Monday, January 31, 2011

Girl-chick: Spirited

We have had to deal with a contradictory child all weekend past. If I told her the sky was blue, she would probably turn around and tell me it is actually a mottled pink.If I told her it was snowing out, she would most likely retort that she was boiling. to. death.


My five-going-on-fifteen is quite a handful. Don't get me wrong, she's no more special than the five-year-old next door whom I am sure also gives her parents five kinds of grief before breakfast. Some days, she's a bag of tears by the doorway, absolutely refusing to proceed to do whatever it is we have asked. Tonight, she had a melt-down because she was in the middle of crafting after baths and had to finish up what she was doing but didn't quite finish up in the time allocated to her.

We don't sla-bam the kids with stopping or starting any activity. We don't just pick up and say, "OK time to x... or time to stop y...". We recognize early on that both kids do not handle transition well. They like to be warned first. Our days involve many many periods of yelling at reminding the kids, "Five more minutes! Five more minutes and then we have to go!" - we're the crazy parents who sit by the side of the park with reminders. If not, we're guaranteed to have a show!

As luck would have it, our favorite nursery school teacher is also a child psychologist! She has been a faithful dispenser of sound advice and timely suggestions in times of behavioural changes in the past two years. We relish parent-teacher interviews with her simply because she knows our child. Down to the very core. She manages her behaviour and sets her on the right track.

Why am I writing about this? We certainly aren't the only parents with these tricks or have these trials so far. To the outside world, our kids are well-behaved, well-meaning little girls. They know their "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me". In fact, all our friends drop their jaws in awe every time my children ask, politely, "May I please be excused?" at the supper table. They know their manners.

Oh yes. I am writing this because I have found a book that appears as if it was written for me. The parent of the child who fits the description to a T. "Raising your Spirited Child" was loaned to us by our very friendly nursery teacher. I have so far only read through the first few chapters in which she gives an intro as to what a Spirited child was; someone who was more demanding, more intense, more loud, more rambunctious - just more. It's like she snuck in and wrote a chapter on my child. Word for word. I find myself nodding in agreement with her more often than not. I can hardly wait to get to the rest of the book that will hopefully show me how to cope and how to deal.

This all makes me wonder: what was I like as a little girl?

Friday, January 28, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

*** ***

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finished! (and some crafty happenings...)

Here is a pic of the little Tater in a (blog) finished Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress. I need to figure out what buttons to put on it. This came about because her sister asked for a Jump Rope dress for her birthday. The Girl-Chick tromped through my stash and picked out all the purples she could find and asked for it. I will post it later in a roundup of her birthday gifts. And then Tater sidles up and says, "For me?" and bats those great big eyes of hers. Who am I to refuse? I only have the larger pattern so I just waited until I finished the one for the Girl-chick's dimensions (the smallest size in the pack) and tried it on the Tater to figure out where to chop off and resize. Tater is on the small side - she wears size 12-18 months and is close to being 2-1/2 years old. BUT. She is tall and blessed not just with long legs but a long torso too. The resize wasn't too difficult. I left the width as is and Frenched the seams more generously than Girl-Chick's. I chopped off about two inches off the bodice and Frenched that seam too. I did the hems for the skirt and cuffs by hand and I was able to make up my own fabric origami to leave the lengths intact (for future lengthening) and still make it pretty.

Here is a picture of the some of the stacks of fabric I managed to sort through today...

The Girl-Chick's teacher is in the midst of packing for a monumental move to the other coast (in about two years) and she sent me an e-mail the other day asking me if I wanted some more fabric to add to my stash. Seems she (literally) stumbled into a suitcase full of stuff from almost 20 years ago. Of course I said yes. So today, I sorted through it all and categorized them. Some of the prints on the wovens are cute but have "Calhoun Sportswear" printed all over it. Hmm... must check that out. Tater has already fallen in love with the frogs and claimed it for her own. No idea what she thinks she wants to do with it. There was a generous yardage of hearts fabric too which I can pair with some of the broadcloth to make up some skirts for Valentine's Day coming up. What you can't see in the picture is a similar-sixed pile of knits in various wonderful colors to make up summer t-shirts and dresses with and a somewhat smaller pile of fashion fabrics - slinky stuff that I am not sure I am ready to tackle. Seems like I will have my hands full with projects for a while.

