Monday, September 28, 2009

Anyone got a bar of soap handy?

Last week Miss B used the f-word.

No, no... Not that f-word. The other f-word. The f-word I never want to hear from either of my girls: FAT.

Cyberspace allows us a certain level of anonymity. If you've never met me, you probably never gave much thought to what I look like. Before I had kids I was tall and slender. While I am still tall, I'm not exactly slender. I think I have a pretty average build (thanks in part to my height). I have wanted to lose some weight and eat healthier, but I have always been careful how I talk about this around my girls. I never talk about being fat or big. We don't call people fat.

So when my firstborn child came into my room in tears and proclaimed, "I'm fat!" My heart both broke and stopped.

I tried not to overreact. The first words out of my mouth were, "You are not fat!" Then I asked, "What's going on? Why do you say that?"

"These pants won't fit! They won't even zip!" Her school uniform pants clung guiltily to her frame.

I must admit that Miss B has filled out a bit this summer. Her appetite has picked up. Her face is rounder and her body, while still young, is showing signs of maturity (that's discreet speak for "she's getting a chest"). I have watched these changes with relative dismay. Where's my baby going? And why must her replacement have an attitude? I would not be surprised if Miss B suddenly shot up a few inches.

So the reality is that she is bigger around the waist than she is used to being. But even if she were truly overweight, I never want to hear my young daughter reduce herself to a one-word definition involving her size. I never want to hear my daughter do this, regardless of her age.

But I digress...

"What size are those pants?" I ask after following her to her room.

"10. Those others are 10's too. They don't fit either."

Sigh. "Honey, you don't wear a size 10. You wear a 12. You've worn 12's all summer. Remember when I told you to go through your uniforms to take out the stuff that didn't fit? I asked you to try things on and weed out the stuff that's too small. You haven't grown that much in the last month. You must have missed these."

Miss B was greatly relieved. So was I.

I made sure to follow up, treading lightly all the while.

"So Honey, you certainly are not fat. If you are concerned about how your correctly sized clothes fit or about your energy level, then we can try to make some healthier choices. Like maybe your first choice after school shouldn't be watching TV. And maybe you don't sneak snacks* that you think no one will see. We can all do better and then we'll all feel better and have more energy."

I think she felt better. I'm now convinced that she doesn't really think she's fat. I don't want to delude her by any means. If she really needed to lose weight, I wouldn't tell her everything was fine and offer her a cookie (to make her feel better). But if that were the case, I don't think that telling her she's fat would be the way to help. I have to take responsibility. I buy the food. I cook the meals. I try to walk a fine line between having some treats on hand and not having too much temptation. I worry about my caloric intake, but I make sure I don't mention it. I will say that something is "bad for you," but I always try to relate it to health not size.

And folks, Miss B is only 8. 8!! I had hoped that this wouldn't be an issue at all (and if it was it would be a lot later). I don't remember this kind of stuff until I was in 5th or 6th grade. Miss B is in 3rd.

Does this mean I'll qualify for early retirement?

* Miss B was caught sneaking swiss cake rolls last week. These are packaged in pairs, but I separate them to pack in lunches. She ate a whole package and didn't ask first. As we do not starve our children, we do not like for them to sneak food without asking.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sew Cute Shop Amy Butler Birdie Sling GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Sew Cute Shop Amy Butler Birdie Sling GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Stop by Grosgrain for some fabu giveaways! The link above offers you a chance to win a lovely bag in fabrics chosen by you! If only it were always so easy to get a new purse...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Button, button, who's got the button?

Sew, Mama, Sew! has been featuring posts pertaining to all things sewing machine related. I thought I'd get in on the excitement and post a simple tutorial on making a buttonhole. This tute features the Janome sewing machine. This is my mom's machine, but sometimes I like to spend quality time with a great sewing machine. :)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tute and feel confident to go out and try it for yourself. Most machines work in a fairly similar manner, so give it a whirl!

Mouse over "Notes" in the frame below to view more detailed information.

Any questions?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A letter to my first born child...

Dear Miss B-

You are 8 years old now, and old enough to know something that breaks my heart to admit: I don't have all the answers. Yes, I do know when you haven't brushed your teeth. I also know that you didn't brush the bottom layers of you hair. How do I know this? Because neither thing happens until I ask you about it. So if I didn't ask, I'm pretty sure you haven't done it yet.

But there are times, many times in fact, when I don't know what answer to give you. When we hear a story about someone hurting a child, I cannot tell you why it happened. Sure, I can say that someone was angry, hurt, confused, crazy, or just plain bad, but I cannot explain why one person will react with such an extreme, violent reaction.

When you tell me about someone not being kind to you, I can try to look at the situation from that person's point of view. "Maybe MeanKid was having a bad day today and took it out on you." "Perhaps MeanKid was jealous that you were able to do that so easily." But the truth is, even if those excuses are true, I cannot explain why anyone would ever not love you.

