Spring Fling

comments: 85

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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.

85 comments

Your blog is a sweet escape for me. Beauty is in all things that you do Alicia, thank you

cynthia lindsley says: April 14, 2017 at 09:38 AM

I am a quilter and live in a multi-generational household. My daughter-in-law and I noticed the picture of Amelia at the sewing machine, is she sewing? We are trying to figure out what is a good time to start out. At this time my grand daughter sits on my lap, guides the material, and has learned the basic parts that I have felt comfortable for her. I would love to have her sit at a machine. We were so pleased that Amelia is taking after her mom.

There's some wonderful advice here, Alicia. I would also recommend the book "Love and Logic." Hugs.

Threatening early bed time works like a charm here. I only had to follow through once!

My daughter is also very strong willed. The toddler years were rough. Things got much better when she was five and in kindergarten. Now, at 7, she is still strong willed and full of energy, but much less screamy about it all. Good luck.

ah, the strong willed child. there's not a parent on the planet who hasn't experienced that child at least once and - if honest - many many onces over a lifetime of child rearing. too bad there's not one really good pat answer to share, but as all of us know, there is not. trial and error. what works today, works today but not necessarily tomorrow. oh the joy. and always in front of a crowd. it's the MO of strong willed children everywhere. i used to think the parents were staring in disgust, or if lucky, solidarity. but you know what? they weren't. they were staring to see if YOU had the magic key, the one right thing that would put an end to the screaming mimi one's child becomes when told NO. the look in the parents' eyes is hope. maybe she's the one who will do just the right thing, the one who holds the golden undies. all these years later, i've still not met that parent. maybe they're out there somewhere, but if so, they are hiding. hang in there. you're doing great....golden undies or not.

Oh I don't miss those days at all. We are at age 10 and for now things are very, very good (they tell me elementary school is the golden age of childhood). I absolutely dread middle school and the heartache I fear it will bring all of us. Congratulations on making it through!

Are those darling fabrics (dresses) your daughter's? Oh my! I thought it was a shop for a moment - just loving all of the varied designs and styles. Thanks for the beautiful photos (as always. All of our kids - and thus, us as moms, have been thru the "leaving of the playground (or fill in the blank" scene! Happy Easter!

Goodness, you are a marvelous writer! You captured Oregon Spring so beautifully-your words so rich and well chosen. You can smell the rich soil and feel the squishy ground! Your next paragraph of the trials and joys of parenthood is a soothing balm to my soul! Is there any nothing more validating than parent commiseration? I have three kiddos: 7 years old, 3yr old and a 1 year old and I've decided that most ALL children are strong willed 😉 I feel like I osscilate from Mary Poppins to Cruela Deville on any given day. Parenthood brings you to your knees, both in the sheer overwhelming beauty, joy, love and magic of it, and the gut wrenching, self doubting, maddening, Mother-Theresa-level-of-patience-requiredness of it! Thank you for sharing!!💗

Commiserations from the mother of a very sassy baby. It will stand her in good stead, take heart!

What a beautiful post as always, but what beautiful and supportive comments written. I love what one gal said about your daughter being a little woman under construction. And what grace and patience you demonstrated. When my son was little everyone warned me about the terrible twos and threes, they came and went and I thought everyone was crazy, what were they talking about? No, it hit at 4! Oh my goodness, what a trying time. So hang in there sister! We got your back!

You are in the thick of !!! Being a mother is so much harder than it looks! It is true though the behavior that is hardest to deal with now will serve her well as she grows up. Oh and bonus, you will get to embarrass her one day too!

Love your honesty and we've all been there for sure! I couldn't help but laugh a little as I pictured all that you described! As difficult to go through all the issues of raising kids, I'd trade it all in to have them little once again! I'm a grandma with 4 of them (one more on the way)... ha, ha. Really, there are no words of advise and one must do what is best for the child and your sanity! We should never judge and somehow, we feel like we are and nice to know that we all have days like this - no adult or kid is perfect! Hang in there and tomorrow is another day!

