Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Because If You Don’t Look Good….

It turns out a bald man and a woman with very bad vision probably aren’t the ones who should be attempting group barbering.  But attempt we did last Saturday, and poor Owen was our victim!

The hair on the back of Owen’s head is basically normal, straight, thick hair, whereas on the top and sides, it is still wispy baby hair.  Over the past year, I’ve trimmed the back a few times, when it reached his collar and just became generally mullet-y.  I tried to cut it while he was paying attention to something else, since he doesn’t like the sound of scissors cutting his hair, but I could usually only do a few quick snips before he was on to me.

The problem became twofold:  first, because I was always just cutting the ends in the back, his hair was becoming a bowl cut with all the hair in the back the same length.  Second, most of the hair on the top of his head still won’t grow past the hairline, except for a few long strands that would look cute in a Mad Men kind of way when combed with a side part, but which would inevitably hang down past the short bits in spikes on his forehead.  Here’s an example:

So before Sean and I became a hairdresser tag-team, I attempted to cut off the spiky bits on top and make them even with the hairline fuzz.  But what I hadn’t realized is that then it would look like I had cut ALL his hair on top in tiny bangs that were less than 1/8th of an inch.  In other words, Owen would look like a pocket-protector-wearing, full-fledged dork.  Like so:

Adorable, yes.  But nerdy haircut?  Also yes.  It was like bowl-cut meets monk-cut, and therefore something had to be done.  I enlisted Sean’s help, because he is very good with things requiring small eye/hand coordination.  But he has also worn his head shaved for years—perhaps even decades—so his haircutting scissor skills were a bit rusty.  He therefore first grabbed a hank of hair in the middle of the back of Owen’s head and hacked it off.  It looked horrible!  We both couldn’t stop laughing!  Poor Owen!  Sean tried to fix it up a bit, as I kept telling him to “cut it vertically!”, but poor Owen still looked like his hair had been cut by a four year-old sibling, or as Sean put it, by a one-toothed beaver.

We decided shorter was the only way to fix it and kept cutting and cutting until it didn’t look so bad.   Although I think that is really more a tribute to Owen’s cute face than to our mad skills.  Here is the finished product:

Not bad, but I think next time we’ll get a professional to do the cutting!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Unraveling A Scarf Mystery

Knitting is one of the things I haven't had much time to do since Owen's arrival.  But now that his sleep has improved, I figure I'll have more time in the evening to perhaps start working on a few of the many projects in my knitting queue.

To get myself back into the knitting mode, I decided to get some of Muench's Touch Me yarn, a soft chenille I had once used to knit myself a scarf.  I also decided that I wouldn't really follow a pattern, but just use a simple garter stitch, so that I could knit while watching TV in the evenings with Sean.

I find it hard to remember:
Touch Me is the yarn and Please Touch is the museum....

So I started my project slowly and all was well, except that soon I noticed strange loops in the scarf that looked like I had dropped a stitch or made some other such error.  Now I have many knitting flaws, but in the 15 or so years I've been knitting, I think I have dropped maybe two stitches.  It just isn't something I've ever had a problem with.  So I was flummoxed by these loops.  I also didn't think they were dropped stitches because I still had the same amount of stitches on my needles as I did when I started.

Can you see the annoying loop smack in the middle of the picture?
And yes, I realize the scarf looks like it is knit out of puffed wheat cereal;
just trust me that Touch Me is the softest yarn ever.

I began to fixate and stress and generally be a very bad TV-watching sofa partner, as I kept holding up the scarf and looking at the holes and loops and then sighing and becoming more and more annoyed with myself.  Had baby brain permanently affected my knitting skills?  Was I only going to be able to produce lopsided sweaters and scarves that started out looking moth-eaten?

Then Sean saved the day by patiently suggesting that I google the name of the yarn and "problem" together and see what came up.  And of course what came up is that Touch Me is a heavy chenille, and thus known to "worm", which is what the loops were that kept appearing in my project.  I also discovered though that one option is to wash or "felt" the finished product to make it appear like a crushed velvet, and the felting process will mask the worming.

Another view of a worm:

So there you have it.  I am not afflicted with a sudden and inexplicable knitting incompetence.  Touch Me worms.

