Tag Archives: me

Attention People with Nimiipuu Ancestry

To anybody with a grandmother, uncle, etc. who is strong in the language:

Please record your elder(s) telling a story or singing (especially singing) in Nimiipuutimpt, and put it on YouTube. Please.

I remember– hazily– a song that my great-aunts used to sing to the babies at the family reunions. It was in Nimiipuutimpt, and I can only assume it was a lullaby, but that’s all I can really remember. It sounded a bit like the song the Cannibal sings in the story about the cannibal who ate all his brothers, at least in tune. It makes me so frustrated and sad to feel it right on the edge of my memories but be unable to truly recall it.

Now that I am studying the language again, I can hear this song in my dreams, but it will not come to my waking mind.  I would love to be able to learn it and sing it to my children.

I’m stumbling and awkward in Nimiipuutimpt, and I cherish every resource I can find as I strive to improve. Your grandmother, your aunt, your mother, even you might know this lullaby that’s so tantalizing me.

Please, for the sake of the language and my own personal sanity, record and share whatever you have permission to record and share.

Qe’ciyew’yew’

WIP Wednesday

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I am taking the bull by the horns lately.

This week I finished the hair accessories that have been cluttering up my cutting table for the last month or so, whipstitched together the patchwork a-frame tent cover I’ve alluded to from my collection of antique table linens, and made myself a new seating pouf for the studio.

Today I’m wrestling with a former fitted sheet to attempt to make a sister to my favorite skirt.  So far, so good, but I haven’t gotten to the difficult part yet, which is to attach some kind of stretch knit (I’m thinking interlock?) waistband to this woven skirt.

Then I need to finish up a stack of petticoats, make myself some summer sandals, do some more mending (it’s always more mending), finish the faux Victorian baby gown I’ve been working on since January, and then I have a great idea for a new shirt that I’d like to try.

And in the meantime, there’s more knitting (it’s yarn sale season), some crochet (I have a peacock finger puppet in my Ravelry queue that’s been there since 2012), apothecary work (new mouthwash for me, experiments with duck fat vs. palm oil, and I’m out of laundry soap), gardening (carrots have to go in this week), bushcraft (I have to find a way to dry manroot pods and a way to make bamboo baskets), organizing (I’m in the middle of a bathroom storage overhaul), plus all of the normal stuff I do around the house like cleaning, baking, laundry, dishes, canning, homeschooling, etc.

Robert says that I treat homemaking as if it were several full-time jobs, and most of the time I think he’s wrong.  I feel like I spend most days catching just enough sleep, trying to remember to feed myself, and being angry about things I read on news blogs.

But sometimes, when I’m cleaning out the studio or looking back on all the things I’ve done recently (only a very small fraction of which ever make it onto the blog, which is strange to me), I catch a glimpse of all the work that goes into my life and it is stunning.

And frankly, it seems a bit unfair to expect me to file taxes and go to the DMV and return my mother’s e-mails and other adulting on top of everything else.

On the Frontier

I remarked to Robert this week that Oregon will always be the frontier of America– wild, lawless, not quite part of the Union and not quite foreign, where cultures collide and there’s still far more natural than human on the horizon.

That Oregon is a refuge of weirdness is well-known.  There’s a whole television show about the quirkiness of Portland, which, believe it or not, is the actually the most Americanized, most assimilated place out here.  In the small towns, composed of farmers, ranchers, fruit-pickers, teachers, nurses, midwives, distillers, and store clerks, things are downright eccentric.

People are a little bit skeptical of strangers, like in all small towns, but they make an effort to be friendly.  When you are introduced to someone, you lean far, far out of your personal space, feet firmly planted, to extend an overbalanced handshake.  When you greet a friend, you raise your left hand and hug them across the shoulder blades from your right side, and the pair of you briefly create two cache-coeurs around each other with your arms.

We celebrate weird, here.

