Tag Archives: children are like tiny drunk adults

Impossible Things

“There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen.  “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day.  Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Through the Looking-Glass

My five-year-olds spent the weekend with their grandparents so that Robert and I could get in some quality couple time before the new baby comes and we descend into complete chaos and madness for a few sleepless, teary weeks.

To our credit, we did housework.  And nesting work.  We also ate sushi and watched foreign films, though, because that’s what grown-ups do.  But when our sweet babes were returned to us by grandparents who had unwisely taken them to the zoo even though animals defecate (which fact five-year-olds are THE BEST at remembering, pointing out, and discussing at length), I was met with a moment of total panic.

My mother handed me a sheet of notepaper with the explanation that it was “Númenor’s presents list”.  Apparently he’d demanded that she take dictation for this critical manifesto.

That’s right, folks.

My kid came home from grandma’s house with a Christmas wishlist.

Why is this a problem, you might ask?

Um, because it was December 5th when this happened, and I had already compiled the wishlists and distributed them through the family network weeks prior, not to mention that I had also long finished the shopping I was intending to do.  Because we plan ahead in this family, at least when lists are involved.  And in my defense, the wishlist I had was based on things I thought Númenor would like.  I pay attention to the smalls’ interests and research toys and games and books constantly, and moreover, I asked them explicitly what they wanted for Christmas and they were both totally uninterested in telling me.

To be fair, that was in October.  And when you’re only a few years old, the subjective time-dilation is extreme.  Númenor probably genuinely couldn’t fathom wanting things for Christmas when I asked him about it with a jaw-dropping 11 weeks to spare.

And he has NEVER made a wishlist before.  We don’t do Santa, so we never write letters to Santa, which means my children had to be developmentally capable of picking up this idea from fiction, and even then, they hadn’t previously shown interest in the activity.

But the fact is, he came home with a Christmas list.

And three things on it were alive, one thing was impossible, and two things flew right in the face of our standards for toys.  Which left only one item.  Which, to be fair, I already knew he wanted and had plans to make.  One out of seven, I thought, would likely disappoint him.

Perhaps the worst part of this debacle was not the list itself, in fact, but that I found non-living, non-impossible work-arounds for things and Pinterest projects for cardboard versions of other things until I felt that I had satisfied his list, and only then did I realize that only ONE of my TWO five-year-olds came home with a list.

Which meant I had to ask the other one what he wanted.

Because fair.

And he wanted one impossible thing, one alive thing, one thing he already has (?!?), two things that don’t meet our guidelines, and that same item from the first child’s list that I was already making anyway.


You love them, and you do your best to give them a well-balanced, fulfilling, and overall positive life experience, and they go around asking for impossible things and exotic pets all the time, like that’s any way to behave.

Of course, that’s what children do; it’s their simultaneously inconvenient and inspiring function in society to be the ones tilting at windmills and dreaming the impossible dreams and riding off to brave adventures with their parents as their loving but often flummoxed squires.

And someday, soon enough, they will come to the inevitable end of their quests. Laid low by a reality that did not go away when they stopped believing in it, they will grow up.  In twenty years, they may be making business plans instead of drawing a picture of the storage system for their happy rainbow dreams.  In ten years, they’ll almost certainly be more concerned with the opinions of friends and external authorities than with quoting imaginary advice from a well-worn teddy bear.

But today, Númenor wants a Star Destroyer and a rectangle tank of deep-sea jellyfish, and Ithilien wants a pet baby talking opossum and a self-driving car that transforms into a self-flying plane.  They never doubted for a second that these were things they could ask for and hope to receive.

There is a wild power in not knowing the bounds of reality or accepting the limits of possibility.

Honestly I’m a little jealous.

But mostly, I’m nervous about my ability to fulfill these requests.

Small Victories

This afternoon, my family took a moment to celebrate.  Full-voice whoops of excitement, high fives and tens all around, jumping and spontaneously dancing to no music at all, running around in circles at high speed.  We had just done a dry-run install of the baby‘s car seat, and found a way to get a safe and correct install of all three kids’ seats in the back of our entry-level sedan.

And yes, it absolutely is a red-letter day.

This is what my life has come to.

So, I made a list of similar occurrences.  Because lists are a major part of how I cope, obviously.

