Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Motherhood and More: A mother's guilt never ends*

I have the weirdest Mom Guilt.

Like now, I feel guilty for not knitting my children socks. I’m a knitter, a rabid knitter at times, but my children, especially my oldest, are lacking in the hand knit sock department.

This is mainly because I’m attempting to knit for hire, as in I would love to knit you a scarf or a hat if you pay me.

It’s going well; I have lots of projects in the works. But they’re all for other people. And my children’s feet will be so cold that their little toes will become frostbit and I will have to nurse them through toe removal, all the while knowing that I could have prevented this if I had just knit them socks.

I realize it’s neurotic, but that’s how my brain works. I feel guilty nonstop. I feel guilty because I haven’t made homemade bread today and we’ll be without tomorrow because we’re down to the last piece and all they want to eat for breakfast is toast.

I’ll feel guilty when I buy bread instead of making it.

I feel guilty for the hot dogs my daughter grabs out of the refrigerator. Or the chicken nuggets they both love to consume.

I feel guilty that I gave my son juice instead of water in his lunch box, or that I allowed my daughter to keep the three suckers she stole at the birthday party when I wasn’t looking, unwrapping them as quick as she could and shoving them all in her mouth at once.

I feel guilty that my children probably don’t eat as many vegetables as they should, or that they love fruit much more than vegetables, which means that they will grow up to only want sweet food and not savory, thus giving them a lifetime of food issues.

I feel guilty that my son spends too much time playing on the computer, or that I use television as a way to keep my daughter entertained when I need to perform a task that is easier to do without 3-year-old "assistance."

I feel guilty because sometimes it’s just easier to not brush her teeth than to chase her and hold her down and fight the screaming.

I feel guilty when I lose my temper. And when I yell. And when I lose my temper again. And when I yell again.

I feel guilty because my daughter requires more attention than my son, so sometimes he is pushed to the side.
I feel guilty because he accepts that.

I feel guilty that I don’t do crafts with my daughter. Or that I don’t work with her much on writing. Or that I work around the house instead of focusing solely on her. Or that I knit for hire instead of playing blocks with her.

I feel guilty that I’m relieved my son is in school during the day because that means less fighting between the kids.

I feel guilty that my children fight as much as they do, and that they can’t seem to get along.

I feel guilty that I don’t like putting my daughter to bed because the routine is usually full of her running away from me as I try to wrestle her into pajamas.

I feel guilty because I look forward to the quiet time after they are in bed.

I feel guilty because I want more than a couple of hours to myself a day. I feel guilty that I’m introverted, that I’m perfectly happy in my own head.

I feel guilty that none of this comes easily to me, that it’s all hard work and dedication and days filled with screw-ups.

But I guess that’s how it is, right? We screw up. And then we learn. And we get better.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go start knitting some socks. I’m not really in the mood to deal with toe loss. And I feel guilty for that, too.

*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on November 27, 2013. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

I blame Salinger

I know, I know.  I'm supposed to be showing you something that I've lovingly hand-crafted using nothing but yarn, love, time and barn wood.  And I have something I'd planned on sharing but my model is currently camped out on the couch feverish and inhaling vintage Spider-man cartoons on Netflix.  So you'll have to wait until next week for me to show you the hooded vest thing I knit for him.

And that's not the only thing I've made recently.  It's pretty much a nonstop knit-fest around here.  I knit while the coffee brews. I knit while my daughter plays blocks.  I knit and stand.  I knit during naptime.  I knit and read a Salinger biography in bed before lights out.  I have orders to fulfill, plus my brother-and-sister-in-law just bought a little shop and requested me to make some stuff to sell there, which I'm super excited about.  I've done baby sweaters and hats, and then my brother-in-law asked for some dirty deer hats so I've made two of those so far.  (Strange combination, huh?)

But anyway, sickness has invaded our house - with everyone feeling kind of blah and sore-throaty and congested.  Sebastian came downstairs at 3:30 in the morning because he was thirsty, and he woke me up from a dream where he and his sister were not my children - they were my brother and sister and I was upset because my mom was making me stay home from high school (HIGH SCHOOL!!) to take care of them because they were sick.

But maybe that's better than the dream I had the night before where I was in the middle of a Supernatural/Lord of the Rings epic battle where I stabbed someone in the heart with a steak knife.

