Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snip snip

143: Steady hands
Moira is fascinated with scissors lately. She recently figured out, after watching me cut out something for her, that if you push the scissors forward, you can cut all the way through something. Before this she had just been making snips around the outside of her art. Now our house is covered with tiny little pieces of paper.
I am thinking that it's time to work on decorating the little play area in our kitchen, so we stopped to look at paint chips the other day. They didn't have the kind of paint I wanted (low VOC), but I let her pick out some colors anyway, figuring we would return them the next time we went to gym class.
She sat down to work with her scissors after nap that day, and asked for the paint chips, "the colors." I figured this would be a good time to try out precision cutting. I pointed out the white lines separating each color on the strip and asked her to cut along those.
Paint chip collage
She did a pretty good job. When she got bored with cutting, I suggested she make a collage, which she half halfheartedly agreed to. She actually made two, but this one was my favorite. The other one is hanging up in her bedroom now, so I think that one may be her favorite. We still have a few uncut paint chips, and a bunch of cut ones. I'll have to see if she wants to practice precision again later.

For the record, I leave her alone with the safety scissors on a semi regular basis. We've had to have a few conversations about leaving them at the table and most importantly, pointing them away from yourself while you are walking around with them, but she has yet to cut anything other then paper with them. I expect she will try soon enough, or it's possible that she has tried, but her grip isn't strong enough and the blades aren't sharp enough for her to have succeeded. Only time will tell.

Friday, January 28, 2011

{This Moment}

145: Moira's new closet
Originally uploaded by Maydela

Inspired by SouleMama, 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

Update! New lessons learned

Moira did indeed successfully deploy her breathing techniques the few times she got worried about a kid playing near her.
And then lunch happened.
I made the mistake of putting the pitas for our sandwiches in her lunchbox, and the tuna fish in mine. My theory was that the excitement about the tuna fish, which she really loves, would outweigh needing to share "her" pitas. Not so much. There was a complete and utter melt down. And unfortunately, the best way to help her calm down in these cases is to remove the problem from her eyesight, which I couldn't really do.
We talked, and I offered lots of options for calming down and her choice was a drive home. And indeed, as soon as we were in the car and she had her lunch, with the extra pitas removed she was completely cheerful.
I didn't actually get to talk to the friend we were meeting, longer then to say goodbye. She pointed out that Moira is almost three and this is what that looks like most of the time. It helps me to remember that she will settle down emotionally a bit soon enough.
And next time I decide to assemble some lunch part on sight, all the ingredients will be in my lunch box, not hers.

Lessons learned

I planned for us to go to the park today, since our regular Thursday babysitter is sick and can't make it this week. I even put out the call on Facebook, so we will be joined by one of our friends. She called to let me know they are running late, and when we were done talking, Moira wanted to know who had called. I told her.
"I don't want them to play at the park with us," she screamed and immediately started crying. I tried to calm her down, but her immediate reaction combined with my current low emotional reserves meant my reaction was to tell her to suck it up.
Not so helpful.
So then I told her we both needed to calm down and we would talk before we went to the park. She told me when she was ready to go, and we sat down to talk and snuggle. She also untied the bow on my shirt, which I guess is why I stopped wearing it long enough ago that she doesn't remember it.
I told her we were going to the park to have fun, and that other kids would be there, also playing. She didn't have to play with them, but they would be there and that was okay. Then I asked what she could do if she started getting upset.
"You want to look at bees?"
"No Mommy! Bees!" (demonstrates breathing)
That's right. She even stopped doing the puppy breaths and does deep breaths like I do, when she remembers, or is willing to be reminded. I pointed out that her two favorite things to do at parks (swings and slides) are solo activities, so she can always do that if she doesn't want to play. And now she's happy and I'm calm and we are ready to go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Self reliance

Moira loves to do things by herself, of course. She's super excited that we are going to Pie for lunch today and she will get "my own pie, not your pie?"
Right now, after a long morning of screaming because she wanted 7 zillion things before getting dressed, each one forgotten as soon as she thought of a new one, and me refusing to do anything before she got dressed, she is sitting on my lap for a much needed cuddle. She has very recently - since Monday - decided that I can kiss her sometimes, so I kissed the back of her head.
"Why you kiss my head Mommy?"
"Because I love you."
"No, I love me. You stop loving me."
"Sorry kid, that's not going to happen."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ta da!

