Saturday, August 27

waiting for Irene

After a few days of warnings, and a frenzied (and over rushed) trip to get groceries yesterday, we holed up today to wait for the hurricane. Irene is supposed to hit New York hard and parts of the city have been evacuated. Our apartment is on higher ground, so today was just about waiting for the storm to hit.

And it was just a rainy day. I imagine we will be stuck inside all day tomorrow, but somehow we were in Hunker Down Mode, and so stayed inside for most of today too.

Yesterday, a book I ordered came, just in time for the storm:

  First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos 
Awesome book. It has tons of projects for kids Eamon's age. While Eamon was playing in the other room with Christopher, I whipped up some play dough. (we didn't have any white flour, so it had specks of whole wheat in it. Oh well.)
play dough
And later, when Eamon tired of that (which was pretty soon, actually), I pulled out some tempera and liquid starch and we did a little finger painting.
First finger painting
Probably predictably, he was very interested in the pouring of the paint onto the paper, and kept wanting me to add more. Also, he wasn't so into getting the paint on his hands. He really wanted them to stay clean. So I gave him a brush, which he really liked using.
IMG_5149
We went for a walk (it had stopped raining), saw some emergency vehicles and an evacuation center (both around the corner) and when we came back he wanted to do more painting. All in all, he made 3 pictures. Each of them took probably less than 2 minutes, but it is satisfying to see him trying these things out and enjoying them.

Tuesday, August 16

a monthly feature

It is a cliche, but Eamon changes daily. Everything about him shifts. I blink and it is all different. His hair color (brown to blonde to maybe going brown again). His vocabulary and intonation (apparently any day now he will begin to speak in actual words). And toys and books.


We have hand me downs from both Christopher's sister's kids and Christopher's cousin's kids, and we have received gifts on top of that. We have a lot of stuff. Toys oozing out of boxes, books falling off of shelves. Somehow it never seems like enough; Eamon tires quickly of Toy A and suddenly he will only play with Toy M. I put things away and rotate them, which seems to keep things somewhat interesting, but it is always a game of catch up.

For a little while now I have been thinking that it might be interesting to record Eamon's favorite books and toys on the blog every month. Since he just celebrated his 18 month birthday, I thought I'd start now and try to post around this time every month.  Hopefully this won't become a chore, but will show an evolution of a child's interests. (Full disclosure: I have linked to amazon.com and they will give me money if you buy a product I link to. That is not the #1 reason I am linking there, but I thought I should be up front about that.  My reason for writing this is that I think it will be interesting, not because amazon will pay me. And I hope I present it that way, too.)

So, first off: 

Books

Eamon loves books. We are big fans of the Priddy books - they have fantastic pictures of objects and animals and children and they are really great for little people who are learning words. We have a ton of these books. 

But since I am focussing on the absolute favorite RIGHT NOW, I would choose Tremendous Tractors. 
Eamon has been obsessed with tractors (and lawn mowers) since he got to ride on my dad's tractor (and mower) in Maine.
 
He still wears his headphones to the playground in memory of the mower.
Yes, this is a picture from June when we were in Maine, but you can see how he loves his headphones.

 Tremendous Tractors (Amazing Machines) 
This book, which I bought recently on, ahem, amazon, is the perfect book for a toddler who loves tractors. There is a rabbit, a chicken (I think it's a chicken) and a mouse who show just how tractors are used. They mow. They plow. They seed. They even haul around some pumpkins. The pictures are beautifully drawn and there are other things to look at too, like the trees next to the field they are mowing. Eamon is particularly interested in showing me the door handle on the tractor on each page. 

Eamon is also very interested in photo albums right now. My iPad has a bunch of photos (mostly of him) and some videos, and we also have a few hard copy photo albums, and one of his favorite things is to look at them. It is fun (though I admit it is getting tiring) to show him each family member and himself when he was a baby. He is clearly storing up who all of these people are and learning names. He also points at tiny things you wouldn't notice, like the out of focus, obscured dog in the background, and does the dog sign. Oh, to know what he is thinking!