Major but Trivial-Sounding Victories of Our Early Parenting Years:

  • Númenor’s feet were finally long enough that storebought newborn socks didn’t have ridiculous-looking empty heels flopping around halfway up his calf.
  • I found a stain-fighting solution that took out Númenor’s iron supplement.
  • Ithilien slept through the garbage trucks coming down our street.
  • I modified a recipe for a breakfast cookie so that it met all my criteria for a young toddler’s diet and didn’t taste like crap to me, either.
  • Númenor and Ithilien sat through a whole Chekov play without being disruptive.
  • I said “Well, it’s up to you.” and I meant it.
  • Ithilien decided that yes, sitting on your butt and scooting down the stairs WAS something that he could survive.
  • Númenor went a whole week with the same sheets on his bed.
  • Ithilien didn’t mind that his orange shirt with the monster on it was now too small for him and wanted to make sure we would put it into storage until the baby was big enough to wear it.
  • Númenor “read” a book to Ithilien so I could take a quick shower, and they were still “reading” together when I got back.
  • Ithilien spent a whole car ride talking about the interesting things outside his window instead of screaming hysterically for unknown reasons.
  • We invented the high-pitch OR high-volume rule.
  • Númenor chose to go back to his own bed in the middle of the night instead of coming into our bed.
  • Ithilien let me brush his hair, even though he had some tangles that needed working out.
  • I found a way to fit both small beds into the nursery in yet another house.
  • Númenor turned off the nature documentary he was watching and went outside to play.
  • Ithilien put his dishes in the sink immediately after he finished eating.
  • Númenor sat still while I dug a deep and painful splinter out of his foot.
  • Ithililen asked for more salad.
  • Númenor said “Can it be bedtime now?  I am tired.”

It really is the little things that make life worth living, isn’t it?

15 Truths About Parenting Little Kids


You never, ever sleep alone, or a full night.  How would you know it was 3am if somebody hadn’t wet the bed?  How would you know it was 4:30 unless somebody had snuggled in next to you and miraculously managed to occupy 85% of the bed with a body 25% the size of yours?

Every meal is worse than water torture.  Forget getting them to eat the damn food, how about deciding what to make for them– when making plain pasta is UNACCEPTABLE and making sauced pasta is UNTHINKABLE and presenting them with either dish a personal insult, what is it that they want us to do?  How about bribing/threatening/manipulating/whatevering them into letting you prepare what they’ve demanded in peace, if they ever do decide on a single demand?

Your war cry is “Just a minute!”  They want fifteen totally contradictory things, surrender is not an option, and you’re just trying to get through the hour without having your head explode when they suddenly barrel in out of nowhere, shrieking and crying at you in the resonant frequency of your skeleton, and you know full well that they will show you no mercy if you ask them to slow down or start over.

Reason is not an option.  No, they don’t understand that if they would just hold still you would be done by now.  They don’t seem to hear you when you say that violence begets violence and remind them to use their words, and then they somehow conjure up surprise when they are in pain.

And yet, you are expected to know the explanation for everything.  “What does ‘solitary’ mean?” “Why do birds have feathers?” “What do tarantulas eat?” “Why are oil molecules slippery?” “Why do they call it ‘French’?” “What kind of spider is that?” “What is that dog’s name?” “Why are rocks hard?”

You have memorized what tracks of what CDs are “robot songs” or “hey! songs” or “na-na-na songs.”    You are secretly pleased that they like “Hey Jude” and “What I Like About You”, but you’re kind of embarrassed that they know so many words to “Domo Arigato Mister Roboto,” and you really hope they never sing “Centerfold” at Grandma’s house.

Movie nights are an unparalleled source of déjà vu.  Yes, they want to watch it again.  Even though they just watched it yesterday.  Even though they can recite every line.  Even though the songs have been stuck in your head for three months.

You don’t bother to guess what artwork is supposed to be.  To you, it’s clearly a scribble surrounded by irregular boxes, but this is a heretical thing to suggest to the beaming illustrator of, apparently, a Star Destroyer attacking a baby echidna in a robot suit with the laser guns going pew pew pew and a spider web catching the laser blasts so they can be recycled at the depot and made into force fields red force fields.

All of your household rules can be expressed in pithy soundbites, the better for yelling across the playground like an idiot.  “Be gentle and kind!”  “It’s his body, so he gets to decide!” “Everyone has their own imagination!” “If you don’t have consent, it’s not a game!”  “Use your words, and then get help!”

Sometimes, when you give advice, they listen.  Maude and all the Golden Girls be praised, y’all, it’s a Bastille Day Miracle!

