Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade Friday: The neverending socks, they are finished

Hey, remember these socks? 
I stole this picture.

Finished!  Finally.

I loved knitting the socks, no matter how much I complained, and I'm always happy to make things for friends.  I really enjoy seeing people wear and like things I've made for them.

I just wish I'd focused on them a little more.  I started the socks so long ago (almost THREE MONTHS!) so the whole process started to drag on, unfortunately.

But they have been bathed and blocked and are in the hands of Angela, my neighbor.

Just in time for a heat wave.

I think it's supposed to be 80 degrees today.  Perfect wool knee sock weather.

(I'm very timely.)

Pattern is Delicious Knee Socks by Laura Chau.  It was a very good and easy pattern.  I liked that it was customizable and I could fit them directly to Angela's legs.  (Actually, I just guessed on the measurements but it looks like they fit okay.)  I have plans to make a pair for myself.  One day. I've never knit a toe-up sock before, and it I was happy to finally cross that off my list of things I should know how to do.

Taking a bath.

Hey look at these adorable pictures of my children who have nothing to do with this post, other than they are the main reason finishing the socks took me so long!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In defense of Alicia Silverstone

Oh, hello there.  Apparently I took a few, unintentional days off.  I apologize if you were waiting with baited breath for me to update with something other than a column I wrote a week ago.  I have no real reason for not being in this space, other than I just didn’t wanna.  Also on Tuesday I spent the whole day in the kitchen cooking food for my friend who just had a baby because I remember when I had my kids, and someone bringing me over a couple of dinners and homemade granola bars (look for that one soon.  Best granola bar I’ve ever eaten) would have made me sob tears of joy.

And so I’m back today, with a somewhat controversial (maybe?) statement. 

I don’t think it’s that big of a deal that Alicia Silverstone spits food into her little boy’s mouth.

Let me explain.

I’m sure by now most of you have either seen the video of her ‘birding,’ or at least heard about it.  I found out about it yesterday, clicked on the link that was posted on another blog, but pointedly avoided actually watching the video.  (It’s here, if you want to see it.)  I kind of thought just the idea of it was gross.  Hell, I didn’t even recognize the names of the food she was describing in the text, which for some reason made it extra unpalatable (see what I did there?).

But then at the gym last night I started to have a change of heart.  They ran the story on CNN, which seemed a little silly to me, and I couldn’t look away.  Admittedly I was running and needed something to distract me from the intense discomfort, and it was either that or Fox News, which they insist on having on at least two of the six TVs at all times, maybe to irritate you enough to make you run harder.  (I’m just guessing.)

And so I watched.

And yes, it was kind of gross.

But (BUT!) it was also kind of sweet.

Here she had posted this video of herself feeding her son in the manner of her choice because she was proud of it, proud of his interest in food, proud of herself for being the type of mom she has chosen to be (I assume).  And she’s had nothing but ridicule, including a couple of jokes I’ve made at her expense. 

But it’s on every news show and all over the internet and I just feel bad.  We, as mothers, try so hard to raise our kids in a way that we deem to be ‘right,’ to make sure they are healthy and happy and kind.  And lots of us read all we can on different methods of parenting or how to make sure we aren’t totally screwing everything up.  We second guess every decision, every statement that comes out of our mouths.  We judge ourselves harshly; we have no one else to rely on because more often than not, we are the one taking control of child rearing.

And most of the time we have other mothers judging our decisions, too, whether it’s if we breastfed, how long we breastfed, whether we cloth diaper, whether we think it’s okay for our kid to have some sprite every so often or not, whether we let our son’s hair grow a little too long for ‘society’s’ standards.

And so I say leave her alone.  It’s her decision.  Feeding your child is a beautiful thing, a milestone that creates lots of joy, but also lots of stress because we never know when the child is going to refuse to eat anything other than a peanut butter sandwich, or close her mouth up so tight you get so frustrated that you just start trying to force the spoon of pureed peas in because SHE LOVED THEM YESTERDAY AND SHE WILL EAT THEM TODAY DAMNIT BECAUSE I SAID SO.  And while I may not agree with her particular method, it’s her decision.  Her baby, her food, her decision.

