Sometime last month we converted Bear's crib to a toddler bed, and if I haven't mentioned it before, it's because it's been an unnoteworthy passage to this new era of kid-dom, with the children sharing their room, now, as peers who enjoy each other's company. It's all good, even when, like today, instead of the silence of a well-deserved naptime we're witness to a cacophony of giggles and teasing and toy guitars secreted into the room. Today's image was captured in the 15 seconds it takes Bear to stumble down after her brother from their room upstairs once they give up pretending to sleep.
are about people
Now, we're not ones for bows and ribbons and frilly lacy things, but Bear's hair has been out of control. She was not, to our great disappointment, blessed with her brother's thick, luscious, wavy locks (where, oh where, did that hair awesomeness come from?). She instead has to contend with my wispy, static-prone , eyelash tickling, massless strands. And not being ones to regularly comb our children's heads, let alone style them, we may have panicked a little in the hair accessory aisle of the store last night, and, in a fit of manic desperation, threw one of every type of hair fastener into the cart. Which is how we came to bring home a bag of bows and ribbons and frilly things, some of which look positively dashing on our little girl. (The picture I wish I'd been able to capture would have happened last night as we unpackaged all the hair-wrangling goodies, and Bear insisted on trying them on. All at once. She made it work.)
The continuum of sick days starts at one end with "Well, you're too sick for school. How about we go to the aquarium," and continues to the other end with an ambulance ride to the ER. Somewhere between those two extremes is "lays on the couch all day watching movies," and "feels too sick to play with the iPad." The space between those two points is where The Boy spent his day.
So remember the other day when I went off on doll art? A friend gently reminded me via Facebook this morning of one of her own old creepy doll projects, that happened to get picked up by Apartment Therapy today. So I hereby issue a hedgy retraction. Doll art is, indeed, pretentious, unless executed by any friend of mine. And doubly un-pretentious if accompanied by a technical rendering of the process. Which is what she did. A technical rendering of a pretty ridiculous thing. Bravo.
Another person doing things I approve of is my husband's brother's wife, also known as the SIL (a kindred spirit who also married into this ridiculous name), who has set out to document un-art-directed rooms that are not found in glossy magazines, starting with those found in her friends' homes. And that's where you can find my own crafty/worky space this morning. And, also, because she requested only two photos, and I sent a million, and she kindly posted four, I thought I'd post the rest on Flickr.
I didn't adopt the Love name as my own until a few years after the nuptials (despite Mr. New Media's half-hearted nagging) that paved the way for it. Bear and The Boy, however, were born into it, and a reverence for this holiday will be expected of them by all those well-meaning teachers and coworkers and credit-card-glancing cashiers who feel compelled to comment on the aptness of our name on this day, as if it were some concerted effort on our part to observe what's really just an excuse to consume more chocolate. Whatever the burdens we bear with it, the name seems a good enough excuse to instill in the kids the general feeling of gratification that arises from making, even toiling, over something for the better part of two weeks, to hand out to friends and classmates, and most likely forgotten about ten minutes later.
For The Boy's Valentines this year, we decided on heart-shaped crayons to go with little stitched notebooks. Four-and-a-half is a pretty awesome age, provided you have the energy to ply the pre-schooler with a steady stream of tasks and assistance. "I really want a project, Momma," is an actual whine-staple heard around here, a pretty cool thing, really. And on days I'm up to it, we set about smelting down crayons in novelty silicone molds, or drawing out the design for our stamp (the actual carving I reserve for a nice little activity for myself), or inking and stamping the notebooks to serve as the Valentine card itself, or affixing the crayons to the notebooks with a gooey glue dot and tying a neat length of yarn around each complete Valentine for good measure.
And it's a pretty sweet thing when, all throughout the process, your Boy's mantra is "I think my friends will really like this."
Bear, of course, doesn't have the same concept of making for others. And, admittedly, her involvement in the manufacturing of the wool felt heart stuffies was minimal. But I wanted to make something that I thought someone in the under-two set might enjoy. And to personalize it and get Bear's hand in the project, we inked up her literal hand (actually, just a finger), and stamped some vaguely heart-shaped fingerprints onto little tags to sew to each heart.
Now, I don't have photographic documentation of the stamping part. Because the last thing you want to do, when you have a toddler immersed in paint meant to permanently mark up fabric, is to turn your back for one misguided (read: stupid) nanosecond to grab that expensive camera you don't even let the kids touch under the most sanitary of conditions.
But let's just imagine that you're the clerk working at the precinct station, and it's your job to print and book the latest perp dragged in by the loose cannon detective and his surly partner (that's how it works in real police departments, right?). That is how firmly you must hold on to your toddler's ink-laden finger while she grins her crazy little teeth off and flails her free arm in a whole-bodied attempt at one-handed entropy.
When it's over, Bear, for all her toddler addled-ness, does understand when I tell her to go wash her hands, and happily totters off to the bathroom where she plays in the sink for a spell, and then wanders back and climbs up to the craft table where she admires her handiwork and swipes one for herself.
And that's a pretty sweet thing, too.
Last week we sat down with one of the Mr.'s old photo albums, the one with science fair ribbons and elementary-era soccer team photos and pro baseball ticket stubs. And it reminded me that when The Boy was born we'd picked up an archival quality blank album, some fancy silver foil embossed photo corners and a photo printer. The little printer has long since been in disfavor in the household. The still-blank book and sealed package of corners were found recently amongst decorative filler. As were some cheesy head-cocked, half-smiley school photos from Houston. So that's how this morning found us, in between breakfast and soccer class, cutting up sheets of wallet-sized photos and inserting them into tongue-moisted corners (The Boy's job, obviously). Added in soccer certificates and pirate coins and tickets to the museum, all that stuff we don't have in digital. And dreamed up more memories to tuck into those corners.
When we got the new camera last year, the Mr. charged me with the task of capturing the iconic kid portraiture. Still working on it. Kids tend to be squirmy or camera-grabby or green-snot sick or lunch-messy. Today it was all of the above.