Friday, July 27, 2012

The Summer of Being Three Marches On

I cleaned Lily Ruth's room the other day. It won't be too long before I stop doing that, and insist that she do it by herself... hopefully I won't have to add 'RIGHT NOW' too many times... After that, it won't be long before my uninvited presence in her room will be considered prying or snooping... aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! One Mama freak out a time, please!

For now, I love to go in and sort through her things. She tends to play with more of her toys if they're sorted in some manner, so every once in a while, I make that happen. This time, I started with her Special Drawer. The bottom drawer of her dresser is set aside for things that she especially treasures. We started it together - adding the things she was currently the most fond of - and since then, it has been up to her what is added or subtracted. I occasionally troll that drawer for missing items of my own, and am not surprised when I find them. She even has me follow her in there just before friends come over to play so that her most prized possessions can be put 'way up high' out of the fray.

Emptying out this drawer is a true and honest insight into her three-year-old brain. I found things that I expected like tiny dolphins, sticky frogs, plastic bracelets and princess cards (playing and Valentine versions); but I also found basil from our garden, rose petals from Nanny's house and what looked like either a carnation or a pomegranate flower. I found rocks, pencils, Hello Kitty lip balm, rings, the felt wallet that I made for her and random googly eyes.

I love the transparency of childhood. She has yet to develop any sneaky or hiding abilities. When she wants to keep something from me, she fumbles it behind her back and demands "Don't see this!" Things that she sees as special are put in special places, carried around proudly and shared with those that she loves. When do we learn to hoard and guard our treasures? How do I keep from teaching her that?


"MAMA!" Her voice cuts though the quiet of the house.

"MAMA!?" Her plea is followed by crying. Not a drama-queen-crocodile-tears-moment, but scared noises.

I round the corner to find her teetering on unsteady legs. Her tiny body wavers in the middle of her floor in sleepy uncertainty. I kneel in front of her and gather her in close. "What happened, Boo?" Her eyes close and her weight melts into me. "Yes" she replies. She pats my back softly as though I am the one who woke up alone. She kisses my cheek and takes for granted the fact that she'll be snuggled up to Daddy's head the next time that her eyes open.


Lily Ruth is sad. This is something that she decided quite deliberately once we got to her 'school day' today. We actually left at least half an hour before we normally are able to... mind you, this is still half an hour after the parent's day out program starts... and then I forgot to make her a lunch. Literally. Forgot. Didn't remember until I was far enough from the house to insure that I wasn't interested in turning around. So we went to Central Market and got her favorite things for lunch AND a new bag to hold them all. Good stuff. We were on a happy roll.

When we walked into the nursery, her friends were walking toward us to go up to story time. Lily Ruth was engulfed in a wave of happy voices and hugging bodies saying 'Lily! Lily Ruth! You're HERE! Let's GOOO!' She tucked her chin and plugged in her thumb. "We'll join you in a minute." I gave them time to get down the hall, and knelt in front of my daughter. The skin under her eyes was violet. Tears welled then spilled silently.I asked her to talk to me about why she was so sad. "Because, when you leave, I'm going be alone" she whispered. Holy cow. So she has chosen Friday morning (one day that I could spend achieving goals or napping - or BOTH if napping was my goal) to feel abandoned... in the middle of a group of people who love her without reservation.

I'm at a loss. I reassured her as best I could. I loved on her. I reminded her of the love around her. I reminded her of the fun she would have alllllll day. I talked about how important it was to CHOSE to have a good day. I even offered to pick her up early for a 'Mama/Lily Ruth Treat' before swim lessons. All to no avail. I put her in the lap of one of her favorite teachers, and turned to leave. A glance over my shoulder as I ran for the door showed her scooting down to sit alone on the floor; wrapped in a ball with more silent tears and her hair swinging forward to hide her face. That kid can work a room. *sigh*


I thought about this 'alone' business all the way home. Why would she even say that? Then I realized that it's me - she's pulling it straight off of me. I have felt very alone recently. I have lost all but facebook contact with most of my friends who work. My few stay-at-home mom friends have had busy summers with kids out of school and visiting/visits to family. I have felt alone and cut off. I've been resentful that I can't even find the time to write. I've made way too many crafts...

