Poinsettia

I wanted to make some holiday cards, mostly for Beauty’s various teachers.  And for the staff at her gymnastics program, who I recently realized have been turning a blind eye to the fact that Kitten isn’t actually supposed to join her sister for time in the indoor playground after class.

I don’t really like most of the holiday symbols, but poinsettia are pretty and interesting, so I traced a photo of one and sketched a couple of possible designs.  I cut a stencil from a transparency and got to work:

The backgrounds are mostly brayered rather than painted.  I experimented some with rolling ink onto a transparency and pressing the card into it to take a print, which was interesting and sometimes got neat results.  Sometimes I used my fingers or a sponge to touch up the edges.

(I used Liquitex Basics, in ultramarine blue and phtalo green and light blue violet.  Hero’s study is warm and very dry, so I didn’t get much open time, but I managed.  I like working quickly anyway.)

Once the background was done I taped the card down, and taped the stencil on top and sponged on a coat of white and a coat of cadmium red medium hue, which was the perfect color for poinsettia.  The hardest part was waiting for the white to dry all the way.

While I had the brayer and things out, I experimented more with some monoprinting:

(The red poinsettia are from the card-making session – I’d rub paper over the used stencil to pic up the negative print.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with them – give them to the girls to watercolor, maybe.)

These techniques probably work better on a gelatin plate, but they were fun to play with anyway.  Some of the postcards may get collaged bits added and sent out.  We will see.

I’d like to do Hanukkah cards as well, but I don’t have a design I like yet.  Something with fire, maybe.  I considered making some to donate to the synagogue’s book shop, but I think time is too tight now.  Maybe next year.

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Nomad

(Okay, I don’t normally bring up blog analytics in posts, but in the last week or so my Zebra post got dozens of hits and I have no idea why.  It’s very disconcerting.)

Like many artists, I make art as a form of self-care and restoration.  I am calmer and happier if I get a little painting in.  Recently I have been getting more stressed, because I am doing less art.

The reason for that is that I normally do art on our dining room table.  And nowadays if I pull out art supplies on the table, the girls want to come do painting too.  And I love painting with the girls, but it is a high-maintenance activity and it is not restorative in the same way.

(I’m not sure what changed recently that this feels more problematic.  I think one part was that my sister was taking Kitten for an hour or so on Friday mornings, so I could paint then.  Now that she has a job (hooray!!!) she isn’t free to do that.  And Beauty is probably demanding more attention, and the weather isn’t helping anything.)

So the other evening Hero wanted to watch part of his grad school lecture, and he set it up on the laptop on the bed.  So I grabbed some paints and a piece of plywood and sat with him.  It was really nice, though hard on my knees.  Maybe they were at a weird angle.

So that experience, combined with my new practice of abandoning Beauty in the front of the house so we can both get some time alone while Kaylee naps (I keep an ear out, of course, but we are both calmer when we’ve had some time to daydream), plus the fact that I got some new acrylic media for my birthday and the paint drawer is getting full, makes me think that I should be looking for ways to paint in other rooms.

So today, I painted in the study:

I put the piece of plywood on the piano bench, to give myself space to work and to protect the bench.  The chair is an inch or two lower than the bench, which is lower than a table but okay for working.  Actually, it was close to the angle I’d be at if I worked standing up at a normal table, which I often do.  A little shaky, but it worked okay.

Of course, it would annoy Hero if I left art stuff all over the study.  But if I transfer the acrylic paints to a duffel or knapsack or something (and as I said, the drawer they are in is too small now) then cleanup would be fairly quick and might even happen most of the time.

Well, it’s possible.

And that would let me dedicate the three-drawer unit in the dining room to Girlie Art Supplies, which certainly need more space and accessibility.  I’ve already been slowly organizing my art supplies and moving less-used ones into labeled containers in an appropriate closet.  I am very proud of myself for doing that, as organizing does not come easily to me.

