A cold and rainy Monday, do you want to hang around inside the house all day? No. Me neither. What to do, what to do! There is this place; it’s called “Chasing Tales“. It’s a giant playroom just for kids like you. We’ve been there before. The minute we pulled into the parking lot it starts; screaming joy from the back seat!
I open the door and the wiggling, squirming, twisting and turning starts.
“I have to pay. We have to take our shoes off.”
Well, go fast, Grandma!
And you’re off.
So much to do.
You run from one area to another; touching, picking up, inspecting,
sometimes stopping to look at another child, briefly,
sometimes wanting to examine the very thing that someone else is playing with,
so you just take it.
They do the same to you as well.
Funny how kids your age don’t really care,
you just move on to the next thing to explore.
Oh wait, there’s another room It’s a giant gym! Running is easy: falling is no big deal. There are things to climb, balls to carry and throw and kick, riding toys; lots of riding toys, slides, a little house with a door that you can open and close by yourself. Ah, baby love!
The noise level is louder in this space, so first you just stand there and scream.
No one cares.
Scream to your hearts content.
Then you’re off: riding, climbing, running, riding, climbing, running.
And then you realized that you were tall enough to climb the biggest structure of all.
You have no fear.
Well, Grandma has a lifetime of fear, so the camera gets put away.
Oh my goodness, you are climbing up some high steps!
Grandma has to climb too. What?
Well, you are not going to fall on my watch!
And after running around and around, back and forth from room to room,
hitting (oops, sometimes it’s another little kid),
and climbing that structure again and again,
you stand outside of that little house and scream at a little girl, in your baby babble,
because she won’t open the door.
It was time to go home.
You didn’t complain. You were tired.
Still, you jabbered from your carseat all the way back home.
And when we got home, you slept…and so did Grandma.
You probably don’t remember but about 7 months ago, I took you for a walk in this woods? Same woods, same stroller, but now you are a bigger baby! It’s a beautiful spring day; the perfect kind of day for another walk in the woods with Grandma. Let’s see what we see this time, shall we? First, you are now 17 months old. You don’t say many real words but you communicate just the same. It starts with you pointing to things. So, I decided to take a picture of everything you pointed to. First were the branches way up high, then the trees and path straight ahead. I didn’t judge. I just accommodated, labeling everything that you pointed to.
With the next photo, you pointed towards the pond and said “uck”; your word for duck and goose. You couldn’t see them but you could hear them.
Remember no judgement!
You don’t say owl but you make an owl sound with you mouth closed. Try it. Say “Hoo-Hoo” with your mouth closed. That’s the word for owl right now; any owl, every owl you see. You seem to find them everywhere.
Time to get out of the stroller.
Last fall, you crawled into this little house. I think you stayed about as long this time as last time still.
10 seconds into the house,
5 seconds to look out the window, and
2 seconds to get out.
You were far more interested in continuing the walk. So, onward! Back into the stroller, you went.
A duck, a duck, we finally spot a duck.
Well, it’s a goose
duck, duck, goose…
one and the same.
Then, time to get out of the stroller again.
Now this is something more interesting than the “uck”. You spot a ramp!
Up and Down,
Up and Down,
the ramp you went.
I grew tired of this activity. You probably would still be there going up and down, up and down.
But with a bit of protest, I got you back in the stroller and in no time, your fingers were pointing again. This time…
Yea! Your way of saying flower is in sign language. You put your fingers up to your nose and sniff. Mmmmm, pretty flowers. Man after my own heart.
Then, you spotted a trail marker post. So, I pointed to both of the colors but then gave you a job.
“Which path are we going to follow, little man? How about if we follow the yellow. Can you be on the lookout for the yellow markers?” You were doing a great job until you became distracted with this:
You liked this…a lot! When I tried to move you away, you pointed right back.
Ok, finally on the path again and you are on duty, pointing to every yellow marker you find.
But then all of a sudden you GASP! This deserved a two finger pointing!
at the same time!
