Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Retread A Sleeper

     I love watching Baby 2 walk around the house.  He has this cute and wide "I just learned how to walk a month and a half ago" gait.  He is now able to bend over and pick things up with out sitting down.  He is mastering the turn and change direction maneuver and is even gaining speed.  My baby is officially a toddler!   
      His new found skill highlighted one problem with our hand-me-down pajamas.  It seems he only had problems walking in his sleepers.  Maybe it isn't fair to call his sleepers just his.  Baby 2 is the lucky recipient of Baby 1's hand-me-downs, many of which came from mom2mom sales or a cousin who also has two boys.  So it is easy to imagine that his pj's have been worn by at least two others, in many cases, but the grippy life of a sleeper is short, even if you are the proud first owner.  So my little toddler was walking or falling in fairly slick sleeper feet.
     My fast and easy solution to this problem was to puff paint the bottoms of the sleepers, to retread the grippies, so to speak.  I even let Baby 1 help paint some of the bottoms.  The puff paint made for a fast and easy solution that seems to be standing up to multiple washes with out a problem.  My little guy is able to walk our hard wood floors with out slipping and our old sleepers are good as new for the cost of few tubes of puff paint.  (I think I got six tubes on clearance for about $3.)
     I got the idea to use puff paints from reading Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home.  She has a project that gives the option of using puff paint on the bottom of a bath mat.  I thought this was the perfect way to combine being crafty and frugal with recycling.   
     I made sure I used a very thin layer of puff paint in rather big designs, avoiding big round polka dots, to ensure that the little one didn't attempt to pull pieces off and stick them in his mouth.  He's not known to do such a thing, but it is better to be safe, then sorry.  I had fun painting little hearts across the bottom of a few pairs and Baby 1 loved dictating which color choices I should make. 
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Trying to Hold On To My Heart

As Baby Boy 1 gets older it is amazing and anxiety producing to watch him interact with other children. At a play group activity today I was barely able to keep up with a quarter of the conversation the mothers were having because I was preoccupied with my boys activities and most especially how 1 was getting on with others. I realize now that one of my weak spots, or points of concern will be how my children interact with friends. There was this rush of pride, fear, and overwhelming love as I watched Baby 1 explain to the two other boys riding on the sea saw boat that his sweatshirt said “Toy Story.” In a soft earnest voice, with his fingers crossing his chest for emphasis, he said more than once. “It says Toy Story.”

Would they be impressed? Would they think he was cool because he liked Toy Story? Would it count against him? Would they be happy that he wiggled his way on to the boat to join them?

As a mother I have such an incredible love and joy for this little guy and pray like crazy that the rest of the world sees him as I do. Who couldn't find him adorable? Endearing? The cutest thing on earth?, I mean, come on. Now I fear that my own experiences might turn me into one of those helicopter mommies, there by creating the exact problem I wish to avoid.

As a middle schooler I some how fell victim to the cattiness of a big clique of girls. At twelve my group of friends, friends that were a part of my school, neighborhood and church lives, decided I was the pariah.  As our neighborhood, school and church were tight knit, I spent the next three years of middle school trying to maintain friendships with these girls despite their efforts to exclude me.  Oh the mind games of our on again, off again friendship. I don't want it to sound like I was this tiny, delicate wall flower bullied by a large group of oafish tarts, I have always been feisty and outspoken, but lets just say that during that already incredibly awkward and self conscious stage of my life, my friendships didn't buoy and protect me. The end result left me incredibly insecure about friendships, even to this day.

I realize everyone wants to be loved and accepted but middle school antics can leave scars. It is hard not to revert to that twelve year old getting a call on her birthday from all of her “friends” at another girl's birthday party. Real nice birthday wishes- . See the sting is still there some twenty five years later.

I translated that insecurity into aloofness in high school. Friend to many, close to none. The sad thing is that I followed the dumb cliché of developing relationships with boys rather than attempting strong friendships with girls. I let my high school sweetheart become the only relationship I bothered to really work on.

It seems when I had problems with friends I was much more likely to kiss the whole friendship good bye rather than really dig in and fix things. To a large extent I haven't outgrown that. Recently I have found myself distancing myself from two friends due to a conflict rather than get myself dirty sorting it out. My father calls it our “Irish heritage", this defense of “wiping people.” Not something I am overly proud of mind you.  In my late thirties I have a strong desire to connect, really connect with other women.  For the first time in my life, I guess, I'm at a place where that is really important to me.

So there I was watching my baby working on befriending these other tots in the play area, and I found myself sort of holding my breath. I was thinking in one big rush just below the surface- “love him, he's lovable, wait honey, are they worthy?” Crazy, huh?

My heart just wants to burst sometimes with this desire to make a perfect world for my children.  I want everything wonderful for my children, and to spare them pain and heart ache, to equip them with everything that they need. Yet I know that there is no way we can do everything we wish we could for our children. It truly is an awesome responsibility that breaks my heart and catches my breath.

So my playing field is already tilted due to my own anxiety and baggage, then add the fact that little kids always want to play with older kids, who rarely want to play with younger ones, and there I am watching my kid, trying to remember to breathe and not take it all too seriously. 

My husband and I go back and forth about whether or not a child number three will happen. I feel strongly that we aren't finished, but he doesn't want to buck the status quo. I understand his sentiments, what we have is amazing. How blessed and fortunate- two beautiful, smart, and healthy children. I get it babe, I get the desire not to press our luck.

I try often to have a heart to heart with myself about this desire for number three. In my heart of hearts do I want one more because I really do want a girl? Is that it? Some days I think yes, yes I would love to have a daughter. I would love to have a relationship with a daughter like I feel I have with my mother. Other days, especially days when I have observed five year old girls at play; (“Mommy Madison just said she doesn't want to be my friend anymore!”) I think that I probably couldn't handle all of the drama that girls for some reason create and live through. On these days I think that I am most definitely suited to being a mommy to boys. I think about how I was such a Tomboy. How my favorite doll, a Madame Alexander in a pink lace dress, was christened Tommy. How even at eleven I prayed for little brothers when my parents started the adoption process. (Sorry to my sisters!) On these days I think just boys are just right for me. Throughout these heart to hearts, I don't think I ever come to the conclusion that I'm done, sorry husband.

I guess in closing I just need to take away with me the pride I felt in my little boy putting himself out there. Introducing himself to other children- even to a little fourteen month old. He knows who he is and what he likes. He is not afraid to be himself. He got on the sea saw boat, no problems or issues. They rode for awhile, chatted, giggled. People got on, people got off. I didn't hover too close to catch all of the exchanges. I let the boy have some space, I hope. And he was so cute, and so proud of his sweatshirt, a shirt he demanded to wear despite my efforts to cajole him into a doggy sweatshirt he had never worn. On the way home I asked if he had fun, if he met any nice kids. He told me he did, there were good kids there Mommy, good kids.

This love for one's children- it is powerful stuff.

Oh, and Baby Boy 2 spent a third of this time climbing things, another knocking things over and the rest blowing kisses to any and all, God love 'em.
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