We go to the drive-in, and we shop at the farmer’s market.  We have a parade to celebrate flowers, and we drive 50 miles on the freeway as if it’s nothing.  We walk home in the rain and we travel to seek out snow and surf.  We know that the best watermelons come from Hermiston and the best strawberries from Hood River.  We watch the fields stream by out of the windows of cars and trains and buses and we know: that’s barley, that’s hops, that’s rye, that’s cabbage, that’s grapes, that’s green beans.  We speak Spanish and Chinook jargon and French.  We chop wood and haul wood and mill wood and burn wood and plant saplings and listen to the forest sighing in the wind and count the rings on our Christmas trees and always seem to have some pitch on our hands.  We are Facebook fans of that hideous airport carpet, that, ugly as it is, means “home.”  We vote by mail to protect the salmon, and we hold nothing more sacred than our own self-determination.

I’ve lived all over this state, and traveled even more of it.  I’ve tracked deer in the Wallowas, I’ve boogie boarded in Pacific City, and I’ve stared up at the stars on the Nevada border.  I know the sharp smell of an approaching thunderstorm in the high desert, and the gentle susurration of ocean waves on a sunny afternoon, and the chill of dew on prairie grass under my bare feet.

And I can’t imagine raising my children anywhere else.

Today is the third anniversary of the day we bought our plane tickets home.  My eyes sting with tears as I think about that– how long it’s been, how we’re starting to take Oregon for granted again, how Númenor and Ithilien don’t really remember living anywhere else.

The fact is, back east was too much for us.  Too much in our business.  Too much snow.  Too much traffic.  Too much crowding.  Too much America.  Too much pollution.  Too much conformity.  Too much erosion of the mountains.  Too much lime in the drinking water.  Too much fuss to vote.  Too much fear.  Too much civilization.

When I stepped off that plane and saw that hideous windmill carpet in PDX, I could breathe again.  As we drove through rainy, nighttime Portland, trying to find the food we’d promised our beleaguered toddlers who had just endured a three-layover cross-country flight, it all came back to me.  How to navigate Portland, and that we should be looking for a Plaid Pantry, and what it felt like to know you belonged somewhere.

The state of Oregon will be turning 147 years old this month.  But somehow, it still feels like a territory.  It’s a place of changes and contradictions and clashing cultures and weirdness, where the rules don’t fully apply.  And it is my home.

So thank you, Oregon, for flying with your own wings.  And thank you, fellow Oregonians, for keeping this place a weird and wild exception to the rules.

Life on the frontier is a perfect fit for me.

Polka Dot Spectacle Sock

My progress in the craft of knitting has been erratic.  Whereas people who learn to knit in a more formal pedagogy have this concept of some techniques or stitches being more advanced than others, as a self-taught knitter, I just see things I already know vs. things I don’t know yet.

One of the things I didn’t know yet last month was double knitting.  I wanted to learn it, because I suspected it was the secret of knitting socks two-at-once, so I looked around at various resources and started to figure it out (this was the most helpful tutorial I found).

Normally I have a specific project in mind when I’m learning a new technique, but double knitting isn’t very popular and nothing in my queue used it, so I was trying to figure out what to practice on before trying out my two-at-once sock idea.

I also was starting to get annoyed with having to constantly untangle my glasses from other things in my work bag: they would wrap themselves in my yarn or interlock obscenely with my measuring tape, and this could not continue.

So I made a little double-knitted socklet to keep my specs safe and contained.  It’s knitted in a double-faced stockinette from the bottom up and finished with a marled ribbing section, so it is fully reversible.

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Sizing

Whatever you need, really.  At my gauge, which was roughly 5 sts and 6 rows per inch, the pattern below made a tube 7.5″ long and 3″ wide (6″ in circumference).  It’s very easy to adjust, though.

Materials

  • about 35 yards each of two colors of worsted weight yarn (I used Ella Rae Classic Superwash in Light Grey and Fibra Natura Oak in Castor Grey)
  • five US8 (5mm) DPNs

Pattern

CO 15 sts in one color.  Knit sts through the front onto one DPN, but through the back onto another DPN.  This will leave you with 30sts total.  Repeat this process for the other color of yarn on separate needles.