Speaking of projects, I have bit the bullet and have unlurked myself!
1) I signed up for the Sewing Buddy Project 2011 being organized by Deborah. I am so excited to see what happens in the upcoming year!
2) I signed up for a scrap swap hosted by Tara - e-mail has been sent to my swap partner and preferences discussed. I shall be assembling those scraps shortly. Only problem for me is... what's 10 oz of scraps look like? It doesn't sound like a lot... What if I just found an envelope and crammed it full of whatever would fit in there? Wonder if that would work? Hmmmm....

I want to do more in the community. I want to contribute more and this is my first small step.

And finally, here is another picture of the Tater in her owls dress! (I think she likes it.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Catch-up/Tater: Her poor sore hands

We knew what we were getting into.

We both have strong family histories of the allergic cascade - asthma, allergies and eczema so we knew that our kids would have some combination of the three.

Girl-chick has severe food-based allergies and is also violently allergic to animal dander - we took her to a friend's house once which had a very friendly dog and cat but by the time we left, her cheeks were bleeding. Her asthma has caused us numerous alarming trips to the Children's Hospital but right now is controlled by Singulair, Flovent and Ventolin.

Tater wheezes a bit but I hesitate to say she is asthmatic. She is also severely allergic to eggs and we have not tested her for the non-Top 10 yet (I think that's 2012). She does have the skankiest eczema I have ever seen though.

For the most part, we keep her happy by greasing her up frequently and in globs. When her skin is very dry she tends to cry as moisturizers sting when applied to dry skin. Her knees and elbows we keep the scalies down with some hydrocortisone.

Her hands. Her poor hands. We cannot prevent those hands from cracking into great big wounds. We cannot keep her hands from being sore all the time. We try to keep it moisturized as much as we can but it is always red, chapped and scaly.

One day we will look back on this and remark how lovely her hands have turned out. For now, the battle continues with some stronger steroids and canesten. Think athlete's foot, on her hands (ewwwww).

Catch-up/Girl-chick: Birthday!

*I'm sorry to readers hoping to see pictures. No one remembered to take any. I do have a video of the cake/singing/blowing of candles but I have to figure out which camera it is on (mine, MIL's or Da Man's BlackBerry. As soon as I find more, I'll update. Promise*


My Girl-chick is Five. How is it possible that it has been five whole years since she was a teeny tiny mewling infant in my arms?

When I was growing up, we were not ones to fuss too much about a birthday, prefering to keep it within the family. Once our own kiddos arrived, I found myself planning birthday parties and activities and gathering supplies for the loot bag tub which has now swelled from one small box to two Rubbermaid tubs and a large-ish cardboard box mysteriously labeled "Misc. Impromptu Gifts".

I really don't like having to dig through my kids' loot bags when they go to others' birthday parties and toss out all the stuff that they can't have such as candies and cookies which may have allergens in them and little toys that are choking hazards or have dubious "non-toxic" claims. So, I aim for quality rather than quantity and I generally also go homemade inasmuch as possible.

That's a rather large commitment. I find myself calculating the overall monetary worth of a loot bag (can't be seen as being competitive to the other moms out there!) and the time it has taken to put one together. One year I made little Japanese-inspired purses and filled it with a flower clippie and a ribbon hairband. The boys received a small car play-mat with a Matchbox car tucked into the garage. But then I wonder: is that enough? Does it stack up to what the other parents are doing, tossing in random dollar store items into a plastic bag? Or is it too much?

Anyway, I have no idea why I went there and that is not the purpose of this catch-up post.

'Twas the Girl-chick's birthday some time last week.

I woke her up by singing Happy Birthday to her to which she squealed: "Five? FIVE?! Am I five now??" (No, b'y, you're like 16!).
The rest of the day was a normal day for us. Normally we take the day off and the birthday kid gets to do something special AFTER a visit to the doctor for a yearly check-up. Unfortunately, our doctor is not available on certain days of the week, reserving those times for the sickest kids. So, we opted to keep the day normal and make the next day the fun day!

