Thursday, August 23, 2007

Uniformity. It's just so... uniform.

This past Monday marked Miss B's first day of school. This year she's in first grade. Can you believe it? My little girl is growing up. And frankly, I want it to stop.

But as I have yet to master the skills/powers necessary to stop the passage of time, I pretend to be happy that my sweet little baby is becoming a young lady. I know that first grade is a long way from college, but I know how it works. One day it's first grade, the next it's her first boyfriend, and the day after that she's moving into a dorm. Luckily Sister Goldenhair has no desire to grow up. She refuses to accept the title of "big girl," instead saying, "I baby."

But this is Miss B's milestone. For not only is this the first year that she's in real school full time, this is also the first time she's had to wear a uniform to school. I don't know where you stand on uniform policies. If you're like me, you hadn't given them much thought. My daughter goes to public school. Then the school board started talking about uniforms and started a pilot program.

In principal I don't have anything against uniforms. I was greatly annoyed at the manner the school board adopted this policy. Notices of meetings to gather input were sent home with students the night of the meeting. I found myself having to miss this event or try to attend with two hungry children. Have you ever tried to calm a hungry toddler? It's not pretty.

There have been protests, angry outbursts at school board meetings, and an ill-advised lawsuit all trying to stop the uniform requirements from being implemented. The town newspaper has become a battlezone, its pages full of letters and its website full of anonymous vitriol. The arguments for uniforms are from parents who claim they are more affordable. Even a recent editorial cheers them for being cheaper than designer clothes. And since new clothes have to be bought, this isn't as expensive as the detractors are saying it will be.

Here's my issue with that arguement: I do not, nor have I ever, bought designer clothes for my kids. I watch for sales and haunt the clearance racks. I even sew several things for the girls. Another consideration is this: a lot of parents do not go out and buy a new wardrobe each fall. My kids continue to wear older things that fit.

So now Miss B, the girliest of girls, has to dress like all the guys. Sure, she can wear skirts and jumpers, but the tops all look the same. What's a girly-girl to do? Hope her mom and grandmas can sew, that's what. While I have enough khaki, black, and navy blue fabric to sew for an army, Mimi has made the most significant contribution to girliness.

Mimi has made 5 of a projected 10 shirts. Each is made of richly colored broadcloth. Since our schools allow any solid-colored top, we are taking full advantage of the possibilities. While Miss B can no longer wear her adorable butterfly tunic T, she is sporting turquiose, purple, lilac, hot pink, or mint green shirts with decorative stitching. My focus is on bottoms, and some are forthcoming. But khaki capris pale in comparison with a hot pink shirt.

Uniforms aren't all bad, but it does feel like the many are paying for the crimes of the few (and you hoochies and gangstas know who you are). I'm glad we've found a way for Miss B to follow the rules and follow her heart.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Warning! Craftster.org may be hazardous to your free time

I frequently visit a fabulous blog, Baby Toolkit. While I have assured it's author that I am not stalking her, the tips and hacks found on her blog make even the most discerning parental units rejoice. Her reviews are excellent. And she makes the best diaper "bag" ever The Diaper Valet.

Anyway, a recent column on Adrienne's blog described her new found infatuation with a new web forum, Craftster.org. Ever the skeptic, I clicked over expecting to find a bunch of oddballs who only occasionally post (there's nothing more disappointing than a message board that's never updated). But I was wrong.

So wrong. Craftster is filled with witty, creative crafters from all over the world. They shared their projects, tips, tricks, and wisdom. And they are welcoming to everyone. This alone makes Craftster different among online communities. And on one of my first visits to the children's clothing forum, I found the cutest project ever! With a tutorial, even!

I was immediately inspired to scope out the local Goodwill for a cool men's shirt to recon for Sister Goldenhair. The results? You decide.

I really like the pattern of the shirt and colors. For her part, SG seems to like wearing the dress. And everyone else is shocked when I tell them how it's made. And it was so easy!



And even though the first picture is great, I have to throw in this one just to show off my sweet little girl.

I have found much to inspire me on Craftster. Plus, I have been able to offer advice a couple of times. It feels good to be able to share with other crafty sorts. The only problem I face now is how to come up with more free time. I have already planned projects that need my immediate attention (like school uniforms and Halloween costumes), but I have also be formulating some other plans too, thanks to some new inspiration (felt play food, recon, and just being creative).

So many projects, so little time!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Professional wrestlers have nothing on me!

So Sister Goldenhair is sick again/still. She seemed to have a mild cold, lots of nighttime coughing, and the occasional snotty nose. But her symptoms morphed into something worse, she was having trouble sleeping.

It takes some time to get to know your kids and how they really work. Miss B, for instance and like her mother, can cough all night long and sleep right through it. She may feel a bit run down the next day, but she did get some sleep. SG, on the other hand, is at least half-awake when she coughs at night. The result is a very cranky little girl and very cranky parents.

And after a trip to the doctor earlier this week, it became even more obvious just how different my girls can be. Miss B loves to take her medicine. I can really only remember one or two times when she was much smaller that she resisted. Sometimes she will request medicine (this concerns me on many levels), but even if the medicine is quite unpleasant she will take it.

SG's doctor visit resulted in two possible diagnoses: ear infection or severe allergies. The consequences: augmentin and loratidine liquids (two of the nastiest tasting meds around). We asked the pharmacy to add bubblegum flavoring to the vile taste the manufacturers call "cherry." [rant]It is obvious to me that pharm. companies must hate children. Otherwise they would try harder to make their meds palatable. This is also proof that they hate parents and want us to suffer, covered in sticky, vile tasting syrups ejected from the palates of those who would gladly eat paper, dog food, and anything found on the ground if they had the chance. [/rant]

What happened next should appear on the next Smackdown video released by WWE. Woody and I double teamed SG after civil attempts at medicine dosing were rejected in stunning, spit-take reactions. The old medicine-in-the-chocolate-milk trick was shot down as well. And our one-on-one wrestling match was traumatizing to us both.

What followed was a morning of pure parenting torture. Since SG would not take any of her meds, I was forced to ask the doc for an antibiotic shot. If you ever consider this to be an easy alternative to ten days of twice-daily dosing, let me tell you just how crazy you are. I did not expect it to be easy, but after she received the shot I was informed that even adults don't like it. And as someone who had to help hold SG down as she received a shot in each leg at once, I can assure you that it was agony for us both.

She cried herself to sleep in the car, and I felt terrible for her. It's especially frustrating that she is too young to really learn from this. Actually that's not completely true. She definitely learned to resist medicine in syringes, but will not realize that not taking her meds can result in something more uncomfortable than a bad cherry flavor. So tonight, when she was sore and a bit feverish, she would not take the ibuprofen that she used to take without reservation. She is untrusting and stubborn for now.

And I'm sure somewhere, someone is developing a medicine for that too. But for me, I'll try to win her back with loving attention and hope it is more palatable to us all.