Ok, so it doesn’t take much to get you excited! But, that sure entertained Grandma 🙂
Now that we were clear of the water and big rocks, it was time to get you out of the stroller for the last time.
Time for a snack, Grandma. This fresh air makes me hungry!
And then it’s already time to find the paths back home. This was tricky but we did it!
After following all the different paths, we finally found our way back home. One last stop before we call it a day.
And then, you rang the wind chimes to let everyone know we were back home, safe and sound.
What a beautiful day with you little man. Let’s walk in the woods again real soon, ok?
When I was a new mom, everything had to be perfect. Now, as a Grandma, I think the mess is more fun.
To spoon or not to spoon? That is the question.
Whether tis nobler, in the mind, to suffer the pain of learning this mysterious convention or to oppose it and end this hunger.
To eat: To finally eat!
Ah, this thing; a spoon? While full of intrigue, as a vessel, it fails; Incapable of delivering even the smallest morsel to its destination. Precious cargo lost all along the way. Determined, I journey on. Yet, try and try again, this tool seems unworthy of carrying even the smallest of loads.
There must be an easier way!
Now this tool -this thing they’ve named a hand – seems far more capable. One trip and…
Successful delivery to the targeted destination.
So why this silly obsession with this thing they call a spoon?
Seems but a battle; a waste of precious time.
The warrior spirit, in me, has waned. I’ve grown tired and weak with hunger.
Your mama and daddy are going away for a little vacation. Oh what, oh what will we do?
It’s just you and me for the whole first day. You and I are used to be together on Thursdays but mama is home by 5:30 and daddy follows shortly after. You love it when they come home. Hmmm, what will we do to cause a diversion from that routine? Were you up for an experiment? I knew that you have gotten a little fussy about eating vegetables so I had a plan to make you a different kind of dinner. I hide vegetables in turkey meatballs and in the spaghetti sauce. You sat on the floor, getting kind of fussy until I let you taste test the sauce as it was getting ready. Now, that was fun. Then, when it was ready to eat, I let you mess around with the whole thing on your tray. You scarfed down all the noodles, sauce, and two meatballs; vegetables and all. It was a glorious mess but mission accomplished. You ate the vegetables and didn’t even know it. And, you hadn’t noticed that mama and daddy hadn’t come home.
In fact, you were enjoying the whole thing so much that you thought a little sauce in your hair would be even more fun. While, you were patient while I cleaned up the mess, your patience was gone when I tried to change your diaper afterward. You got away from me and thought that was really funny.
When trying to put your pants on yourself didn’t work,
you opted for just foregoing pants altogether.
Go with the flow Grandma. It’s just easier that way.
Before your legs got too cold, we headed to the bathtub. After about thirty minutes of water play, I was maybe just as wet as you but you were all shiny clean again. We both slept really well that night. How do parents do this every day?
Day Two: Sunshine and Bubbles
Auntie E came to spend the day and you two found the upstairs balcony…and bubbles!
You loved both the balcony and the bubbles so much in the morning that you wanted to show me again at night. Bubbles are magic. You sign “More, More” over and over again. Easy, good, CLEAN fun.
It was a beautiful day, maybe because I took some time off and went to get a manicure and pedicure! And then, after you showed me the bubbles, we took you out to eat.
You had pita bread and tomatoes. We had wine. Ok, well we had a little more than that but we had to eat really fast because you were tired. We left a really nice tip because you left your mark…all over the floor. Sorry, nice waitress.
Day Three: Why is Food So Messy?
Nobody told me that I needed have you practice eating, on your own, from a spoon this weekend. Call me crazy, but I just thought that it was time. Why do I do things like that?
Yogurt stays on the spoon, right? Well, sort of. And you patiently worked to get some in your mouth, bit by bit. In the beginning, you were amazing, trying so hard, seeming to enjoy this new independence. Some went down your bib but a good share made it into your mouth. But then you got tired of the “fun” and started shaking the yogurt off the spoon and into the air. Now you thought that was really fun! I grabbed the spoon as fast as I could but then your hands went into the yogurt bowl and into your hair, again before I could stop you. What is it with that food in your hair thing? Your just smiled at me and I melted into laughter. Life isn’t that serious, Grandma. Floors clean up and hair does too.
