crying baby photos in the near future. It was when you pushed the ottoman out of the way so you could get to the buttons on the plugged in timer for the lamp that I had to get serious!
Well, what’s a grandma to do?
Divert, divert, divert!
There are plenty of other things in your home that are great to touch, and safe. So we went exploring. Here’s what we found…
You love the feeling of cold windows and you are now tall enough to see out the front windows. There’s a bonus here. You also love to watch the cars go by. “Car” is now counted as one of your regular words.
The carpet is so nice to touch that you actually like just laying on it. Climbing the stairs is the bonus that comes along with that tactile adventure.
The ball pit is a super fun place for you to push things around. Today, though, you realized that you can tip the whole thing over which scared you a little until you saw all the balls spill out and then you just thought that was supremely funny. AND, you loving watching grandma pick them all up and put them back. Apparently, that meant that it was time to tip the house over again.
Time to divert your attention to something else again. Grandma didn’t think it was aa funny as you did.
Ok, so if you love to touch things, push on things, and make a mess, grandma had another plan: controlled tactile stimulation.
As usual, your grandma thought she had two winners here. The play dough even smells wonderful as it is made with Kool-aide (check out Pinterest for the recipe).
Well, you didn’t like either one. In fact, you only barely touched each one with one finger and then wanted to be done with that.
In fact, our whole touching adventure lasted for a grand total of about twenty minutes. There were no buttons, no sound, no vibrating mechanisms on the windows but you had the bonus of cars driving by. The feel of the carpet came with a great climbing adventure. And the ball pit, well, that actually was funny. The play dough and sand, however, came with no real bonuses. It just is whatever you make it out to be. You may be too young yet to see that creativity can be fun. I think we are going to have to practice pushing play dough and sand around a little more each day.
Who knows, some day you might like it as much as pushing buttons.
We had our first big snow of the winter but you were not feeling very good which meant that going outside to experience it was completely out of the question. Still, I thought that I could bring some of that snow to you so that you could touch it at least. So in the middle of the night, I had this idea that I could just bring in a little snow and let you watch as I built a little snowman. I even tried to think of little things that could serve as eyes, mouth, hat, and buttons. You know, the way a typical snowman should look.
I was excited! Your mom…not so much, but I was undeterred.
First the snow.
I just took a cookie sheet and filled it with the cleanest snow from right outside the door.
Then the ingredients.
Your snack food was perfect. At least, that’s what I thought.
Then I tried to form the snow into a snowman but there was one problem: the snow wouldn’t pack! It was that light kind of snow that just doesn’t work well for snowman building. I hadn’t even considered this issue. I tried and tried to form a ball but just couldn’t get it to hold. You were getting tired of just sitting there watching me so I gave you a little bit of snow to play with – your first science experiment: what happens to snow when you hold it in your hand for a few seconds?
Well, after adding a little water to this snow mess, I was finally able to get it to stand upright…a little.
When your mom saw it, though, she just laughed. Your Auntie E called it a “Pinterest Fail”. One thing we all decided was that it didn’t look anything at all like a snowman.
Ok, here it is! A baby safe painting project and a lesson
Carrots for the Orange
Spinach for the Green
Beets for the Red
Blueberries for the Blue/Purple
Tumeric for the Yellow
Steam each separately, then blend together 2T of the vegetable, 5 T Almond Milk, 1/3 C. Rice Flour in a blender until smooth. Repeat with each vegetable. Total prep time: Approximately 3 hours (if you consider the trip to the store to buy all the ingredients).
But look at those colors! Don’t they look fantastic? This was sure to be a GREAT project.
Ok, so first I fed you so that you weren’t tempted to eat the paint. Then, I left you in your chair with your bib on so you could be as messy as you wanted to be.
You started out strong. The red beet paint was going on smoothly and you were intrigued with it all; the paint, the brush, and the paper. But, after about 30 seconds with the red, you wanted more.
So, it was time to try finger painting. Just run your fingers through all the colors. Go ahead. It’s fun!
One swish through each of the colors, and…
You were done!
Ok, Grandma. I tried it. Can we be done now?
Onto the floor went the paper. Onto the floor went the brush. I grabbed the cup of paint just in time. One finger into your mouth, just to see if it at least tasted good. The verdict – NO!
That was it.
Get me out of this chair, Grandma. All done!
Well, there was a good deal of clean up that had to happen first. I tried to wash off your hands, one at a time, but you were wanting out. Then I had a great idea.
I gave you a pan of water to play in. Into the water went your hands. Now this was fun. But, I turned my back…just for a second, and you decided to see if you were strong enough to lift the pan, tip the pan, and dump the water.
Now there was just half a pan of water!
And the floor was soaking wet.
But your hands were clean…and you were having more fun with this than the paint.
I mopped up the floor, then used a towel to soak up the water on your tray and you liked this even more:
Sucking the water out of the towel was the best part of the whole project
Total occupied time: 3 minutes
But the end result:
There are lots of ideas that sound really cute. They take time to prepare but time in preparation does not mean that a baby will be entertained longer. Truthfully, all I really had to do was give you a pan of water and a wet towel. But, how fun would that have been all by itself, in pictures?