Moira's first "performance." We missed class last week, so I was unprepared for Show Off day. Also, suddenly there are twice as many kids in the class then there used to be. That must mean that vacations are over.
Everyone got a trophy and to pose on the #1 spot after for pictures. Moira wanted to drink from her trophy at first, but now she's decided to show it to Daddy, who will be so happy. I asked what the trophy is for and she said it was because she was so proud.
Sounds good to me.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I decided the best way to deal with the after holiday crankiness on both our parts was to engage in more activities. First we tried color mixing again which wasn't a huge hit in April, but Moira loved this time. She spent a long time moving colors around, mostly to the point where she filled a few sections of the ice cube tray up completely and then asked for more "paint." I cleaned out and refilled the ice cube tray once, but it was a good 45 minutes before she decided she was done.
233: Tower of cookies
The next day we made playdough for the first time in a long time. She has been asking for this a lot lately, and I've been putting off making more for unknown reasons. This did not hold her attention for as long, which was a bummer since I was canning beans while she played, but she was much more deliberate with the dough. This picture is her stack of cookies. She was also happy to do all the clean up this time, which I think will mean I'm more willing to give her playdough. You know, if the extent of my work is opening the box of toys and handing her the tupperware of dough.
As soon as she was done with her cookies, she wanted to know what I was doing and I when I told her I was making beans, she immediately asked to play with her beans. I found that interesting since she had appeared to totally forget about them in the last few months, and the last few times she played with them, her enjoyment was half hearted at best. This time she was gleeful and told me all about how she would scoop them and pour them. As suggested in the comments on my first post about them, I put a sheet underneath which did help contain the spills. This time, every time beans fell on the sheet, she immediately scooped them back up. I think I had to put two beans back in the box when we were putting them away.
I have also admitted to myself that Moira is going to waste a lot of paper for the next few years, or as Walker rephrased it for me, CONSUME a lot of paper. Thursday and Friday of last week, I printed up some worksheets for her. I can't find the websites I was using now, but they were mostly of the tracing and draw a line from the mommy to baby animal variety. I explain the point of each sheet when I give it to her, but if she wants to draw a circle around everything, or just color on the whole page, I try to let that be okay. I am amused by how many of these worksheets have answer keys, which I suppose makes sense if you are grading a bunch of them at once and need to know what the pattern is 'supposed' to look like, although Moira prefers to not have her lines cross and frequently draws all the way around the page to get from one side to the other. I also didn't 'correct' her when there were lines from both the bunny and the horse to the carrot, since we know for a fact that horses eat carrots. I did point out that the horse eats hay too, so the horse had two lines.
Please close the door
This was something I bought as a Christmas present and then we forgot to set it up. Turns out that was a good idea, since it's much larger then I expected. Moira has decided it is a home for her Polly Pockets, and they like to take naps in there after they get married. I've been trying to explain the difference between a father and a husband to her, since every bride is marrying her father, according to Moira. But then, since each married couple goes to take a nap at "they Nain & Grumpy's house" immediately after the ceremony, we can assume that she doesn't have a realistic idea of what a wedding is all about.
Working on sunshine
I have also been working on a few of my own projects. I intend for this quilt to end up in our tv room so I can stop grabbing the down comforter from the guest room when I get chilly.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quilting candy

237: Pirate Pinwheels
I finished this quilt top today. Most of the work was done yesterday, I just had to put the end rows on for it to be finished. Most of the pinwheels were made by the lovely ladies in my quilting group for the 2009 round robin. I was originally thinking it was for on of Walker's nephews, but now I think it will live in our tv room. I have some of the pirate fabric (in the big pinwheel top left corner) and a bunch of the blue watery fabric from the sashing left, so hoepfully that will be enough for the backing.
Then because I've been feeling discouraged a lot lately, like for months, I decided to do some quick easy projects to give away.
Baby quilt
(I forget the line this charm pack is from. It's so girly, but I really like the large scale prints)
Super quick charm quilts to be used as baby playmats! Each of these took maybe a half an hour to assemble, because I didn't have to cut out the fabric, or think much about the layout.
These might end up being presents for all the currently pregnant mothers in our play group, as the yearly baby shower is approaching, but I don't know, would that be weird? It will only happen if I make enough that the last person choosing still gets a choice, and if I can make it clear that my feelings won't be hurt if someone doesn't want one. Do you think this would be weird? I don't know some of these moms at all well.
I finished another top that's more of an eye spy thing, and started yet another one. Making these is instant gratification, I really like that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holey Moley

Holey Moley
Originally uploaded by Maydela
I wasn't going to upload any more skiing videos for a long time, but I finally looked at this one from the beginning of the month and I'm amazed.
That's some serious skiing. Apparently she started being able to turn too, but she got distracted.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moira Recommends: Accidentally AP Books