Getting into the car seems to take every muscle in your back and most of an hour.  Address nudity, send to the toilet, help with shoes, maintain pace and stay on target, unlock door, demonstrate how to open door, wait, lift child, bend over, buckle, buckle, buckle, check shoes, check provisions and possessions, distribute car toys, defuse fighting over car toys, get in car, buckle, start engine, “rocket ship blasting off” countdown, drive away.

You no longer understand comedy.
They say: “Knock knock.”
You say: “Who’s there?”
They say: “Chicken walking across the road.”
You say: “Chicken walking across the road who?”
No answer, just hysterical, rolling-around-on-floor laughing.
What.  Just.  Happened.

History doesn’t seem to be the way you remember it.  “When I was a baby, I just went into the ocean with my robot swimsuit submarine and saw a shark and I said ‘good mornden, shark, I want to be your friend’ and the shark said ‘no I will eat you’ and then I was eated up and I died.” — Ithilien, apparently still alive and uneaten

Context is a luxury.  “Remember when we saw a movie at the drive-in lasted night, with the many women and the one woman growing a baby and one woman with black eyes and the white men driving-racing with a truck with monster-truck wheels and all fire and a sand cave full of ice and sand and there was an explosion?” –Númenor, describing Mad Max: Fury Road, which we saw six weeks prior

It’s a sacred and awe-inspiring occupation.  Every day is a fresh adventure, and they learn and change so fast you can barely keep up, but they still need their scrapes and bruises kissed and want to snuggle when they are tired.  They have sweet, baby-round cheeks, and long, strong limbs that carry them far and fast.  They worry about impossible things (like teddy bears coming to life and starving because they have only stuffing and no digestive organs) and inevitable things (like their own death).  They have tiny, mad, whirring, working minds, and the verbal skills to let you peek under the hood.  They love to give presents and have parties and prepare for holidays months in advance.  They tell you they love you, and they mean it.


Sometimes, as parents, we get swept up in the day-to-day struggle of life with bills, and work, and rainstorms, and living with small humans both unpredictable and strange.  We get overwhelmed.  We put all our spoons into just getting through the day without major incident, and are glad when it’s over.

Sometimes, you start the same simple project over and over again– you mistake navy thread for black and don’t catch it until the seam is nearly finished, you try to sew a French seam with the right sides facing out of habit, you make a measuring error– and suddenly, what was supposed to be so easy is impossible.

And invariably, while you are in the depths of this everyday depression, your irrepressible little children will ask to do something outrageous.  Something involving paint, and limited supplies, and relying on the inconstant spring weather to stay clear for a few more hours.

And, for reasons you don’t totally understand, you might say yes.

wooden dragon toys painted by my children

Yes to the mess.

Yes to the chaos.

Yes to the inevitable bath that will have to follow.

Yes to the memories that you are making.

Yes to the mini-lesson on secondary colors, and the demonstration of printing with the cardboard palettes you improvised.

cardboard with pools of paint after being used as a palette side-by-side with the print made from the palette at the end of the session

Yes to the seemingly thousands of trips to the bathroom sink to wash a brush so you can use another color.

Yes to scrubbing paint off the deck afterward, and leaving a weird clean spot in years of dust because seriously, who washes their deck?

my toes on an awkwardly clean section of deck after I scrubbed it

Yes to the children, who are so much work and so very worth it.

Yes to being the kind of parent who is okay with supervising painting projects, even on a difficult Tuesday you wish was going better.

And then, against all the odds and absolutely all reason, you find your kairos moment for the day.  In the paint.  And the mess.  And the nuturing of small souls.

And you decide to say yes more often.

Ithilien hacking at a piece of ice with a garden trowel

Even on hard days.

WIP Wednesday

IMG_2328start date: 14 October 2014
elapsed time: one day
completeness: 5%

My smalls don’t watch a lot of TV.  We don’t own a television, so that helps, but they also don’t watch a lot of movies and TV episodes online.  It happens sometimes.

Because sometimes I want to sleep a bit longer than 2am to 8am, for one thing.

Or because I have tried literally every other strategy in my repertoire and they are persistently trying to kill each other.

You know, trivial reasons like that.

And one of the things they watch when they watch is a show that aired on PBS called Peep and the Big Wide World, which is an animated show about three baby birds who explore some farmland extremely naïvely.  There are also some live-action segments on this show in which a suspiciously diverse group of small children explore their world by sorting things, meeting engineering challenges, experimenting with phases of matter, etc.  And– and this is my favorite part– this show is narrated by Joan Cusack, who does all the typical little-kid-animated-show narration, but is ALSO sarcastic and snarky because JOAN CUSACK.

