Thoughts on being a boy's Mama

photocredit : yawnitiger

Xavier knew that the little one growing in my belly was a boy, he just always knew. His name was picked years before I laid eyes on his father, it had been waiting for him to arrive. Girl names were tossed around but never decided upon. Walking past the baby isles at different stores always forced me to stop and notice the little brown corduroy overalls, and in contrast, the pretty floral bloomers. I remember the feeling I had when the ultrasound tech told us the gender of the baby, a mix of excitement and fear. A boy. I felt a twang of insecurity, and I wasn't sure exactly why. I did everything I could to to prepare myself for his birth, and infancy, but there is really nothing you can do to prepare your heart for parenthood, for being a boy's mama.

I read in a book once (the title and subject long forgoten..just this quote and general idea remain in my mind) that it is often hard for mothers to understand and relate to thier sons. The differences in characteristics and preferences tend to cause the same sort of misunderstandings and communication difficulties as in adult relationships between men and women. This is a bit of a sweeping statement, of course but I am begining to understand the concept.

Julian is incredibly physical and rough. He wrestles with his daddy, likes to conqure any object in which seems difficult to climb, throws himself from small heights with out fear, runs too fast for his own good and doesnt stop until five minutes before bed time. There are times when he quietly reads his books, but I am now sure that it is only to recharge his batteries. It is always play time, and there is always something to hollar and scream and clap about. He loves cars and especially trains, anything that
photocredit : yawnitiger
"goes" is intriguing and fun. To Julian, taking something apart and putting it back together is never boring.  Meticulously building a block tower is only cool because he gets to smash the whole damn thing to pieces in celebritory stomping parades. Windows beg for things to be catapulted from them into the neighbors yard. He insists on doing everything by himself, from messily drinking out of his cup, putting on his shoes and down to unlocking the front door when I have an arm full of groceries and really really have to pee. Sticks are for smacking things with. A pot is only a pot when it is not a drum. He cuddles when he wants to, and only then, but with gusto and lots of kisses and back pats. He is really a tiny man, a tiny man in there and learning to respect the needs and delights of that tiny man is sometimes hard for me as his Mama. After a long day of trying to keep my patience and tell him softly that it is not ok to be rough with Mama, or to scream for the sake of screaming, I just want to beg him to sit in one spot and be gentle, but that simply does not interest him. Perhaps it is less of a gender thing and more of a toddler thing, but obviously any time you start talking about gender in children, the subject of gender role association comes up. Personally, I think the current social atmosphere is incredibly confusing for children of both genders, and navigating through it can be difficult. I believe in gender equality of course, but also celebrate the differences in gender as well.  That's also not really what I am trying to talk about here. By all means if he wants to play with barbies, I think it's healthy to let him, but at this point destroying things seems more appealing to him and it is hard for me to understand and relate to that. Despite this, I think trying to consistanly communicate love to him in a way he understands and learning to accept his expressions of love even if I don't understand them (example: I love you so much I am going to knock you over and stomp on your face!) are what is most important. 

You often hear about those "men who are Mama's boys". What about those boys' Mamas?
As Julian begins to grow and his "boyhood" evolves, I am taken aback by the responsibility that lays in my hands as his mother. So many of his furture relationships with women, female friends and co workers, partners, and perhaps eventualy his wife, can be influenced by the way I am raising and loving my sweet boy. I want him to be confident around women, and respectful to them. I am seeking out the ways to be the example to him of what a good woman is and can be, but not with in a certain set of presumed and projected standards. Not only do I want to be that woman, that person, for my husband and for Julian, but also for myself; that may just be the most important thing that I can teach him by example about being a person, regardless of gender.


Linen Tunic

Did I mention that I have been obsessing over Japanese sewing books? Simple lines, and lots of positive ease creates such lovely and incredibly wearable silhouettes. This little linen tunic makes me so happy! I definitely see this as a multi season piece, perfect for helping me build and edit my current wardrobe into a minimalist and classic collection of flattering pieces that can effortlessly be mixed together.  A pair of patterned sweater tights from last winter, a chunky knit cowl and my leather boots from last Christmas will pair well with it in a few months, just as well as the jeans, brass bracelet from Uganda and cotton camisole I can wear with it now as the heat dies down just a bit. It is my fourth sewing project, and by far my favorite. I used some pretty glass buttons I salvaged from an accidentally felted cashmere sweater at the thrift store. The pattern is from Simple Modern Sewing, the first Japanese craft book I picked up and mentioned a few posts ago. The sizes are a little off for me, but I understand that the style of these pieces are supposed to be flowy, and flattering on everyone. Taking that in mind, I used the XS size and ignored adding the 1/4 inch seam allowance. The fit in the end was perfect, and being able to hem it to hit my hips at exactly the point I preferred was so relieving! Thats why I am freakishly tall in the last photo, I had to stand on a little stool to show you the perfect length hem! Too bad I taught Julian to climb on it at the same time.