When they got home for supper, it was pre-arranged that we would have pizza for supper and then cake! We had some friends over for this small family birthday - Tater's god-parents and also YoungMasterG and MrG as they are the neighbours we hang out with the most. We specifically requested no gifts from invitees. She was already getting quite a fair bit from us.

The cake was a simple affair - she wanted chocolate, in the shape of a heart. I iced it with Vanilla buttercream and covered it with pink marshmallow fondant. Mmmm... It didn't last long!

The next day we went to the Museum of Nature!

Yes ma-hunny. You are now five. No longer a baby, but still a little girl.

Friday, January 21, 2011

{this moment} and apologies

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Things have been busy. I have plans for next week's postings but for now, I have work to get on top of! Apologies in the thousands...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the subject of sleep...

Excitement is at an all-time high around here this week as two people are celebrating their birthdays! On the same day!! It shall (mostly) all be revealed in the fullness of time (Yes, I do actually speak like that in real life and to real people...)

Today, on the subject of the Tater, I thought I would sketch out a subject near and dear to my heart: Sleep (or lack thereof).

Both my kiddies are terrible sleepers! That is the # 1 deterrent to having more. I have always been green-eyed at my girl friends who could proudly proclaim that their own sprog slept for 6 hours, 10 hours through the night from about 3 weeks onwards. A neighbour had her baby the same time as Tater was born and that kid was sleeping 12 hour stretches through the night and would nap for a minimum of 2 hours twice a day! That's 16 free hours at least! From the time she was a week old!

That was not my life! I was up and down like a yo-yo for *at least* 2 years. Girl-chick now sleeps like a log, through anything. A Harley could zoom around in the room or a battle tank could fire off a couple rounds and she would still be out cold. Waking her up is pure torture! So is getting her to settle down to sleep. (But that's another story).

My little Tater, hovering around 2-1/2 now, still doesn't sleep well nor consistently. Some nights she wakes up screaming around 2300 but if I or Da-Man get there in time to shush her back to sleep, she's not awake and she curls right back up and slumbers until we have to wake her up too. Some nights she will sleep through that midnight call and wake around 0400 instead! Those are the hard ones. Sometimes, she settles herself down. Most times, she starts wailing until a sleepy someone (usually me) stumbles over to soother her. Even that is inconsistent! Some nights she will gladly cuddle in the chair for a few minutes and drop back to sleep. Other nights, she wants one thing only. Mummybed.

I have nothing against co-sleeping. Both Da-Man and I have accepted the children into the family bed. On weekends we cuddle up to watch TV, talk and read books and listen to the girls giggle. They are boisterous and we have bruised kidneys to show for it but we also have good memories of being a warm and cosy family unit. Both girls spent a massive amount of time in the bed as infants because it was easier to nurse them and it was warm (and who wouldn't want to snuggle with a little sleeping baby?). When they got older, they got squirmier. Some mornings, the Tater is rolling around and squirming and driving her head and feet in different directions, making it hard for us to settle back down. That was this morning. No amount of cuddling would settle her down in her own bed, no amount of threatening to send her back to her own bed would get her to settle down in our bed.

When this ends, (and I know it will), I will miss those days but for now, I am armed with my sixth cup of tea of the morning to stay awake and work while she is off to daycare (possible grumpy and definitely squirmy).

Friday, January 14, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment}
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

*** ***

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm busy

Yes indeedy!

I have this week alone:
1) an Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress half constructed for a little birthday girl.
2) another O + S Jump Rope Dress after that for the birthday girl's sister - BUT I only have size 4 to 8 and I need to check the fit and decide where to scale down for the little one.
3) summer clothes!! Yes, it is not even mid-winter yet but I have to keep ahead of the game. I have pulled out many cut pieces and I am putting the final touches on them so they can be worn this summer. Simple things like pillowcase dresses and shirred sundresses. I tried one on the Tater yesterday to mark strap placement and such. She loved it. But I think I may be ripping out the shirring and re-doing it. Looked too tight to me. Maybe space them out better.
4) many, many recons from the pile. I have cut up some old t-shirts to make bloomers to go under skirts, old dresses that are too short are being reclaimed as skirts, and some butt ugly dresses from the 80s (I mean seriously folks, those poofy sleeves!) have been stripped down to be plain ol' skirts and salvaged trim for projects.