The painting is a work in progress:

I think it’ll get come collage elements next?  I did a couple of thumbnail sketches before I started, but now that it’s in front of me I don’t know if it will stay with what I sketched.  It was sort of inspired by Earthlyric by Georgia Mason, which I saw on her website after coming across her name in the Google Books version of Journeys to Abstraction, which popped up in a search for something completely unrelated.  The book didn’t answer my question, but she’s got some very lovely abstracts.

The canvasboard is one I’d experimented with for a previous artwork, which means that there was some tissue paper glues over certain sections.  I gesso’d the whole thing, and the extra texture is quite nice.  The “rays” are mostly various homemade stamps made from cardboard, yarn, and craft foam.

Maybe the lightest patch needs more on it before I add collage stuff?  I’m planning on putting some dark circles there, so maybe the strong contrast will work after all.  I suppose I could cut them out and see what it looks like.

Linking to Paint Party Friday.

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Squashed Star

I feel like I’ve been incredibly prolific lately, but when I went to look at things apparently not.  Maybe I’ve just been prolific for a mother of two small children.  Or maybe it’s all been in my head.  I do spend a lot of time building castles in the air.

(I’ve been thinking about faith recently, and how if God can and will move mountains for those who have faith, it seems rather redundant to invent bulldozers and whatnot.  I’m coming to the tentative conclusion that God sees science as a form of art, that we’re all building castles in the air.  It’s an interesting idea to play with.)

The other element is that even if I am not prolific, my children are.  Beauty suddenly figured out that cutting is fun, and she spends a good part of every day cutting magazine pages into bits, with Kitten gamely trying to imitate her.  They both spend a lot of time drawing, and they use oil pastels and paints as often as they can persuade me to pull them out.

It’s actually gotten to the point that that pastels and paints were getting undervalued – Beauty would spend a few minutes on each one before demanding the next, leaving me tired and frustrated.  It left her tired and frustrated as well, since having me entertain her meant that she spent less time daydreaming, which meant that she didn’t really process the day’s stresses.  (She gets that from my side of the family – we process the day and release stress by walking in circles and daydreaming.  Looks a bit odd, but it is completely necessary.)  So I’m saying “no” more often now to requests for art supplies and projects.  She has ready access to drawing and cutting, but I won’t pull other supplies out every day.

Kitten seems to use drawing and painting as a way to calm herself when she is scared or overwhelmed, which is fascinating to see in a two-year-old.  A couple weeks ago, her music teacher pulled out a French horn and it was Very Scary.  She sobbed and clung to me as I walked with her in the back of the room, and then she asked for “painting.”  I didn’t have paint, of course, but I asked if drawing would be okay and got out pen and paper.  She spend quite a while leaning on me, carefully watching and then carefully making marks on the paper.  Since then I’ve noticed several times when she has asked to draw as a way to calm herself.

Anyway, here are all the cards we made in roughly a two-week stretch:

Those are mostly watercolor, but there’s craft paint and glitter glue and things as well. (I’ve been using tube watercolors, which let me give them just one or two colors at a time.  Interestingly, Beauty is the one who invariably mushes all the colors together, and Kitten is more likely to keep them separate-ish.)  I masked off the borders of each card to give them a more finished feel, and sometimes I put in a background as well.

The pink one with a purple circle is one of Beauty’s attempts at printmaking, which she loves.  That one was done with scratch foam (did you know that foamcore board from the dollar store can be used as scratch foam?  you just pull the paper off) but she’s also glued pieces of craft foam to cardboard to make stamps.

The yellow one with blue and orange suns is an attempt I made at screenprinting.  I used fabric from a piece of very cheap lingerie that was in my closet.  I must have gotten it somewhere, but I have no idea when or why.  At any rate, it will provide quite a lot of screenprinting material for when I want to experiment.  I just painted the design on with gesso and it came out pretty well, though getting the consistency of the paint right isn’t easy.

And then the red and blue one in the lower left-hand corner is something of a collaboration between Kitten and me.  I cut up a random painted paper as a background for her and let her paint on top, and I love the way it came out!  Whether by accident or design, she’s come up with some really nice compositions.

