Spring Fling

comments: 88

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The world is awash in silverlight, filled with rain and wind, like being on the edge of the ocean but with flowers. Everything's cold and soaked, the ground spongy and squelching as you walk. We always park blocks away from the ballet school and walk through the quiet neighborhood in the afternoons, on the way to class. Big old houses sit waiting for dinnertime. Things — petals and twigs and spidery stamen things — fall out of trees and swirl through the air as we walk. A cold wind blows up and a million drops of water land at once, a chilly, unwelcome wash. But the greens! Noticed nevermore than now.

Yesterday was one of those humbling parenting days, when the child lost her mind at go-home time, standing on top of the hill in the school play yard, enraged with desire to stay (though, naturally, we'd already stayed too long), shouting at the top of her lungs her intention to stay, furrowing her brow and stomping her boot as hard as she possibly could, running straight through a bed of thorn-covered rose bushes as if on fire, finally flinging a handful of pine needles and duff down the hill toward me at the bottom of it, standing in a group of parents, wearily pleading with my (bloodshot) eyes that she just come down now. Personally, I think I have an absolute shitload of stamina most days, but yesterday I hit the wall, a noodle cooked to the point of soggy. I stared back at her catatonically. The moms on either side of me recognized my glazed look and instinctively moved to prop me up, diagonal support-beams of commiseration and advice. "She's a very strong-willed child," said my friend Christina, mom of four, from four-year-old to teen, and a woman of experience. "That will serve her well, really." I nodded, all hope and fatigue. If I had been among any other parents than our Waldorf-school crew (a much more-evolved set than I, with few-to-no television-watchers among them), I likely would've been bellowing at the top of my lungs, "OH HO HO, MISSY, YOU COME HERE RIGHT NOW OR THERE WILL BE NO LITTLE EINSTEINS FOR YOU EVER AGAIN!!!!!" as I know for a fact that nothing would've gotten her down off that hill faster. But I couldn't do it, somehow, any more than I could, in that moment, bribe her with promises of mountains of sugar, though everything silent in me was frosting chocolate cupcakes and turning on Netflix faster than I could think. Anything, anything in that moment, where all I wanted was a hot bath and a book and a candle, or a down comforter to throw over my head, or a train ticket to Timbuktu. But somehow, at some point (oh, it got worse before it got better), I had hold of her hand and I didn't let go, Little Einsteins was (privately) denied her for the day (more howling), we made it home safe and sound, and all was soon enough right with the world. And today Andy is, thrillingly, blessedly home. Ah, sweet relief of reinforcements! 

Stacey was here yesterday, assembling most of the new (old) strips of fabric I have cut for new quilt kits, coming again in a few weeks. This time there will be fewer colorways but a few more kits available of each color. I've been thinking about how to offer these again and will talk about that next week, though I honestly don't have any very-much-better solutions, other than to say I will make more. I will make more, guys. I've got fabric coming in almost every day now. I'm by no means done with this, if you aren't. I'm committed to finding better ways to make it work, for both of us.

Dear little crocheted sweaters, I can't quit you. The green one (pattern from Mon Petit Violon), up there? I think it's finally the perfect sweater for Amelia, and she's actually been wearing it. Hallelujah. Success with something (anything! please!). Turns out light sport-weight crocheted sweaters are a great, swingy weight, and go fast, and look pretty, and are just all kinds of good for us right now. I used this pattern (my notes are on my own Ravelry page) and Swans Island Washable Sport in Fresh Water. For my next one, already started, I'm using the same pattern but in O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in Pasture Rose with the same (4.0mm) hook. Boom.

88 comments

Love your blog, your photos are always so inspiring ~ love that lineup of dresses in the closet!

Bridgette says: April 13, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Motherhood, the hardest job you'll ever love.

The times that try a mother's soul. Hang in there, know there are far more good days than bad. 😳
Loving the latest sweater. Crochet has a sweet vintage look that is timeless.
Enjoying your photography as always and seeing precious Clover Meadow is a bonus. ❤️🐶

Stefanie P. says: April 13, 2017 at 11:16 AM

I agree, motherhood is the hardest job...and you will forever love it!...I find the older they get, the harder it becomes...you move from the physical exhaustion to the abstract emotional...with seldom any answers...but what an honor and privilege to be a mother...these trying times are but a season...and so is Spring! Gotta love it!!! Hang in there...you and Andy are doing a great job!!!