(And, no matter what your ‘expert’ says, Good Morning America, I’m pretty sure she’s not going to give her son AIDS.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Motherhood & More: Learning to let go*

Relax, I tell myself.

Don’t nitpick, I tell myself.

But I have such a difficult time letting my 3-year-old boy just be a 3-year-old boy.

He’s silly and rambunctious and I love all of that about him. But as his mother, it’s my job to rein him in when I can. To keep him from jumping off the arm of the sofa or to keep him from hanging the upper half of his body out the open window of his upstairs bedroom.

And I do all that, but sometimes I let it carry over. I become so caught up in disaster prevention that I forget to stop and take a step back and realize that him turning on the hose to spray his legs — and most of the sidewalk — clean is not a big deal. He’s having fun and it’s only water and it is not a big deal.

I think we’ve spent the winter too close to each other. I’ve been around to monitor his every move, to let him know that it’s probably not a good idea to stand in the refrigerator with the door open looking for something to eat. Or maybe he should let me plug his night light back into the outlet instead of trying to do it himself.

So I say no a lot. All day. Between him and his sister, it’s the most-heard word in our house, second only to the phrase “Don’t do that.” And I don’t want to be that person. I miss being the fun one. I want to tell him I have a wicked sense of humor, I am adventurous and totally understand the need to take apart all your toys just to see what they’re like inside. I understand the joy in ripping up paper or dumping dirt in the kiddie pool.

But I have to be the adult, the parent, the mother. And it sucks.

But in less than four months my son will be 4 and far, far away from being my little baby, my firstborn. Already he can dress himself, which he could have been doing for a while if only I had relaxed that control. And he knows to close the bathroom door upstairs when my youngest goes up there, so I don’t have to run and do it myself. 

He’s helpful, kind and mature and so smart it takes my breath away.

And so I need to let go, just a little bit. I need to unclench my shoulders and learn to say yes more. I need to let him have fun in his own way, even if it makes more of a mess for me to take care of later. I need to give him the freedom to be a little boy, to grow up without a mother who is constantly looking over his shoulder, telling him he’s doing something he’s not supposed to. I need to let him take more responsibility for himself.
And even if his clothes don’t match or his shoes are on the wrong feet, I will not tell him he needs to change. I will tell him how proud I am of him for doing such a good job.

I will tell him how proud I am to be the mother of such a bold, courageous little guy.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on March 28, 2012.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Homemade Friday: BABIES! (And their sweaters)

No, not mine.

But my friends keep having them.

Recently, I had two friends have baby boys within a couple of months of each other, one this week (Hi Becca and Jeff and baby Hunter!) So fortunately I was forced (FORCED I TELL YOU!) to knit sweaters for the little guys.

As the babies were due right around the same time, I began the sweaters pretty close together, many, many months ago.  I had high hopes of knitting them in time to give them to the ladies at our Christmas get-together in mid-December, before either of the babies were here.

I ... did not make that deadline.

Actually, the sweaters were done.  Everything was ready but the blocking and the buttons, which, as I've said before, I make my mom sew on because she's awesome.

But, scheduling was wonky and I didn't have dry sweaters ready for my mom when she was available, so they languished, for months, almost complete.

And then the deadline was the due dates.  And that one I made, sort of.  Shayna had little Nickson and his head full of adorable blond hair the end of January.  We didn't make it to see them until he was a month old, maybe older, and by then I was hoping that the sweater would still fit.

For Nickson I made the BabyDROPS 19-17 pattern (catchy name, no?) using my usual knitpicks shine sport yarn. It was soft and cabley and perfect.  My mom loved it, if that tells you anything.

Becca got her baby sweater for her birthday, which was a few days before Hunter arrived.  For him I made the Gramps Cardigan, which was the same one I made for a friend in the fall who had a little boy.  I forgot to take pictures of it, as I am forgetful and spend most of my days sleepy.  If you'd like to see it, look at this one and picture it in a greyish color.

Baby sweaters.  They make me want to have more babies, though I seem to have forgotten that when I'm pregnant I have almost no desire to knit at all because it exhausts too much energy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I blame children-induced temporary insanity

I’m not entirely sure what possessed me.