Toys

To accompany his tractor book, Eamon has a tractor toy.
John Deere - Flashlight
 Amazon is telling me that this is a flashlight, which I honestly think is a bit of a stretch. We got it as a hand me down from Christopher's cousin's kids. If you squeeze the red part, the hood pops up, it makes a revving noise and a light goes on. If you let go of the handle, it closes and the light goes off. 

Things Eamon likes about this: he has mastered squeezing the handle, which took some learning. The noise is fun (and not too loud for Mom to be annoyed by it). And it looks a little like a tractor. It also rolls easily, which is a bonus. He likes to roll things these days. I'm not sure he's noticed that there is a flashlight component to the toy, which is fine with me. 

Construction vehicles are a close second to the tractors, and we end up watching a lot of YouTube videos such as this:

Friday, July 22

little monkeys

I have a friend who has been very, very generous to me. She is a close friend, and she always seems to come up with the perfect present for various occasions - our wedding, Eamon's birth, various birthdays of mine and now, Eamon's. I am less generous, mostly because she is the type of person who seems to have everything, and she also is very clear that (usually, anyway) she doesn't want a gift. Plus (I'll say it) money is a bit tight around here.

Last week, my friend had a baby. And, well, that's as good an excuse as any to knit something amazing for my friend.

A blanket seemed like the most useful gift, something that could be wrapped around the baby in the stroller or car seat, something that would be useful for a few years. I made a blanket for Eamon when I was pregnant (which sadly was lost) and I found the small 2'x2' size more useful than I had imagined. I poked around looking at various patterns, and finally settled on the Sleepy Monkey Blanket (twist collective link). It is an incredible pattern, one that requires a lot of patience and looks impressive. I felt like making something a little more modern would be fun, and something my friend's husband would also appreciate.

I cast on in March, using Berroco Vintage, an amazing superwash wool/acrylic blend. My mother made a sweater for Eamon with it, and it has weathered the washing and wear very well. It also comes in wonderful colors.

sleepy monkey blanket
The color panels went rather quickly, perhaps because they were fun and varied. They were finished and washed in May, and I presented them at my friend's baby shower as a preview as to what was coming. She and her husband seemed excited about the blanket. There was talk of hanging it on the wall.

I made it my mission to finish the blanket while we were in Maine in June. Unfortunately, the border of this blanket is a little more tiresome to knit. Someone on Ravelry said it was "fiddly," and she was right. It is fiddly. I think if I ever knit this blanket again, I would make the border simpler and a lot more user friendly. I did manage to finish it though, while watching episodes of the amazing Danish miniseries Forbydelsen (yes! knitting with subtitles!).
Sleepy Monkey Blanket
I washed it and it was sent off.
Monkey blanket - back

I do feel rather proud of this blanket. I finished it on time. I like how it looks and I think the colors work well together. It is probably a little warm for a baby, but maybe it would be useful for tummy time or on a chilly fall day in the stroller.

Saturday, June 25

you can take the child to the country...

You would think that with nearly 4 weeks in a remote place with few plans, one would get a lot of blogging done. Or more than usual, at least. But you would also have to factor in supervising a 16 month old, the endless preparation of meals and washing of dishes (oh, for a dishwasher!), the diaper changes and laundry. Somehow the day just slips by.

It has been really nice to relax into a more laid back lifestyle. Eamon has adjusted well to living in the country, and I will miss having a yard. More than once we have found ourselves doing the dishes and watching him play happily outside. We can't do that in Brooklyn.

Other things that Eamon likes about Maine:

The riding lawnmower. Here he is with my father.

Power tools.

My father's tractor.
Yes, you can see that he is turning into quite a little BOY.

Accessories.

Of course, Eamon will have plenty of opportunities to accessorize after we return to New York, but doubt he will find many pairs of ear muffs. He loves wearing hearing protection, which makes me proud. (I am a stickler for working with safety equipment.)