'Brave' dress, anyone?
... but I haven't addressed the fact that I'm lonely. Last night, for the first time in a long time, I offered it all up. I prayed for openness and acceptance. I prayed for gratitude and hope. I prayed for the ability to let GO. I prayed for the strength to receive these gifts when they are given. Today, I feel lighter.


Lily Ruth is an author. Writing books is her new passion. Our supply of tiny notebooks is depleted almost faster than I can replenish it, but it's worth every penny. She fills the pages with stickers, crayon, marker and pencil. She 'reads' me stories of pirates and fairies. She lines up her 'kids' in the Viking fort and weaves tales of princesses, dogs and saber-toothed tigers. Her stories vary wildly and verge in and out of nonsense. I love to sit outside the fort and listen to her incorporate every book she's been read, movie she's seen and person she's ever met. She often says things like 'and then Brad heard the commotion and came out to see.' Commotion?! Where does she learn this stuff?


I have a reoccurring feeling that this is a summer of Firsts, but since my kid is only three, um, every day is full of Firsts. But this summer has been particularly good.

Lily Ruth's Nanny took us to Family Camp. Lily Ruth decided to love the beach!!!

She also witnessed her first Variety Show, and attended her first DANCE PARTY! During said dance party, she performed her first YMCA, Chicken Dance and Electric Slide. She also followed her cousin around until he caved in and danced with her:

Since then we've kept the ball rolling with Firsts like First Time Off the Diving Board, First Time I Chose to Wear Cowboy Boots All Day:

and First Time to Use Gymnastic Equipment (a birthday party at the Little Gym):

This week included First Swimming Race and First Swim Race Victory! That girl can SWIM! It's too cute. I'll have to hold myself still long enough to take a picture for you :-)


p.s. I made Lily Ruth's Merida dress using an e-pattern (the A-Line Dress) purchased from Lil Blue Boo. It is a darling dress pattern and easy as pie. I modified it only slightly for my purposes, but fully intend to make it as directed soon. You should buy it and make some for yourself!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Keep Calm

This delightful reminder to stop taking myself so seriously made it's way bravely across the Atlantic Ocean. It weathered various hardships and survived the breaking of it's protective glass. Now it sits on my desk and mocks me. That's right - it mocks me. With it's beautiful green print and it's smug laissez-faire attitude. *sigh* If only it were that easy.

I have allowed myself to stress out again - big time. Ya'll know how I get, right? I have a problem that becomes a tail-chaser, and I practically turn myself to butter like the tigers in Little Black Sambo... or perhaps I could find a less racist comparison... This particular muddle is a well worn refrain: I need to go back to work but child care is mucho expensive - can we really afford to pay out an average of 2/3 of my wage in child care? Also, my career involves early and/or late hours including weekends and holidays. With a husband who travels for work (and therefore can't be reliable back-up), how can I go back to the spa? If I DO, then when will I see my family? This is what happened when we fell apart the first time! But if I don't go back to massage, how will I earn even enough to pay for child care never mind contribute to the household? BUT if I don't go back to work, will we EVER be able to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck?!... you see where this is heading, right? Mental instability and sleepless nights, that's where...

So I'm making stuff. Again. It's insane. I start to obsess, then I just shuffle zombie-like over to the computer. If I was already on the computer (say, looking for jobs), I just open a new tab for... wait for it... Pinterest, and start browsing for something that I can make NOW.