I mean, I’ve wanted a new bedspread for awhile since the old one had holes and stains and a good amount of cat hair on it that, no matter what I did, would not go away.  (You all want to come hang out in my bedroom now, don’t you?)

I had a trip planned to Ikea for this weekend with a friend of mine, but unfortunately those plans fell through.  I was beyond depressed and, as I told my friend, not only was I missing out on spending the day with someone I have mucho fun with and don’t get to see very often, but I also had a long list of things I wanted to buy.

First on that list, a bedspread.

(Second on the list was a new bedroom suite, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fit in the car, no matter how flat it’s packed.)

So as I wasn’t able to make the trek to the land of Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam, I decided that a trip to Target would be an okay substitute.

My biggest mistake was taking the children with me.  For the most part they behaved, but I didn’t go straight to the bedspreads and leave, like I should have.  No, first I meandered through the clothes and the underwear department because Sebastian saw a bra and wanted to know if it was a bathing suit.  He also asked if it was just for girls and instead of getting into a whole transgendered/cross dresser conversation, I said yep!  They’re for mamas!  And then we went to the shoes, and then toddler shoes, because Adele needs some summer sandals and really, how hard is it to make a damn pair of little girl shoes that aren’t covered in stripper glitter?  Or that have a heel?  A HEEL FOR AN ALMOST-2 YEAR OLD WHO FALLS DOWN A LOT.  Brilliant.

(We found a white pair at Wal-mart.  No glitter.  No heel.  No daddy issues.)

So by the time we made it to the bedspreads the kids had almost met their limit on shopping.  Sebastian wanted to look at toys, and Adele, every 35 seconds, was saying “Down!  Down!  Down!”  And so I was preoccupied.

I looked at the cream bedspread first, then dismissed it because it was too light and I have two small children and I am not an idiot.  And then I couldn’t decide between the brown or grey.  Or there was a light blue one that might match the rug, but maybe not.  Or the taupe one was nice.  But the brown one is pretty dark.  I like the grey, but I’m not sure if Chris will like it.  And on and on and on and on it all went in my head while both kids started fussing and Adele attempted to climb out of the cart while Sebastian tried to climb in it. 

My brain shut down, is what I’m saying.

This is the one I bought:

Good Lord in heaven what possessed me?

And I didn’t even realize my mistake at first.  No, I took it home and put it right on the bed and sat back and thought about how pretty it looked and how soft it was to the touch, and how much I wanted to lay down on it rightthissecond.

Then the kids got up from their naps.

I realized I’d have to take it back to the store when my children tried to climb on the bed and I slow-motion ran to them and pushed them on the floor, not heeding their cries of pain.*

I bought the grey one.  Hopefully no children will be harmed today.  I also bought myself a bracelet to make up for my troubles.

*Not really.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

At this point it’s hard to tell who I was more into: Humperdink or Jag

I don’t even know what to say anymore.  After flu, and then more flu, and then possibly more flu, I took Adele in for her 18 month check up today and oh by the way, SHE HAS STREP THROAT.

(She’s crazy tall, too, and at 23 month development but still has a tiny head that will probably plague her for the rest of her life, in case you were wondering.)  (Back to complaining now.)

So, here we are.  She had a fever over the weekend but I just attributed it to the flu, and that may have been what was wrong, but I didn’t take her to the doctor because there’s not much they can do, and Sebastian recovered so quickly I didn’t see the point, especially since I was taking her today anyway.

So we got another antibiotic and another bottle of wine.  This time it was a bigger bottle.  You know, I really wouldn’t buy this much wine if the children would stop getting sick.  It’s just that I go to the pharmacy and the wine is just sitting there, calling out to me.  I am too weak to deny it.

Also my air conditioner isn’t working and it’s supposed to be almost 90 degrees today.

So since I am immersed in a hot, sick house with little energy to put up the clean laundry, let alone form rational, complete sentences, let’s read some more from my journal, shall we? 

Here’s the first one.  Second.  Third.  Fourth.  And Fifth.


