Archive for November, 2008


Posted in Autism, Motherhood with tags , , , , , on November 20, 2008 by Ms. Ex

My babies are curled into me, in that space between chin and thigh that forms when I lie down.  We are a comma, a parenthesis at the end of a very long day.  I have yelled and grabbed and stomped and slammed, and the day is not quite over.  Now we just have to settle the one who elicits all the storminess from me.  He lay still and sweetly silent for a moment, then something inside him says, “Now,” and he reaches out to pinch, or bite. Or he rears his heavy head back and it meets a smaller head.  The struggling begins again until it exhausts itself momentarily in a collapse of teary sobs, and once more we mark the end of something, still and curved in the dark.

I love the comma, the parenthesis, the ellipsis.  The trailing off or the pause.  And I long for a day with no exclamation point.


Wooly Goodness Everywhere

Posted in Fiber Friday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by Ms. Ex

I have declared Fridays “Fiber Fridays,” and in keeping with that theme I wish to point you in the direction of this lady, who is a master at finding great sweaters to use for all kinds of projects.  I am envious of her scavenging abilities, but it seems she lives in a bigger area than I so maybe it’s easier.  Her blog includes adorable projects she’s made for herself and her family, and my hat is off to her.  She hand sews some of them!

I have been in a sewing frenzy, and I can’t seem to keep things in my shop (actually, shops) very long.  The more I search etsy, the more ideas I get and the more strongly I believe we should not be making very many “new” things when there is so much incredible fabric languishing in thrift stores.  Last night I walked away with five, FIVE cashmere sweaters and one gorgeous silk blouse destined for I-don’t-know-what yet.

This time of year, when the catalogs start pouring in, I start to feel even more disgust for our throw-away culture.  It’s not that I don’t ever buy new.  I am known to attack Old Navy to buy $1.49 shirts for my kids.  But that’s just it – they can really sell those things for $1.49?  What are they made of, that cornstarch stuff like packing peanuts?  Will they dissolve in water?

(stepping down from soapbox)

Anyway, I would just encourage you to think outside the box store this year.  Think a whole sweater’s worth of incredibly scrumptious yarn that costs $3.50 because it’s from a Goodwill sweater.  Think decadent pillows made from silk blouses.  Think sweet stuffed toys that don’t contain phthalates or lead paint.

I’m no enviro-freak. I like to think I’m practical and logical (when it comes to this, anyway).  And this year, I am keeping it simple. I’m keeping it handmade.

Disclaimer:  Yes, I understand that we need to pump money into our economy right now more than ever. I am, after all, a capitalist at heart.  That discussion, however,  is beyond the scope of this blog, although that might not keep me from posting about it later anyway.

A Day In the Life

Posted in Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , , , on November 12, 2008 by Ms. Ex


Me:  Hello?

Daughter:  There’s a cow in the toaster.  Should I, like, not use it?

Me:  Can’t you take it out?

Daughter:  No (snarkily).  It’s like Operation or something!

It’s a Small World After All

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , , , on November 9, 2008 by Ms. Ex

As a woman becomes a mother, her world takes on different dimensions. Discussions over coffee take on the scale of bedtime routines or breastfeeding problems instead of economics or world affairs. Even those of us who once prided ourselves on being well-informed can slip into something that looks an awful lot like…vacuity.

We don’t stop caring about things political, environmental, worldly. It’s just that our focus becomes smaller, more personal. We talk cloth diapering vs. disposables. We discuss buying organic and local, not as an intellectual exercise, but because it’s good for our babies, our families. We battle the desire to choose safety for our children over freedom. Or maybe, if you are slightly less crunchy, you discuss Montessori school vs. public schools. Some of us throw in homeschooling for an added twist, for religious or academic reasons.  The thing is, each of these topics comes with an abundance of information.  All the room we had before for learning things like Avogadro’s number or whether J. Alfred Prufrock was more frustrated by people’s habit of wearing false social faces or by his inability to emulate them becomes crammed with doctor’s appointments, educational paradigms, sports schedules, meal plans, grocery lists and children’s shoe sizes.  Our mates want stimulating conversations, and we yearn for ten minutes of time during which no one requires us to wipe anything.