Take a new DPN and knit the first st from the “front” needle of one yarn, purl the first st from the front needle of the other yarn, and repeat this process until your working needle has all 30 sts interleaved, with all the sts of one color knit and the other purl.  Repeat for the “back” needles.  60 sts.

Now there should be enough slack to redistribute the sts evenly onto your preferred number of DPNs (I used three).

*NOTE: make sure to remember to bring BOTH yarns to the front when you work the right side fabric, and move BOTH yarns to the back when you work the wrong side fabric*

R1: stockinette (knit the right-side sts and purl the wrong-side sts, each in their own yarn)

R2: *4 sts stockinette, 2 sts interleaved (knit the right-side sts with the yarn from the wrong side and purl the wrong-side sts with the yarn from the right side)* repeat around.

R3: same as R2

R4-6: same as R1 (you will trade the yarns back to their originating sides as you work R4)

R7: *1 st stockinette, 2 sts interleaved, 3 sts stockinette* repeat around.

R8: same as R7

R9-10: same as R1 (you will trade the yarns back to their originating sides as you work R9)

Repeat these 10 rows twice, and then work R1-R6 once more for a total of 38 rows.  There will be 7 rows of dots and you will have just finished three plain stockinette rows.

Take both strands of working yarn and establish marled ribbing by k2tog, p2tog to end of round.

Work in 1×1 rib as established (*k1, p1* around) for 1.25″.

Bind off and block as desired.  I used a regular knitted bind off to tighten up the edge because I was paranoid about my glasses slipping out, but any bind off can be used.

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100

This is my 100th blog post.

Rather than trying to write meaningful content here about self-reflection and intentional living, I’m going to instead post this list of 100 books I’ve read in my lifetime.

Because I am so very pregnant, and therefore I have no brain for words right now.

A Partial Annotated Bibliography for My Life

Books I haven’t read since I was a child, so I don’t trust my recollection of them, but I loved them at the time:

  1. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  2. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by James Howe
  3. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  4. Galax-Arena by Gillian Rubinstein
  5. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  6. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
  7. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  8. Onion John by Joseph Krumgold
  9. Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
  10. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  11. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  12. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  13. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  14. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  15. 20000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Books I read as a child and re-read as an adult and still like, but now find problematic, largely for reasons of racism or misogyny:

  1.  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  2. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  3. All-of-a-Kind Family by Syndey Taylor
  4. The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  6. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  7. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  10. A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Books I read as a child and re-read as an adult and still like, and would recommend:

  1.  Winne-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  2. The House At Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
  3. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  4. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  6. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  7. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  8. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Frequently banned books I have read and don’t think actually earned the negative attention:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J.K. Rowling
  6. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  7. Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
  8. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  9. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  11. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  12. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  13. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  14. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  15. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Banned or controversial books I’ve read and found deeply disturbing or challenging, and would highly recommend:

  1.  Beloved by Toni Morrison
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  9. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  11. Story of O by Pauline Réage
  12. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  13. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  14. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
  15. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“Classic” or highly-esteemed books I’ve read and thought were totally overrated:

  1. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
  2. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
  3. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  4. Death be not Proud by John Gunther
  5. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
  6. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  8. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Lesser-known books I have read and thought were brilliant:

  1. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  2. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

Non-fiction books that have been pivotal in my life:

  1.  A Child is Born by Lennart Nilsson
  2. The Way Things Work by David Macaulay
  3. Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph E. Stiglitz
  4. The Origins of Intelligence in Children by Jean Piaget
  5. Silent Spring by Rachael Carson
  6. In the way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects, and Globalization by Mario Blaser, Harvey A. Feit, and Glenn McRae
  7. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
  8. Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations by Sharla M. Fett
  9. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin
  10. The Saga of Chief Joseph by Helen Addison Howard

Books I’ve read in a foreign-to-me language and highly recommend:

  1.  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  2. La Symphonie Pastorale by André Gide
  3. El amor en los tiempos del cólera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
  4. La casa de los espiritus by Isabel Allende
  5. Murambi, le livre des ossements by  Boubacar Boris Diop
  6. Disparition de la langue francais by Assia Djebar