These are all authors that Moira loves, and that I love too because they are great examples of gentle parenting or why it's important to listen to your kids or other things that align well with our parenting style. There are a number of books Moira loves that make me cringe every time I read, like the Curious George books.
The Oliver and Amanda Easy Reader series by Jean Van Leeuwen - The parent pigs in this series are very creative, gentle and engaged with their kids. When Amanda is scared of the hall clock at night time, her father helps her scare off the monster. When Amanda is having a bad day and the mood spreads to her mother, the mom lovingly sits down and talks about her feelings. The two children play well and creatively together, despite age and temperament differences and when they do have fights, they work them out (with and without parental help) in a thoughtful way, rather then the issues being swept under the rug. I have mostly been concentrating on the Amanda books in this series because she is younger and therefore school isn't a big plot line.
Robert Munsch best known in the US for Love You Forever which I think is a vaguely horrifying book what with the mother sneaking into her grown child's house to rock him into the middle of the night, but most people love. Munsch is a beloved Canadian children's author well known for writing that frequently gets banned by libraries or school systems because the plot lines can be very subversive. In many of the books the parents don't listen to what the kid is saying, either because they don't understand or because they aren't paying enough attention. Most of the problems in the books are solved by kids taking the situation in their own hands.

Friday, January 7, 2011

{This Moment}

A morning's work
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Inspired by SouleMama, 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 6, 2011

Another one bites the dust

After finishing the King sized Double Wedding Ring quilt, this was my next longest running quilt project. This is a baby quilt for someone who is now 7, and I started when he was still baking. Oddly the cross stitch motifs (from the Animal Babies series by Ellen Maurer-Stroh) only took half the time, and the incredibly simple piecing and quilting took the other 4 years. I'm not sure what my hang up was, since I loved the little animals and the fabric, which I let him choose. On the recommendation of my quilt group, I straight line quilted an inch on either side of each seam, except inside the actual cross stitch bits.
I rather expect at this point that this won't really be his cup of tea. I'm going to give it to his mom the next time her work brings her to my neighborhood with the understanding that if he doesn't like it, she has my permission to steal it. I know she likes it, and that's what mattered in the first place anyway.
My favorite block
This is my favorite little animal baby, followed closely by the dragon blowing bubbles. Look at those little legs. Adorable!

*Update. I just realized that there are actually two quilts in progress that I've been working on longer, but they are both for me, so they don't count.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pick yourself up and start all over again

Today we were headed to the library for our Tuesday routine, story time at the library, lunch together and then gym class. Because of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, we haven't been able to do that actual routine much at all, but that's the goal. When we were 5 minutes away I realized that I had gotten confused and we would be showing up just about when story time ends.
Moira said, "That's okay Mommy. We will check out books and try again next week. And we can still go to gym class."
This blew me away. Obviously she's parroting what I say when something like this happens, but it was so grown up and there was not a single tear. It was a huge relief too because Christmas seemed to have destroyed all the emotional equilibrium she had developed and there have been a lot of tears.
In the most recent Mothering magazine there was an article on how to teach young children to control their tempers through guided breathing and calm spaces. Since those are two of the things that help me calm down the best, it seemed like a good idea. One of the suggestions was to describe deep breathing as "snake breaths" since children under a certain age don't understand how to hold a breath or release slowly. I've been trying that (and also bumble bee breaths, same idea, different noise) but she doesn't want to do that. She insists on using doggy breaths to calm down. Short sharp pants. I'm still modeling slow deep breathing, but the doggy breaths actually seem to be helping her when she does them, so whatever. I think it's mostly a tool to remind her to get out of the cycle she's in, and I assume eventually she will start mimicking me. Or maybe she will always hyperventilate herself to calm down. Whatever works, right?
I should mention that when we got to the library, I realized that story time doesn't actually resume until next week, so we didn't miss anything at all. I should really keep track of that sort of thing on my calendar.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So, here's what I did in 2010

It occurred to me yesterday that I actually managed quite a bit of crafting this year. Now that I've collected it like this it seems a little crazy that I did all this, although in my defense, most of the quilts were mostly finished before this year started and/or primarily made by other people.
2010's finished quilts
My main quilting goal for 2011? Actually mail off quilts 3, 4 and 5. They are in my linen closet. I would also like to finish at least one of the big purple quilts I'm working on.
2010 clothes for me
My main goal for sewing for me is to learn to make stretch pants. I bought a bunch of 4 way stretch knits for $1 a yard in LA, so I have a lot to practice with. I also need to make a red dress for Norwescon.
2010 clothes for Moira
I need to get Moira more involved in picking out and designing the stuff for her. She (very) recently started refusing to wear dresses, so the little skirt with the mermaids on the hem hasn't been touched. She loves the shirt though.
2010 toys and gifts and the like
I have no goals in this batch, except maybe to actually photograph things before I give them away. I would like to do more charity sewing this year. Maybe that's a goal. I also want to crochet a rug. I guess I do have goals. Heh.