Wednesday, January 22, 1992 (10 and a half years old)

I hate Humperdink.  He is so mean.  Me and Tallullah hit him on his back.  I’m thinking about starting a club.  I think the rules should be: We have to wear a certain color clothes each day, we have to have a notebook that has the boys we like first to last.  I love Jag so much.  I don’t think he likes me.

And the following day:

Thursday, January 23, 1992

I love Jag.  I’m writing a book for the young authors books.  I hope I win.  I think I might.  I want to live in a beachhouse and marry Jag and have some kids.  I want to be a Pediatrition.  I really, really, really like him.  I love kids especially newborns.  I want to have two kids.

The next week:

Monday, January 27, 1992

I absolutely hate Humperdink, but I love Jag, he is so cute.  Today he came to school wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt.  Mrs. Jones got mad at a boy who said ‘oh shit’ in the bathroom.  She was in a happy mood until then.

(Present-day Jaime is still traumatized by hearing the teacher yell “I’LL TEAR YOU UP!” to the boy who said ‘oh shit’ in the bathroom.)

The next day:

Tuesday, January 28, 1992

Today was bad.  I am sick of Humperdink.  I want to move.  I love Jag.  All Tallullah says I think is not true.  She writes a not saying its from her boyfriend.  She says she frenched him and she said she got drunk while she was at her dads.  I think it is a bunch of bullshit.  I love Jag 4-ever in a wonderful life and after amen.  I love him very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome to our den of infestation

Oh hello there.  I’m just sitting here, possibly infected with the flu while simultaneously taking care of two children all by myself, one of whom is most definitely flu-filled, and the other of whom probably will be flu-filled momentarily.  How is your day going?

I woke up severely dry-mouthed, which is not something that happens to me very often.  After downing some water and the Gatorade I bought for Sebastian, and feeling a little flushed, I thought maybe I should check to see if I had a fever.

I don’t put much stock into thermometers.  I’ve had approximately 85 at one time and they all would say something different.

But  I still can’t stop myself from checking my temperature obsessively.  I first used the temple thermometer, which said 99 something.  Well, okay.  I never, ever have a fever, and usually my temp is below the normal.  So I thought I’d use the thermometer that goes under the tongue, because aren’t those supposed to be more accurate?  But it said I didn’t have a fever.  And then I took some ibuprofen because I had a headache anyway.  So, really, for the next four hours any temp I took wasn’t accurate at all, but still, about every 20 minutes I was checking again.  At one point I dropped the thermometer into my smoothie I’d just made, because that’s just how I roll (awkwardly and clumsily, I mean). 

So who the hell knows.  At last check, which was three minutes ago, it was 99.  And I feel a little spacey, as is evident by the post.  And if we’re going by the amount of times Sebastian sneezed in my face yesterday, it probably all adds up to FLU.

And yet, I still found the energy to mop my kitchen floor, partly because I am a good woman but also mostly because I couldn’t stand my flip flops sticking to it anymore.  And this was on my hands and knees, too.  But that’s because someone took my mop outside for God knows what, and I refuse to use it until he buys me a new mop head.

I haven’t told him that, yet.

I also had to rock Adele to sleep for her nap, which isn’t usual, so she’s probably getting sick, too.  Or maybe she was just pissed because she dropped her pacifier on the floor.  You’d think that at some point she’d realize that once she throws it down she can’t use it anymore.

Sebastian, of course, is remarkably improved.  He hasn’t had a fever all day, and took his medicine relatively well, unlike last night when I had to attempt the ‘hold him down and listen to both of the children scream and cry while I try unsuccessfully to shove a dropper full of medicine down his throat’ method.

He is now traumatized and refuses any and all dropper.  But he likes red medicine, for some reason, so I’ve been dying everything with red food coloring.  I think that’s actually the worst one for kids but at this point I DO NOT CARE.

So yes, he is improved enough to bounce around and laugh, but is still just sick enough to refuse his nap, though his glassy, tired eyes tell me that he desperately needs one.

He’s up there now kicking the wall.  He also put on jeans and a sweatshirt because the hot weather, I guess, makes him want to wear winter clothes.

Whatever.  I’m going to go lay down.  I think that instead of coming home tonight like he's supposed to, Christopher will probably drive as far away as he can so as to avoid the disease.