You sat, patiently again, and watched as I cleaned up the floor, your tray, your face and your hands, and your hair. Then up went your arms, your sign for “all done”. And, yes, you were all done and so was I. Whew!
When does Auntie E come back?
Off To The Children’s Musuem
The day was beautiful, a perfect day for a walk. Auntie E came and we packed you in the stroller and took off for the children’s museum. Lately, you are all about buttons: on the stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, anywhere and everywhere you see a button, it just has to be pushed. So, stop number one, at the museum was the buttons. These had a purpose. They were supposed to light up a dancing floor. You didn’t notice the lights on the floor. You didn’t care about anything but the buttons. Best part was that no one cared that you didn’t care. Do what you want little one. Push those buttons to your hearts content.
Then there were more buttons on a make believe bus. You never noticed the bus driver seat, steering wheel, or other passengers. Once again, you just pushed the buttons. Over and over and over again, until another little someone came along and actually wanted to play bus driver. So we had to leave to find other buttons.
Instead, we found the slide. Oh my goodness! You had been pointing to slides in a book lately like you actually knew what they were. So when, you saw this slide, it was a done deal. You had to try it out. With no fear, you climbed the steps to the top along with Auntie E. We both think that if she hadn’t been up there to tell you to sit down, first, you would have walked right off the edge. But, with her guidance, you sat down and made the rest look like you had done it your whole life. Exactly when did you learn how to go down a slide?
Up and down you went, until Auntie and Grandma were tired and wanted to sit down. Luckily you let us. Mostly, I think you were getting tired as well. It was time to eat something and start the walk home.
What a great day. Your mama sent a message and asked if I wanted to stay longer tomorrow and get a massage. My response: “That sounds lovely but I will be very happy just going home to my couch. And the weekend isn’t over yet.
I mean what’s more entertaining than folding clothes? Best part was, the first thing you did was take some socks and throw them in the trash. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera. But I think I laughed out loud! Then, I got my camera. You tried, you really tried to help fold the clothes…and then unfold them and put them on. What you didn’t do was push the buttons on the washer and the dryer so…score one for Grandma. I found something that diverted your attention from buttons!
We ended the day with more bubbles and a push toy on the balcony. I think I need to get a chair out here!
Mama and Daddy Come Home Today
We have settled into a routine. You with me – Me with you. Still the minute the phone rings, you say “Mama” and every man we look at, in a magazine, is “Dada”. I think you are ready for them to be home. Still we have to fill the time with something.
You woke up early. Your crib is up against the wall and you had already turned on the lights. Guess you were ready to get up! I made one of those frozen toaster waffles. You were not a fan but you did like the strawberries that I gave to you. It was too cold to be on the balcony but you wanted to try anyway and you have taught me this weekend to go with the flow so I opened the door and let you venture out. This is definitely your space. You love watching the birds and squirrels, shouting out to anyone who will listen and pointing to the sky when a plane flies over. Still it was cold out there, so I forced you in, against your will.
You went to the closet door. In there, I store our “arts and crafts”. When you go to that door, you want the colored markers. I get out the markers and paper but truthfully you basically like to just play with the markers. In and out of the bag, rolling around on the floor, carrying them around and throwing them off in different directions. Sometimes, you attempt to take the top off of the marker and we get a little mark on a piece of paper. It turns into “art” by a 15 month old.
We filled the rest of the time by taking a walk to the store for a few groceries, and then having an early lunch. Then finally, the time had finally come. We heard the door open. “Who’s there?”, I asked you. Your answer, “Dada”. And you were right! And there was your mama as well. She picked you up. You snuggled into her and just stayed there. You were so happy to have them home. She snuggled so close to you and you said “Mama” so sweet and loving, and it was time for me to go home.
So much love for one little man. What a great weekend. What a special little man. I am one lucky Grandma.
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?