Cast on. Cast off.

Summer 2014 004

First Day.

Summer 2014 004

Last Day.


If you ever have to put a cast on your 3 year old it would be prudent to remember that one day that cast is gonna have to come off.  That day was today.  Our conversation on the way to the doctor:

Me:  Well honey you’re getting your cast off in a few minutes, isn’t that exciting?

3 Year old:  No, I’m going to be so disappointed.

Me:  Why?

3 Year old:  Because I won’t be able to show it to my friends anymore.  Or strangers.

Here is what I learned:

1.  It would have been a good idea to hire a babysitter so that I could have left my 15 month old at home.  There was no reason to traumatize both of them.

2. Kids are positioned on their backs for cast removal.  In order to comfort them you must awkwardly collapse your body on top of theirs while making sure your face can be seen by your baby.   This is of course so that they will see you grinning like a psycho during the sawing and then possibly feel better about the fact that your mother is lying on your sister while a stranger goes at her with a saw.

Summer 2014 0063.  Even though we discussed how the cast would come off with a saw it didn’t really sink in for my daughter until that saw turned ON.

4.  Once the saw (which looked less scary than an amputation saw but more scary than an electric turkey carver) was in motion my heretofore independent child began howling, “Mama!  Don’t leave me!  Cuddle me mom!  Right now!  AAAAHHHHH! Mom mom mom mom mom!  NOOOOOOO!”  Tears poured down her face, and suddenly the novelty of the cast was over.  My heart broke for her and all at once parenting didn’t feel quite so thankless.

5.  When my child finally got the cast off the part of her body that was previously shrouded in Gore-Tex it stunk. I wanted to put my nose somewhere less foul.  Like my own armpit.  I didn’t do this of course but I really, really wanted to.

6.  I saw the cuts the saw left on my daughter’s arm and felt an overwhelming urge to launch myself at the technician and bite them on the face.  Instead I sang, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” to my children until the urge passed.

7.  Just because the cast is off the arm is not back to normal.  She is still holding it up like a bird with a broken wing.  “It’s stiff,” she tells me.  “You’ll have to carry me.  And lift me up to the table, and put me in my car seat.  I can’t do it.”  I wonder how long this phase will last….

The best part of the experience was that there were no ticks hiding inside the cast- only a lone pine needle happy to free once more.




Toddler Leg Warmers from Old Socks

Yo20140105-150208.jpgu know you’ve got some lurking in a drawer.  They may have been there just since Christmas or maybe for years….. undesirable socks.  Old, ugly, or with a hole in the heel, they just sit there taking up valuable real estate.

Do you happen to know a toddler?  If so, you can turn your old socks into fantastic leg warmers in 10 minutes by following these directions.  I take no credit for this idea or the above directions.  I merely support the realization that the excitement of Christmas is over and everybody needs a pick me up, especially the little ones.

I made three pair of these recently in less than half an hour and the only sewing skills you need are the ability to cut and to sew in a straight line20140105-150244.jpg.  I put my daughter’s on over her leggings for a bit of extra warmth.  We keep our house fairly cold and wear sweaters indoors all winter.  Why not leg warmers too?  They’re also great for winter playground visits.  Old ski socks would be great for this project if you have some.  In my case I used knee socks that had always been a little too big in the foot area.  Happy sewing!

Orange Friday

20131204-142736.jpgBlack Friday.  Sounds so ominous.  So frightening.  So ugly.  And it is, isn’t it?

The event known as Black Friday is an abhorrent display of the very worst side of humanity.20131204-142853.jpg

This year my family stayed home on Black Friday where I sewed my daughter an orange flannel dress with white bicycles on it.  We bought nothing and took our kids to the park in the afternoon.  We modeled something I hope we can replicate every year forever.  The ability to stay away from the madness.  The ability to value fresh air over questing for large amounts of junk. The ability to make unique gifts with our own ideas and our own hands.

Winter 2013 304

When I see my little girl in her orange dress I hope it will serve as a reminder to buy only what I need, to always place time spent with family over time spent in a germ-infested mall full of strangers, and most of all- to never succumb to the desperate20131204-142829.jpg motivating cry, “But I have nothing to give so and so!”

We ALWAYS have something to give.  Our hands are not worthless.  We ARE capable of making something for someone else that they will value more than a $100 TV.  Be creative.  What would you give someone if you HAD to make it yourself?  A pie?  A scarf?  A video?  A bird feeder?  A flower press?  A giant wooden xylophone?  A piggy bank?

It’s an Easy Life

Inspired by a recent comedy clip by Michael McIntyre.  Particularly the line, “Things you don’t even consider to be things become nearly impossible after you have children.”