So, in addition to the macrame bracelets:

And the Viking fort and the Astrid costume and the garden, there is also some Celtic knot-work:

(toddler headband on the left & random, useless Celtic Heart Knot made from twine on the right)

Dream catchers woven into metal links:

(possibly to be made into bracelets or necklaces? possibly just because I like them :-/)

A new blanket for LR:

I bought the fabric and trim intending to make a blanket for our neighbor who was very pregnant at the time. When I got home, I realized that while the coral of the trim was one of the colors in the baby's room, the pattern and color combination were strictly my taste, and not my neighbor's taste at all... so it sat around waiting for me to have a crafting emergency... I finished it this past weekend in just under 2 hours... Lily Ruth LOVES it :-P

And now we come to what may be the death of me. Tiny pom poms. I saw a garland on Honestly WTF a few weeks back, and the thought of it has haunted me. I almost bought an actual pom pom maker (no lie - there IS such a thing), but then I saw the tutorial for making pom poms with a fork (A FORK?! I have one of those!), so I spent the $7 that I would have spent on the pom pom maker on tiny cards of yarn instead! Check me out:

*sigh* Well, I may not be gainfully employed full-time, but my life is gaining color, splash and spice... right? That counts... right? *double sigh* I wish that somebody would pay me to make all of this stuff. Anybody know a benefactor with a weakness for home-spun craftiness? And don't say 'Etsy' to me. Some of this stuff takes way more time to make than I could re-coup in selling prices. I want a flat-out benefactor or a full time job with child care. Make it happen. Toute de suite.

... I talked this all over with Kittyn - the one who sent me the Keep Calm picture - and she suggested that perhaps my angst is due to a sense of defeated expectations. I really didn't picture my life looking like this right now. Despite the fact that taken big-picture, my life is pretty damn good, I still expected to be in a different place right now. I mean, the big 4-0 is right around the corner. I fully expected to have more stuff figured out by now! I already went back to school and found a career that I love, so why isn't the rest of it all just falling into place? I expected to be working full time, and even working hard. What I didn't expect was constant uncertainty and/or worry. I expected to feel like a grown up... you know - steady job, bills paid, work all week & weekends are for family... grown up stuff... yet here I sit. Me. Just me in a 39-year-old body. When do the grown ups get here?

p.s. Aside from the blanket (which is me sewing two pieces of fabric together then adding a satin edge), all of these projects are on my Pinterest boards. You can find me as lilyruthsmama (big surprise). If you want/need a Pinterest invitation, just ask me :-)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lily Ruth Turned Three!

... and I forgot to tell you about it... My camera crapped out in the middle of candle-blowing-out pictures (or at least, that's what Lily Ruth's Daddy claims, but it seems to be fine now...), so my Mama was the one who captured the lion's share of images from the party. As wonderful as that is, now i can't get my CD-ROM drive to spin up, so I can't share any of her pictures :-/

Here's what I do have:

Just before the party: 'hiiiiii-YA!'

soooooooooooooooo cute!

We knew that we were going to have balloons, but when I got the ribbons out for strings, she asked for streamers!

Lily Ruth's Nanny made cake and cupcakes in ice cream cones - YUM!

a low-res cell phone photo of us - I always end up in that dress...
 All in all, it was a GREAT party. Lots of friends, lots of crazy, running, swimming, eating kids. The Viking fort was a huge hit. As were Daddy's balloon-figure-making skills. He spent the afternoon fashioning swords, dragons and Viking helmets with a tiny balloon pump and a giant bag of balloons. I was so sick of the balloon popping noise that they are now banned for at least another month, but everyone else was in heaven.

We said goodbye to the last of our friends around 9 pm (!!!) and finally wound down enough to sleep around 10:45... well worth it!

To celebrate the actual day of her birth, it was just the three of us, lots of hugs and a few presents. Since she tried to change the theme of the party at the last minute, I set our dining table in her character of choice, and we talked about how happy we were (and continue to be) when she joined our family. We did not have another cake or any more candy :-P

 I put a '3' candle in a cup... genius.

Strawberry Shortcake table setting with presents from Mama & Daddy :-)
It's good to be three - just ask Lily Ruth.