Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Motherhood and More: Seeing beyond the tantrums*

Well, I was going to spend this space talking about how my son is 5 years old and I can hardly believe it and where has the time gone, etc., etc.

But then he threw a major tantrum because I wouldn’t let him watch anymore TV so I’m just not feeling it, you know?

I’ve heard parenting becomes a little easier once your child is 5 years and 1 month old. Apparently, it’s a magic number where rainbows fill the sky and unicorns jump out of your kid’s mouth instead of the incessant attitude that normally regurgitates from that region. Your child will start listening and obeying without question because you know better than he does because you are his mother and therefore always right.

I still have a few more weeks to go on this one. We’ll see.

Of course, it’s not like things aren’t easier than when he was, say, his sister’s age. He can dress himself and brush his own teeth and turn on his own Wii video game he’s not supposed to be playing.

I don’t have to monitor how many times he goes to the bathroom and other than an unnatural fondness for peanut butter and jelly, he eats a balanced diet without supplementing with candy that he’s climbed up on the counter to reach the top of the refrigerator to steal.

Unlike his sister.

So 5 years old. I just can’t believe it.

I remember when he was new and I tried to picture what he would be like when he was on the cusp of school, on the cusp of walking even further away from me and needing me less and less. It always made me sad because here was this tiny little boy, dependent on me for everything, who would one day refuse to let me kiss him because “Kisses are gross, Mom.”

And here we are. I’ve got a little man who can already can ride his bike without training wheels, who introduces himself to everyone he meets, who just realized a couple months ago his father and I don’t go to bed right when he does and so now comes downstairs to tell us he can’t sleep. But, really, I think he’s just checking on what we’re doing.

I’ve got a little man who will strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and after 45 seconds will know their favorite Star Wars character and be in the middle of an enlightened discussion on how Anakin/Darth Vader really isn’t bad at all.

I have a little man who can put some Lego sets together all by himself by following the directions, who loves puzzles and books and drawing pictures.

I have a little man who will cry at sad parts of movies but then say, “I don’t know why my eyes are watering.”

I have a little man who cut out a paper heart and gave it to me “Just in case yours gets broken, Mom.”

I have the best little man I could ever have hoped for. Even with occasional tantrums.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on July 24, 2013.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Sewing: Crepe Dress by Colette Patterns

This dress.

This dress.

It's the Crepe Dress by Colette Patterns.

I love this dress so very much.  It's so girly and pretty and simple and no buttons.

I'm discovering more and more how incredibly girly I am.  Give me a dress with with flowers and curl my hair and let me carry a crazy pink peony and rose phone case and I am thrilled.  Ecstatic even.


I've been looking at this pattern for awhile now, drooling and lamenting my need to always buy only patterns that cost less than four dollars because I believe that sewing your own clothes should actually cost less than buying them at the store.

But in a fit of drunken Etsying the week before Sebastian's birthday I caved.  And I'm so glad that I alcohol-induced-splurged on the pattern.  I bought it from this shop and it came super fast, which I was grateful for at the time because I had planned to sew it for the party.  Ha!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!

It will surprise exactly none of you to know that I didn't have time to sew it.  Instead I made a paper mache Death Star Pinata and napkin lightsabers.

But this Sunday was a pretty calm day all around, so I set up my sewing table in the back room and worked.  I figured I'd just do what I could and go from there.  I'd already cut out the pattern the week before because I was sure I was going to get it done early.  Ha!  HAHAHAHA etc.

So I started sewing.  And in between all of the various food-preparing and argument-refereeing and toy finding that goes along with having two small children I was actually able to finish the dress. Of course it was at 9 at night, but still.  Completely finished and completely in love.

I used fabric that I'd found at Wal-Mart for $2.50 a yard, which I'm 90 percent sure I've already bought and given to my mom with a different dress pattern and instructions for her to just sew for me because I don't do buttons. And that pattern has buttons.

Here's a close-up:  

Pretty, no?

So I may end up with two different dresses made out of the same flowery fabric, which I have no problem with because GIRLY.

I used a liner fabric for this because the dress fabric seemed awfully thin and I didn't want to have to worry about a slip or accidentally sharing my unmentionables with random strangers.  Or random friends and family.  It was my first time doing something like that and I'm not entirely sure I did it the right way.  But my method worked for me.  I basically lay the liner under the dress fabric and cut them both out at the same time, then sewed everything together pretending like there wasn't extra material involved.  Does that make sense?