If Monday is indicative of how the rest of the week will go then I think I might need to use some of my non-existent vacation time.

Before having children things were as simple as they seemed.  Now….. Bah!  Yesterday’s family trip to the fabric store yielded a toddler protesting so loudly about being strapped into the stroller that I just grabbed a zipper and ran.  If I’d had a minute I might have noticed that zippers come in two varieties- open bottom and closed bottom.  While it is possible to convert an open bottom to a closed, the reverse seems to still be eluding the innovative minds of the day.  This became evident after I’d sewn the non-separating zipper into my daughter’s super hero cape only to find that I couldn’t open it.  Who ever heard of a super hero who couldn’t open their cape?  Ridiculous.

Braving the fabric store a second day in a row and as a solo parent this time, I managed to pick up a zipper that will hopefully do the trick.  In the time it took me to get both kids into the double stroller, into the store, through the line, and back into the car, I had to perform most of my party/mom tricks including initiating I Spy, singing “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” in public, etc. and all while avoiding aisles in which either child could reach out and grab things like presser feet, and so on.  In addition, an elderly lady in a walker seemed to cut us off at every turn, smiling at me as if to say, “Oh how funny we’ve ended up at an impasse again!”  I like to think that my return smile did not say, “Move it or I will cut you.”

When we got home I plopped both kids in the stroller again to walk two houses over to our tiny post office.  The one that I can almost always count on being closed whenever I need to use it.  Such as any day after 4PM or before 10AM and Saturdays before 10:30.  With a big box under one arm, steering the double stroller down the side of the 50 mph road with the other it belatedly dawned on me that today is Veteran’s Day.  Crud.  Upon leaving the closed and empty post office I suddenly noticed blood all over my toddler’s face.  “My lip got bumped,” she told me.  Upon examination I found a large chunk of her lip missing.  Sometimes I get a bit angry about so many sidewalks around here being made out of uneven brick.  Yes, it’s a historic place.  Yet consider that we are living in the age of strollers and wheelchairs and bikes and skateboards (and walkers!).  Gah!

The absurdity of the day continued.  We returned home.  While bringing my baby inside the house, my toddler (who refuses to consider the potty as an option) ran into the screen house and pooped.  For the third time today.  And it wasn’t even lunchtime yet.  When I tried to bring her inside it turned into a wild chase wherein I tried to catch her and pick her up in a way that did not put her posterior anywhere near my face.  Impossible.  She went noodley-legs on me and I had to throw her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes.  It was not a good smell my friends.  By the time she was changed and settled with some crayons my baby was screaming his head off for his beloved squash puree.

Daring to hope that we could leave the lunchtime chaos behind us, I wiped my daughter down and watched her run across the living room.  Toward our one nice chair.  With macaroni and cheese stuck to her butt.  “Wait!  Stop!”  She actually stopped.  Just in time for our dog (who is using only three legs at the moment due to a suspected torn ACL) to gimp over and eat said macaroni.  Well, at least that worked out.

And to think there was ever a time when I just got in my car ALONE, drove somewhere, and accomplished something easily and in a timely fashion.  It sounds like a dream.  There was also a time when I could correctly identify the current day of the week and my present age.  If I still have these skills they are quickly leaving me.  Well that’s alright- less to remember:)

DIY Piggy Bank: Cheap and Tacky

20131029-203231.jpgAlthough my daughter is only two and a half (at least a decade away from buying overpriced coffee drinks and supporting bad music) believe it or not we had a pretty big reason to go ahead and construct a piggy bank today.  Here it is in two words;  loose change.  It’s everywhere.  My husband is like a subdued version of King Midas.  Everything his butt touches turns to change.  And everything my son touches goes in his mouth.  So as you can see it would be a mighty quick trip for all the household change to find a new home.

We were sorely in need of an immediate solution.  There was a shoe box sitting on the desk.  Cue the Indiana Jones theme song: we had our answer.  Fortunately we also had a good supply of freezer paper, some tape, and a bucket full of “to be used one day” craft materials.

Step 1:  Cut a slit in the top of your box, rip off a large section of freezer paper and begin singing the Mary Poppins bank song “When you deposit tuppence in a bank account 20131029-202924.jpg
Soon you’ll see
That it blooms into credit of a generous amount.”

It’s never to early to start teaching them show tunes.

20131029-203011.jpgStep 2:  Gift wrap the shoebox with freezer paper or butcher paper.  Preferably you will have a top and a bottom to wrap separately.  Alas, we had no such thing.  Still, a box with an attached lid is better than no box at all.  So what if we have to rip off all the paper open one day to finally get to the change.  We’ll just hang it from our track lighting and pretend it’s a pinata.


