Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dave the Destroyer

Okay, so Lambchop #2's name is not Dave, but if it were... well, let's just say that Dave the Destroyer would be a perfect nickname for the little guy. I know it's my first time dealing with a toddler-aged boy, but I've never witnessed such innocently distructive behavior in all my life. I say "innocently" and "destructive" in the same sentence like they're words people use together all the time, even though they're not. There's just no other way to describe what he does. He's not a mean kid (and I'm not just saying this because I'm his mother - I do recognize when my children do mean things). He's just really curious. Give him a book, for example - a pop-up book especially - and he'll shred the thing just for the fun of it. The pop-up books are the most interesting, it would seem, because he does it delicately with much attention to detail. Magazines are ripped to shreds just to watch the paper fly.

Then, there's the "decorating". Perhaps that is his future profession. Maybe he'll be flamboyantly waving his arms around people's livingrooms, exuberantly shouting things like, "Yesssss, I see a lovely pink wall here with a darling green chaise here..." (though he'll probably use words like "tea rose" and "pea pod"). "It's all so magnificent," he'll shout as he excitedly claps his hands together just below his chin. Well, maybe not, but he sure has done a number on our house. Not that we had beautiful furniture to begin with, but pre-children, it was at least presentable. The other day, though, I washed no fewer than five chalk-stained surfaces before I found him with the chalk. The thing is, he works so quickly. In the time it took me to dress myself yesterday, he had torn the paper inside a DVD cover and was spinning the DVDs around the livingroom floor when I came back.

This all brings me to a bit of motherly wisdom my mom passed on to me the other day. She said, "Kids'll take you right to the edge, and just when you think you can't stand it anymore - they'll throw you over." Sorry, Mom, if you've been misquoted, but that's what I took from what you said. I have to say, these past few days they've had me dangling by a fingernail off the side of some emotional cliff... which is why I need to constantly remind myself how hilariously cute they can be with moments like the one captured in this photo. My kids have all had little problems with cradle cap (scaly skin on the tops of their heads). From time to time it bugs me enough (though it's pretty much hidden by hair all the time) to apply some oily stuff to remove it. That's what I had just done when I made this mohawk. He loved it. Stared at himself in the mirror for several minutes. Too cute.

And, then there's this little beauty. She must know that Mom is constantly on the verge of heading off somewhere, wrapped in a funny jacket, escorted by men in white coats, because I couldn't have asked for a calmer baby. Well, I suppose she could be a little calmer, but I wouldn't want her to just sit there. I like a girl who expresses herself. It's good preparation for the world we brought her into. After all, she wouldn't be female if she didn't grow up to be at least a little complicated (an act Lambchop #1 already has down to an art).

This last picture is being left in the post, despite my misgivings about it being sideways, as proof of Blogger's craziness. What am I talking about? It was right-side up when I uploaded it. Anyway, at least it proves that I finished something recently. It's the "pull chaussette" (sock sweater) from a pattern book put out by La Droguerie here. I even used the recommended yarn (surnaturel), because I happened to have the perfect amount in my stash (the pink edging is Knit Picks Merino Style, though). It's cute, but a little stupid, because it's got a turtle neck sort of thing going on. And, since baby's are pretty much neckless, it just gets hidden in the folds of skin. Oh well. It's still cute.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Married An Alien and Other Odd Things

So, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I married a Frenchman. We were living in the US at the time, so this means he was an alien. Of course, now that we're living in France, that would make me the alien. I feel like it sometimes, too. But, we're not here to talk about me. We're talking about HIM being the alien creature. It really must be true that he's an alien, otherwise, why would I have the urge to knit him a three-armed sweater? Yeah, three-legged pants you could understand, but why a three-armed sweater, right? Well, it just so happens that I appear to have been smokin' something pretty harsh when I knit that first arm, and while knitting the second I've realized my mistakes in the side increases. Oops. Now I understand why I seemed to only get 15 of the 22 increase rows I was supposed to. Yeah, I did realize it while knitting that first sleeve, but I thought maybe I could live with it (I was almost to the end, anyway). But, in doing this second sleeve, I'm thinking I'd be better off knitting the first one over again - hence, the third sleeve. They knit up pretty quickly, and I'm really determined to make this a beautiful sweater for him to wear for a long time to come (let's hope). So, I'll just think of him as an extra-terrestrial and knit a third sleeve as if it were totally normal to do so (forget the fact that I'll be frogging that first one in order to do it).

