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

That should have read: nagging their parent to buy them something.

I was always alone as my husband was deployed overseas most of the time. Had to use lots of psychology. I must say, I got a lot of mileage out of "I'm glad you're not like that kid we saw today." Make jokes too. "Gosh, that would drive me bonkers! What would you do if I went bonkers? You'd be so embarrassed, You'd have to drag ME out of the store!" Run in circles pulling your hair.Get her laughing. Things are always easier if you can act silly and get them laughing.

My strong-willed daughter is now almost 20 and there are ties that I am amazed that we all survived it! She remains very driven and is achieving many amazing things including volutneering overseas. Parenting is the toughest job in the world (and most rewarding), sometimes you just have to survive dau by day. Take care.

Hi there. No parenting advice from me cause you have heaps of good stuff here already. But just wondering if a ballot ticket system might work for selling the quilt kits? Just an idea. Big love from Julie in Australia

Hello Alicia, I feel for you! My own darling daughter turned 13 last month, and I SO remember those toddler days. In fact, she still throws fits as if she were 3 (yesterday morning, in fact). As mamas, we just do our best (or the best we can at any given time) every damn day. I just hold tight to the sweet moments when they come to sustain me through all the other nonsense. And...I keep telling myself my daughter's strong-willed-ness will server her well someday. (Like when she's in her 20s and is nice to me again.) Hang in there, you are doing just fine!! XOXO - Sara

Hugs, we've all been there!! My youngest (of 5) turned 16 this past Sunday. The oldest is 25 TODAY!! Where has the time gone? The only little nugget I can offer is to not let throwing a fit "work". They do it because we become weary and they, for some reason, never do. If you stand firm, even when due to humiliation you want to crawl under a rock, they begin to realize that their fit doesn't produce the result they were demanding. It was seriously some of the hardest times I ever lived through. I wanted my kids to be a delight to me, and others, and I was determined to press through; sometimes only with the encouragement of mamas holding me up. Honestly, I am so enjoying my children and it was worth every minute of really hard work!

Mary K. in Rockport says: April 19, 2017 at 07:47 AM

I forgot this story until just. I was out walking with my friend and her toddler amongst strangers. He started to act up terribly and would not be constrained. She cried, "I'm telling your mother, I'm never babysitting for you again!"

I've loved you for years, but maybe never quite as much as this moment. Deep breath mama, you got this. Also, make sure you have some non-waldorfian, netflix-embracing, normal parents in your life as well. xo

I vividly remember my toddler sons throwing themselves screaming on the floor of a toy shop when I was buying a birthday gift for their cousin and nothing for them. I managed to drag both screaming boys out to the sidewalk and hoped that I could melt into it as other shoppers walked by. I see those scenes now through grandmother eyes and I know now that those other shoppers were probably feeling what I am feeling now: commiseration, not condemnation. This is when you remember that someday your child will have her own child to pull the same stunts that she did. It all comes around! :)

I see you've received plenty of tantrum advice... so I don't want to add to that except to say: do yourself a favor and read some Janet Lansbury! Whether her books or blog, she's super helpful. So much so that we joke we want a 1-800-JANET hotline for advice 24/7!

When my son was 2-4 years old, he out-toddlered the toddlers. Daily tantrums--once, twice, three times--were the norm. Even his toddler friends would comment that he cried a lot. I thought I was screwing everything up, that I had missed some fundamental parenting technique that came so naturally to others. There were many days when I had a pounding headache and wanted to stab myself in the eye. And yet all through elementary school, my son was a model student, well-behaved and kind to others. Now that he's at middle school, many adults say he's an old soul, including his pediatrician. Those who didn't know him as a toddler do not believe me when I say he was demonic. My son works hard at school and gets straight A's. I tell him he needs to relax and get straight B's and he looks at me like I'm crazy. He still has that same intensity and has difficulty with transitions. And I still screw up. But parenting has gotten a lot easier (although still exhausting at times) because I understand the dance. Hand in there mama!

Those were the days. My son's 21 and in college now (junior in the physics program), but all I had to do when he was little was threaten to take away his reading time before bed and he would straighten right out!

Stephanie VW says: April 25, 2017 at 06:30 AM

I'm reading this again after reading your latest posts and laughing in recognition. Yesterday afternoon, my newly minted 4-year-old was insistent on playing with the neighbours (we were on self-imposed "quarantine" b/c my 7-year-old had come home "sick" from school). I ended up sprinting after him as he ran across the lawn and down the sidewalk on our busy street.

When my youngest son was just a baby, my oldest son, then 4, had a meltdown in Chapters (bookstore like B&N). I ended up hoisting his kicking, screaming form onto my hip and heading out of the store, one hand on the stroller. An innocent lady saw the cute baby in the stroller coming and held the door. I will never forget how her eyes widened when she heard the horrid noise coming from the writhing creature on my hip. I smiled pleasantly at her, said "Thank you!" and continued on.

Anne Marue says: April 26, 2017 at 05:07 AM

I am a regular reader but not commenter. But I MUST leave you a comment to say, as the mother of six, that you have PERFECTLY described the parent's side of a tantrum. No one need ever try to put this in words again.

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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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Photography

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.