Anyway, in one of the episodes of this show, an acorn falls, and one of the baby birds and a local squirrel disagree over whose acorn it is until they finally decide to share it, as narrated by Joan:

Now, most birds and squirrels realize that an acorn has two parts:  The part that’s good to eat, and the part that makes a very nice hat.

— Peep and the Big Wide World

Now, my smalls, at this time of year, see acorns on the ground.  They bring them into the house and put them in our nature table display.  They love them.  And they break the caps off and hold them on top of their heads and say,  “Look, Mommy!  This part of the acorn makes a very nice hat!”

And you all KNOW I couldn’t let that go unaccessorized.

So I tried to find a good, free, acorn cap beret pattern on Ravelry.  No dice.  Acorn-cap-textured cloches, yes, but berets?  Nope.

Then, for my birthday, I was given a copy of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

And the inevitable result is that I am designing my own pattern, my FIRST knitting pattern, by the way, for the part of the acorn that makes a very nice hat, reproduced at a scale suitable for a child’s beret.

So far I’ve flipped through the whole book and marked all the stitch patterns that might work and started the ribbing.  Of the first hat.  Because when you have two children, you make a lot of things in pairs.

IMG_2330I am enjoying myself immensely.

The yarn is Agrupación de Productoras Esperanza— a fair-trade drop-spun undyed llama yarn from a Bolivian women’s co-op.

The Old Gate: A Lesson in Kinematics

Today my 3-year-old and my 4-year-old had physics class.

This isn’t remarkable– as children who are not yet in the concrete operational stage, they are constantly in motion, and that is the best practical illustration of physics one could possibly hope to have– but what was remarkable was the subject of today’s lesson.

I watched them play well into the dusk, until they couldn’t see their feet in front of them in the fading light.  First, Ithilien would find a rock about the size of a mango.  Then they would both climb up to the first terrace in our mountainside back yard, and Númenor would swing the old stick gate– a remnant, we think, of someone’s goat pen– into the “closed” position and hold it still.  The latch is broken, so something must hold it still, otherwise the natural slope of the yard swings the gate out over the wooden deck on the level below until its post stops it and it comes to rest, looking like the top of a Dutch door in a nonexistent wall.

Next, Ithilien would place the rock on top of the gate, balancing it carefully.  Finally, Númenor would give the gate a little push to send it on its way, and it would swing wide over the deck and be abruptly stopped by its post, whereupon the rock would be jarred off the top of the gate and continue forward and downward to the ground.  Both children positively screamed with laughter every time this happened, but eventually it became predictable– after perhaps two dozen trials, they began to vary the number and placement of the rocks.

I finally gave them notice that it was too dark to keep playing outside– one more trial and then they had to come in– and we talked about what they learned.

N: “We pushed the gate, then it stopped.  The air pushed the rock and made it jump.”

Me: “The air pushed it?  I don’t think so…”

N: “Actually, it is called in-ur-sha.  That is a French word for ‘it keeps going’.”

Me: “Yes, the rock did fall off the gate because of inertia, which is a Latin word meaning “lazy” or “inactive.”  Why didn’t the gate keep moving?”

I: “The gate– it hit the fence– and it just stopped– like this!” (mimes a cartoonish sudden stop and resulting vibration with hands)

Me: “That’s exactly right.  The gate hit the rest of the fence, and that stopped it, but nothing stopped the rock, so it kept going and fell off the gate.”

N:  “The rock only fell from the front from the gate.  It fell in front all ninety-eight times!” [sic erat dictum, but I think it was more like 50 times]

Me: “Yeah, that’s what I would guess– the rock kept moving the same way the gate swung.  What happened when the rock was close to the hinges?”

I: “When the rock– it was close to the hinges– and it did not fall off!  And Númenor pushed the gate– and then the rock– it did fall!”

Me: “Exactly!  When the rock was close to the hinges, the gate swinging by itself didn’t give it enough inertia to overcome friction, so it did not fall off the gate until you swung the gate with more force.”

N:  “Yeah!  It had friction because of the wood– it is not smooth, it is all scratchy.”

Me:  “Uh-huh.  And the rock is probably bumpy, too, and that adds friction.  What about when there were two rocks on the gate?”

N: “One on the end of the gate did fall, but one by the hinges did not fall.  It had too many friction and not enough pushing, because it was closer.”

Me: “They probably had basically the same friction, but the one by the hinges was not acted upon by sufficient force.”

I: “The rock– when it fall– it maked a big noise like CRACCCCKK!”

