Knitting Poetry the Fifth

This day it was a busy one
With lots of work and lots of fun
We laughed, we played, we made big messes
We built with blocks and wore princess dresses

I kissed a knee that was sore
I tickled a kid upon the floor
The dishes got washed, the beds got made
The floor got mopped, the bills got paid

This day it was a busy one
Lots of work and lots of fun
And now the kids have gone to bed
The bedtime stories have been read

Now I get some time for me
I try to knit while I watch TV
But I’m so tired I cannot think
And it seems that all I do is tink
So with yarn and needles in my lap
I find that all I do is nap

Pay Attention

I promise that as soon as my camera comes back from the repair shop I will show you all the wonderful things I have been knitting, sewing and needle felting (and there are a ton!). Until then, you’ll have to put up with more parenting/homeschooling posts. ūüôā

“Mama, where is my ______?”

“Have you seen the _______?”

“I can’t find any ________?”

So the chorus echos in my house day after day. Ninety percent of the time the sought after item is right there. Granted, I may have had to lift something to find it, or perhaps looked behind something else to locate it. But it is almost always right where I said it was.

“Look in the drawer,” I say.

“It’s not in the drawer,” comes the reply.

So I trudge up the stairs, open the drawer, sigh hugely, and pull out whatever was lost.

Sound familiar? Really, I can’t be the only one.

Being a homeschooler, though, I figure I can fix this. So I did some brainstorming for fun ways to strengthen my kids power of observation. Here is what I have come up with so far.

“I Spy” books and the like – You know the ones I speak of. There is a picture cluttered with all sorts of things and you have to locate certain items in the mess. It is fun, the kids love it, and the library has all different ones. There are also “Do You See What I See?”, “Where’s Waldo?”, and “Seek and Find”.

Find the Thimble – My grandma taught my sister and I to play this charming game when we were young. You take a thimble (or other small object) and hide it in plain sight. Then everyone else tries to find it while you use clues like “getting warmer” to help if you want to. Whoever finds it first gets to hide it the next round. The only rule is that it has to be seen from the middle of the room. This game is a huge hit with my kids and full of nostalgia for me!

Practice Following Directions Game – (I need to come up with a better name for this one!) A kid is given a set of instructions: “Go in the kitchen. Open the cupboard. Pull out the big pot. Look inside.” And there in the pot is something fun (or more instructions for the next clue). All the directions are given at once and can be simpler or more complicated based on the kid. Once they understand the game, they can send you on a hunt.

The Baby Shower Game – If you have been to as many baby showers as I have, you know this one. You place a number of unrelated items on a tray. You let the kids look at it for a short amount of time (say 1 minute?). Then you hide the tray and see how many they remember. This can also be done with pictures, a poster, out the living room window, driving down the street, coming out of the grocery store, really anywhere that there is anything to be seen. “Who can tell me ten things they saw in that store?” “As we drive down this street, see how many things there are…… Okay. What did you see?” etc…

Well, that is all I’ve got. I would love to have some more fun ways to teach this valuable skill. Do you have any suggestions?



As I watch my kids play this morning, I am struck once again by their creativity.

I have never been a big “toy person”. I don’t like toys that sing, vibrate, flash or talk. I don’t want Barbie for my kids, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I hate plastic – for food storage, for yarn making, and for toys, too. I want to see my kids use their creativity, to learn through their play, and I don’t want them¬†to¬†get overstimulated. I want “good for brains” toys. And only a few. We live out in the country with land to roam, trees to climb, rocks to scale, and places to explore. Who needs toys when you have all these?

But we do have some toys. This is the rundown starting with my favorites.

The Essential Toys

Play silks¬†– the absolute ultimate toy (at least for my girls). It can be a cape, a turban, a veil, a shawl, a table cloth, a toga, a baby blanket, a rope, a tent… the list goes on and on. If my kids could only have one toy, I would choose a play silk. And, yes, it is real silk. That is a nod to my fiber-snobiness. No acrylic here, please.

Blocks Рbasic, wood blocks are the second thing on my list. As with the silks, blocks have so much room for creativity. In our house they become not just towers to knock down, but mazes, roads, and more. Add any other toy, and blocks become even more fun Рmy kids mix in dominoes, cars, dolls, and yes, even silks.

Modeling Clay¬†– My favorite is actually modeling wax, but the cost is prohibitive. Even so, each of my kids has 12 colors of modeling wax and do pretty well with each tiny, brightly colored lump. We also have lots of cheap modeling clay that works just as well. I still prefer the natural-ness of wax. (If only I was rich…)

Some More Great Toys

Train set –¬†We have a large Thomas The Tank Engine set (wooden = natural). We have had it for over four years. There have been periods of dissuse, when the box sits undisturbed under the bed for a few months at a time. But, then out of the blue, someone will get it out and it is like new toys have arrived. The train set captivates all ages, has endless possibilities for layouts, and everyone can play together. It was a huge investment but totally worth it.

Dolls¬†– My girls have all been different about dolls. One daughter treasures them and keeps them pristine and hardly plays with them. Another daughter wears her dolls out with love (think “Velveteen Rabbit”). And the other girls are somewhere in between. However they do it, dolls are a huge part of our day. We have some American Girls, some waldorf style dolls, a few old dolls dating back to my dad’s childhood, a few needlefelted dolls, and (unfortunately) some Polly Pockets. While I love the more simple, natural dolls, each of my girls have their own preferences and all the dolls get lots of playtime.

