Strangely, it’s been much harder to get good shots of the boys than the baby…
I am not much of a woodworker, but I can occasionally pull together a project if it’s pretty simple. Mom once told me that she liked building, but the trouble with it was that when constructing with wood, unlike with fabric, everything has to fit just perfectly. With fabric one can tug it a little bit, but with wood… not so much.
I’d like to say that understanding this has caused me to become more meticulous in my building, but that would be a lie. What it’s really caused me to do is lower my standards. Small gaps, while unsightly, probably won’t be noticed from across the room, and that’s the distance from which I like to view my creations.
It’s still worth building the occasional thing. After all, sometimes it’s hard to find something ready-made that perfectly meets your need. Case in point: a home for our bedtime books.
Each week I grab a handful of new picture books from the library, so that after tooth-brushing the boys can each choose a book. I love the ritual, but I’ve wanted a more convenient way to store the books — they tend to end up in a big pile somewhere, and only the top ones get noticed. Voila! A simple, narrow pocket under their window that nicely holds the books.
Mica is now nine months old, and she has celebrated this milestone by starting in on that time-honored variant of the Walking Game: Walking Between Two People. (Pictures by Nathan — thanks, sweetie!)
Oh my goodness, but she loves this game. She loves it when she sturdily walks four feet, she loves it when she topples over into our hands, she loves it when she veers off course and has to be pulled back from running off to find her fortune. Every time she takes a few steps on her own she looks up at us with a huge smile on her face — a smile that promises that soon, very soon, she will be fully mobile and independent, and no one will be able to hold her back. (Cue ominous but somehow still cute music here.)
Suminagashi is still good fun, but I’ve been feeling a lack in my life. This lack can best be summed up with the phrase “marbling on fabric.” I have nothing against paper — dead useful stuff, that — but can you sew with it? Not very easily.
As it happened, I actually had a marbling kit on my shelf, one of those things picked up a long time ago and never used. It looked slightly more complicated than suminagashi, with things like mordant and size, and I just hadn’t made it happen.
Now I have, and it turns out to be still pretty easy. What’s better, both Ryan (not unexpected) and Nathan (hallelujah!) gave it a whirl as well. Nathan’s creation is on the top left, and Ryan’s on the bottom left.
This is, as with all good crafts, only the tip of the iceberg. I have two books from the library now to tempt me into doing more.
Time to add a load of compost to the garden beds! I love this job — it’s good strong work, the beds look great afterwards, and all that rich black dirt makes my fingers itch to plant things. It’s only mildly more challenging with a baby, depending on how worried one is about the baby tasting some dirt. (Answer: not very.)
The boys like me doing this job too, because they get to “help” as much as they want. Sometimes they do in fact help a bit, although I have to say that my shovel is vastly more effective than their trowels. But more importantly they get to play in dirt. From the way they get into it, one would think there were no other piles of dirt on the property for them to play in. (Not true.)
Nathan came in from a hard hour of dirt play with his hands absolutely black, gave them a quick rinse in the sink (just enough to make them muddy, as Dave pointed out) and then tried to pick up Mica. Who’d just had a bath to scrub her own blackness off. She looks grumpy in the picture, but that isn’t because she’s the first baby in the history of the world to be mad about getting dirty — it’s just that she was tired and we made her stand still for a photo shoot.
And now I’ve finally planted some carrots and greens, a few pea seeds (in hopes of a trellis to come soon, but that’s another story), and mulched the strawberry beds. Spring is really one of my favorite seasons.
When I was a kid Easter was mainly about coloring eggs, and then searching for said eggs. And candy, yes — the prospect of a basket full of candy awaiting one in the morning was not something to ignore. But still, the eggs were a major feature.
This year I boiled a dozen eggs and prepped for the dye event. But I was astonished when I mentioned coloring eggs to one of the neighbor kids, and she had no idea what I was talking about. “We buy our eggs from the store,” she told me dubiously. “They’re already colored.” I think I eventually managed to get across that I was talking about real eggs, not plastic ones, but she still looked uncertain. “Do they have candy in them?” she asked.
That is what it’s all about nowadays — plastic eggs with candy in them. To be fair, I’d already planned to do a hunt with treat-filled plastic eggs, but this was in response to an experience we had last year. The same neighbor kids asked if we were going to a big egg hunt put on by one of the local stores, so I decided to take the boys. The kids were divided into age groups and set loose at a signal, in roped-off areas of grass strewn with plastic eggs. (No actual hunting, here; the eggs were just lying around.) It was a little off-putting to me — the big crowd of people, the playing up of prize tickets inside some of the eggs, etc. But what really drove the nail in the coffin for me was the behavior of the parents. I figured that in any group of kids, some of them would be quicker and greedier, and it would be the parents’ job to keep them behaving well, maybe tell them to let some of the smaller kids get a few eggs as well. No such thing: half the adults went in there with their kids, urging them on, some of them even grabbing eggs to throw into their kid’s bag.
The end result is that I decided not to go back, and told the kids we’d do our own plastic egg hunt. With rules, darn it, like that everyone gets a certain number of eggs and then stops so the little guys can have some too. I can’t decide if that’s an over-reaction or not, but it seemed to work.
It worked so well, in fact, and the process of cracking open eggs to get candy was apparently so enjoyable, that we did it three times. That was enough for me.