Animals.

Our neighbors have chickens, pigs and ducklings. And this morning a snapping turtle came right up to our porch, looking for a place to lay her eggs. In Brooklyn, we see pigeons, rats and squirrels. And lots of dogs.

I guess I should say that there are things that we miss about New York. Easy access to everything, for one. We miss having a playground, library and museum across the street, the multitudes of neighbors and other families that we bump into where ever we go, and a grocery store around the corner. There is a social quality to living in Brooklyn that I miss, an ease in making impromptu plans and common issues that I discuss with other parents (like, what is the deal with pre-school admissions???!)

It is hard to let go and think about going back though. It seems like we have been here forever...

Wednesday, June 8

the beginning of summer

We have retreated to Maine. It really does feel like we have abandoned New York and everything that was going on (or not going on) down there. We arrived very late on Saturday night, with a 2 door compact car stuffed with our gear for 3 weeks, Eamon and the cat, who was remarkably cheery considering the long car ride. Being a Saturday and a time when summer travel hasn't really begun, there was no traffic either: a huge bonus.

The month stretches ahead, with possibilities of things to accomplish: a baby blanket in progress for a friend, novels I'd like to read, plus games and activities to do with Eamon. So far I did a bit of knitting in the car, and Eamon has played with the hose and some plastic pails, which was pretty exciting for him.

We are still getting into a groove... Let's hope the days are full and productive!

Thursday, May 26

Knitting!

Oh my. I thought that by now I was going to be blogging more, but now that Eamon is walking I seem to have even less time. Sigh.

In January I started working for my cousin part time, and I once again have a commute. Having a commute was one reason I started knitting in earnest to begin with, and now I have that time again. Not a lot, but it is something. And I am knitting.

I recently participated in a Mother's Day swap with a group of other mothers on Ravelry. We were to make one accessory type thing for our partner, and also include something yarny and yummy. I was waylaid in starting - to be honest, I got really obsessed with a baby blanket that I am making for a friend, and then I got very busy with a project I was doing in Philadelphia.

I ended up making my partner a scarf. It is lacy and thin; she had said that she liked skinny scarves so this was an excuse to make one.
Susan Scarf by Kristen Hanley Cardozo

Pattern: Susan Scarf by Kristen Hanley
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, 1 skein

Amazingly, and maybe this is because I now have a child, I never managed to memorize this pattern, even though it was pretty simple. I like how it looks though.

And here's hoping that I get on here and blog more.

Sunday, April 10

a milestone

Every day Eamon does something new and interesting: filling containers instead of just emptying them, adding a new sound to his babble, picking out what clothes he wants to wear (that was a surprise) or handing out leaves to the other babies at the playground. They are small advances, but through them we see a person emerging, which is very exciting.

With each new activity, an old one - something I thought he'd do forever -vanishes. And so does my memory of it. Did he ever really wiggle his little fists like other newborns? Was there a time when he couldn't turn over, or lift up his head? Remember when I thought he would never crawl, and when we were in awe of another baby who could pull himself up to stand?

Parenthood does go very quickly, and the memories fade quickly because there is no time to sit down and think about them. You are always living in the present.

Enter the video camera. I have been taking videos - a few minutes each week - since Eamon was born. It is VERY strange to watch the videos, to see Eamon slowly evolve from little worm to someone more upright, someone with a clear opinion who is able to demonstrate many of his needs.

Today I figured out how to download the video onto my computer. I know, I know. Eamon is nearly 14 months old. You would think a grandparent would have wanted to see him in action before now. I learned how to download the video, because I feel like the grandparents deserve to share us in celebrating this milestone:

Walking!


video

Yeah, this isn't the greatest video, but you can't be choosy about the light and whatnot when you are filming something on the spur of the moment. Also, our floorboards sound sort of like a pig's snort. nice.