Construction Toys¬†– We have Legos, Tinkertoys, and 2 Erector Sets (one plastic and one super awesome metal). This is The Boy’s territory. He can tinker all day long, building, disassembling, creating, and thinking. Always thinking. I love it.

Toys We Have That I¬†Don’t¬†Love (to put it mildly)

Polly Pockets –¬†these were my compromise. Yes, they are like Barbies (which I hate), but they are also a lot like paper dolls in function (which I like). In my defense, when I started buying them 8 years ago, they still looked and dressed like little girls. Over the years, they have developed a little more shape and the clothes have gotten more immodest. Hence my animosity. But, The Bookworm has an extensive collection already, so what am I to do?

Bionicles¬†– Yes, they are kind of a construction toy, but they are for making ugly monster things. Not being a boy myself, I don’t understand the need to build creatures of terror. These get a pass because they do take some creativity and the are super spectacular in the eyes of The Boy. And I didn’t have to buy them.

Disney Princesses¬†– If only Walt knew the value of modesty. However, Belle learned the value of looking at the character of a person and not just his face and Cinderella is harmless (I hope). My kids haven’t even seen the other movies, but they love all the princesses just the same. Sigh

Toys you will never find in my house –

Bratz, Barbies, and other toys that encourage immodesty.

Electronic “Learning” toys –¬†I don’t buy the idea that flashing lights and inane, repeated phrases are going to do anything but give my kids a short attention span.

I know there are more, but nothing else comes to mind. It probably boils down to everything in Toys ‘R’ Us.

So, there is my opinionated, biased list of toy do’s and don’ts. What are your favorite toys? Which ones do you hate? What compromises have you made?

On Teething and the Tooth Fairy

Teeth are the big deal around here.

They are growing in.

They are falling out.

And the Tooth Fairy, bless her soul, she just can’t seem to keep up. I will elaborate in a moment. But first –

A word on teething.

Teething stinks. I hate it and I wish it would stop. Yep, you read that right. I wish it would stop. Granted, I have no real solution; no proposed method of getting teeth without it (because you know that this nursing mom appreciates the toothless newborn!). I would just rather skip the fussy, drool-y, nothing-makes-me-happy part of infancy.

I am trying something new this time. I finally bought an amber necklace from Inspired by Finn. Correction: I bought two amber necklaces, one for V and another for The Munchkin who is still of the teething age. 

This is the one The Munchkin is wearing, called lemonade (photo slurped from their website):

Now, it took me the bearing of six babies before I finally bought some of these. Originally my thought was that only an imbecile would put a bead necklace on their baby. That progressed to a limited understanding of the function – a necklace to ease teething pain? Sounds very hocus-pocus to me. But, after seeing how cute they are on friends babies and hearing testimonies¬†of the amber’s efficacy¬†from people that I respect, I started to wonder. So, I did a little research and found that there is a bit of science behind the idea. The claim (in case you don’t already know) is that the amber contains succinic acid which is a mild analgesic. As I understand it, by wearing amber against your skin, you absorb this acid and it soothes pain (be it teething pain or arthritis pain or whatever). As to whether it really works or not, I am still a skeptic. But I figure that either way I like it because, look! It is so cute!

So, back to the teething… I don’t enjoy the endless questioning every time V gets fussy. “Maybe she is teething?” we wonder. And there is no way to know for sure.¬†Eventually it ends.¬†Eventually she gets teeth….

… Only to have them fall out again in a few years. And now –

The Tooth Fairy Is A Flake

I have blogged here before about the failings of the tooth fairy. It seems that she has not improved much.

The Dancing Queen lost a tooth the other night (I suspect that she was trying to earn some money by removing teeth from her head instead of going to sleep as she was supposed to do, but whatever). She came running down the stairs with tooth in hand and a bloody smile. “Mama! I lost a tooth!” I told her to clean up her face and put the tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy. Then I finished my movie and my row (that’s right – knitting and watching a movie. I am that cool) and I promptly went to bed.

I didn’t realize my folly until around noon the next day. “Oh! Mama! I just remembered! The tooth fairy didn’t come!” cringe

“She didn’t?” I faked. “Maybe a lot of kids lost their teeth yesterday and she was very busy last night.” Lame, I know, but what would you have said?

That night, we checked to make sure the tooth was stashed snuggly under the pillow once again. I kissed my little gal’s forehead and said goodnight. And then I watched another movie, knit a few more rows, and I went to bed.¬†

Thank you, thank you! You may now nominate me for “The Worst Parent of the Year” award. I’m a shoo in.

It wasn’t until night three when the Tooth Fairy finally showed up.

She did try to make up for her massive failings. She included a note that read:

…. and an extra dollar to sweeten the deal. (Yes, that is a tooth. It seems the tooth fairy isn’t a great artist…)

Sometimes I wonder if maybe it is a good thing that my younger kids don’t know that¬†she¬†is really¬†me.


Final Fatal Photos

Remember that super-awesome-clutzproof camera that my mother-in-law bought for me a few months ago? The one that was dust proof, shock proof and waterproof?

Well, the kids finally had a chance to give the underwater features a test drive in a friends pool.

Cool, huh?

Unfortunately, these are the last photos that the camera took before water got in and broke the thing.

But, they had fun and got a few cool shots before it went kaput, so that is good.

And it is still under warranty which is also good.

Until it gets back from the repair shop, however, I have no camera. 

What kind of knitter/blogger (and don’t forget “mother of newborn”) has no camera?