Sharing the crochet love. And some robots.

Posts tagged ‘children’

Saying “Yes.”

No, I haven’t just accepted a marriage proposal, I’m not about to upload videos of candlelit beaches and writing in the sand – still happily single – but I have had some momentous and life-changing events happen of late. 

Image

A few weeks ago now, just after writing my last post, I attended the  very sad funeral of the brother of a friend, and was sitting mid-service when I felt myself filled with the deepest sense of shame I have ever experienced in my life. Let me explain…

The church was filled to capacity – I have honestly never seen it so full. People of all ages and from all faiths had traveled to be there for this mans send-off. People queued up for the chance to say a few words, offering up a prayer or a word of condolence, offering their shoulders to help bear the burden of loss that this family would be forced to carry. 

The priest, who shed his own tears too, spoke so eloquently about this man. About how he touched many lives with his energy and vibrant personality, about how he was loved by everyone because he smiled all the time, even when he was suffering towards the end of his life.

And – here comes the burning shame – how he never stayed still. He was always living his lifealways planning the next adventure and working towards making his dreams a reality. 

I know, it would be incredibly selfish to sit there at a funeral and feel sorry for myself; that wasn’t quite how I was feeling. I wasn’t jealous that this man had more friends than me, I didn’t feel self-pity because he had had more fun. 

I was ashamed. 

I have spent the last few years of my life building a little nest for myself, a little squirrel’s den to hide away in when the world gets too scary. 

And I have been hiding. During the daytime, I am hiding behind the World’s Best Mother badge, putting 100% of my time and energy into being a mum to my kids. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a job I cherish, and I know how blessed I am to hold this position; but I use it as an excuse to avoid putting any time and energy into me. 

It’s the same in the evenings; the kids go to bed and I curl up on the sofa and pretend that I couldn’t possibly get a babysitter if I wanted to go out – I could get a sitter in a matter of minutes, if I just picked up the phone. Why am I lying to myself? 

I made the decision, sitting at this man’s funeral, to start living my life properly again. I felt I owed him that much; if I want to be able to look him in the eye when we meet again and tell him that my extra years weren’t “wasted” on me, I need to get back out there and use up every bit of my time – the way he would have.

So; how do we start living again, after years of expertly dodging life? 

It really was very simple – I started saying “Yes.” 

You see, life throws opportunities at all of us, all the time. There is always someone who needs a hand with something, or who doesn’t want to go somewhere on their own, or who is facing something that you have been through and would appreciate your support. 

Quite often, when asked to do something, I would find an excuse, and say to myself “I’ll do that when I’m thin,” or “Someone else could do that much better than me.” 

In the past month, I have put my fingers in my ears and ignored those little inner-head voices. And life has come back to our house…

I have agreed to become a mentor at a parenting group.

I have been kayaking with my friend, who didn’t want to try it on her own. (I’m in that picture, above!) 

I have met up with friends for several nights out (some messier than others!)

I have agreed to help with a local fair, run by volunteers. 

 

If I was afraid before that my children would miss out because I was doing my own thing too, I was so wrong. My children are delighted to see me out and about, meeting friends and getting involved with various activities. They squealed with laughter when they saw me in a wetsuit, and they looked on with pride when I was thanked by their teachers for assisting with their show. I haven’t neglected them at all; I have shown them how adults are supposed to live, and they are loving it. 

 

My treasure, and my Treasures

Image

 

There has been very little crochet done here lately, I have been laid low with a bout of tonsilitis that hit me so hard I half convinced myself it was some kind of flu, plague, or tropical disease (note to self – NEVER google your symptoms again!)

So here is a little story from my week that really perked me up…

The picture above is the inside of my button box. Many of you might have a similar one, and you will know then that it is not just a storage solution but also a place of inspiration. Many times I have built a cardigan around some sparkly buttons that I have found, or a little toy based on some googly eyes that were lurking in there.

It has also been incredibly useful for keeping the children entertained. I try to do most of my crochet in the evenings, after the children are tucked up in bed, so that when they are awake they do not have to feel that they are “sharing” my time. However, when the pressure is on I sometimes have to work on something during the day, so I will get the kids involved; I will ask them to find me 4 matching purple buttons,say, or 5 in the shape of a flower. My boy would sit for hours sifting through the treasure box, while for my girl it is more a case of ” Can I borrow this one for my dolls dress please?”, which is quite pleasing to hear. 