N: “When Ithilien pushed the gate like this– ” (mimes pushing hard) “– the rock made a big noise.  When I pushed it like this–” (mimes a tiny push) “– it made a same sound.”

Me: “What do you think that means?”

N: “Um.  I don’t know.  Maybe the rock falled the same?”

Me: “It always fell from the top of the gate, so it fell the same distance regardless of how hard you pushed the gate sideways.”

I: “Gravity is how things fall down!”

Me: “Right.  And gravity was the only force pulling down on the rock.  So the rock would have the same speed hitting the ground no matter how hard you push the gate.”

N: “Yeah.  Gravity is how things are pulled by heavier things.”

Me: “Hmm.  Well, technically it’s how things are pulled by more massive things.”

N: “More massive, yeah.  Like Earth pulled on us’s rock?”

Me: “Exactly.”

And there it is.  In less than two hours, left basically unattended with derelict farm infrastructure and rocks, my three and four year old children discovered that vertical and horizontal forces are independent, that forces on the end of a lever are amplified relative to forces at the fulcrum, and that inertia can be overcome by additional force.  They also reviewed gravity, inertia, and friction, which are concepts we’ve talked about (and they’ve seen on The Magic School Bus) before.  They made hypotheses and collected data and verbalized the significance of their results.

Which is to say nothing of all they learned about what lives under rocks and inhabits leaf piles on warm October evenings.

Banned Books Week

This is the second-to-last day of Banned Books Week 2014— there is still time to make a trip to your local library or independent bookstore and flaunt the would-be censors of literature!

To celebrate, here’s a round-up of the banned books we picked out this year for our small children:

And Tango makes Three by Justin Richardson.  This is a sweet book about the real-life same-sex penguin couple in the Central Park Zoo and how they became a family with the addition of an adopted egg.  The illustrations of Tango’s daddies being in love and of baby Tango herself are adorable, and the narration tells from the beginning that families come in all kinds.

King & King (series) by Linda de Haan.  This was a slow read for us because there’s so much to see on every page!  In a send-up of the usual fairy-tale conventions, King Bertie and King Lee fall in love and get married and then go on an outlandish jungle honeymoon adventure, where they see all kinds of families and eventually start their own.  Ithilien enjoyed “reading” it to himself by listing all the things he could see in each spread and giggled quite a bit over the cat wearing a crown.

The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein.  A pretty long and wordy book which probably isn’t appropriate for the more wiggly audience, this one had a strong “It gets better!” message for kids who are teased and bullied for being “different”.  Númenor was close to tears at the climax, in which the protagonist’s closed-minded father is wounded by hunters and left for dead by the flock, but both smalls loved the illustrations showing Elmer the duckling being his fabulous self, and there is a happy ending.

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.  This is a wonderfully absurd little work in which our hero is a naked toddler who is up after his bedtime– or maybe it’s all a dream– to help the cooks of the Night Kitchen prepare the morning cake.  Sendak considers this the prequel to Where the Wild Things Are, and, like its more-famous cousin, this book is a wonderful showcase of a child protagonist actually behaving like a child.  Númenor and Ithilien, who are 4 and three-quarters and nearly 4 years old respectively, found the story uproariously funny (especially the part where the child says “I’m not the milk and the milk’s not me!  I’m Mickey!”) and were red-faced with laughter by the time we reached the last page.

What books are part of Banned Books Week at your house?

Autumnal Equinox

Fall is my favorite season.  Warm during the afternoon, cold enough at night for thick blankets and snuggling, the sharp smell of frost and the organic hint of leafmold (even if it does make me sneeze), the turning and turning of the compost pile, covering up the garden beds to rest for a season…all those little signs that we’re moving from the languor and overabundance of late summer to the relief of cold, and rain, and eventually frost and snow.

I’m especially glad to see the weather starting to change this year, because as the rains move in, the wildfire season will finally come to a close.  We’ve been surrounded by fires all summer, and while I celebrate the role they play in rejuvenating the wilderness and keeping the forests healthy, being pinned down first by the Rowena fire and now by the one in the Mt. Hood National Forest has made me a little uneasy.  Thankfully we were never really in harm’s way, but with the crisis in funding and the drought, wildfires have been even less predictable and manageable than usual, and there’s nothing like seeing an edge of a big fire up close to give you that visceral sense of vulnerability.

