In the early days of my knitting journey, I had two resources. My Grandma, and Debbie Stoller. The Stitch and Bitch books sparked a whole new group of people to pick up an old school craft and make it new again.

Back then, it was harder to Google knitting questions. You pretty much had craftsy, knitting blogs, and books.

Which brings me to my Julia/Julie moment. Are you familiar with the story?

I've decided I want to do something similar. I've always loved the Stitch and Bitch books but for some reason I've never knit anything out of Superstar Knitting until recently. So I'm going to knit all of it.
Starting on my birthday, June 5th, I'm going to give myself one year to knit every pattern.* I'm also not going to use Google when I get stuck. I'll learn from the book or from actual fellow Knitters, just like the early days!

I'll probably YouTube this as well as blogging, I'll make sure to post links when I do!

*In the interest of full, honest disclosure I have already started one sweater, it's part of what gave me the idea. However I will knit it in another size when the time comes!

Sunday we celebrated the fact that we've had our tiny person for a whole year!
The theme of the party was the Neil Gaiman book, Blueberry Girl.

My friend Lorraine read the book to everyone ( I couldn't without crying) there was a magician, custom coloring books and plates and SO MUCH FOOD! We went a little over the top, but as Dan said, we only get 18 of these!

Sorry for Being A**holes, MomA Mother’s Day letter in the form of a dialog co-authored by David Dunn and Joan Dark (a.k.a. Toni Carr). David writes in plain text. Joan in italics.
There comes a time in every parent’s life when they will say to themselves, “Oh! This is why that one time Mom lost her shit.” Our mother lost her shit many times. She lost it because there were many times when we were pretty shitty children. What is remarkable is how many times she managed to hold it together.

I feel sick to my stomach every time I think of the hard times I gave Mom. Every time I said “I hate you” or “Okay LINDA!” because of course, calling Mom anything other than Mom was a smack in the face.
Especially when I remember the sacrifices. I have vivid memory of eating those cheap, frozen pot pies for dinner. You and I had one, Mom did not. I asked her why she wasn’t eating and she said she wasn’t hungry. But of course she was hungry! She just didn’t have the money to feed all three of us. As a Mom now I get that. I would give my kid my last scrap of food. Hell, I would claw my heart out of my chest with my bare hands if she needed it!
You know the worst memory? We were up late and Mom was passed out exhausted. She had scraped together money to buy us new pants. We decided, in our amazing wisdom, to cut up the pants and tape bits of them to the wall as a surprise party for Mom. She woke up and sobbed because we had ruined the clothes she had saved up to buy for us. (I think I tried to tell her a mouse did it)
No Mom is perfect (She chanted to herself as she takes the baby in public and realizes it’s cold and baby has no socks on) but our Mom tried as hard as any Mom could. As an adult I can appreciate that a lot more than I could as a kid. It’s because of Mom that I can be a mother myself. Not only did she help me with the grueling IVF process, she showed me what sacrifice is and how you can and will do everything for your kid.

I don’t remember putting the scraps of pants on the wall. But I do remember you saying something about a mouse. What I definitely remember is the Christmas when she bought us lots and lots of clothes. I think it was our first Christmas in the new house. There are photos of me throwing a box across the room as I opened yet another package of underwear or socks or something. I don’t like to think of it.

My kids are older, and there are plenty of times when I got them a gift that was sub-par. We have had some tough financial times ourselves. One Christmas, I got everything from the Dollar Store. It worked out okay. You can buy a lot of things at the Dollar Store, but I could also tell the kids were disappointed. They were trying to put on a brave face. Still, I felt awful.
I feel awful every time I get them a small gift they don’t like. I cannot imagine how mom felt after getting a divorce, having the first Christmas in the new home, and then seeing her children rage against the injustice of getting socks and underwear. I think the worst part of it is that she sort of blames herself a bit. She tells me that she read somewhere in a magazine that you should wrap up a lot of presents for kids under the tree, and that she should have just given us the clothes and let us open the few toys there were. I can see why she takes responsibility for it. I do that all the time for all sorts of things. As a dad, I am always doing the best I can, with what I have, and for who I am in that moment. Mom did too, and she had even less. When I think about it now—when I picture that photograph of me chucking a box—I say to my younger self, “You were a real dick, kid!” Of course, we were kids, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

Oh man, I’m so nervous about presents. I want my kid to be cool and not care about material crap, but I also remember the SHAME of having the payless birkenstocks and not the real ones in school. You could tell because the buckles were smaller, and everyone made fun of the kids that didn’t have the real ones!

Mom worked hard for those knockoffs! They were the best knockoffs that the almost total absence of money could buy!

At the same time, how much stuff does a kid need?

Clearly not as much as we thought when we were kids.