Now on to the other odd things...

The other day, my son's preschool teacher was absent. That means the other teacher gets to have way too many children in her class. I don't like to do that to them or my son, so I brought him to the grocery store with me. Now, this little boy of mine - sweet as can be, of course - is totally potty-trained in the morning, because that allows him to go to school. The after school hours, though, are different story all together. Knowing he can go all morning without a screw-up, I didn't head back home for a change of clothes before driving to the store. I figured if I just got him to the store restroom before shopping... I even shared this plan with him. He apparently, didn't see the logic. We got as far as the shopping carts outside the store before I heard, "uh oh." So, we headed back to the car to change him into the spare diaper that happened to be lying around in the car (pays to be disorganized, I swear). He didn't want to put the wet jeans back on (can't say that I blame him), so I plopped him inside the cart with just a diaper on the bottom. He was looking pretty hot with his cool weather clothes on top and the cheapest-diaper-you-can-buy on bottom (what can I say, we're on a budget, and the cloth diapers irritate his highness' fanny).

So, off we go, happily rolling along with our cart. Somewhere during our shopping adventure, he managed to rip a gaping hole in the back of the afore-mentioned cheapo diaper. No big deal. With him in the cart under a pile of groceries, nobody'll notice the cotton hanging out, right? We finish up our expedition and are waiting in line while chatting with the nice older couple behind us (kids are pretty much the only thing that can bring the French to exchange pleasantries at the checkout stand). This is when our little lambchop stands up to help me unload the cart onto the conveyor belt. THIS is when I notice the... ummm... how can I put this tactfully... uhhh, yeah, not possible. Well, this is when I notice the poo that's almost leaking out of the right side of his diaper. So, we've got the tear on the left and the poo on the right. We won't even talk about the smell these poor older folks were assaulted with, and he's happily passing me groceries like there's nothing wrong. At one point, he even lobs a can of condensed milk onto the conveyor belt, he's having so much fun. A few minutes later we're reloading the cart - a task he felt the need to help out with as well. The means he needs to be outside the cart, right? So, he helps and helps and helps, and since the can-lobbing when so smoothly on the other end of the conveyor belt, he decides to try it with a glass bottle of juice. From about a foot and a half away from the cart. This caused both the cashier and me to take in huge gasps of air and hold them in anticipation of the sound of breaking glass. Didn't happen, though. The boys got talent. I'll give him that much. The bottle even slid smoothly in between two large grocery bags, avoiding damaging any of the more fragile goods on top.

At this point, I'm in a pretty big hurry to get out of the vicinity before some major disaster takes place. So, I pay and we head on out of there. Somehow, with all the groceries organized in their bags, there's no longer any room for the lambchop, so he walks next to the cart like a good little boy. The good-little-boy image is a bit hard to maintain, though when you're waddling with a full/torn diaper dangling between your legs. Or, maybe I'm the one who would have trouble maintaining good-little-mommy status in the eyes of the other shoppers. Yeah, I guess that'd be it.

And, one last funny tidbit to distract you from the continuing lack of knitting pictures...

A quote from Lambchop #2:

While walking to pick up his sister at school this afternoon (he only goes in the morning), he saw a man in front of us on his way to get his own children. I've seen the guy before and been surprised at his height. At a little under 5'4", I'm no towering Amazon woman, but this man is at least 6 inches shorter than I am - a fact that, apparently, did not go unnoticed by my boy (at least he's observant). So, in his I-never-moderate-my-voice toddler manner, he asked, "What's the little boy?" Mortified, I shushed him as discreetly as possible and told him it wasn't a boy. Then, he loudly asked, "What's that little daddy?" Several times. I'm kind of hoping the guys also hard-of-hearing, because, even though he may be used to it, I don't want to be the one really driving the fact home for him, you know?