There was a time when I could defend my positions on things. Now, not only do I not have the brain power to do so, but my positions have become hazier, less defined. I can see with each child born that there is no “right way” to parent children, only things that work better for some than for others. I extend that idea to the world around me, and it becomes more difficult to have the chutzpah to claim my rightness about anything. Everything is a matter of degrees, and there is precious little in this world worth damaging relationships over. And in the end, what else is there?

I may not have the passion I once had for changing the world, but mothers?  We are the wheels. We make it go.

Like I Need Another Hole in My Head…

Posted in Fiber Friday with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2008 by Ms. Ex

Another hobby. Yes indeedy, that’s what I have found. Instead of figuring out where to bring my son for the therapy he needs, or addressing the fact that my daughter skipped two classes yesterday, I decided to make nuno felt. Because, you know, nothing says “good mother” like using craftastic sublimation.

But seriously – the whole rolling / felting process is grueling and makes a great outlet for anger, tension and fear, all while giving me kickass sculpted shoulders. What could be better than that? Of course, I just started doing this, so the sculpted shoulders aren’t quite visible beneath the layers of fat yet, but give me time! As with anything else, I intend to go balls out full speed ahead with this for a while then peter out and replace it with another void-filling obsession activity.

I found this simple felt making tutorial on flickr and adapted it to my own needs. It works beautifully, and is not as imprecise as I thought it might be. My results were lovely (this was the neighborhood ladies’ consensus), as you can see here. I am amazed at the possibilities – with some flimsy silk gauze from Dharma Trading and roving from our own Sedalia Center Fiber Festival I dyed and manipulated until I had this colorful piece. The wonders of modern technology.

Lax Parenting Central

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , on November 2, 2008 by Ms. Ex

Since I’ve been so serious lately, I thought I might take a moment and provide some humor and some self-congratulations. Just when I thought I might be becoming too permissive a parent, I find something like this entry from Passive Agressive Notes, a milk-will-shoot-out-of-your-nose funny blog.

And then I think to myself – hey! At least YOUR kid does her own laundry.

The Power of Television

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2008 by Ms. Ex

I reached the ripe old age of thirty-four before I learned how to properly fold a fitted sheet. Until that time, the effort had mostly consisted of earnest attempts followed by cussing and topped off by balling the sheet up as tightly as possible before shoving it into the appropriate holding area. As I folded laundry this morning, I realized I hadn’t taught my daughter how to do it, nor really how to cook or scrub a bath tub. I had simply been assuming that she would learn via osmosis, and from watching me all these years.

My daughter, E, is fifteen years old. She shows quite a bit of creativity in the kitchen when highly motivated, by which I mean after watching four hours of the Food Network and not eating all morning. She will then dig around in the refrigerator, peruse my spices, and cook up something truly remarkable (not always in a good way, but mostly) all from her own cravings and imagination. Other than that, she generally pretends that she is incapable of boiling water and can we go out for Japanese, please?  As far as other life skills, while it is usually her job to fold the laundry, she will never really finish the job, instead leaving socks, underwear, and her little brothers’ clothes stacked on the floor. It’s the same with putting away dishes – the oddball items get left in the drainer for me to deal with. I often reach the point of I-am-so-sick-of-asking-her-to-do-it-I-will-just-do-it-myself long before she tires of being unable to go anywhere. She can do it. She just won’t.

So imagine my surprise when I asked her to give me one minute of her time this morning to show her something totally dorky and she turned to look at me with my fitted sheet in hand and said, “You want me to teach you how to fold that?”

“Um, you already know how?”

“Yeah, I saw it on TV once.”

She then proceeded to fold it exactly the same way I learned from Martha Stewart Living (I don’t care what you say, M, or how far from the basics in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs she is, I love Martha!)

I feel mixed emotions about all of this. I feel embarrassment that I didn’t know how to fold a damn fitted sheet until a few years ago. I feel awe that such skills are taught on television, and that I have a teenager who would actually watch that kind of thing. I also think perhaps I could use this in my favor. I firmly believe that America’s Next Top Model needs a bathtub-scrubbing photoshoot next season.  Don’t you?