Anyway, this past few days I have been dealing with uncontrollable shivering, pounding headaches, weakness, muscle pain, and the sore throat, of course. It has been a miserable time; the only time I ever feel a bit fed up about being a single parent is at times like this, when I don’t have anyone to tell me to stay in bed while they take care of the children. I try to take the attitude that times like this make me stronger, and bring us closer as a family – and they really do.

My kids have been amazing this week; my daughter has been making sure I am warm enough, helping me up the stairs, she even woke me with a warm drink – not hot, as she knew that I wouldn’t want her to use the kettle! It’s touching to see her trying to be a grown up, but I am very glad that my little illness is a short term one, and she can go back to being a child again now that I am nearly back to full health.

My boy has also been supporting me; he took off his little coat and put it around my shoulders, when I had the shivers. I feel I have raised a 4 year old gentleman, and I am proud that he is so caring. He also gave me a present…

Image

 

He came home from school excitedly clutching this single, tiny button. In his class, you can “win” buttons for good behaviour, and then you go to the front of the class and place them in the big button jar. When the jar is full, the class will win a reward, such as extra time in the playground. It’s a great way of getting the class to work together, but how did one of the buttons end up in our house?

“That’s great, you got a button, I’m so proud,” I said, “But….how come this one didn’t go in the jar?” 

“Well, you don’t have one like this,” he answered, “So I knew you would be happy if I brought it home for you.”

So, to the kids in my son’s class; I’m sorry, but I have to keep this one. It makes me smile every time I look at it, just like my son knew it would. I’m feeling better already. 

Digital drawbacks

Image   I am having a very nostalgic evening, flicking through old photographs of the kids and enjoying the memories of all of the happy moments that were captured. Was my boy ever so small? Was his hair ever that long? He is only 6 months old in this photograph, and he was born with that mop of hair, although it was jet black at first. I knitted that striped jumper for him because his hair reminded me of Dennis the Menace! My girl won’t let me plait her hair anymore, and she rarely lets me take her photo either, even from the back! They grow up so quickly, blink and you really do miss it. 

I have photo albums from when I was a baby, faded pictures of bowl haircuts and hand-me-down dungarees, with dreadful carpets and wallpaper in every shot. I can turn the pages and move from birthday party to Christmas morning, Holy Communion to summers on the beach. When someone picks up the big photo albums for a look, people gather round and share stories, giggle at bad hair days and long-forgotten moustaches on various male relatives. 

I don’t have that for my children, and it is my own fault. It has often been said; people don’t print their photographs anymore, and it is a terrible shame. It is great to have a digital camera and know that the images have been captured and safely stored, but I want my children to have what I had – a big book. Just a simple scrapbook with big thick pages where I can stick their photos, an album that they can lift down off the shelf and enjoy every now and then. I imagine them sharing stories of their own in a few years, laughing at my haircuts and clothes, remembering scrapes on knees and knitted stripey jumpers. I think it is time to get these beautiful memories off the hard drive and into a big book. 

Clean faces. And walls and floors…

Image

 

 

I have often come across patterns for crocheted dishcloths and washcloths, and in the past have never quite understood why anyone would want to put so much work into something just to have it wiped across a greasy plate or covered in ketchup. 

However, I did have a few cotton tension squares lying around about a year ago, and they somehow found their way into the kids’ bath. They made lovely soft washcloths, much nicer than the shop-bought flannels we had at the time. The kids used to fight over them – I was so surprised!

I think, out of all the things I have made for my children over the years, and all the hours of work I put into everything, those scrappy tension squares were their favourites, by far! 

I’m not sure where they all went, but we have one left now, and I caught my wee boy using it to wash the bathroom walls for me – so helpful! So tonight I decided to hook up a few replacements for their next bath. 

My girl has a butterfly in lovely buttery yellow, while my boy gets a smiley face in a blue/green shade that he will love. I have even started on one for myself, to be kept safe from any future “cleaning” the kids might choose to assist me with.  

