Working with the issue

December 16, 2009 § 1 Comment

I’m here to brag.

Sometimes I come up with some pretty wicked (I am in the northeast…) strategies for working with my kids. One said strategy came to me one day when baby brother was hitting a lot. I felt like he was doing nothing wrong and didn’t feel like saying the traditional “no hitting” line. I had also lost interest in those commands from my time with bilingual baby who doesn’t work well with them.

The solution that day has now become my standard phrase- our standard phrase- for most everything. What we say now is that one has “hitting energy”.

Why does that rephrase make any difference?

In my head it makes all the difference. It hits my brain like an observation rather than an accusation or an adult judgment placed on a child. Once we realized that we had “hitting energy”, we could go over to the sofa and hit the sofa all together, which usually gets all three of us laughing. A much more sane way for me to deal with hitting energy than telling my kids over and over again that they have hitting energy.

Since starting to use “hitting energy”, we’ve realized that when we get all wound up inside, we have “outside energy”. Again, rather than saying that one of us needs to use inside voices, we recognize that we have energy better fit for the outdoors and we can usually get outside soon after the realization.

After noticing that everything is energy (thanks Katherine B), bilingual baby has started saying that she has things like “swinging energy”, “hugging energy”, “washing energy”, and so on. It really can encompass everything.

My mom and I were talking the other morning and she said that a friend was over with her two daughters. One of the daughters, as she put it, had outside energy. That was the first time that someone used to remove all the crud that comes with adult assumptions on children.

Today I came up with another solution to one of my never ending problems.

The problem: I can never get anything spread all the way around a piece of toast. In turn, bilingual baby, upon seeing my half spread piece of toast will up and demand another piece, spread better. With more. Argh!

Or so I used to think.

What happens is that when I try to spread flax seed oil on toast, it’s nearly impossible for me to get the oil spread all over the bread. How can I?

Solution: Today, I’m sure inspired by one of my favorite tv characters, Monk, I decided to just cut off the pieces of bread that didn’t have enough oil visible to appease my 3 year old. She ended up with a perfect square toast entirely covered by oil.

It worked. The tears and frustration were replaced by a contented face.

One point for Leila!


She doesn’t even notice

December 11, 2009 § 1 Comment

In my daily interactions with bilingual baby, who needs a new pseudonym (suggestions anyone?), I find that when she’s frustrated her voice gets shrill and she punctuates certain words in a way that makes me dread the next couple of hours. What’s interesting about the change in her voice- something you’d call whining- is that I don’t think she knows that she’s doing it.

If I point out that her voice has gotten so high pitched that dogs will start barging through the door, then yes she can adjust. Left alone, I think she’d thing she sounded pretty normal.

A couple of stories to help you along my train of thought:

1. When I was in high school, I went up to visit a university with my family. When we got home, my sister said, “I was so cold”. My blunt answer: Next time bring a sweater. (ouch. I know. mean sister) Anyway, I got the parental lecture and never quite understood why I got in trouble. All I said was that she should bring a sweater. What was her problem? I know now what happened. I had no idea how my words sounded. I had no idea that I sounded like that a lot. Nobody told me and it took quite a bit of time for me to unravel it on my own.

2. When I was working at an elementary school library north of Chicago, I remember a 5th grader getting left behind by her friends. The girl was upset when they left without her and turned to the universe (I was there, too) and said, “What’s their problem?” I realized that nobody had told her what she sounded like. I very gently, as if it had been a future me talking to a past me, asked her if she knew how she sounded when she made the remark that made her friends leave. She shook her head. I repeated her words, using her tone. Her mouth fell open. “Really?” She had no clue what she had sounded like until I pointed it out. I really liked her and I didn’t want her to lose her friends over a lack of information. She was sweet enough to thank me- not knowing that I did the same thing and I only recognized the situation because it had happened to me. Many times.

I wonder if kids- people, even- just don’t know what they (we) sound like sometimes. What if we were made aware of it? It might change how we say things, right? What if, on the other hand, instead of trying to change our kids we just assumed that they had no idea that they were whining or that they were saying something in a way that made us resent the situation? Wouldn’t that change how we react toward them?

It sure has worked for me. But then again, I have my history.

