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April 4, 2011

I can always tell it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, when I have to go to the front page of and sign myself back in.  Things have been very busy on the home front, and it’s just going to get worse over the next two weeks.  Yes, April 17, 2011 is the date of the bicycle race that my cycling team is promoting downtown, and it is my job to make sure all the nuts and bolts are in place.  Unfortunately, working with nuts isn’t all its cracked up to be (!) and sometimes I feel like I want to bolt from the whole project.  But then I imagine how awesome it will be if it all runs smoothly, and how we could be setting a precedent for an awesome annual event.

Between all my many duties, including a dabble of work that requires that I juggle LM to various friends to babysit, I’ve been feeling a crafting urge, because a) it calms me down and b) makes me feel productive with all that seemingly unproductive (but very important) child-rearing time that occupies most of my days.  I had a conversation with my sister the other day, in which I told her I was stressed because I was having trouble getting tasks accomplished because LM’s nap schedule has been so erratic.  Then a few minutes later I told her about the fabric pennant decorations I’ve been making for LM’s upcoming first birthday, the felt balls I’ve been working on for awhile now, and the baby kimono I made from a pattern I invented.  Her reaction?  “How can you tell me you can’t get anything done when you are making decorations and baby clothes?!”

Allow me to explain. The tasks I have to accomplish for work and for the bicycle race most involve making phone calls, which I try to make as professional as possible and having a laughing/crying baby in the background makes that impossible.  So I have to cram all my phone calls into her nap times.  Also, they require some figuring, writing and general brainwork which is very difficult with a baby hanging on your leg or the back of your chair.  So I do most of my brainwork after she goes to bed (Note: worst possible time, because my brain is shot by then anyway). I try to keep up with housework tasks but LM now hates the vacuum cleaner, despite my attempts to wear her, make funny faces or vacuum in a different room; she will crawl to wherever I am, sit about six feet away and bawl the whole time.  I also can’t sweep when she is awake because she is either grabbing either the broom or the pile of interesting looking dust/fur/cat litter I’ve just created.  And when I can’t sweep I can’t run the steam mop. And I can’t squander LM’s napping/bed time with cleaning when I have work to do (yes, I am squandering ten minutes now to write this blog post, but it’s been 2+ weeks since I blogged last) so my house is less than pristine at the moment.

But LM seems pretty content to kick it on the floor of our spare room, where the sewing machine is set up, and play with toys and fabric scraps and scream at the cats when they peek in to see what’s going on.  The most important factor is that I can drop my sewing at any moment if LM signs ‘potty’ (she is doing it!  It’s awesome!) or starts crying or crawls into the bathroom and it gets mysteriously quiet (toilet paper binge).  If I got involved in a phone call or work project or even a more complex craft (knitting, etc) it would be harder to put down on a moments notice if she needs me.

Besides, I read in this book I’m working on right now called You are Your Child’s First Teacher and one of the mistakes that the author claims that many parents these days make is trying to stimulate and engage their children every waking moment.  While that approach is encouraged these days, to make children “smarter” sooner, it limits their creative play and natural exploration.  Also, it makes them totally dependent on you, the parent, for entertainment and stimulation…and when that becomes overwhelming, parents stick the children in front of the TV.  The author argues that from infancy, children are looking for guidance on how to be in the world, and that it is very good for them to watch you, the parent, go about everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, hobbies, etc.  They will start to imitate you in their play, making a hundred variations and imagined scenarios and entertain themselves while learning about the world.  There will be plenty of time for more formal teaching and instruction when they are older (five or six… heavens!)

And now I must cut this short, because LM just walked her first unassisted steps and I managed to change the batteries in the little camera and catch it.  WOOT!  UPLOAD!

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