Thursday, August 27, 2009

Recycled baby hoodie

Twice a year, my mom and I hit the consignment sales for the girl's clothes for the next two seasons...I'd say it was completely out of frugality, but I have to admit that along with being able to clothe 3 girls for $150 dollars or so, it's one of the dizzingly happy perks of raising kids on a reasonable budget. :D I get a wonderful high out of it. My nerdy theory is that is hearkens back to my hunter/gatherer roots. (I'm envisioning some ancestor coming back into her family tent with a basket full of nuts and berries and roots on her head, silly with glee over the great bounty she found, with her husband nodding and grunting with a bemused glint in his eyes...but I digress.)

Anywho, I'm in the habit of looking over the sleeves and collar of baby items for stains, and tossing basic items into my bag if they're under a dollar, which is exactly what I did with this happy little mustard colored hoodie.

I failed to notice the spectacularly mass-produced look of the glittered rainbow/butterfly combo, and when I spotted it at home, I blinked in consternation. And then remembered some fabric I'd picked up at a secondhand store a month ago, and realized it would be a cute match. Whee! I spent the evening stitching and entertaining baby with left hand while watching Arrested Development.

Butterfly/rainbow glitter paint explosion:


With the panel of fabric sewed on:


and a crocheted flower


tada! B'Eva likes it. Photobucket


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So, recently, as I was laying down baby Eva for a nap, I heard the suspicious sound of sticky giggles floating down the hall from the kitchen.

It suddenly occurred to me that after a breakfast of waffles, I had forgotten to put away the bottle of maple syrup. Crud muffins. After a quick effort to quietly run down the hall, managing mostly to sound like a sneaky elephant, my suspicions were quickly confirmed. Big puddle of maple syrupy goodness, with my delighted little toddler dipping her fingers into the sparkling amber lake and licking the sticky trickles off arms happily.

I did what every good mommy would do to keep from completely losing her cool. I grabbed the camera and made a happy, gooey movie.

(she's saying..."I poured maple syrup on the floor, just for funsies!")

I'll be the first to admit that I wanted to say some choice words and react in anger, initially. It's adorable to read about, and even charming to write about, but in the moment,I was mightily tempted to blow a fuse. Maple syrup is an expensive treat that we use sparingly, it's a pain in the back end to clean up off the floor, and it was the third thing my 2.5 yo had dumped in the past few days. I wanted to grind my teeth and shout at her, and scare her to death, honestly.

As luck would have it, something she'd said earlier that day stopped me. She'd been watching a mild "bad guy" movie with us this weekend, and afterwards, while talking about it, she snuggled down on the couch and said contentedly:

"There are no bad guys in our house. Our home is a safe place. I love my home!"

That little statement really stuck with me. Home is a safe place. A simple observation that rings true on so many levels. A good home is safe for it's occupants. A place where it's OK to mess up, where it's alright to cry, where a person can try their wings and crash and get up and try once more. There's a marvelous shortage of bad guys who might tell you you're not capable, tear you down, or hurt you spitefully.

In light of this, I'm making an effort to help our children take responsibility for their mistakes, and to also make home a safe place to learn that lesson. Correcting without shame is a learned skill for most humans, I think, but I'm in the midst of trying to learn how. If I can make a habit of gently correcting without sarcasm, shaming or intimidation, I think I'll be thrilled to find that I've tapped into the heart of "home".

Undoubtedly, it's going to take some time to fully get there, but I do believe that eventually, one maple syrup success with follow another, and eventually, we'll have a string of successes consistently following another like a pearl necklace. The language and tone of gentleness with start to feel less like marbles in my mouth, and I'll learn to speak "good guy" quite fluently. Hopefully, as it becomes habit for mama and papa (well, especially spouse is already quite good at it), gentleness will be set as the default tone of the home. As a lovely ripple effect, I suspect that kindness and laughter will drizzle on down the ladder of authority like golden honey. Correction will become sweet, as rebukes are much more precious from the lips of a safe person.

It's a super cool thing to be able to say, "My house is safe. There are no bad guys here." I'm all for that. <3