I didn't read all the comments, but strong-willed and spirited are different so you might check out the differences. I remember flipping through "The Strong Willed Child" and thinking that it didn't sound like my child even though she had a will of steel. Then I looked at "Raising Your Spirited Child" and BINGO. Parenting a spirited child is HARD and EXHAUSTING. For anyone reading this who has a spirited child, I put together a page of resources to share what I learned. It gets easier, but those first four or five years especially are so hard to get through.

https://sallieborrink.com/dreamers-sensitive-spirited-children/

I didn't read all the comments, but strong-willed and spirited are different so you might check out the differences. I remember flipping through "The Strong Willed Child" and thinking that it didn't sound like my child even though she had a will of steel. Then I looked at "Raising Your Spirited Child" and BINGO. Parenting a spirited child is HARD and EXHAUSTING. For anyone reading this who has a spirited child, I put together a page of resources to share what I learned. It gets easier, but those first four or five years especially are so hard to get through.

https://sallieborrink.com/dreamers-sensitive-spirited-children/

I'm worried about the beautiful sweater and dandelions. The milk from their cut ends doesn't look like anything when it gets onto clothes, but after you wash them there are little tiny grey circles wherever the dandelion stems touched the clothes.
It took me many years to figure that one out. I want your sweater to live many years without grey milk-marks!

We've all been there with the tantrums! Over time I have learned to somehow blot out the faces, the looks and the (imagined, silent) disapproval and just focus on the job in hand. I am a sensitive type who worries over others' opinions but I've grown a much thicker skin since becoming a mother of 3. Tomorrow is another day, as they say. Memorable moment include my 4yo not putting on his coat at pre-school pick-up; once I'd asked, I felt I had to carry through to the screaming discontent of the little rascal (that wasn't quite the phrase I was thinking, forgive me, at the time!) and in front of other parents and all the pre-school staff. I had never been so glad to get outside and away. I'm sure I'll laugh about it in 50 years....

Love the little crochet jackets, so perfect!

i love the way you capture the seasons! oh, those parenting moments!! i do believe we have all been there! glad you made it through :)

I was lucky enough never to have my kids throw an out-right tantrum, but I think I did a lot of preempting by saying things like, "poor little thing sounds very tired to me" when we'd hear other kids doing that at grocery stores etc. or sometimes I'd make a joke like, "oh dear, poor little beast is making an awful racket. Her poor Mummy is going to go deaf". I don't think my kids laughed, but they got the message! Also if I ever thought they were building up to a tantrum, I'd try to nip it in the bud by saying very quietly in their ear (especially if there was an audience of other mothers around) that this behavior was not becoming and would not be tolerated. I think I may even have growled it so they knew there would be consequences, or if we were in a store, that I was prepared to leave my cart in the aisle and exit immediately. That always seemed to work. I really told you this to amuse you, not to give advice, so feel free to disregard. You seem to be an excellent Mum doing her best and that is all anyone can ever do. Ps. what works one day fails the next - just to keep you on your toes, I think!

My oldest daughter had a fit in the elevator at work(mine and my husband) just as the door opened to my husband's boss and Senator Nelson waiting to get on the elevator. We were not introduced to the Senator as we quickly and wordlessly gathered up our child and fled the scene. I learned that day to leave 20 minutes before signs of impending doom. Also it helped to limit our time with the Perfect Parents! Both girls are teenagers who are very pleasant to be around, most of the time.

Joan Lesmeister says: April 17, 2017 at 09:01 AM

Oh my yes, "some days are diamonds, some days are stones"! I like those words from that old song....pretty much apply to lots of situations! You are amazing dear Alicia - your pictures, your words, your darling daughter & your hubby!! Love your blog! And the great comments! Thank you!!! xo

My own Amelia, 17 years old now, was and is very strong willed. I'm so thankful that she is not easily swayed by her peers and knows her own mind. That is what you can look forward to <3

My little guy had a slight speech problem and when he started screaming "Truck!, Truck!" all the way through the store I was mortified to know people were hearing something other than the work truck. Ahhh, your making memories!

You know what I found to work? Watch closely for other kids having a melt down, or nagging for you to buy them something, then give your child a nudge and whisper, "good grief, I'm glad you don't do nuttso stuff like THAT!" You'll be amazed how well it works. They start noticing the other kids too and then you can both share a "knowing" smile.

And as my Mum used to stress " always keep your promises, good or bad " I knew if my mum "promised" that something would be taken away, or that something good was going to happen, it was cast in stone. (But don't promise what you can't follow through with.)

Very cute photos! Thanks for sharing with us :)
Henry

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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.