Knitting warm-up

December 8, 2009 § 2 Comments

Why and how do I figure something is a knitting warm-up? On one hand, the first picture shows you the swatch of a sweater I want to knit up. All the yarn is cotton except for the burgundy which is a soft acrylic. This is the 3rd or 4th try. I took some crayons that matched the yarn colors and swatched it out on paper first. Then, I knit up 2 swatches- this one being the second one.

I like the combination here. The last time I knit this sweater I used five different colors. I like what I’ve got so I’m not going to go searching for a fifth.

This is a warm-up because it warms me up to the idea of knitting this particular sweater. Seeing how the colors will work together is making me very eager to knit it up. I think I’m going for a 2T size.

The next picture is of a cape I made for bilingual baby last month. I loosely used a top down sweater pattern and left out the sleeves. I think it worked out pretty well. Bilingual baby chose navy blue buttons to complete her cape- buttons that bilingual papi’s great grandmother collected during her lifetime. Last year I received a basket full of these buttons from bilingual papi’s grandmother. I feel so lucky to have inherited such a cool collection.

I tried to take a picture of bilingual baby wearing the cape but she isn’t liking photo ops these days, so I’m not pushing it.

This is a warm-up for the top down sweater I’m working on now… and possibly more designing.

Crafty to-do list

December 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Kilt hose for bilingual papi

Knit a cuff on orange knit overalls

Hem pants for friend

Convert regular bras into nursing bras for friend

Convert tank tops into nursing tanks for same friend

Added: Repair leg elastic on diaper for friend

Knit top down toddler sweater for baby brother (and try to write up directions to post on blog)

That should keep me busy until we travel for Christmas.

Also, I’ve been gathering hand knit and sewn baby/toddler items that my kids never used to put up on etsy but I’m not finding the time (or not making it, who knows) to upload photos, descriptions, etc… Maybe I’ll wait and gather up more items to sell locally somehow…

Anyone have any leads?

Bilingual baby turns 3

December 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

We had a very small number of our friends over to celebrate Juli’s birthday. I am really aware of how many people she can relate to at one time and I didn’t want to overwhelm her. I know she likes to play with so many kid friends and from experience figured it would be easier on her to invite only 2 of her similar aged friends.

Our shindig went really well. We’ve been talking about her change of age and her party for about a month now, maybe longer. I made her a cake and had oh so much fun! I made two icings. One had brown rice syrup and barley malt so it was brown and went inside the cake. The other was a tofu/kale (and some more rice syrup and a drop of peppermint) icing for the top. BB wanted a green cake, which prompted the search for ingredients I wouldn’t mind her ingesting- seeing as she would already be very wound up from the fun of having a party in her honor.

My brother in law would be proud. Except that the cake broke when I was trying to transfer it from the pan to the plate. Sheesh. Luckily, I had the green frosting to cover up my mistakes.

Here is the carob cake recipe and the barley malt icing recipe. Yum yum.

She was very wound up. She had so much fun. It also started snowing so she and her two friends, along with a couple adults, went outside and tried to catch snowflakes on their tongues.

Later, after sunset, the four of us went outside and played in the snow some more. We’ve been looking forward to the snow since the first snowfall in mid October. It’s about time!

Emotional sink holes

December 3, 2009 § 1 Comment

Do you ever feel like you’ve fallen into an emotional hole, one that pulls you in the second you touch that uneven ground it hides under?

I’ve fallen into one of my recurring sink holes and I can’t seem to make it let go of me. From time to time, I fall into these emotional sink holes of mine and they always take me back to a time when I was a kid and I was told, by an authority figure, to keep quiet and not question them. From then on, whenever I get into one of these kind of situations, I can’t say a word. I’m stuck in stun mode and can’t defend myself- much less tell the person that they’ve gone too far and they need to back off.

As time goes on, I continue to meet people that unknowingly “help” me remember that instance I remember so vividly from childhood. It’s always the same disgusting feeling and I always feel like I’m being treated like a child. I still haven’t broken this cycle and still feel like a victim when the day is done.

I know the people that fill this role don’t know what they’re doing. After all, I come off as a confident, sometimes mouthy extrovert that seems to hold her own. In fact, when I feel threatened (by one of my sink holes) I feel like a kitten that has been left to die on the side of the road. Dramatic? Maybe in your eyes but not in the reality of the moment for me.

