Friday, March 16, 2007

Celebration all around

Well, I have an almost-teen in the house now (and an almost-two year old!). Thing 1 celebrated her 12th birthday early this month. March sees half of our family's birthdays, but two of us have almost stopped counting, and are mostly beyond the cake and candles routine for fire safety purposes. We had a family party with grandparents, aunt, and cousins, with take out from her favorite Indian place on the actual birthday day. I had forgotten to bake a cake, but we have a little birthday ring that we've used for a long time. This was the year that she was just a ring of light, so we put that out and sang around the candlelight. Her three year old cousin was incensed at the lack of cake, and the wooden ring was the last straw, as far as he was concerned. He yelled, "That is a fake cake," and dissolved into tears. Whoops.

A week later, she opted for a fairly quiet party with a few good friends (despite the Very Good ones that couldn't come), and it was a treat to see how "playing with the baby" became one of the main party activities. This is such a nice age. I'm delighted at her growing responsibility and accomplishments. I'm also pleased that she doesn't screech at me as frequently as the younger ones do.

Small victories.

Thing 3 and I have been struggling with each other. I don't know all of the causes, but I'm sure it's something that will eventually pass. Sunday was perhaps the lowest point of the week, with many tears by us both. I believe the phrase, "Parenting is way overrated" came out of my mouth at one point. Last night, my lovingly prepared meal was greeted with "I hate it! I won't eat it! You have to make me something else!" This isn't an unusual gambit for the middle ones, although it's usually met, as it was last night, with "I'm so sorry. That's what I made." But last night, with a friend's wise "pick your battles" advice ringing in my ear, I said "I'm sorry. That's what I made," and when he replied, "I'm going to go make my own (get ready for this) granola and yogurt!" I thought, at least it's not popsicles, and didn't say anything.

Later, he was still sitting in front of his bowl of organic yogurt and homemade granola after his father and I had washed everyone else's dishes. I came out to the dining room and asked him to hand me something off of the table. He looked at me and said, "I'm sorry I yelled at you."

I nearly fell over, but instead managed, "It's okay, you were pretty upset," walked into the kitchen and burst into tears. It was just such a gift, and it's been so hard with him lately. I'm holding on hard to that moment so I can face today's challenges with just a tad more grace.

Mothers are clearly easily bought!

But really, how can you stay unhappy with a trio like this:

They put a naked Thing 4 in the bird cage that's waiting for Thing 1 to move it to her room (see: growing responsibility) and fed her tangerines. I insisted that they dress her if they were going to cage her on the front porch, because naked baby or caged baby either were okay alone, but together it was a CPS referral.

My work for the online university is limping along. I finally got the list of books they're proposing for the course, but not the actual books. I had remembered two and therefore wrote the lectures and assignments for them, and they seem happy to get them. The thing that has me a little confused is how loosely they seem to be interpreting deliverable dates. I've gotten some lectures in "on time," some late, and they either ignore it or send me an email saying, "Thanks for your hard work!"

I'm not usually one to let obligations skate, but this isn't very inspiring. On the other hand, their lackadaisical approach to fulfilling their side isn't very inspiring either. They usually pay on time, though!

Within all of the emotional ups and downs, the work and feeling behind, I have something lovely to show, a sleeve and a half for the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket. My plan appears to be working, as I'm feeling just as enthusiastic for sleeve 2 as for sleeve 1. That is a minor miracle in itself.

Some green on green:

And a closeup of the silky shine. I'm a little concerned that the wool's softness and halo (it's a single, with almost no twist) is going to lead to it looking like someone's thrift shop rag in need of a haircut, but it feels very nice.

I'm not going to claim that I'll finish it by the end of March, but maybe. Only a yoke, back, two fronts and maybe bands to finish (I'll have to read that part when I get there). If there's enough yarn, I may try a frog closure for the top, which hasn't any closure now. I think it's going to need something to hold the top closed for me.

Oh, and my garden seedlings are up. Hooray hooray. There's really a lot to celebrate.


Charity said...

Aw, Steph, I had tears in my own eyes hearing about your Thing, and the apology. We've all been there - you're doing great. And hold on to it with both hands. :0)

Pearl Buck is looking lovely - can't wait to see it finished and modeled!

LOVE the baby in the cage! Now, where to find one of those up here....

Amy said...

I'm rolling over the baby in the cage. Sounds like something my monkeys would do. Although, it wouldn't work today in the blinding snowstorm we're having here in CT. I swear I'm moving to CA.
I was so touched by your story about your son...I've had a few moments like that with my 7 year old too.

Amy said...

I just wanted to add that five year old boys (to me, at least) very closely resemble fourteen year old girls. I have a good friend whose daughter is giving her gray hair....we compared notes and her behavior is strangely similar to my Monkey boy's....there's a great deal of yelling, whining, and stomping up the stairs with both. I think it's the age, personally, but I'm glad there was a small bit of understanding on his end in your house this week ;)

Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday, S.! I recognize that tee-shirt...Hibi has the tank version. :-)

Good call on the naked baby in the cage on the front porch, Mom.

Katherine said...

Beautiful girl, Thing 1. And you must be doing a wonderful job with all your Things: to stay so calm and then get a heartfelt apology in the end. He's obviously a sweetie.

But a naked baby in a box! That's funny. My husband and I joke about that once in a while (based on crate-training our dog, not that child abuse case). If only we could just put them in a box...

Rain said...

Aw, what a breakthrough. You must be doing something right - your kids sound wonderful.

Your sweater looks lovely, I really like the green.

I laughed so much when I saw the baby in the cage. My brother used to push me in the coal hole and sit on the hatch. I'd be filthy by the time he let me out.

Lara said...

Oh my goodness The baby in a cage! ROFL.

My 12 year old girl saw the picture of your twelve year old girl and said, "She looks bored." lol. Then she said, "Oh, she's the same age as me? Well, that's how we all look most of the time." Hee-hee.

String Bean said...

Happy birthday to the Thing.

It sounds like you're right on the edge. Too many tears lately.

I love the yarn you chose for the jacket. It reminds me of some ATacama alpaca I have floating around somewhere.

Robin said...

Your kids are so funny - I loved the pic of them putting your daughter int the bird cage. LOL at naked baby or caged baby being ok alone but not together- that cracked me up.

Alisha said...

Happy b-day to your preteen!!!

Parenting is a roller coaster ride in my many ups and so many downs.

I love the naked baby in bird creative LOL

allisonmariecat said...

Wow, the parenting stuff I have to look forward too...ack! Hope things are going more smoothly.

I was laughing so hard about the naked caged baby that I couldn't manage to tell my husband why I was cracking up until I took a few minutes to compose myself.

Oh, and the knitting...gorgeous jacket!