I have a friend that takes her kids on a big family trip every year instead of Christmas presents. I like that idea way better, but then will my kid not be cool for not getting a ton of gifts? Will she care? Will I be able to raise her to not care about material things?

We are both fighting an uphill battle there, but I would like to think you and I grew up not to care about material things. You should ask Mom for advice about that.
I get to see how good of a mom our mom was when I see her be a grandma. She is an awesome grandmother. I wish we lived up near you sometimes so that she could see her grandkids more. I am jealous of you for that.

Mom is an awesome Grandma. You should be jealous. You should be so jealous that you move back.

Find me a job, and I’ll get the U-Haul! For now, Mom has been coming down to help in the summers. I am glad my kids get to spend time with her. In July, she took Kyla with her to the Virgin Islands for a fencing tournament. Kyla was initially very upset when she learned that she could not take any of the seashells she collected back home her. So mom had her pick out her favorite and said, “I say we smuggle it!”

And that’s what they did. Toni, our mom is a smuggler!

I am glad now that we’re older we realize Mom is cool enough to be a sword fighting smuggler.

…who is willing to risk prosecution for customs violations for the sake of her granddaughter’s favorite seashell.

Is this our mothers day letter? Is it enough to just tell her that we regret being assholes and wish we could go back in time and appreciate her?

I think that is the best we can do. Sorry, Mom for being assholes and not appreciating you enough when we were kids. We appreciate you now!

Also we promise to put you in the good home.

All our love,
D.J. & Toni

I found out Saturday night that my birth father died. I have very little memories of him. I remember him bringing a garbage bag full of Christmas gifts and it wasn't Christmas ( I later found out from my Mom that it was February). I remember him yelling at me about my Mom and the divorce. I remember ordering ice cream in a plastic dish and when I didn't eat it fast enough he threw it out the window. I cried, not over the ice cream., but because I had just seen the commercial with the crying Native and knew we weren't supposed to litter.

I remember the times he wasn't there more. I remember attending my first protest, picketing downtown with my Mom, brother, and a lot of other women and children over child support. We weren't getting any. I think I found another kid who had some He-Man figures, and played with them, resulting in a very upset me when my brother was on the news and I wasn't. I very specifically remember my Mom not eating so that there was enough for me and my brother.

I remember being really, really poor while my Mom busted her ass solo to provide for us.

I remember being told that he wasn't going to be our Dad any more, as he was waiving his rights so that he wouldn't have to pay child support.

Years later I was in a car accident. When the settlement came, there was some legality that meant he had to be contacted and told that he wasn't getting any money. He reached out to me and we exchanged a few letters. Then he sent me pictures from my High School choir concert to show he had been in the audience. I felt freaked out and ceased contact.

I played a show with my band and was told my Dad was backstage. Popped back expecting to see Greg, the only man who had been a father in my life, and instead there was a stranger who said he was my Dad. It was weird. I was upset that he just showed up without asking me, and made polite small talk until he left. My brother told me the memories he had of our Father and how he didn't want any contact with him. I avoided any other letters or messages on my bands guestbook directed to me, from him.

I graduate. I go to college, I get married, I open my business. My employees state that my Dad had come in the shop looking for me seconds after I left the day before. What? No way! I called Greg and he said, no, he hadn't been in. I asked them to describe the man and sure enough they described my bio Dad, not my Greg-Dad.

Now I felt creeped out. Coming into my business was absolutely crossing a line, but I had no way to contact him and tell him so. Then, a few days later, he sent me a facebook message. He said he had been in the shop and asked if it was okay for him to come in.
I politely told him that no, I wasn't comfortable with him coming into my workplace. It was too weird. He told me he was Christian, and born again and that he had left alcohol behind and was a new man.

Ok, good for you.

Now that I knew that, couldn't he come in the shop? Could we be facebook friends?

No, I'm sorry. It makes me uncomfortable and I know it would scare my Mom. But I'm glad you have a good life now.

You know what? He had sent SO many people from his church to my business. I should be grateful! He should have KNOWN I'd turn out like this. My mother had poisoned me and obviously not raised me right.

And there it was. My proof that he was the person I had always been told he was. No stripes had changed, scorpion and the frog, yada yada.

He messaged again and I blocked him without reading it.

A customer who apparently goes to his church pulled me aside that week and said he had to talk to me. He then proceeded to tell me that my Dad was a good guy and a Christian and I was being unfair. I politely informed him that we weren't having that conversation. He tried to do it again the next week and I said absolutely not. We could talk about coffee and that was all.

That customer then would make attempts to pull my husband aside and plead my fathers case. Every month or so he would update my husband on things about my father, and my husband would just listen politely and (at my request) not pass the information onto me.