Books I’ve read in more than one language and highly recommend:

  1. El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
  2. L’aventure ambiguë by Cheikh Hamidou Kane
  3. La Chute by Albert Camus
  4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The last five books I’ve read:

  1. The Comanche Empire by Pekka Hamalainen
  2. For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts’ Advice to Women by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English
  3. The Morbid Anatomy Anthology edited by Joanna Ebenstein and Colin Dickey
  4. Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from birth to Tween by Melissa Atkins Wardy
  5. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

 

It occurs to me that I am setting a dangerous precedent for future milestones, but as I’m sure you know, I am an adrenaline junkie who lives her life on the razor’s very edge.

Thanks for reading!

By Flashlight

Have you ever tried to find something by flashlight?  Something small, easily mistakable, in a crowded, unfamiliar room?

Joni Mitchell says you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, a sentiment that applies perfectly to electric lighting in many lives.  One moment your life is normal, you aren’t even thinking about the light you’re using to see, and the next moment, you are plunged into darkness.  It takes a bit of mental adjustment before you even know why everything has suddenly disappeared– of course, the lights.  The lights must have gone out.  The power must be out.

A few weeks ago, the whole city lost power during an ice storm.  The outage lasted less than three minutes, but across the city people were momentarily taken by surprise and forced to face their privilege.  Grocery store employees were stuck on stepladders, children scrambled to find their flashlights,  families made noises of outrage at the interruption in board games and TV shows, drivers scrambled to adjust to the lack of streetlights and traffic control lights, and I froze stupidly in the middle of mixing cookie dough, my fingers sticky with butter and molasses, the floor under me awash with a detritus of playthings waiting to stub my blind and stumbling toes.

Númenor and Ithilien, hoopy froods that they are, found their flashlights quickly and were happily using them in less than 30 seconds, the crazed, ricocheting islands of light adding to the choas in my path as I tried to feel my way to the bathroom cupboard to retrieve the candles and LED taplights.  Ithilien, normally afraid of the dark, was reveling in the novelty of its presence here, in his waking hours, unintended and uninvited.  Númenor was full of questions: Are the lights broken? Would we need to replace the lightbulbs?  Does the house need new batteries?  Why did the numbers on the stove timer disappear?

Power was restored just as I approached the bathroom door, which was a relief because I didn’t have to muck anything up with my doughy hands waste any cookie dough.  I took a moment to silently thank the people in charge of managing this utility I take so much for granted, and to reflect on the merits of the fish-killing, native-heritage-site-destroying Bonneville Dam in the wake of an extremely visceral reminder of what it does for me.

Lately I’ve been struggling with finding enough perfection within the lawlessness and tumult of real life to sustain me, or at least the parts of myself that are fed by kairos moments and the illusion of control.  I’ve been stumbling in the dark, stepping on a clearly unreasonable number of plastic lizards, using a little circle of light I claim illuminates my task when all it seems to do is make the darkness thicker and fill it with menacing shadows.

My friend Beth wrote recently about being a little underwater in her own head and life, and I wrote back to tell her that I’m there, too.  Waiting for dawn, knowing (but at the same time having trouble believing) that it is coming.

I always tell people that the hardest part of pregnancy and birth is humbling your conscious mind and surrendering the illusion of control over your life and your body.  It’s a frightening thing to contemplate, that regardless of how we may treat them, our bodies are more than just a physical extension of our conscious minds.  It’s terrifying to know that sometimes the body won’t or can’t, and infuriating to find that sometimes the body trusts its own counsel over yours.

All this is an exceedingly roundabout way of saying:  I’m still here, and I’m still pregnant.  Much more pregnant than I ever thought I would be, in fact.

And I’m rummaging though what, for lack of a better term, we will have to refer to as my soul, looking for faith by flashlight, and not having much success finding it.