So anyway, my point is that I don't really have one and am kind of sleepy because I couldn't turn off my brain after the early morning wake up and so am a bit delirious and have resorted to discussing my dreams with my blog.

But in my defense they're really interesting dreams. (HA!)

It's probably because I've been reading too much about Salinger before I go to sleep.

To compensate for this post here is a picture of my daughter wearing my reading glasses that I attempted to instagram but it no longer works on my phone and crashes every time I try to post a photo and makes me really sad because how else am I going to share photos of my dinner with the world?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Homemade Friday: Sebastian's Snowflake Hat - finished - with stripes

I first wrote about this hat a couple of months ago.  It was one I was planning on selling in my Etsy shop but once I tried it on my son's head to measure the size he decided that he wanted it for himself.

When last we left this hat the inside was full of random strings and was just a giant mess. 

To fix that I decided to pick up stitches on the bottom and knit up a new hat to make it reversible.  My problem however, was that I've been slacking a little (a lot) on taking notes on what I've been making, mainly because I've got a lot of projects going and a ridiculous amount that need to be made (ones that I'm selling!  WOOHOO!)  (Also ones that I need to make for myself and my children.  And maybe my husband.) I don't feel like I have the time to stop and analyze what I've been knitting, to write down specific info.  But that's where I get into trouble because I didn't write down what needle size I used for the snowflake hat so when I went to start the inside I was a bit at a loss.  I guessed with size 6, but I think I should have used 5 because the striped version seems to be a bit bigger than the snowflake side. 

But I don't think it matters too much - at least not to Sebastian.  He's worn it the past two days - as soon as I finished it. 

And I'm happy to know that his noggin will be warm this winter.

I would like to point out that the photos below are an actual representation of what happens when I tell Sebastian I want to take a picture of him.  Basically I chase him around pointing my phone at him in hopes of taking at least one salvageable photo.  And then I bribe him with candy to get him to stay still but that's impossible for him so the pictures are still ... artsy. 

So if you squint and walk back a few steps from your screen you may possibly see a clear view of what the hat looks like.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Homemade Friday: in threes: a baby cardigan

I started this sweater, in threes: a baby cardigan,  for Adele ages ago - like early last spring.  But once I figured that it was going to be ridiculously big on her I figured I could swap it out for something else and hold onto it until she was a bit bigger.

I pulled it out a few weeks ago and realized that I only had about two inches left at the bottom and it was silly that I hadn't finished it yet.  And so in a matter of hours it was finished. 

The pattern was simple but practical, which I like.  I'm a huge fan of short sleeve sweaters and vests and three-quarter sleeves because I usually need to keep my hands and arms free to work on stuff but I want my body to stay warm.  And I think Adele gets annoyed by sleeves, too, so I thought she would like this pattern. 

It's knit from the top down and I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Yarn in Hollyberry, that was leftover from a felted slipper knitting spell I had a few Christmases ago.

It only took a little bit of yarn and was super quick to make - if you don't count the months and months it languished in my knitting basket unfinished.

Adele seems to like it, or she tolerates me throwing it over her head before she runs out the door.  I think I may make the adult version for myself once I get a break on all the other stuff I plan on knitting.  So it may be next year before that happens!

My mom sewed the buttons on, which were from Buttons and Treasures Etsy Shop.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sebastian is insistent that he is a boxer and needs to train and I am only standing in the way of his dreams

Yesterday Sebastian came to me and told me that he and Adele were boxing, like for real boxing with fists.  And as I sat there surrounded by piles of organized, folded laundry that I knew was a wasted effort because any second one of the heathens would run through my neat piles, I considered letting them continue.

I mean, they were getting along - just practicing he assured me, and they weren't bugging me and I still had a half of a basket of laundry left.  I contemplated videotaping it but then figured I could either be the next youtube sensation of parental incompetence, or be arrested.  So I decided to tell them that maybe that isn't such a good idea as I didn't want one or both of them going to school with black eyes because I didn't want to be blamed for it.

Plus I didn't want to go to prison and have to deal with Crazy Eyes and her peeing on the floor because she was super in love with me but I didn't swing that way until I did with the pretty girl that didn't have crazy eyes.

Donna is super hot, maybe even hotter as a brunette drug smuggler, is what I'm saying.

(Don't you just love posts with excessive links to random shows that you may or may not have heard of?)