Mystery solved.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Moments By The Numbers

20 – Owen is twenty months old now and I am finding it a very good age.  Yes, he has developmentally reached the terrible twos and is often afflicted with the accompanying tantrums, but he is so enthusiastic and funny and intense and methodical.  It’s fascinating to watch him process information and put two and two together.  We went to the garden center of Lowes the other day so Sean could get some dirt and a few other items and Owen had a blast running around and exploring the place.  He obsessed a bit over some dirt on the floor from a knocked over plant, and then enjoyed peering into the concrete urns for sale and seeing which ones had rainwater in them and which didn’t.  And every time we would pass Sean as he shopped, Owen would act like he hadn’t seen him in weeks, crying “Dada!” with utter joy and waving hello by opening and closing his little fist and running towards Sean’s cart.  The whole trip was merry (at least until we had to put him back in the carseat, upon which he planked) and a good example to me of the inherent joyfulness of this particular toddler stage.

2 – Owen has divided people into two genders, Dadas and Mamas (yes, I know there are really more than two, but there are no transgendered folk in Daniel Tiger, the program from which he seems to be gleaning his gender research).  He will point at women he sees and call them Mamas and men Dadas and seem quite pleased with his pigeonholing.

1 – About one cup of Bert’s Bees shampoo landed on Owen’s face early Saturday morning as I was getting him dressed.  I get up on Saturdays with Owen (and Sean does on Sundays), and since he doesn’t like to be on the changing table, I usually give him some object to keep him occupied, in this case a bottle of shampoo.  Well, apparently the cap came loose and at least a cupful of shampoo splooshed out onto his face – luckily not into his eyes, but a lot definitely landed inside his mouth.  He cried and cried and cried for at least an hour, and then had difficulty eating his oatmeal because I think he kept tasting the shampoo when he swallowed.  Sigh.  He also gets hives on his face when he cries for a long time, so his face was all blotchy.  It wasn’t my most successful parenting moment.

18 – Sean likes to tease the 5 year-old granddaughter of our neighbors, and she loves it, and brings her neighborhood friends over when Sean is out gardening to introduce them “to my friend, Sean.”  Anyway, she had a new Barbie bike last weekend and told me later in the day that Sean told her that his bike had eighteen Barbies on it and she was excited to see it.  I must have had a skeptical look on my face, because she then said, “Unless he was just kidding me?  Sean always kids!”  And her mother and I confirmed that indeed, Sean probably did not have a bike with 18 Barbies on it.  At least, I certainly hope he does not.

10 –The amount of contortions Owen’s tongue made trying to imitate Sean and say “I’m fresh!”  Apparently, “fresh” is a word filled with difficult sounds, and I’m afraid to admit that Sean and I laughed so hard at his attempt that he refuses to say “fresh” again.  Oh dear.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Owen at 19 Months

Owen has a new dance, in case you were wondering.  It looks a little like this:

No, that is not a video, just a picture.  But it is pretty much what he does.  Stand there and lift his feet in tiny baby steps up and down.  Sometimes he will turn, and the whole time he is dancing he usually has a very cute smile on his face.  So there is that, but he has yet to really bust a move.

He is really on the verge of speaking in "sentences", or saying more than one word and a string of gibberish.  The other day we were in the kitchen, and he began to, well, poop, and as he often does while pooping, he will say the word, Poop.  But then he realized that I was standing right there, and might just sweep him up and off to get his diaper changed -- an activity he is Very Much Not Fond Of.  So after saying Poop, he quickly looked at me and said, No, Mama!

His little sentence was all to no avail, since I indeed said yes, and then did the dreaded diaper changing.  But although the sentence was not obeyed, it still was spoken!  And was rather cute.

He also says a lot of "Hiyas" while lifting his foot in a karate kick motion to imitate Dad.  And his other favorite thing is to drop or knock something on to the floor, and then put his head to his hand in mock dismay and say, "Oh man!"  I tend to point out to him that you don't get to say Oh Man if the knocking over was done on purpose, but I suppose I am just raining on his parade with that one.

Owen is also very much enjoying going outside on the warm days we have had here and there peppered amongst the snowy ones.  Here he is on just such a warm day a few Saturdays ago, enjoying destroying the leaf pile Sean was trying to rake.

It doesn't look too springy yet, does it?!  Alas.  Although we do have about two inches of crocuses and daffodils starting to come up in the front.  And I will take what I can get!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's Posy, Bitches!