20131029-203146.jpgStep 3:  Settle your toddler in for the long run with plenty of crafty stuff, crayons (old diaper wipe containers make great crayon homes), markers, stickers, google eyes, rubber stamps, last year’s Starbucks stickers, and anything else ya got.  All’s fair in “let’s keep my toddler busy til dinnertime”.

20131029-203208.jpg  Eventually your toddler’s attention span will run out just like it always does.  With any luck your project will look remotely done by then.

Step 4:  Christen your toddler “Keeper of the Piggy Bank” and let them know it is their duty to collect all loose change on a daily basis.  Be sure to mention that the next time a penny comes out of the baby’s butt it will be obvious they didn’t do their job.

Step 5:  Start looking under furniture or just in the middle of the floor for loose change.




A Day in the Life or a Life in the Day?

I stuck my head out of the fog today and noticed that it is Monday.  Again.  How does this keep happening?  Parenthood has brought with it the reality of having incredibly long days but weeks that are gone in a blink.  At the end of the day in the one blissful hour I sometimes Summer 2013 006have to myself (during which I must also take a shower, sweep the kitchen, clean up dinner, and brush my teeth) I sometimes find myself thinking, “Dear God.  How on earth did I make it through today?”  Today was no different.

7AM wake-up for everyone.  It goes like this: Toddler wakes up.  Begins singing.  Baby hears it over the monitor in our room and wakes up.  He begins squirming next to me.  I wake up and attempt to breathe in and out a few times before my 14 hour shift of being Mom begins (this rarely happens).  Husband wakes up , reads a book to the toddler at her request, changes a diaper or two and gets ready for work.  Nursing!

7:30- As I am just settling the toddler down with her oatmeal and fruit I am interrupted by a screaming baby.  Checking on him confirms the worst.  An up-the-back waist to neck poo-plosion has occurred.  The only option is an immediate and merciless bath.

8AM- I finally make it back to the toddler who has wiped now-drying oatmeal all over herself, her hair, and the table all in the name of experimentation.  “Look Mom!  I’m rubbing it in!”

9:30AM- The appointed park playdate time finds us still at home cleaning up another stinky tush and starting the first laundry load of the day.  Nursing!Summer 2013 004

10:15- Finds us at the playground (finally) but no one else we know seems to be there.  Instead a big kid of 7 or so attaches herself to my toddler and follows her around the park in a somewhat creepy way.  The grandparents accompanying her seem to think this is normal.  I try to go with it.  UNTIL she starts sticking her head into the stroller to investigate the baby.  I begin to sense Grizzly Mom kicking in and I remove us from the situation before my alternative personality can take hold.

More diapers!  Snacktime!  Nursing!

12:30- Toddler nap.

12:45- Baby teething episode.  Earplugs are located and used.  Nursing!

1:50- Monthly pest control worker shows up an hour and forty minutes early thus causing the dog to growl and bark during NAPTIME.

More diapers!  Nursing!Summer 2013 002

3- All of us escape the house to the relative peace of a nearby college campus where I proceed to lead the way toward a lovely fountain with my daughter’s lunch/snack picnic in hand.  As she dunks her hands in the water I notice a large waterlogged blue-tailed skink floating by.  It is followed by a second waterlogged creature which upon closer inspection turns out to be a mouse.  Toddler is banished to a bench and the promised fountain dip is put off until another day.  A brief attempt at explaining the difference between dead and alive is made.

More diapers!  Nursing!

5:30- Husband comes home and a semblance of a dinner plan comes together.  In this case it turns out to be fried potatoes with mushrooms, onion, and hamburger served with a green salad and steamed beets.  The baby’s imminent screaming warranted a choice- soothe him or add more water to the beets?  If you’ve ever tried to ignore a screaming baby then the choice is clear.  The pot will never be the same again.  Scorched beyond recognition.  I think our house will smell this bad forever.Summer 2013 009

Nursing!  Diapers!

8- Toddler and baby are asleep.  The temperature in the house reaches 83 degrees thanks in part to the beets which steamed for so long. Husband tells me, “You’re better at scorching things than anyone I know.”  He is right.  I developed that skill after we reproduced.  We proceed to do the dishes, sweep the floor, fold the laundry, and exchange a brief, “How was your day?”  Neither party is able to absorb  anything the other says due to exhaustion.  And also the fact that the air is acrid from the beet disaster and we have to spend most of our energy  blinking and coughing.

8:30- Baby wakes up.  More nursing.

9- Shower.  Ahhhh.

10- Eating peanut butter out of the jar.

Somehow I’ll get up in the morning and live another life between the hours of 7 and 10.  I’ll do it the next day and the next for years to come.  Then next week or the week after the skies will clear and I’ll say, “Really?  It’s Monday again.  Huh.”