In other completely unrelated news, Adele is now sleeping in a twin bed.  As in currently, right-this-second sleeping, which is kind of a miracle as nap times are scarce these days. 

She's sleeping in a big bed that we stole from my sister.  Or was given.  But 'stole' sounds much more gangster, even if it's just a twin bed for your toddler.

Sister had an extra bed or five because she was moving into a furnished house and so we got a free bed.  And it's a sweet bed, super girly with lots of cubbies for Adele to hide her crap. 

I'd actually already bought a really neat, old iron bed frame for Adele but it was full size and buying a brand new mattress and box springs for it wasn't exactly in our budget.  So when my sister told me about her excessive bed problem I all but shouted 'YES PLEASE!!' at her because Adele was still sleeping in her crib-turned-toddler bed that she piled up with random bits of garbage and toys and blankets so she didn't really have room for her 95-percentile-in-height self.  So I don't think she was sleeping well.

We got the bed a day before Chris left town so he didn't have time to put it together himself and I've only used the drill once in my life and it didn't go so well so I didn't feel up to the task of assembling the bed myself.  Now, if it was Ikea and came with a hex key, I'd be all over it.

But what I did do for Adele was drag the mattresses and box springs upstairs so she could at least sleep on them without the frame until her father could put everything together, which he did this weekend.

And in true hoarder Adele fashion she has already filled all the cubbies on the bed with junk or, as I'm sure she would call them, 'My precioussssss!!'  I did remove all the dirty socks and random bits of paper before I took the pictures but that was all I felt comfortable doing because she was eyeballing me and I was afraid she'd bite my fingers and I didn't want to have to get rabies shots.

She still fights going to bed and screams and kicks and whatnot* but I think she might actually be sleeping better.  At least I hope she is.  And I carried all of the baby paraphernalia out of her room that isn't needed anymore - like the changing table and glider, and organized her stuff and maybe cried a bit on the inside because WHERE DID MY BABY GO?

But it's good.  We're moving onto another stage and I'm super stoked because she is ever closer to being a reasonable human being and not a 3 year old. 

And when that finally happens I can stop buying so much wine.

*By 'whatnot' I mean she punches me in the throat.**


(Here's the link to the post I wrote when Sebastian first slept in his own twin bed.  It was apparently a much bigger deal than this time.) 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hoodoo is a word I got from the show Supernatural, which I am currently addicted to*

Time change, UUUUGGGHH ... amirite?

Sebastian has been out of school for the past two days which means all day fighting between the WORLD'S WORST SIBLINGS, or maybe it's THE WORLD'S MOST NORMAL SIBLINGS.  Either way, I'm about ready to lock them both in their rooms and break out the $3 wine I bought at Trader Joes this weekend.

Good times, no?

Yesterday I took them to the gym because they can go in the daycare for two hours and I can work out and not have to listen to any arguing over who's sitting too close to whom on the couch.  However, I think that I may be suffering from some time-change related hoodoo because I was working out on the bike that has the little screen thing where you can pretend you're actually going somewhere - you know, the one that hurts your lady choad - and I almost passed out.  Like literally.  It was a course that I've done before that's tough, but doable.  But not yesterday.  I got to the top of a hill, a straight up for miles hill, and had to quit.  And then I decided I needed to cool down a bit and I didn't want to just sit down with my head between my legs because I didn't want people coming over to me and trying to make me breathe into a paper bag or anything.  So I got on the treadmill walking slow but had to hold on because my vision started going dark around the edges. 

But my point with all that is that I didn't feel up to going back to the gym today because, for one, getting Adele dressed and ready to go involves lots of chasing and holding down and screaming and I wasn't in the mood.  Also I don't want to pass out unless that one cute guy is around to comfort me and I haven't seen him the last few times I've been there.

Yesterday in the locker room after showering and whatnot I had a teen girl from the swim team (they practice there) tell me that she liked my tights.  You'd think that would be super nice and make me feel totally with it, but in my case it made me feel like she was somehow being sarcastic because I am old.  I took a picture so you could tell me if I look hobo chic or kind of in style:

Notice the hand-knit boot cuffs.  I make to order!  $20!  

But anyway, instead of gym time today I am plying my children with television.  However, I have to be careful because if Sebastian watches something that Adele isn't interested in she will just turn the TV off.  Or pull Sebastian's hair.  Or spit in his face.