I thought it might be time to check in with Miss Posy Fern, mainly because although she is a very hard cat to photograph, I finally got a good picture of her the other day:

She has pretty, very light-blue eyes, but she tends to squint or close them when a camera is pointed in her direction.  Or I'll manage to get her to keep her eyes open, but there will be something like a toilet in the background.  Oh dear:

But anyway, Posy is doing well.  I took her to the vet for a check-up in December, and the vet was very pleased to see that after her teeth surgery last March, Posy had gained over a pound.  She had been underweight before -- probably because her bad teeth kept her from eating as much as she should -- but is now a healthy plumpie.

We keep the attic door closed mostly, but Posy loves to run up there when the door opens.  It's a very sunny attic, and at the moment it is cluttered in a way that Posy loves, with all sorts of comfy hiding spots, like the one below:

Posy is a good "found object" bed maker, and there is nothing she likes better than when we do not hang up our clothes right away.  Apparently a dirty laundry bed is a luxury.  Who knew.

No doubt she is also trying to blend in in the above picture, and not be spotted by the toddler.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reasons Why Owen Is Crying

There’s a website called Reasons My Son Is Crying and both Sean and I often feel like sending in an Owen entry.  These days it doesn’t take much to set off a tantrum and crying fit, with tears pouring down his face, even though he can turn his mood on a dime and start laughing before the tears have reached his chin.  

What most often makes Owen cry is when we don’t let him go where he wants to go.  He will grab my hand and pull me towards his new spot of choice, which at the moment happens to be in the basement standing in front of Sean’s work bench.  Before this it was the kitchen sink, and before that the attic.  Now that we have had one or two warmer days, in which he spent time outside, he is beginning to add the back or front doors to his tugging repertoire.

The coveted spot in front of Dad's tool bench.

And it must indeed be frustrating to have to rely on the permission of others to do what strikes your fancy.  So I do sympathize.  (Although I also sympathize with me, because really, Owen, sometimes Mommy wants to SIT for a second on the weekend, and not be dragged from room to room by a tiny tyrant!)

And then of course there is the general weekday witching hours from 5-7, which I join at 6:15-ish; and pretty much everything then makes Owen fuss, from putting him in the highchair, to taking him out of the highchair, to not letting him throw his food on the floor or overturn his cup, etc. etc.  It is all a fight, which I believe is also known as The Terrible Twos.
Owen checking to make sure I am following him.

In the meantime, I am getting quite good at keeping my grasp on a 27 pound toddler as he writhes and kicks and screams.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Adventure Aquarium

After intending to do so since January, we finally took Owen to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden last Saturday.  (I had basically been stalling taking him because I couldn’t figure a time when he wouldn’t nap in the car, thus ruining any chance that he would take a normal nap during the day.  And I finally realized that that was rather selfish of me – but oh! that one hour of nap at noon on a Saturday and Sunday is much-needed downtime…).  Anyway, I decided to stop being a schmuck and we packed a diaper bag with diapers and goldfish (a fitting aquarium snack) and drove off.

We arrived about 45 minutes later, and first had to run the gauntlet of pretzel and hotdog carts.  Sean and I snickered at the one that had a sign which said “Don’t be a meanie; buy a wienie!”  But we were both meanies and passed by.  I believe the owner of that cart also had a hotdog hat on.  Owen was very impressed with all the seagulls flying overhead, which I thought boded well for his interest in the fish inside the aquarium.

And he did like the fish, although on the whole I’d say he’ll be a bit more interested in another few months.  He was a little freaked out by the fact that most of the rooms were kept dark so as to better see the glowing tanks.  And he was also just as liable to be pleased with an interesting tile on the floor than the crocodile right in front of him, say.  I think the most fun he had was digging in the mulch with a stick on the way outside to the penguin exhibit.  He was approached there by a cute 2.5 year-old boy and they both companionably dug for a bit, although when the other boy referred to Owen as a “baby”, Owen turned around and looked behind him for the baby the boy must have been talking about.  And Sean reassured him that they were both just two men working in the dirt.

I am a big fan of aquariums in general, and the Adventure Aquarium is a good one – not perhaps as impressive as I remember the big central tank in the Boston Aquarium as being – but good nonetheless.  (I once thought it would be a good idea to take an aquarium and pie tour across America, and still plan to do this one day.  Anyone care to join me?)  I am also excited to return in a few months when they are having a special hippo exhibit, because I love me some hippos!  This aquarium had a lot of pools set up where kids can reach their hands in and touch various creatures—sting rays and starfish and the like.  I got Owen to touch one starfish, but after that he was on to me and clamped his arms tight to his sides.

Afterwards we walked along the Delaware River and admired the views of Philadelphia across it.  And then drove home as Owen napped in the car.