Yep, these are the joys of parenting. If you don't have any kids of your own, you really just don't know what you're missing out on.

Well, I actually tried uploading a picture for this post, just so you wouldn't have to look at all these words with nothing to keep you here, but either Blogger or my ISP wouldn't allow it. Maybe some other time...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say...

don't say anything at all.

You remember your mom always telling you that, right? Well, maybe that's why I haven't posted in a while... actually, that's not why. I've just been too busy to post about all the nice things. Maybe I've got too many nice things to share and just don't know where to start. Well, maybe it's not that either, but I can say this: I certainly haven't had the time to take proper pictures of the nice things I do have to share (knitting-wise, anyway). I do have a picture of the sweetest little BB currently out there (can't say "ever," since I've got two more sweet ones). I'll leave you to ponder the sweetness while I continue knitting on Muttonchop's Durrow sweater (the body is finished, and I'm now working feverishly on the sleeves in hopes of finishing the thing before he leaves for a wine show in Paris this weekend. Think I can do it? Maybe, but I certainly know that the amount of time I've spent figuring out where in the heck I left off on that first sleeve so long ago doesn't help any.

Any idea what this is? Looks a bit like somebody's hairy knee or elbow, don't you think? I'm not so weird as to take a picture of that, though. It's really one of the sweetest things I can think of: the hair swirl on the back of Lambchop #3's head. Pictures just don't quite capture it, I guess.

I'll leave you with one thought...

When is it, exactly, that we stop being able to reach the state of relaxation seen in that first picture?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

We Take Cuteness Seriously...

When we do the cuteness thing, we mean business. I mean, just look at those little eyes. You can almost hear her thoughts: "Go ahead, resist me if you can. I dare you to try." So, tell me, is this the face of a little girl who will know just what to say and do to tug at your heartstrings? You don't need to tell me. I already know the answer.

I could ramble on about how sweet she is, but really this post is just to serve as a distraction from the fact that I still can't show you the sweater I'm knitting for her. The only good news I can give on that is that it'll be done really soon. I've only got the shoulder buttons and a little edge finishing to do on one shoulder. She'll most likely be able to actually wear it tomorrow. I would have liked to wash and block it first, but she spit up on the one she's been wearing, which throws this one into the rotation a few days early.

I don't have much to say, aside from that. We've been passing a cold around the family, and it's my turn. My son has even thrown in some pink eye for fun. I was hoping he'd keep it to himself, but I've seen signs of it in the girls today. Oh well. What can you do?

Sorry to get a little serious on you here, but a couple of things are on my mind lately:

Two movies have disturbed me...

I'm sure everyone has long ago seen The Butterfly Effect. I just watched it the other night. It freaked me out. And, not at all because of the science fiction aspect of it. It was the child abuse and sadistic nature of several of the characters. I'm almost 100% certain that had I watched this movie before having children, several of the scenes would not have stayed with me and affected me the way the did. Funny how having kids changes the way you view the world.

The second film is one I've not even seen and am probably not likely to see. It's the one causing some amount of stir in the US cinema industry these days: Death of a President or something like that. It was made in England. I won't even talk about the politic aspect of a movie depicting the assassination of the current US president. You either like him or you don't, and like all powerful leaders, there are surely people who'd want him dead. What freaks me out about this movie, though, is the realistic (from what I've heard - digitally superimposing real images over those done by actors) depiction of the killing of a real person who is currently alive. There is something really creepy about that. Say what you will about the man's politics. Even call him evil if you want, but the guy's got kids and a wife. I can't help but wonder how they'd feel sitting in a movie theater watching such a scene. Creeps me out just to think about it. We may live in a warring world, but I guess I'm a pacifist at heart. Maybe it's having had children that makes me see this movie in this light, as well. Again, funny how having kids changes the way you view the world.

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Sweeties

I have no knitting to show yet. The sweater I'm knitting for Lambchop #3 is almost fully finished. I've only got one arm left to sew on and some buttons to deal with. That means I should be posting some pictures of it soon. In the meantime, I'll leave you with images of the sweetness that is my family.