This is the biggest mystery to most mothers. Sure, I know that my kids have their moments, but how could anyone not adore you? Someday soon, a boy will break your heart. And mine will break as well. I can see what a great person you already are, but I can also see the wonderful potential your future holds. It hurts this mother's heart to even think about you being rejected or unappreciated.

You are the complete package. You are beautiful inside and out. You were an adorable baby, and now you are growing into a lovely young lady. You wish you were blond and had blue eyes, but your light brown hair and gray eyes are more striking. Those freckles you hate, they are just the perfect addition to your sweet face. And more importantly, let's talk about your heart. You are so tenderhearted that you try to please everyone, rather than disappointing them. While I love your willing spirit, I worry that you will be hurt more easily. But you are smart. And I love that you are outgoing and friendly. You are that lucky mix of bookworm and social butterfly. You are intelligent, but not awkward because of it.

And yet someday, some seemingly nice boy will make you doubt all that I know is true. You will think you are ugly and awkward, dumb and selfish. You will believe these things, and I will never be able to understand why. Sure, I will know that this boy or best friend has hurt you, but I will never be able to figure out why you believe them. You, who is so special and lovable. You, who is so giving and gentle. You will cry and hurt and wonder who will ever love someone like you. But just turn around... I will always be there with my hand raised to volunteer for such an opportunity. And while you may tell yourself that Mom's love doesn't count, just know that not only do I love you... I like you too. I'm the lucky one here.

My love may not make everything easier for you, but it will never be something you have to doubt.

Love always,


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An awesome giveaway...

If you are the sentimental sort, you should think about entering the current giveaway at The Benner Daily. Shealynn, who makes some beautiful camera strap covers herself, is giving away a custom inscribed necklace from The Vintage Pearl. You could choose to add your kids' names or a favorite quote to the beautiful heart-shaped design. D0 yourself a favor and follow the link to see for yourself (but do come back and check in... don't be a stranger!).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Say What?

One of my favorite parts of raising these two little people, is watching them grow and learn. Both girls have made me smile with peculiar turns of phrase, altered words, and misheard lyrics.

Miss B, like many kids, seemed to get sick all the time. Luckily when she had tubes put in her ear, this seemed to clear up. But when she was little, it would always tickle me to hear her ask if she had another ear "confection." Who knew that a lack of sleep and intense ear pain could be so sweet?


Lately Sister Goldenhair has been digging the Backyardigans CD in the car. And so she has been singing songs around the house more too. Her current favorite: Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

Row, row, row ya boat
Walkin' down the street
Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary
Walkin' down the street.

I have asked her what that boat is doing in the street, but she just thinks I'm joking. And I also asked who Mary was. SG says, "Mary? Mary Walkindownthestreet." Poor Mary, I bet she runs out ink signing her Christmas cards!


When Miss B was 6, we were leafing through an American Girl catalog. They were announcing a contest to find the Real Girl of the Year.

Miss B got very excited. "If only I hadn't gotten my hair cut! If I let it grow I bet I could win! I could be the real girl!"

Huh? I looked at the page wondering what in the world she was talking about. Then I saw it.

"Um Honey, that word is hero. Not hair." Unfortunately the contest was for girls older than Miss B who were heroes of a sort... not girls with spectacular hair. She was crushed.


Let me encourage you parents out there to write down all those funny and adorable things your kids do. You always think you'll remember... but you won't. You'll be able to recall some of them, but a lot of them will end up forgotten. Worse, they will be things that you know you have forgotten. There was that funny word she had for, um, something. She used to sing this adorable song... gosh, what was it? You don't want to forget the sweet way she used to replace her L's with Y's (I don't yike it! Poppy, will you take me to see the yights?). And what about how she used to call High School Musical: Hi-no-mee-go-ho?

Some will stay with you, others will be lost (hopefully to at least be regained when grandchildren repeat those same traits). But who wants to take the chance? You take pictures of your progeny, take the time to record those fleeting elements that can't be photographed (and often won't be performed for video). Revel in the mundane moments that make life with a little one so magical. You just might need those memories to make the teen years more tolerable!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Familiarity breeds contempt....

Ask any parent about the shows their kids love to watch and you're bound to get at least one utterance of, "I don't know why kids love that show. It drives me crazy!" And some parents have declared certain kid's shows as unwelcome.

Barney has always been persona non grata in our home. He is avoided at all costs, along with the Teletubbies. No Barney toys or Teletubby sheets pass through our doors. My kids don't have clothing featuring Baby Bop or Dipsy. But I've begun to notice that some other shows are wearing out their former welcome. These shows used to be tolerable, but repeated doses have revealed fatal flaws.

And so I give you, kids' shows I love to hate...

1. Caillou - As fans of the Goodnight Show on Sprout, we were a bit upset when they changed the programs used in this block. They dropped the very well done Jakers! and Sagwa in favor of a very, very, vveeeerrrryyy long blockof Caillou. Caillou is a bratty little boy who seems to alternate between being very simplistic and throwing tantrums. But everything works out for Caillou in the end. And isn't that the lesson we want to teach toddlers?