What brought this all on? My landlady making asking me if I picked up while the kids were napping.

Sounds innocuous but in the moment with the tone of voice and the other comments she made I can’t help but land in the same place I always land. My emotional sink hole.

You know what bugs me more than her comment? The fact that I didn’t defend myself. Does she not remember what it’s like to have two little kids who need all your energy and emotional stability? Not to mention the fact that I didn’t have anyone to back me up, either.

In my sink hole history, I haven’t yet had anyone back me up in the moment. That speaks to the intensity of the moment and the discomfort others have felt standing (or sitting) next to me when I get emotionally attacked.

I feel lousy right now but will slowly crawl out of my hole and be back to normal. I can guess that by the next time I post an entry, I’ll be feeling better.

This and that

December 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships. I don’t just mean my relationship with my sweet husband (we’re having our 7 year anniversary this December) but also my relationships with my kids and my friends and family. I really want to share what I’m thinking but I don’t want anyone to be hurt. None of what I’m thinking is meant to hurt anyone but since I’m not there, in person, to explain what I mean I’d rather work on this piece and make sure I get my editor in on this one.

Yes. I’ve been sewing. I’ve been getting a lot of ideas lately and I just don’t give them the time they need to flourish. One may come to life. We’ll see.

I’ve been going to a mama focused workout on Tuesday mornings at 9:15am. It’s great. It’s at the Rec center on Barre St. and kids are welcome. Not in the “kids are welcome but they really aren’t” or “kids are welcome but they better behave” or the “kids are welcome but you have to be by them the whole time”. This is a kids are welcome. Seriously. Class.

The class is taught by Richarda Ericson, owner of Illume Fitness. I think I’ve mentioned her before. She’s great. Her class is an hour long and she does strength training. So, we cycle through cardio and weights. With the interruptions nursing kids (and kids in general) bring, I get breaks through the class without feeling like a wimp.

It’s taking me a while to get my strength back but I’m starting to feel it. It feels great. I don’t mind that it’s been over a year since giving birth. As some friends and I were talking today, every woman’s body is different. How one woman’s body changes through pregnancy and postpartum varies from the next and we need to stop suggesting that every woman should be in her pre-pregnancy clothes by a year- or earlier. C’mon.

I’ve also been knitting. I’m knitting up some kilt hose for bilingual papi for our anniversary. The traditional gift for the 7th anniversary is wool.

How could I pass that up?

Usually we don’t exchange gifts but every once in a while I get a good gift idea for him and have to get it. One year for his birthday he got a ukulele. I have a hard time getting him just anything cos he’s so special to me.

The kilt hose are taking their due time, as are some other sewing projects, but I think I’m still doing good on time… and I hope everyone is happy on the receiving end. Big expectations, I know.

Another post I am working on, which may or may not see the light of day, is one on cell phone radiation exposure. Check out the Environmental Working Group for more information. They’re the same folks that brought us the Skin Deep Report– a report on a ton of skin/body products, tested for chemicals known (and presumed) to cause things like cancer, etc. Check your shampoo, deodorant, lipstick, etc for their level of toxicity. Check your baby’s products, too!

Back to the cell phone thing, I’m always trying to use speakerphone with my kids, since small children are more affected by this exposure, but I still have my problems with cell phones. That post is taking a while cos I’m not really digging the “posts with meaning” entries these days.

A number of bloggers have been hit by the quick ease of facebook. You can get a message out so much quicker and people are more likely to read it than if you post it on your blog… so why continue blogging? It’s a nagging thought.

Rambling on…

I sold another pod to a dear friend living in Seattle, Washington. She was my first friend here in the United States when we moved from Colombia in 1992. I met her at a youth camp Bahai’s organized. She and her brother made my transition a whole lot more fun. Years after losing touch, we found each other in Chicago and now both have babies and keep in touch here and there.

Every pod I make gets a lot of my time and energy and I am so happy to send that energy her way.

I don’t know if you’ve checked lately but my etsy store has been empty for a couple of months. I have some knit and sewn items to put up and I’ll make sure to let you know when they do go up soon.

I’ve been watching Medium. I just rented another disk in season 2. It awaits.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for December, 2009 at bilingual baby.