I learned a couple, ok a lot, of new techniques on this project, including shirring, cutting and applying bias binding. and making button loops. It was just challenging enough to keep me interested but not so challenging that it was discouraging. I might even make a few more, maybe one in a light weight wool or cotton gauze, if I can find one that is affordable. Nani Iro has me swooning. 

See! Its hard to take this thing off. Ive worn it so often in the last week or so. P.s. When I showed my husband this photo he looked quizzically at it. When I asked him what the problem was he told me this,

"I was standing at the bus stop today and looked around and there was a pack of young women wearing funny glasses and buns on their heads, just like you do. I thought maybe they were all friends but then they walked off in different directions." 

What have you been working on lately? 
Thanks for reading, 


The Brief Silence

I'm still here!

As I mentioned in my last post, there have been talks of big and exciting changes with our family. I have been wrestling with how much to share in this space. So, a brief explanation will suffice until things further develop. Sorry, it's not another baby, if you got excited about that being the news haha.

A few weeks back I posted about how I often forget that I work outside of the home, granted, the work I do is essentially the same work I would be doing at home, just at someone else's home. Bringing Julian with me was my main incentive to taking the job with the family I nanny for. I wanted to have the best of both worlds, and for a while it was.  I should have listened to my instincts when I began to feel the effects of exhaustion, taking care of one toddler is trying enough, none the less taking are of two! My drive to succeed was over riding my sense of well being, and when I was tired I just pushed though the day. Unfortunately, my dearest friend and husband was the one who ended up with the short end of the stick in the whole situation, his laundry was the last to be done and he rarely got the benefits of my creativity in the kitchen because it had been spent during the day or I was simply too tired. Now, don't get me wrong, he can very much so take care of himself and make him self something to eat, but I want to do those things for him, because I love him and it blesses him. When the new baby came, I thought I would be able to handle it all. I am not super woman, and frankly, that is ok. I give my highest regards and respect to those parents who have twins or multiples, and or several small children at once. This is indeed very difficult work, trying on your patience, physical stamina and logic. So, after much prayer and consideration, I put in my notice. Ending anything is difficult, when children are involved it only gets more complicated. Of course the family will be fine with out me, will find a suitable replacement who can devote 100% of their energy on the two darlings I have come to care so deeply for. It is a bit jarring though, as with any major change in life. I am excited to be able to spend more one on one time with Julian, and try to take better care of my husband.
There is surely more change in the works, very big and exciting news and projects that can be talked about when the time is right, but for now I'll just say we're terrified and excited in the same moment. There is a lot of work and sacrifice ahead of us but we are not going to let those fears hinder us from opportuni to better our lives.In the mean time, I have been knitting and sewing, lots of late night sewing, and kitchen tomfoolery as always, soon to be shared with you here. Thank you, for reading and for your patience.

- K


On the Needles

Fall is still a few months away, but I couldn't help myself. When Brooklyn Tweed released the newest edition to their "Wool People" collection I poured over it for almost two hours. My favorite pattern of them all is Biston. I can just imagine throwing it on over a dress and cuddling up with a book, or Julian, or probably both. This yarn I am using is reclaimed, cashmere and merino, and I am almost sure I got it for around three dollars. I will gratefully put in a little effort in washing, stretching and winding to get my hands on some luxurious fibers cast away with out knowledge thought of its worth.

This is part of the process, the yarn has been soaked and washed, ready to be dried and knit into something new and more beautiful that in it's previous life. The raspberry colored yarn on the right may be made into a pair of little socks or a hat for winter, and the cream colored on the right may be made into a pretty lace shawl.  It surely is a lot of work, but I think it is a worthy cause. 

Did I tell you that I finished sewing my very first dress last week? An exciting endeavor, and one that has opened a lot of doorways for creativity and thoughts of sustainability. My dress is very obviously hand made, haha, but you don't see much of that these days, so it is enjoyable. There has been a major climate change in my heart and mind lately. Perhaps it is even this blog that has helped to inspire it, along with a few other resourceful and creative ladies' blogs that I have come to love. My heart is growing weary of city life maybe. I very much so enjoy the hustle and bustle, the diversity of cultures , the innovation all around, but the constant exposure to a lifestyle we are simply probably never going to live in, is honestly just exhausting. Do you ever feel the same? I am sure it is not strictly a city thing, people are trying to keep up with the Jones' everywhere. I am resting and reciting to myself the saying, "Contentment is being happy with what you have", and applying that concept to all of the areas of my life. What do you think about that? This little blog has gained a few new readers this month, and Id love to hear from you. 

Thanks for reading,