2. Angelina Ballerina - I was a bit puzzled that Angelina was included in a programming block meant for toddlers, as she seems better targeted to school-age kids. But then I was puzzled what all the fuss was anyway. Little girls have been obsessed with Angelina since her debut. As a parent though, I find Angelina selfish and, again, bratty. Every situation revolves around Angelina and how she thinks it affects her. Many, many episodes feature at least one scene where Angelina declares, "It's not fair!" before she eventually bursts into tears. She also seems to get into a lot of trouble, and though her parents are featured, they almost never address the issue. Parenting through denial: why not?

3. Dora, Diego, and almost every tween show - YOU KNOW HOW TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING AND KINDA RUDE? A few minutes spent watching Dora, Diego, or *insert name of trendy tween show here* and you'll wonder if the whole script is typed in ALL CAPS! Subtlety seems to be lost on most of these shows. Why be subtle when you can shout? And the parents are mostly absent. Dora and Diego are little kids who are allowed to wander through the wilderness accompanied by animals. Repetition is a proven educational strategy, but Dora and Diego take it to extremes. Few programs are so successful at making me wish for sharp objects to plunge into my ears. And all tweeners need to SHOUT! Because everything IS A BIG DEAL! YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!

4. Tween shows (again) - Stereotype much? If so, you would love most tween programming. Aside from the shouting, tweeners are taught valuable lessons: the really smart girls are nerdy and wear glasses, cool girls are mean, boys are dogs and playa-wannabes, athletes are dumb, band kids are geeky, parents are clueless, siblings are torture, teachers are just plain stupid, and if your parents really loved you they would buy you designer clothes and give you a huge bedroom. Are some of these things occasionally true? Sure, but not always. And why doesn't any show want to change up some of these over-played elements? Do I want my daughter to believe that if she is really smart, ugly glasses and nerdom must follow? Do I want to encourage smart-mouthed responses to all parental inquiries? What do you think? (Sorry, I couldn't resist that last one... blame Zoey 101.)

5. Max and Ruby - Or as I like to call it Simpleton and Shrew. Max is young, but he cannot ever conjure more than a one word response. And the audience is supposed to find him quite clever. Ruby is his domineering big sister. He may be simple, but she is dense. She never seems to catch on to his meaning/wishes/intent/whatever, and she cannot conceive of ever being wrong. And again, while you do sometimes see Grandma, you never, ever see parents. Ever. Nor do the kids ever mention them. For the ages implied for these characters (I'd guess Max is 3 or 4 and Ruby is 8 or 9), their behavior is wholly inappropriate. But I do begin to see how their folks might have cracked under the strain and ran away from home.

This is by no means a complete list, but you get the idea. I just think it's sad that some really great kids' programming gets overshadowed by such flawed shows.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome 2009

Some highlights of our Christmas season...

*When Santa asked her what she wanted him to bring her for Christmas, Sister Goldenhair replied, "Bacon and toys!" She got her wish. Uncle Roddy and Aunt Beth gave her two packages of pre-cooked bacon. SG was very happy. She does however attribute the bacon to Santa (or perhaps to his influence). "Santa brought me bacon... and toys!"

*Though Miss B asked Santa for a plasma tv, cell phone, laptop, and Nintendo DS. She was however well pleased by the soccer ball, watercolor paints, Titanic book, and Razor fold-up scooter Santa opted to leave instead. Her words: "It's funny how Santa knows what I really wanted, even though I never asked for it." Yes, my dear, that is funny. But I assured her that Santa was a hardworking fellow who payed attention to details.

*While SG's first real visit to Santa was somewhat catastrophic, this year she was in love. She is a shy little girl when among strangers, but apparently Santa is a stranger no more. Our visit with Santa at the local mall found her snuggling into his side as if they were old friends (and this was before she knew she was getting candy from him too!). It was very sweet to watch.

*Miss B partied 2008 away with her cousin Jacob at my bother's house. Originally plans called for her to be with me and SG (while Woody went to a party at a coworker's house), but Jake and "Rock Band" beckoned. She had to decide whether to stay with me or go. She was reduced to tears at the thought of her poor mother being lonely. I assured her that I did have SG after all, so I would be fine. It turns out SG was out by 8:45pm. The night was a bit long and boring then. Oh well, Miss B promises to spend next new year's eve with me, just to be fair. :) She's so sweet.

The girls had a lovely holiday, and so did I. My favorite part was spending time away from work and with family. And I was up late everynight finishing some sewing projects. Finally finishing everything was such a relief! It's so satisfying to give a present that you really worked hard on. It's even better when the recipient appreciates the work of something homemade (and they all did!). I hope to get some pictures of what I made posted, but I forgot to take them before I gave the gifts away... as usual.