Please send wine.  That’s what you take for the flu, right?

(Temp check: 99.4)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The flu has hit our house and I would VERY MUCH LIKE FOR IT TO LEAVE

Still pretty damn gorgeous, sick and all.
Sebastian hasn’t been acting like himself for the past couple of days, and so when I found out last night that his grandmother, who watched him overnight this past weekend, had the flu, I was fairly certain that we would be experiencing that divine virus soon.

However, the idea of that didn’t stop me from staying up until midnight again because I can’t sleep when my husband is out of town as I rely on him to protect me from zombies and if he isn’t here who will stab them in the eyeballs?  I mean, I’ve got a shot gun, but if I shoot them that will just draw more to my house, and then what would I do?  Of course, there are a lot of asshole stray cats living around the neighborhood so maybe they would be enough of a distraction for the zombies.  And bonus: No more cat shit in my yard.  I hope they eat the one that beat up my poor, front claw-less cat last week first.

But anyway, I heard Sebastian whimpering at 3 this morning and when I went up to check up on him, he was almost in tears because he couldn’t find one of the stuffed animals he went to bed with, which is highly unusual.  Also, his whole body was on fire.  Literally, I had a difficult time touching him because he was so hot.  I picked him up and scrounged around unsuccessfully for the children’s Tylenol that I knew I had at some point upstairs in the kids’ bathroom. 

And then I put him in my bed downstairs and searched again for that medicine, but still couldn’t find it.  Hey, just a suggestion for everyone who is as disorganized as I am (which I’m guessing is NO ONE AT ALL), it’s a good idea to keep medicines and such in a place where you can easily find them in the middle of the night when your son has a 102 degree temperature.  Dumb ass.

I did, however, find some infant medicine that I’d just bought for Adele, and gave it to him.  He did not approve of the taste, and when I took him to pee about 10 minutes later, he also threw it up.  But at least he made it to the toilet and knock on wood I haven’t had to clean up vomit.  Yet.  I’m almost positive that is coming. 

And so we passed the night with me rubbing his back and him whimpering every time he lost his stuffed animal.  I think we both eventually slept, though fitfully.  In the light of morning he said “I keep waking up.”

Oh, speaking of vomit, I just this second remembered that my cat also barfed somewhere under my bed right after Sebastian did.  I did not clean it up as there is a limit to what I’m willing to do at 3:30 in the morning and that is way passed said limit when it would also mean I had to move Sebastian while I did it. 

If I wouldn’t get so grossed out at the thought of it being there I’d leave it until Chris got back as a special reward for him missing the past few AMAZING days.

Sebastian has spent most of the day camped out on the couch, heavy lidded.  We went to the doctor, where they confirmed the flu, and gave me a prescription.  While at the pharmacy I bought some nail polish and this:

The wine, not the flowers. Those came from my back yard.
Mama needed some medicine and also some nail polish to make me feel better.  It’s only been recently that we’ve been able to buy alcohol in this city, and I for one am going to take full advantage of it.


I also bought Sebastian a Power Ranger toy, which I disapprove of on principle, but when my weak, sick 3 year old asks for a toy, I am incapable of denying him.  I’m just grateful he didn’t ask for a trampoline.

He watched a movie when we got home and then I said it was time for bed.  And then he threw up all the medicine I gave him, the Gatorade I forced on him, and a half of a piece of toast.  But once again – and I can’t stress this enough – he made it to the toilet.

I told him to lie down in his bed and I’d come in and read him a story when I got Adele in her bed.  I was away for all of five minutes and this is what I saw when I got to his room:

Yes, it's blurry.  But let me describe it to you: he is asleep
under a feather blanket when it's almost 80 degrees outside,
clutching his new toy.

Guys, he’s never been this sick, and the doctor said it could get worse before it gets better.  I know it’s just a virus, but still.  I feel entirely ill-equipped to handle this situation.  I am helpless to make him feel better.  I get him cold compresses, I ask him over and over again to drink something, I hug him, I let him watch however much TV he wants, I hover and frown with worry.

All I want to do is take it all away.