This is what my office looks like today...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tater: Whirlwind

In our house we have a saying: "Tater loves like a bulldozer".

She loves with such fierce emotion that she literally bowls you over! When she is excited, her whole body trembles with excitement. When she is happy, she is full on 120% hap-hap-happee!

This little puzzle is also a dichotomy. When she was little, for the longest time, she would not smile. Not for anybody, not at anybody. Later, Mamma would draw out a slow smile. But it was not a guarantee. No, Mamma had to work for it! No amount of tickling would elicit giggles, no level of Peek-a-boo would be rewarded with grins. She would not look anyone in the eye.

Now, she is still slow to react, she is still hesitant and shy, preferring to hang off Mamma's legs but the people she loves, the carers she bonds with, she LOVES with all her heart!

This is a completely random post with a completely random pic. They gre grassheads from the Chirp magazine a while back around Hallowe'en. They're still sprouting a few months later and we are considering giving them a trim.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Girl-chick: Sliding!

We went sliding over the weekend because we now have snow again after that unfortunate post-Christmas melt. Things were steadily coming down since the week began and by the weekend, we had about a foot of nice fresh powder.

And what do Canadian kids do when there is fresh powder on the ground? They go sliding!

We first went to the little hill at the school yard just across from our house. It was okay. Not too bad.

We started with going down forwards...

... and backwards...

We went bellydown with the board...

... and without.

They pushed each other down the hill...

... and attempted skating...

Finally, we made a snow angel

and a snow creature

before trudging home.

We're going again next weekend.

Friday, January 7, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

*** *** ***

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tater: We wish you a Mewwy Kwifmas...

Yes, the Day is over. But today (Yes, I am a day late with the Tater's day and she is pre-empting Da Man with an Important Announcement) is Little Christmas, the Twelfth Day so it is still apropos.

I have to log this. I absolutely have to. It is too cute for words and come the same time next year, it may not manifest itself again. And I have to record it somewhere.

Here is the Tater singing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" only her version is ever so slightly cuter:

For those without the Deciphertron Widget (TM) v2.3, she is saying:
We wish you a Mewwy Kwifmas and a Happp-pee Noo Youu (all done!)

Today is Little Christmas. I mentioned that earlier didn't I? It is the twelfth day of Christmas. I think it's lords-a'leaping or something but we don't have little lords floating around here so Mrs Santa will do. Every year, on Little Christmas, Mrs Santa leaves a small sack of goodies just like the Mr did a mere 12 days ago. Where the jolly fella gives out extravagant things like toys and candy, the sweet little missus is more practical: Mrs Santa brings a new toothbrush and washcloth to the kiddies! This year, Mrs Santa is also bringing to the Tater and Girl-chick some bathtub paints along with the washcloth because she believes fun should be had even in the bath tub. And, to top it all off, because the missus does like a little bling (hint! hint! Santa!) the little girls are also getting necklaces.

*I promise to update with pictures as soon as I get them tonight!*

I rummaged about and found some cute gift bags in our gift bag stash (and has since been folded neatly back into it) and had this waiting for them when they got home. I used their bling as tags:

Girl-chick: "I've ALWAYS wanted a new toothbrush! How did she know?"

Tater showing Da Man what flavors of paint she got.

And a Happ-pee new You to you all! Tomorrow, the tree goes down and we put away all the Christmas decorations for another 350-some-odd days.

Girl-chick: Discovering sewing

As promised (and we'll see how long this lasts), here is the first post of the first Monday of a new year (LOL I am TWO days late!). Today is the Girl-chick's day....

For Christmas, Girl-chick received a small learn-to-sew kit in her stockings (no idea where on earth I picked it up now!). I figured she was at the right age and perhaps some time this year, we will actually break into the little Singer she received for her third birthday from a well-meaning friend.

She did well.

It's still half done because it was started late in the day and then the rest of the day kinda intervened BUT, she got the hang of it! She was shown maybe once or twice what to do and she followed along. I see the self-satisfaction in her eyes and I know I have sparked something.

I am a proud mamma today.

'Twas a good start...

There was concentration...

The needle flew with flair!

For now, it sits on a dresser in the kitchen, half done because we are now back in the routine. She does remember it though and we will pick it back up again soon enough.