As our very observant daddy pointed out, he's got more hair on his face than she has on her head. Don't take that to mean that he rushed right in to shave, though. I guess that's one of the perks of being your own boss and riding a tractor on a regular basis (People pretty much expect him to look scruffy, right?). Well, it's a perk for him, anyway. I kind of liked it when he shaved at least five days a week to go in to the office. We'll still keep him and love him, though (as my mom always says), because he's pretty cute with that baby.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Run - Don't Walk...

... to your nearest plastic surgeon.

Does your car date back to the stone age? Or, at least back to the days before safety features such as airbags? No need to worry. Just get yourself a new set of boobs. Now, hear me out. I'm serious, here. They may not have done an actual scientific study on this, but there's real-life proof that breast implants can save lives (setting aside that whole I-got-lupus-from-my-leaking-implants stuff). Just take this woman in Bulgaria whose implants saved her life in a head-on collision, even if they did explode. Or the one in Florida who walked away from her accident, breasts intact and all (how 'bout that American engineering, huh?). And, then there's the one in Isreal that survived a Hezbollah attack with the breast implants serving as a barrier to schrapnel. I mean, not only are you safer on the roads, but you can hang out in some of the toughest neighborhoods and feel more confident that you'll make it home alive. I believe in our times of terrorism and drive-by shootings, that's worth the price of new lingerie, don't you?

This all makes me wonder if maybe those collagen implants are the way to go if you want to be a prize-fighter. Think they'll help stave off fat lips? Or maybe the cheek implants could be used by bronco riders at the rodeo (I once knew a girl whose bronco riding boyfriend had his cheek crushed). Just think of the alternative applications of cosmetic surgery. Yessiree Bob. I do believe we are witnessing the miracles of modern medicine. The doctors could literally make millions off of this stuff. Oh, wait, they already do.

Another question comes to mind here: would the milk-filled breasts of a nursing mother do the trick? Because, honestly, I'm definitely not in need of an increase in bra size, but since our car doesn't have a passenger side airbag, it'd be good to know. But you smaller-breasted ladies really may want to consider this. Because, though you may not think you've ever wanted to look like a circus freak (I'm thinking bigger is better when it comes to automobile safety), the life you save could be your own... Of course, maybe you could just put the thousands of dollars needed for a breast augmentation toward a nice new car with actual safety features. And, perhaps steer clear of the world's hot spots. No, that'd just be silly.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Post-Partum Recession

It's really not Post-Partum Depression - at least not for me. It's more like a little recession, you know? Don't worry, Tom Cruise, I'm not so low that I'll need medical intervention. I got to tell you, though, that after a 9-month hormone high, I've been dropped, and I may be in some sort of mild withdrawal. I've had hot flashes and sweet cravings for weeks now, but recent family visits had apparently postponed the emotional stuff. Until this week, anyway. One minute, I'm holding my sweet newborn in my arms and could cry from the happy-happy-joy-joy of it all. The next, I could cry for some unexplanable feeling of loneliness or something else I can't quite put my finger on (there's nothing quite like feeling like you need to cry but not allowing the tears to come, because you lack a good reason - is it reasonable to cry about your most recent haircut, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but somehow makes you feel even less feminine than before?).

At least I know it's not severe. And, I know it's normal, so I'm not freaked out by it. I've experienced it before, and it didn't last forever. I remember crying on my birthday just after Lambchop #1 was born. Why? Not because I was growing older. In fact, I cried because my husband bought me flowers. And, it wasn't because I was so moved by the rare floral gesture on his part. It was because when I saw the flowers, it occurred to me for the first time that it was actually my birthday. Realizing that I was so overwhelmed by this new person in my life that I could forget my own birthday shocked me.

So, here we are more than five years later, and the emotional ups and downs are back. There are no birthdays to forget, at least. But, you know, a birthday wouldn't be so bad, because it'd be a great excuse for a cake, which is exactly what I'd like (but am avoiding) right now. I have been trying to lay off the sweets this past week and didn't purchase or make anything that I shouldn't have. Where does that leave me this Sunday afternoon, though? In a house empty of tempting tasties and no open stores in the vicinity. Maybe I should call up Tom and see how he would suggest I deal with the problem. What do you think?