Mom tribe to the rescue!! Can't raise little people without a mom tribe of support!!

Oh! have I been there with strong willed toddlers...then they turn into strong willed teenagers.

Good parenting is definitely not for the faint of heart. Hugs & prayers as you navigate these years. They truly are fleeting. You are doing a great job. Your love for Amelia and Andy are in everything you do and create. Thanks for sharing.

Oh I recognised that moment at home time so very well. And the exhaustion. Glad you have reinforcements now! The magnolias are glorious at the moment aren't they. And that tulip - utter perfection. Every single year the greenness of late spring and early summer absolutely takes my breath away. Everyone in this house is probably tired of me banging on about it. But it's so green. Everywhere. Green. Happy sigh. Hope you and yours have a lovely Easter. CJ xx

As a mama to four kiddos from 3 to 13, I wish I could say that it gets easier, but in fact it just morphs and changes as they get a bit bigger. My 13 year old son is such a joy 98% of the time, but in reality he is still a kid trying to find his place and his feelings in this big world of ours, and those melt downs still come. He probably wishes he could just throw pine needles at me, but instead he gets his "mood on", as well call it, and he huffs and puffs quite a lot.
The joy of living with a good group of mamas around is not having to ever hide those feelings or those moments. We all go through them, we all deal with them both publicly and privately, and that tribe is essential to our health and well being. I have also learned to carry a small bag of chocolate chips, not for my 3 year old, but for me. Dark chocolate always makes a temper tantrum seem so much more manageable :D.

Mary K. in Rockport says: April 13, 2017 at 12:53 PM

There are trying moments with a young child, that's for sure. They happen to all of us, and it's embarrassing! I think that terrible twos are extending themselves further into childhood as parenting has become less rigid. Kids have to go through that spell of asserting themselves at some point! Dogs are easier! My first born WOULD NOT leave the beach. I finally walked away assuming she'd get scared and follow. Nope. I hid behind a car and watched as she happily went back to digging in the sand. I finally had to march back and carry her screaming and struggling back to the car -- like you, I have some mobility problems, and it was not a dignified procedure! Perhaps you could talk with your daughter and suggest that she can't go back to the playground for a few days because she was naughty the last time and didn't come when she was called.

As kids, when we would push my mother to the limit of her patience, she let us know that there would be consequences for our actions (or non-actions). And then we would demand to know what exactly the consequences were going to be, but she would only say that 'you will not like them'.

Now my 84 year old mother laughs to think of it--and says she had no idea what the consequences would have been--she was too tired to strategize at that point and was only buying time and just a little more endurance.

If Little Einsteins works, go for it! I remember those moments of temporary insanity, and I did feel like crying. The trick in our house was the follow through. Doesn't take them long to figure out you mean business when you calmly but resolutely take away a privilege. Eventually as they mature, this will morph into the beloved BECAUSE I SAID SO! Then, you have officially become EveryMother😂😂😂. And it works, usually! Love what the other mom said about always carry some chocolate for yourself. Chocolate really does make everything better. You're doing great, Alicia! One day at a time. And remember, you and Andy are the ones who know her best. Trust yourselves😉

Having an audience for moments like this can make it worse, but I'm glad your fellow moms had your back. "It got worse before it got better"--lol. I can laugh because I've been there. My husband travels for work a lot. I'd be home alone for a whole week with no reinforcements. I honestly don't remember now how I got through it. Likely threats and bribes! Late afternoon/early evening was the witching hour when I was ready to be done but they were just getting started.

I remember those days, sweet mama...xoxo to both of you...

This made me laugh/smile! My children are 11 and 10 now and I remember those "strong-willed" times like it was yesterday. As they are now approaching middle school and we're dealing with problems like kids saying mean things, peer pressure, etc. I want to go back to the times when I had to chase after them in Target! It seems like it just keeps getting harder! Glad you are at least getting a break today. When they are that age, it was physically and mentally exhausting. Mine now are just mentally exhausting!

Susan Pease says: April 13, 2017 at 02:12 PM

Hang in there mama. My first one of those was at the grocery store when my 4 year old wanted bananas after we were already in line and bananas were on the other side of the store. I was mortified. I had no idea she was capable of that kind of total meltdown. I did stand my ground, endured the embarrassment as calmly as I could, and she got an earful after we left, but we both survived. We had a long talk before we went the next time and she understood that her choices would have consequences and that she would decide with her actions. It didn't stop everything, but it helped. She is now 21 and getting her marine science degree. These girls of great spirit will someday lead our troubled world to amazing heights. Hug her tight and stand your ground, it teaches her to set boundaries too. Then treat yourself to a bath, a book, and a cup of tea. :) Mamahood is no joke!