I look forward to tomorrow when he is back in school and she is in school for one whole hour that I have to myself.

Now if you'll excuse me the children are sort-of occupied** so I'm going to go work on some knitting because of course I do.  I'm knitting to sell which means my children get screwed in the hand-knit department and also my wrists hurt.

Anybody need a scarf or hat or socks or baby sweater?  I'm totally available!

*Or maybe I'm just addicted to watching the troubled Dean.  I CAN SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF, DEAN!

**Nevermind - they're totally screaming at each other again.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Homemade Friday: Batman and The Wizard

I've sewn a lot lately - like a lot.  Like so much more than I ever have before.  And it's workable sewing, you know?  By that I mean that I can actually wear what I've made or put it on my children without being embarrassed to admit that I made it.

That doesn't always happen.

But since I've been having so much luck I thought I'd tackle sewing both of the kids' Halloween costumes this year.  Last year I only sewed Sebastian's - the Fierce Ninja.

And actually Sebastian picked out his costume months ago.  It wasn't exactly for Halloween.  He happened to be with me in the fabric store and saw a pattern and insisted that I buy it and make it right then.  I held him off for awhile as I was attempting to sew a quilt for him, which is so close to being finished but that I can't seem to find the time to work on now as I have a million other projects that need my attention.

But finally I couldn't put it off any longer because the boy needed to be Batman.  Plus we had a downtown Halloween Festival thing to go to that required a costume.  At least Sebastian required a costume.

The pattern he found was McCall's Costumes MP314 (Version B):

It isn't exactly Batman, but it was close enough for Sebastian and I improvised on the belt to make it more Batman-like. 

The costume is basically a jumpsuit with giant wings attached and a hood with ears.  And a mask.  And boot covers that I made but that no one really likes.  I made the belt bright yellow and found a picture of the Batman symbol online that I used to make the buckle.

It's not the commercial Batman, but Sebastian is satisfied.  He's worn it so much that a part of the wing is torn off and there's a hole in the costume.  I think that means it's loved.  And now, of course, he tells me that I have to sew him a grey one, too.

We'll see.

And I even sewed the zipper in myself, which is pretty awesome.  I'm not sure what happened or why it went so well, but I did it.  It may never happen again.

Sebastian's costume had so many parts, and so many different aspects to it, that when it came time to choose Adele's costume I searched for the easiest pattern I could find.  She honestly doesn't really care about costumes, not like her brother who lives in them.  She sees no need to put one on, has no joy in pretending to be someone else, so I didn't feel the need to consult her.  Bad Mama? 

The wizard costume - Simplicity 2571 (Version E) - only had two parts - a hat and a robe.  Easy enough.  And it was.  I even found blue fabric with gold stars on it like the pattern at 40 percent off, so I was happy about that.  I probably should have washed it first because I ended up with blue dust all over everything.  But other than that it was all pretty straightforward. 

The only ribbon I could find for the trim was wired, so I pulled the wire out before I sewed it on, which was surprisingly easy.  I also couldn't find packaged medium-weight interfacing so I made do with doubling up on the lightweight, which worked okay, but the hat could have been a little firmer.  Adele wasn't too keen on it anyway, so I don't think it mattered too much.

I did have a bit of trouble with my sewing machine, which I think may have been because I was sewing stretchy fabric and may have had the wrong needle.  My bobbin kept messing up and making these ridiculous knots in everything.  I cursed a lot and fiddled with the bobbin over and over again and eventually it worked itself out.

I bribed Adele with candy to get her to wear the costume but the hat didn't stay on too long.

Last night was a little tricky, as everyone was yelling about "The storms are a-comin'" but actually it was a bit anti-climactic.  We first decided to stick around our neighborhood - which is awesome for trick-or-treating.  There are lots of people out and everyone really gets into it.  But then we didn't see anyone else trick-or-treating, probably because of the supposed weather issues.  Se we decided to take the kids to the mall for indoor fun.  But when we got there all we could see was a giant line of people with no end or beginning in sight and very little actual trick-or-treating going on.  So then we went back home and there was only a little rain so Chris took the kids out while I waited on the porch for the few trick-or-treaters we had.  And I ate a bunch of candy because we didn't want it to go to waste, naturally.

So in the end the kids had fun and got lots of candy and came home damp but happy.

(Here's last year's Halloween post!)