The flashlight casts shadows that have the illusion of movement and catch my peripheral vision, dragging me off-task.  It will show me everything in this space, but not without my searching every shelf and every drawer deliberately and thoroughly.  I can’t quickly glance over everything, as I could with overhead lighting, and focus my search on the likely vicinity.  I have to comb over the whole space, taking care to look behind and under, and stubbing my toes in the meantime.

And faith is a small, slippery, translucent thing, with no strong color or definite shape.

In short, it’s a bitch to find and to hang onto.

But I’m looking nonetheless, because I need it and nothing else will do.

With just a tiny amount of faith in my body, I will be content to wait until the time is right.

With just a tiny amount of faith in myself and my skills, I will be my own ultimate birth attendant.

With just a tiny amount of faith in this baby, I will be able to focus on what I can assess and control directly to help everything come out right.

With just a tiny amount of faith in my family, I will be able to ask for and receive help when I need it.

And I know that my faith is in here somewhere.  I believe that I will find it.

And for now, as I stumble around in the dark with my flashlight, faith that I will have faith is enough.

WIP Wednesday

natural linen baby tunics piled up waiting for elasticstart date: 20 September 2015
time elapsed: 3 days
completeness: 98%

Among knitters, there’s a term for starting one project immediately after the end of the last one.  It’s called “binding off to cast on”.  That’s what my life has been like for the past several weeks as I look at the calendar and the nesting list and start to feel a little wave of panic rising in my chest.

I finished Númenor’s coat late one night, and cut out pieces of these shirts the next day.  I finished the last shirt this afternoon, and cut pieces for Númenor’s hoodie before dinner.  Back to back to back to back.

natural linen baby tunic in progress with sewing tools

In the pro column, I sure am productive these days!  In the con column, I’m feeling the strain.  And somehow every Wednesday seems to find me actively binding off to cast on, and therefore not really having a WIP to post about.  (Un)luckily, I have also outstripped my own ability to stock supplies, so I get to share these sweet little tunics while I wait for the elastic I need to finish them off.

Having had a springtime homecoming with Númenor (he was born in the winter but, as a preemie, didn’t leave the NICU until spring), most of our basics are for warmer-weather babies, and these will bridge the gap by providing an insulating underlayer for t-shirts and vests and sundresses and pinafores.

I’ve really enjoyed feeling the crisp linen in my hands as I worked.  There’s something about that fiber, especially in this undyed, unbleached state, that is ponderous with tradition, that hearkens back to earlier times and simpler needs and brings the primacy of preparing for a new baby into sharp relief.

sewing tools in the windowsill at sunset

I could have just three months left now before the baby comes.  And there are still a lot of things that must be done, which is a strange phenomenon when little babies (especially those with older siblings) have such basic needs.

Maybe it’s the basic-ness of the needs that I find so worrying: what if the baby isn’t warm enough, clean enough, dry enough, safe enough, snuggled enough, welcomed enough?

Maybe that’s why my head is so full of bees trying to ensure that everything is ready: while the baby’s needs are simple and few, they are critical.

pieces of new DIY hoodie piled up and ready for assembling/sewing to start

I’m trying to remember that just because it’s critical that the baby is warm doesn’t mean that it’s critical that I finish any particular blanket or piece of clothing.  We have plenty of warmth here already in hugs, and blankets, and a busy kitchen.  We have plenty of cleanliness, too, and, perhaps more importantly, not too much, either.  We have ways to get dry, even if I never re-hem that new hooded towel.  We are safe.  We can snuggle.

And I don’t think I’ve ever truly doubted that we would welcome this new life among us.


 

The fabric in the shirts is an unbleached handkerchief-weight linen I was given as a gift; if you’re looking for something similar, try this.  The pattern is a long-sleeved, tunic-length adaptation of Abby’s infant peasant dress, which I highly recommend, although I can’t speak to the construction tutorial because I’ve used my own techniques.  I have attached the sleeves to the bodice with a French seam and the sides are Elizabethan seams, for maximum durability.  The gray fabric in the pile at Ithilien’s feet is a seconds-quality cut of a long-discontinued organic sweatshirt knit from Organic Cotton Plus.  If you’re looking for something similar, try this.