I can kind of see now why people like to make these, although I still haven’t used one as a dishcloth yet! I know people like to give handmade dishcloths as gifts, so I guess that would be a nice way to perk someone up while they are doing their housework.Perhaps I will give it a try, if I can bring myself to dunk my lovely yarn into the kitchen sink! 

A little bonus is, of course, another few balls of random cotton left over from earlier projects have now been put to use, and I intend to do the same with any more cotton I find lurking in there. Yessss! Take that, stash!

 

 

 

 

Amigurumi-family

Image

My boy has had a haircut since I made these, and my girl doesn’t wear pink anymore, but the likeness is still there! I crocheted two “mini-me”s for the kids, small enough to hold in one hand, three years ago, and they have become a great, unexpected souvenir of that time. They make me laugh because I remember how my boy was born with a great mop of hair, and how he refused to keep his clothes on for the first year and was often found running around the house in only a nappy. My girl requested a pink dress and matching shoes – she was well into her pink, princess phase at the time. I also made her a pony, using a free internet pattern, apologies to the author but I cannot remember the website for this.

Image

We never had a pony, but we did have a much loved dog. I had trouble using black yarn on such a small project, but I managed to create a little mini-dog too.

Image

VERY hard to photograph! That lovely dog is no longer with us, so it is nice for my kids to have a little keepsake to remember him by.

I must have gone through quite a mini-me phase, now I look back there were quite a few people who received little yarny versions of themselves. I am quite tempted to do an updated version of the kids, as soon as the Christmas pressure is off. But there is no way I am attempting the dwarf hamsters or the goldfish that the kids now own, small may be cute but teeny weeny is just too stress-inducing!

Festive Friday in miniature

ImageImage

I have been blessed with two children who don’t just love each other, but also like each other, in spite of being very different at times. Could it be their differences that keep them together?

Look how they chose to dress up today for Festive Friday at their school; my boy, who is still only 4, went all-out with a bright red Santa hat and wore it with pride, the bobble swinging behind him as he ran in to the classroom.

My daughter,who is 9, was less comfortable with the thought of dressing up. Their school has a uniform, and she is happier blending into the crowd just now. I made her a tiny little Santa hat, and attached it to a hairband to sit on top of her head, it was very cute, and it solved her problem; she got to join in with the others but on her own terms.

My girl has been through a lot but I can still see her sunny little personality glimmering away deep inside, like a coin at the bottom of a fountain. At school, her brother seeks her out to make sure that she is ok. At home, she plays games with him, and helps him to read his favourite books. They are a perfect fit – and I am so grateful for them both.

Smells like Christmas

Image

 

 

I love logging on here and reading all of the ways that people are getting ready for Christmas, all over the world; or for the winter holiday, if Christmas isn’t your thing. 

It very much is our thing in this family, the children are already barely able to sleep with the excitement, (which means they are barely able to get up for school in the mornings!) and the house is being cleaned and tidied ready for the celebrations.

As yet we have no tree up, no decorations either, apart from the advent calendars pinned to the wall. I am trying, as much as possible, to keep many of the preparations spiritual in nature, so that the children can think about the true meaning of Christmas – then I will let them go crazy for the last few days so that they can enjoy the present-wrapping, sweetie-eating, and Elf-watching too. (You need to have a little balance, I think!)

 

The kids have written their Santa letters, of course, and they know that new toys will be arriving in the middle of the night, but they are also saying prayers at night for “anyone who is lonely at Christmas,” and “for the baby Jesus to have a happy birthday,” both of which brought tears to my eyes. 

One of the ways we have been preparing for Christmas has been to make some Christmas fudge, as presents for the childrens’ teachers and teaching assistants. Who knew that fudge would be so easy to make? Probably not the most traditional recipe, but it was just a matter of opening a tin of condensed milk (I love!) and adding some melted chocolate, then heating in a saucepan, and stirring in the “extra” of your choice, such as crushed up Oreo cookies. It didn’t take too long, and apart from the hot saucepan it was a great make for the kids to join in with – they especially love the crushing of the biscuits and the eating of the other ingredients! 

The floor may be a little sticky in places now but it is starting to feel very Christmassy, and I think we will be making some more batches of lovely fudge for sharing out when we put the tree up, on Sunday. In fact, I think this is one recipe that will be re-used and repeated many, many times in this house! 

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and is having a lovely Monday. 🙂

Tag Cloud