Pandemic Relief: Part 2

We recently returned from a looooong drive to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Green Bay is not just the center of Covid, but home of my daughter, son-in-law and Baby Natalie.  When we last saw Natalie, she couldn’t crawl. Now she’s running.

Natalie has the good fortune of having Grammy (her other grandmother) in her life almost daily. Grammy comes every weekday while my daughter works from home. Grammy sings songs, watches Natalie play, and does lots of reading aloud!!!

Sometimes even the remarkable Granny needs a break.  So Ron and I drove to Green Bay and spent a week as relief grandparents. I knew raising a baby was hard in the pandemic, but experiencing it was a whole different thing.  Natalie is a great baby–busy, happily moves from one activity to the next, generally self-amusing. I have never seen such a book lover and she intiates by grabbing a book and backing up into your lap ready for story.

Even though we were in the best possible baby pandemic situation, still it was hard. Natalie has a good many toys that fascinate her and too many books to count. She’s never bored, but not being able to go out to the nearby zoo, or even a grocery, made even her entranced Geemsy antsy.

I entertained her with sensory diversions taken from Mandisa Watts’ Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids (published by Page Street Books), a book that arrived several days before I left.  Natalie’s princess figures were willing victims.  First I buried them in jello.


Instead of a bin, I used a bowl and the tub seemed the best locale for this messy activity.  Natalie loves being “nakey baby” and had great fun digging into slurpy jello, finding those princesses, splashing jello into water and doing a little bit of tasting..

Slightly less stick was the next day’s adventure. First, I buried the cleaned-up princesses in pasta.  My daughter laid out a mat for catching spills, I put out the pot of pasta and Natalie rescued her dollies, digging into the squishy luke-warm pasta, finding a princess at some points and at others flinging pasta to her happy waiting dogs.

It was, as my daughter noted, “a game that’s fun for the whole family.” Not sure who enjoyed it more Natalie, the dogs, or her grandparents.

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