It's a wrap dress with fancy sleeves that wraps in the back and I want to wear it all the time and go on picnics in fields and have my husband row me in a boat while I wear it with a floppy hat.

I don't think that's too much to ask.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I also am avoiding real work, which is probably why I showed up here today

I think I may have forgotten how to blog.

In the beginning - as in two years ago, not 15 as that saying would suggest - I wrote almost everyday.  I gave myself a sort-of schedule to post something here at least three times a week.

I'm not sure why I'm moving away from it now.

It just seems that there's always something else that needs doing.  A never ending battle with laundry and dishes.  A child that has already spent the entire morning in front of the television and so needs some interaction.  Another child who refuses to nap and the longer I listen to her on the monitor not-napping the more my shoulders tense up as I imagine the awful evening that awaits all of us who cross her path.

All of that is still true.  As is my need to take time for myself, which usually, these days means sewing.  I've made lots of new things - dresses, tunics, more dresses, shorts.  And I just decided this morning that I am going to sew a quilt for Sebastian.  I've never done it before.  I figured out how big I want it and how many squares I have to cut out (216!!).  And I think I'm just going to go for it.  Because why not? 

When it comes to sewing I am not a perfectionist.  For me, the finished product doesn't have to be flawless.  It just has to be done and functional.  And Sebastian is an appreciative little guy so I know he'll love whatever I make for him.  Even if I refuse to include Spiderman fabric.

Yesterday I spent the entire day sewing - in between making breakfast and lunch and dinner and putting a sick little girl down for a nap and then giving her extra cuddles when she woke up severely unhappy from that nap.

I absolutely love the finished product, another dress, which I do intend to share here.  Maybe tomorrow?  When I can get some pictures of it?

I'd also like to share everything I did for Sebastian's Star Wars birthday party.  It was exhausting but so much fun.  And he had the best time.

So maybe another day?

For now I'm just showing up.  I miss it here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's my birthday and I'll complain if I want to

Today is my birthday.  I'm 32. 

When you're birthday is three days before your son's birthday, his 5th birthday especially, that most certainly has to be Star Wars themed, preferably Angry Bird Star Wars, there's not much time spent pampering yourself.

No.  When you turn 32 your husband goes out the night before for a work dinner and drinks that you're not invited to, stays out until 1, and when he finally comes home neither one of you can sleep and so the morning of your birthday you wake up zombiefied, iron some pants for said husband, make coffee, make breakfast, make more breakfast because the first one wasn't enough for your growing, soon-to-be-5-year-old, and then attempt to peel off the freezer paper stencils from the 12 favor bags you've made for the kids coming to the birthday party for your son while he fights with his sister over string.  Specifically your string.

Ahem. Behold Star Wars:

And then, as you're so tired that your eyes hurt you occupy your children with television so you don't have to listen to the endless wordage and begging for popsicles that flies out of their mouths all day.  But the youngest is only satisfied with watching Mater's Tall Tales, and it's the only thing she'll actually sit still for, so when you put on something else for her brother so he doesn't have to suffer through it any more than normal, she passes the time by jumping on your head.

But then it's lunch time and so you have to make a peanut butter sandwich for the youngest only because the oldest, who had two breakfasts, says he isn't hungry, until, of course he sees his sister eating and also sees that you've sat down and don't feel like you can get back up because of the aforementioned exhaustion.  Then, then that's the perfect time for him to ask for lunch.

And now it's finally nap time so you drag a kicking and pinching and screaming little girl out of the pool you used to keep her busy and change her out of the wet bathing suit while she's flailing in anger, read her a story, then go downstairs and listen to her not sleep on the monitor and stress about the fact that she's not sleeping because you have a ton of stuff still to do to get ready for the 5 year old's party on Saturday, not the least of which is clean the whole house and paint a homemade Death Star Pinata.  Also you'd really like to sew that dress you cut out the night before because it's not enough to do all of the other crap you're doing, you have to add 'sewing a new dress' onto the list.

And you can't find anything to eat for lunch because you've given up gluten and sugar and you don't want the leftover chicken and eggs don't really sound good and all you want right now is a really good cheeseburger but sure as hell aren't going to make it yourself because you have a pinata to paint and a garland to glue together and so content yourself with complaining about your hunger and exhaustion on your blog. 

Here is what my 32 looks like:

It needs wine.