Furiously Happy

I was immensely lucky and won a signed advance copy of The Bloggess’ new book a few weeks ago.

I devoured it, the way middle school English teachers who haven’t quite had all the passion beaten out of them by the system tell you to devour poems: with your senses, your heart, your imagination, and then finally your brain.

I laughed and cried and was angry and relieved and even though Jenny and I have very little in common, I saw myself in every story. Because I am broken. I am anxious and depressed and have panic attacks and PTSD flashbacks and spend most of my life trying to avoid strangers and the unknown.

But I have also come to realize in recent years that my brokenness is part of my beauty.

There’s a Japanese pottery tradition, kintsugi, in which a broken vessel is repaired with gold dust resin, making the finished article more precious than it was before it broke.

That is where I find myself. My parts are fitted to each other with golden joinery, showing forever where I have broken, but reclaiming the shards as evidence of a transformation rather than as scattered debris of violence.

 

I’m broken because I have lost, because I have been attacked, because I was under too much pressure.

I’m furiously happy because I create, because I surround myself with people who cherish me, because I have learned to seek relief.

And I am not alone in my beautiful brokenness.  There are a lot of us out there who shattered, who now live with gold dust in our cracks, making them shine out in the half-light.

We can’t hide our brokenness, but that’s okay.  Having broken makes us human.  We mend ourselves with show and with beauty, and we are all the more precious in the end.

Feathering that Nest

Happy news has its own special way of completely demolishing a person’s life.

Celebratory things– like getting married, moving in together, having a new baby, starting a new job– they take just as much energy, attention, and time as their tragic counterparts do.  But there’s an added sting: people expect you to be happy.  You should be happy.  If you’re anything like me, you ARE happy, somewhere deep inside, in all that mess of humanity and emotion.

But all you can see on a day-to-day level is how much work it is to be pregnant and trying to raise your older children at the same time.  You feel that anxious pressure over money, time, preparation, and you are seized with that “how am I going to make this WORK?” panic in the middle of your sleepless nights.

diaper caddy

People have all kinds of ways of dealing with this madness.  I have a friend who started posting weekly pictures of her belly on Facebook when she was 8 weeks pregnant.  People who are on bedrest often make countdown calendars marking each day until their due date or safe date as a tiny victory.  Couples, especially first-time parents, sign up for birth and parenting and breastfeeding classes, even though it’s an open secret that this is a laughable prospect.

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All these activities have two goals: first, to keep the mind of the expectant person so full that they can’t spare the time to freak out, but second, to make openings for people in their social networks and general vicinity to offer them help and reassurance.

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A weekly belly pic means a regular reminder of your pregnancy in everyone’s feed.  A countdown calendar gives you an opportunity to remind all your housemates of your incremental but inevitable journey.  Classes are an explicit way to seek new connections and new sources of support based on your status as expectant parents.

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Personally, I knit.  I sew.  And I felt and fold and sculpt and bead and work-work-work as much as I can.  That keeps me distracted from the fact that I have made the incredibly foolish decision to let the children in my family outnumber the adults (oh help!), and, if I work on baby things, it provides a neat justification for talking about the baby, even with strangers.

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Plus, you know, cuteness.  Thriftiness.  Et cetera.  Not all crafting is about insecurity and escapism.  Or, rather, my crafting isn’t entirely about insecurity and escapism.  Not entirely.

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So, to the lady who saw me knitting baby pants in the car outside the burrito place and asked what I was making and complimented my skills, even though it was just stockinette and seed stitch, thank you.  To the friend who doesn’t watch Bob’s Burgers but told me my “Louise” baby bonnet was adorable, thank you.  To the elderly relative who doesn’t quite understand what a sleep sack is or how cloth diapering works but is interested in having me explain it, thank you.  To the understanding partner who listened patiently to a cumulative total of three hours of freaking out about the exact configuration of compartments in the diapering caddy, thank you.

Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone as I feather this nest.