To be honest, he did not take his first steps today. He took a few hesitant steps on March 22, and has bridged small distances daily since then. But after a few weeks of trying to carry large objects while crawling, he gave in and saw the advantages to going a little bit further on his two feet.

Tuesday, March 15

an heirloom

Every month or two, my mother appears with some age appropriate object for Eamon. The object generally comes from a trunk, and it sometimes looks familiar to me. Some of the objects have a story, though vague.

vintage baby knits
A sweater knit by my grandmother - or was it my great-grandmother? - for my mother's younger sister.

vintage baby knits
Booties knit by my grandmother - for whom?? - using yarn mixed with raw wool from her sheep.

Though I am a believer in using hand me downs, and heirlooms in general, there is something anxiety producing about putting a newborn in a tiny sweater that is over 60 years old. Yeah, Eamon never wore it. And I think he might have worn those wacky, sheepy booties maybe once.

When my parents came up for Eamon's birthday, they brought another heirloom, though one slightly newer. Here it is when it was brand new, 35 years ago.
me on my rocking horse
Yeah, that is me.

A few other kids have used this rocking horse since my father made it for me all those years ago. When I had it, it was painted a solid orange color. Since then it has been repainted and had a real horsehair tail attached.

Eamon loves it. He can't get on it by himself yet, but he stands next to it and grunts excitedly until we put him on. And then he rocks, so proud of himself. And tonight, when we were reading a book that had a picture of a horse, he turned and pointed at the rocking horse. (he is a genius! Let me tell you!)

Eamon on my old rocking horse
Please excuse the mess!

This an heirloom I am not afraid of breaking; this is an heirloom for using.

Tuesday, March 1

what's next

I have been thinking a bit about this blog recently. This started as a place to chat about our renovations, and my knitting, and for me to muse about my thoughts on this or that. Though some of it is very personal, and all of it is based on my life, I have tried to keep a distance from the details.

I'm realizing that what I want to write about now is Eamon. Not really just about him, but about my thoughts on life and parenthood, and how his existence is changing my priorities and shifting my focus. I'd like to write about choices we've made, or things we are contemplating. I guess I want to make this more of a parenting blog. One of many, I know. Though before this was one of many knitting blogs, so I'm not sure what the difference is.

I'll still post about my knitting and my crafts and things that interest me, but I'll probably write more posts like that one about legwarmers, or the one about cloth diapers. And maybe there will be more to read, too!

Sunday, February 13

a year later

Eamon was born a year ago today.
EamonDay2
At just about this time last year, I was settling in and trying to get some sleep, the first in about 36 hours. Though the maternity floor was quiet and I was exhausted, it was not easy to fall asleep. There next to me, in a clear plastic bassinet, lay a little baby with dark eyes. I couldn't stop looking at him, and I felt like he was watching me. He didn't seem tired, just curious about where he was and what was going on.

Meeting your child is such an abstract and huge and wondrous thing; it is hard to describe. I also imagine it is completely different for each parent, and for each parent's child.

I had long wondered what my child would be like: his coloring, his features, his personality. I think one of the first things I thought after his birth was, "Holy s**t! I am going to know this person for the rest of my life!" (Or that is the hope anyway.) And combined with all of that was, "I am going to raise this little thing. I am going to nurture him. I am going to know him very, very well. And love him. But I don't even know who he is!"

And so that first night I couldn't stop watching him, his little face in the darkness, as he watched me. Eventually I (guiltily) sent him to the nursery for a few hours just so I could relax and get some rest.

A year later I know him better, but each day brings something new. I am amazed at how much he has changed in a year. From a wiggly little being he has become a small boy. He makes sounds, some of which could be words ("da," "dag," "dat," "duk."), and he understands some of what we say. He can crawl quickly, and pulls himself to stand. His personality has begun to emerge, and I see an observant and friendly (though slightly shy) child with a sense of humor and an interest in everything around him.Eamon's birthdayMy life today barely resembles the life I had on February 12, 2010, and it took awhile to reconcile that, to rearrange my expectations. Having a baby immediately immerses you in everything Baby - feeding it, changing diapers, getting it to sleep, trying to sneak some naps for oneself, wondering when you will cook again, let alone take a shower or go back to work. I ended up being laid off shortly after Eamon was born, and so the past year has meant being more of a full-time mom than I expected to be. I was assured that I would get my life (and body) back after about a year, and that was true; slowly things have shifted to a place where I feel more in control. Once again I am designing for theater and I feel energized by my knitting and crafts. Eamon's naps are such that I can do some work during them now, and we are both more comfortable spending time apart.