Until Saturday, when the customer pulled my husband aside to tell him that my "loving father" had passed away.

Dill told me, and to be honest, I felt weird about how little I felt about it. I wasn't sad, or glad or remorseful in any way. My Mom put it best. She said it's like not getting to finish a book. It just... ended. It's over and there is no conclusion.

I wasn't going to look up the obituary, then my Mom emailed it, seething because it listed my fathers "honorable service in Vietnam". He went to boot camp and was discharged after a month.

My brother and I weren't mentioned. Which shouldn't have surprised me. While his children knew a loving father, we knew someone angry, who held a grudge. If we wouldn't forgive him and let him into our lives, then we wouldn't exist to him.

Oddly enough, last week my Dad Greg officially adopted my brother and I. We had no idea that while we were being adopted , our birth father was in the hospital and would pass.

We're finding different ways to close our books on him. My Mom is going to donate to a domestic abuse charity. I may do the same. Or maybe take my husband out to dinner to celebrate what a good Dad actually is. Or frame my adoption paperwork.

No matter what we do it's over. Sometimes there isn't an ending to our stories. Sometimes it's just the end.

A few months back I heard our friends Neil Gaiman and Cat Mihos were going to be just a couple hours away from us in Ohio. Which meant that not only would we get to see Neil and Cat, but our friends the Scalzis could come as well!
I was told to bring baby Evelyn, and let me tell you, this caused some anxiety! Baby! In public! Evelyn is a great baby, but as a baby, I know she can be unpredictable. What if she melts down in public? What if she becomes the worst baby ever and we are two hours from home? How would I handle it?

Then I decided, I would handle it. That's how! I don't mind babies in public spaces. I mind babies and children with parents that don't handle it. The ones that don't at least TRY to engage with their children, and just trust that in the cafe or restaurant, their kid will be safe.

I had a friend out for dinner with her husband. A small child came tottering up and sat at their table. Oh haha! Cute kid. Then the parent, who was also on a date, came over and PUSHED THE CHAIR IN! As in, my child is now sitting at your table. Please engage her while my husband and I enjoy our date night.
No. Not cool.

Owning my business, of COURSE we see the wild children. A woman in the cafe is enjoying her coffee and muffin. A child, who is not hers, wanders over and grabs her muffin, taking a bite. The woman flags down the mother of said child who says, "Oh! She likes muffins!" and puts the muffin, sans bite, back on the womans plate. (I of course gave her a new muffin, but shouldn't the parent have offered to replace it? I will eat after my child, but I would not expect other to do so!)

I know everyone has these stories. But can't we also remember the good ones? The kid who is fascinated with the fish tanks, so his father plopped them down in front of them while he studied for his bar exam. On days his kid wasn't having it, he would quickly get his drink to go.

I've been so tense about going to restaurants, movies, etc. If people are paying to enjoy themselves, I don't want my baby crying to ruin their good time!

Then I watched as local brewery Sun King announced they were allowing children, and people melted down.

Then I got mad. I want to go to a brewery and hang out with my friends. Why shouldn't I be able to go, just because I have a tiny human? I'M still a human! I want to do human things!

Sop we went to the event in Ohio, and Evelyn was a doll. She got her cuddles from Neil, and the Scalzis. We sat in the audience to hear Neil speak, and she fussed, so I took her to the side and rocked her until she fell asleep. Sat back down and listened to Neil talk for a while, then Evelyn let out the LOUDEST fart and dirtied her diaper. I left again, and decided not to go back in since I didn't want to be a distraction for people who had paid to attend the event. Went backstage and hung out with Cat, listening to Neil over the PA.

Backstage cuddles

I'm not certain, but I think that she didn't disturb anyone in the audience. No more than someone who might get a dry throat and cough, or sneeze, or an adult who might have to run out to the bathroom.

After the event we went to dinner, and I held my baby in my lap at the very fancy steakhouse and wondered if anyone was judging me for having an infant out to a fancy place, and so late at night.

The next day, as we're all on twitter talking about how wonderful the event was, someone posted this:

Haha! So funny! So cute! Yay! So happy to see friends loving on my baby. I'm imagining the cool kid she's going to grow up to be, and how fortunate we are to have amazing friends like this in our life.

Then I see this response. (I covered the username as I don't want to see a witch hunt on this person)

There are my worst fears realized. People don't want my baby in public, no matter how well behaved she is. At first I felt sad, then I started feeling frustrated.

I want my little human to grow up to be a good human. How will that happen if I keep her inside 24/7 and never expose her to real life, and how to behave in real life? Also, give me a chance before getting mad at the site of a baby! Am I ignoring her when she cries? Is she smelly and I'm refusing to change her diaper, causing the stench to waft over everyone in the vicinity? Or am I attending to her and ensuring that your experience is in no way hampered by her presence? Why not see which scenario is taking place before getting pissy at the idea of a baby in public with adults?