On a more human scale, I’m enjoying moving back to inside work and warming activities.  It’s knitting season, and wooly garment season, and snuggly toy season!  We recently boiled down the salt from water we collected at Newport in July, and melted down our stash of broken crayons to make new ones, and poured a few new candles.  Soon it will be time to make soap and beeswax food wrappers, to bake with figs and mill applesauce and make quince paste, and to Eat All The Butternut Squash.

But this weekend we’re doing the semi-annual dance of the hand-me-downs, which thrills my little type-A heart to the core because there is organizing to do.  Unfortunately, I think I’m the only member of my family who looks forward to this ritual– Númenor gets weepy and bored after half-a-dozen wardrobe changes, and Ithilien is highly skilled in the art of running around at top speed to express the sheer joy of nudity.  But it is still time for the dance.  If you have small children, you may recognize the steps.

Dance of the Hand-Me-Downs

  1. Gather the child’s current clothing and make a huge pile in the middle of the floor.
  2. Strip the child down and have them try on a few things.
  3. Try not to freak out when the child loses all grasp of How to Put on a Shirt and tries to put their arms through the sleeves elbows-first or to take the shirt off by pulling the neck hole down under their arms.
  4. Attract the child’s attention back to the task at hand.
  5. Bribe the child to try on more clothes.
  6. Sigh in exasperation.
  7. Practice numeracy skills (“Okay, there are only three more shirts.  Can you count them as we try them on?”).
  8. Run after and catch naked, squealing children who want to PLAY and have them try on just one more pair of pants.
  9. Declare that your child’s favorite garment is too small, because you are the Cruelest Parent in all of Meanville, and not at all because putting it on involves a moment where the child in question can’t breathe.
  10. Unfeelingly give the child’s outgrown clothing to their younger sibling, who seems more taken with that glow-in-the-dark bunny shirt than seems tactful given the circumstances.
  11. Break for snacks.
  12. Break for trips to the toilet.
  13. Try not to break anything else.
  14. Get out the bin of clothes for the oldest child to grow into, and repeat steps 2 through 8.
  15. Remember after you’ve told your children that we’re done trying on clothes that you haven’t checked coats, shoes, socks, gloves, sweaters, and hats.
  16. Swear.
  17. Apologize to children and say that they have to try on just a few more things.
  18. Watch children spontaneously try on all of their outerwear with the greatest of delight and voluntarily bring you the outgrown pieces without complaint.
  19. Wrestle piles of clothing going into storage out of sight before they get too played with and disorganized.  Cry about at least one of those things being outgrown, because you remember how tiny your oldest child was when they first wore it, and the progression of time is so disrespectful of your feelings.
  20. Realize that you haven’t done laundry yet this week, and therefore the dirty laundry is full of outgrown but untested clothing.

Yes, it is a glorious season.  It’s my favorite.

WIP Wednesday

IMG_2196start date: 8 September 2014
elapsed time: 2 days

completeness: 80%

On my needles this week is a vest for Númenor.

I’m purposefully making it a little too big so that he can wear it as an extra layer over shirts on cold days this winter and then maybe on its own next summer.  It’s a wool-silk blend, so it’s very soft, but whether it’s next-to-skin soft for the eczema-plagued child remains to be seen.

He picked the cabling pattern from the options given by the pattern designer.  Actually, first he picked the heart cable pattern, then the owl cable pattern, and then he said that the owl pattern should go on an owl-colored vest, so could I please make the vest in an owl color, like brown?

IMG_2197I had already finished the garter stitch yoke at this point.  I was not about to frog my progress, especially since this gorgeous yarn is hand-painted in the same color palette as the baby quilt I made while I was pregnant with him.  So I suggested, as gently as I could, that maybe we could make this vest with the heart cable pattern and I could make him another vest in a suitable owl color with the owl cables.

“Oh!  Yeah!”  He said.  “I more love you to make TWO vests.”

“Okay.” Said I.  “So the heart cables on this red vest, right?”

“Yeah.”  Quoth the child.  “I more love big twisty knit-ten this time.”

“What big twisty knitting?”

“All down the front of it like this.” He said, making a whooshing sound and a corkscrewing hand motion.

“The giant cable like in this picture, you mean?”  Spake I, proffering the pattern picture for the child’s further perusal.


“Not the heart one?”

“No, just the big ones.  Heart ones are not for chil-der-en that are four years old.  Just when they are babies.”

“Oh.  Okay.”


The pattern is (one of my all-time faves) Milo by Georgie Hallam.  The yarn is Araucania Riñihue in a discontinued colorway (1714)– a beautiful mix of reds, plums, and golds.