Where does this bring me? It has been a transformative year, a year full of learning and letting go of expectations. And as we move into a second year with a child, I hope to move forward, both with embracing parenthood and balancing a career. (Or balancing parenthood and embracing a career?)

Monday, January 24

Eamon's wardrobe

Last winter, when I was pregnant and wondering what I could make for my little baby, I made some legwarmers. I think I had sworn not to knit anything for a newborn, sinceI had been told that it wouldn't get much wear. Which was mostly true, though he did wear the alpaca chullo I made him (and never photographed well).

The legwarmers are another story.
legwarmers 1
Hm. Let me step back for a minute.

I realize some of you might wonder about a boy wearing legwarmers. One doesn't usually think "boy" when discussing legwarmers. Which is fine. Not all boys need to wear them. Personally, I like to dress Eamon in clothes that are a little less gender specific, though since girls seem to always wear pink these days, I don't think he gets mistaken for a girl very often.

But he wears tights. Regularly. We have at least 5 pairs of tights, and dress him in them as often as possible. I like them because they don't ride up and expose his calf (often a problem, since he has long legs). They also don't require socks, which tend to slide down and fall off. And they look cute. Another bonus is that they layer well under legwarmers and/or snow pants when we go out. (note to American clothing designers: please make more baby boy or gender neutral tights! The ones we have are either from H&M or from my friend who lives in Germany.)legwarmers 2
So last winter- pre-tights love - i made a pair of leg warmers for Eamon. I used some left over purple Queensland Collection Kathmandu DK and made a simple ribbed tube. This year, with all of the snow and such, they have been pretty handy. Eamon wears them (over his tights' of course!) when i have him in the baby carrier, or in the stroller without his snow pants. They are warm, they are soft. Hopefully they will be worn next year too, as i imagine he will mostly grow up and not so much out.

Saturday, January 1

reflecting on New Years past

Happy New Year!

Last night we had our first New Year's Eve as parents. We went to an early evening, kid-friendly party and were home by 7:30. Eamon was asleep by 8 (an hour later than usual) and Christopher and I cooked some mushroom-barley soup while waiting for midnight. It was chill, stress-free, calm.

It gave me time to think about New Years' past, and how each one is reflective of my life as it was at that point.

High school: watching a friend get drunk at her parents' New Year's party and being frightened that she would die because she had a headache. (clearly the drug education class we took in 8th grade made its mark on me.)
College year abroad: wandering the Champs Elysee with my French-American friend, drinking wine and wishing all who passed us a happy New Year. Such a happy memory.

Sometime after college: spending New Year's Day happily alone, wandering Soho and taking a yoga class.

While dating Christopher: after having Austrian fare in Park Slope, we wandered into Prospect Park in time for the fireworks at midnight. The glory of being in a dark, cold park surrounded by tons of families all enjoying the display.

Last year: exhausted from the pregnancy, I begged to leave the party we were at (and had been at for many hours), we were home by 11:30.

I've never been a fan of New Year's Eve, or its bashes. The event never seems to live up to the hype, the feeling that you should be having a GREAT TIME! For me it has never as exhilarating as it is supposed to feel. So being home and having a comforting meal with Christopher? It feels right for where we are right now, even if it doesn't seem exciting or fantastic. And Eamon slept from 8pm to 6:30am, which felt great, even if I didn't go to sleep until 12:30.

Happy new year to you all! I hope to blog more in 2011!