It is a rite of passage. We have all been there, multiple times. They are fueled by such intensity and it can turn from unbearable joy to sorrow and rage in a minute's time. You did the right thing by focusing on steering yourselves home. Look to a fresh start in the morning.

I had the strongest of the strong willed little girls in a group of friends with little Stepford children. Oh the humiliation, the absolute feeling of being the worst Mother, sometimes even thinking, "I longed for you for 8 long years you horrid little brat! I must have been crazy!" I had to crawl up inside the ball pit at a McDonalds play place while pregnant with child 2 and drag her out screaming by the legs. 😔 It was not my best moment.
Then she became a young woman with a passion for volleyball and she bested everything she ever tried. She willed herself through college and grad school as a less than stellar student, she became the captain of her college volleyball team and an outside hitter at a puny 5'7" because she told herself she could jump high, she is a wonder and a pleasure and a fabulous adult! We have a saying in our family, "Maggie always comes out on top." It doesn't matter she always wills a situation to be better than it began and it usually works for her.
Someday you will look back on these days and years with sweet Amelia.....you, a survivor.....and realize her strong will got her where she ends up. I will say that one book I absolutely wore out was by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and I think was titled Raising you Spirited Child. It was a godsend!

I FEEL YOU. I totally understand! Of my four children, #1 and #3 are incredibly strong willed. They were our tantrum queens, as toddlers they both could bring me daily to tears, and now they are both shaping up to be incredible leaders. Well, it takes a lot to raise a leader. My husband and I pray regularly for strength and wisdom to mold them and not to break them.

Jacqueline says: April 13, 2017 at 04:01 PM

If you haven't noticed, there are quite a few of us with strong-willed girls! Mine are almost 17 and 22, and it has served them well, although driven me crazy at times. It does not get easier, but you get better at dealing with it!

Look how good Clover Meadow has turned out. You got this, mom.

I'd love to be Good Friends with you, Alicia! Though you probably aren't in need of any, and haven't time for them even if you did. I'm just saying you are the kind of friend or mom or sister I'd like to have.

Thanks for sharing with us by building this blog. They say that modern retail catalogs are really Aspirational Lookbook-type Magazines for a brand's customers--getting your blog all sewn-bound and HQ-printed in my mailbox--now that would be a joy!

I think you are a very good mother, and being a mother at all these days is Very Brave and you mustn't fault yourself overmuch.

Also, those tulips!!! And yes, exactly, on The Green such weather affords.

Oh, yeah, girls are a blast! One minute, sweet as pie, the next raving banshees, then the crying...But I thank God for the day she was born. She's my best friend and knitting buddy. I never thought I'd see the day. She was a tomboy when she was little, then a doc marten wearing punk. Now she's loving mom to two of my little grandsons. Take heart - she's still a little woman under construction.

Maize Hutton says: April 13, 2017 at 04:58 PM

Gosh. That story brings back a memory of my son when he was four. We were living in Alaska at the time and had just left a store in the mall when he started screaming 'I WANT A WHALE KEYCHAIN!!!' I was holding his hand as it continued until he refused to walk any more, fell to the floor on his stomach demanding that damn whale keychain--over and over and over. I let go of his hand and continued walking for about ten feet and sat on a bench while the tirade continued. I watched as people stepped around him, some looked at me as if to say 'Is he your's?' I'd shrug-- thinkin' 'Nope! He ain't mine'. I didn't have the energy to scold him and within minutes, which felt like hours, he was embarrassed enough to stop, get up and walk out with me. I never said anything to him then but I do tell the story from time to time at family gatherings when he's around. 😊

I remember my 3-4 yr old acting out in a store, not wanting to go- yelling, singing, jumping… I stood at a distance, exhausted & stranger wandering by said, "Aren't they adorable?" & I replied, "From a distance." Oh, the look she gave me! Worst Mama of the Year Award, I'm sure. Today in a store, him now 14, we saw a girl throwing a royal tantrum all over the store. He said to me, "You've been there, done that." "Yep."

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.