Thankfully, she has good friends that have her back. (Thank you John)

Look, I get it. My husband and I are not young. We were together for almost 2 decades before having a kid. I know what it's like to not have kids, and not understand them. But don't hate on the idea of every single baby you see in public! Give them a chance, the same way you give other adults in public a chance.

And as a mother, I can tell you that if I do see a parent trying to console a baby while attempting to eat hot food themselves (I've had exactly 4 hot meals since having my kid) or wrangle a wiggly one onto a changing table, I'm going to be the kind of human I want my kid to be. I'm going to offer a hand, not just roll my eyes and think "How DARE they have a baby if they can't do everything perfectly!". Maybe think about doing the same next time, instead of just snapping judgement on twitter?

First off, forgive any typos in this blog post. I asked Dill to get me a new keyboard and he was very proud of himself for finding a great deal on one. It arrived and... it's Swedish. So when I go to hit my left shift key I tend to hit \\\\ a lot. Also I can't find the apostrophe when I look for it. I'm automatically hitting it, but when I try to FIND it, no dice.

I've had a few moments of feeling like I wasn't doing the best at this Mom thing. When it took forever for my breast milk to come in, when I realized that my dreams of having a spotless home just weren't happening with a baby that wants to be in my arms 24/7 and when my body hasn't instantly bounced back. In fact, it's worse than ever. If I restrict calories, my supply tanks. If I do a high impact workout, the lactic acid builds up and Evelyn is not fond of the taste.

But while those things might not make me the super mom I thought I would be, I haven't really cared. Anything for my baby. If I've got to be a little extra fat for a year so she can get the best nutrition possible, who cares? I can do that! If I can't go out because she doesn't like the bottle... whatever. She's only a baby once. I can stay home.

And it's been working. We overall have a happy, wonderful baby. She smiles, she babbles and cuddles, and her cries are never a mystery. She's either hungry or dirty. And nothing, NOTHING pierces my heart like when she frowns and cries and looks at me to let me know something is wrong. So I fix it, and I fix it FAST. I thought I would discreetly cover and breastfeed, but no. My baby is hungry, that boob is coming OUT. If you don't want to see it, look away.

Then came yesterday. We'd had sort of a rough week and there's been some stress. We've been car shopping (ugh), and trying to get some things under control at work. Overall though, everything has been okay. Dill invited a family member over who wanted to see Evelyn, and I decided I would let them handle baby time while I indulged in a bath.

Sink into the tub and I hear a cry start to build up from the other room. Got dried off, and dressed, and at this point cry is near hysterical. Ok, no problem. There's been a feeding delay before and I know all the tricks to getting her calmed down and latched on. Should take 2 minutes, tops. Three minutes, five minutes, ten minutes pass... what the heck is going on with my baby?
I strip her down and turn on the bath water. She LOVES her baths. It usually instantly soothes her, but nope. Still hysterical.

My poor baby girl screamed her head off for over an hour. Family member had to leave as I attempted to rock and soothe my girl. She kept looking me in the face while screaming like she was begging me to fix what was wrong.

I've had failure in my life before, but never have I felt like a failure, until I couldn't bring my baby some peace. About 5 minutes after the family member leaving, she was nursing and happy. Everything was fine, but I felt shaken. I had never, ever let my daughter down like that. I'd never tried so hard with her and failed.

I'm sure this is not the first time this will happen, but man, it was exhausting. All you parents with colicy babies, I owe you a hug. Crying babies are HARD. And now I'm nervous because we're going to an event tomorrow with Evelyn. What if this happens again? How do you deal with a baby meltdown in public when none of the calming tricks work? WHY CAN'T YOU REASON WITH BABIES?

I'm staying home and cuddling her today, and I'll attempt to get some work done. I have a Drunk Knitting episode to edit (Yay! It's back)!Taxes to wrap up and a couple new designs to work on. Also if I can somehow lose 10lbs and get my muscles back by tomorrow that would be great.

Smiling Evelyn, to remind myself that happy is the norm.

I love my baby. I know everyone loves their babies, but dang. I REALLY love my baby.
Unfortunately, baby love has turned me into the least productive person in the world. Who cares about deadlines? The baby smiled! Who cares about making money? She's holding her head up! Who cares about getting back into shape? The baby discovered her knees!

My goal over the next couple weeks is to try and get my productivity back. I've actually been going to work (baby in tow) a few days a week. Sean and I have also set some book deadlines, including releasing a single pattern from the book next month!

I'd write more about it, but I swear the baby is on the verge of laughing.

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