I also did these:

The roses are a stencil I designed and cut from a transparency – I love how they came out!  I had a couple others that I used as Mother’s Day cards.  The upper one uses metallic copper and pearl paints, so of course the photo doesn’t convey the full effect.

“Baby come back” is, I think, one of my most successful collages ever, though admittedly that’s not saying much ;)  It uses paper that was monoprinted using a plastic plate and a q-tip.  One of these days I am determined to try gelatin printing.

Prints made with scratch foam from a piece of foamcore board.  I didn’t have a brayer (though I’ve since acquired one) so the paint got rather uneven, but I kinda like the design.  I sent one to my slightly-crazy Great Aunt Lee, which pleased her very much.

Beauty, done in oil pastels on grocery bag paper.  Grocery bag paper didn’t work with oil pastel as well as I thought it would, but such is life.  I traced the outlines from a photo (I know my art teacher in the one college course I took said to never draw from a photo, but I’m never going to get her to sit still long enough to sketch) and am reasonably pleased with it as a first attempt.  I did the hair wrong, but I’ll do it better next time.  I’d like to do some more and get a little better at them and then do some crazy-colored Expressionist ones.

And this one I love.  My best friend from college texted me on Thursday to let me know she’d be in town that weekend, so I invited her to my house for breakfast (she was just passing through and could only do breakfast, and Hero couldn’t take the girls then so I figured cooking pancakes and eggs would be easier than keeping the girls entertained at a restaurant or cafe) and rushed home to make her some art.  The design is the blown-up Vivant design, just like the one I did in all oil pastels for my sister.  The background is tube watercolor mixed with acrylic medium (I don’t have an acrylic blue that transparent) and the flourish is oil pastel.  She loved it, and I was so pleased.

I find it interesting that people see it and assume it is a plant or flower, but my brain stubbornly insists that it is abstract.  I don’t know why, but I guess it’s because I started with the abstract swirl and added the plant-y bits later.  Brains are funny sometimes.

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The Remedy

A month ago, I was depressed.  Not hugely depressed, but enough to be annoying.  And I wasn’t making any art.  I stop making art when I’m depressed, and I knew that I needed to start again to get un-depressed, but of course I was depressed so I didn’t feel like it.

On top of that, Messiah Conference was coming up, and I was supposed to put together a couple of posters for events that Hero was running.  So that was a second reason that I needed to make art.  I still didn’t want to.

Finally I was telling my sister N about all this, and she suggested that I switch mediums.

My sister is a genius.

It took some discussion to find something appropriate (having small kids means I rely on media that are a) non-toxic, b) quick to set up and clean up, and c) not easily ruined by household accidents) but I ordered a big set of oil pastels and some gesso later that day.

Happiness is a big set of oil pastels and a big chunk of gesso’d paper bag.

This is one of the posters.  (I didn’t photograph the other, but it was much simpler.)  I added the necessary text in the white space, then brought it home and painted over the text.  It’s around three feet tall and I love it.

It took me about an hour and a half to do – I outlined the red curve and added a few more random curves inside the space to serve as markers and destinations, and then just added lots of blended filling.  My fingers got very messy :)

(I finished it with several coats of Krylon acrylic spray, and that seems to have stabilized it.  I ended up signing it in frequently-wiped sharpie, since I couldn’t think of anything better.  Following a search online, my other oil pastels have been signed by scraping into the pastel rather than writing on top.)

Since my fingers aren’t great at detail work, I knew I needed some sort of blending tool.  My pre-conference haircut was a couple doors down from an art supply store, so I picked up a tool like this one to help with blending.

Since then I’ve done a few other things:

Page in an altered book, done during the conference.  Don’t really like it, but the little bird turned out really well.  It was useful for getting to know the blending tool.

Then there’s this:

This started with the cloudy blue background, and I love the tone-on-tone lettering.  The problem is that I didn’t have anywhere to go next.  So I painted on the yellow flower (which I kinda like), added puffy paint circles, decided I disliked them and scraped them off, painted the red thingy, and gave up and left it on the shelf for a while.  Now I’ve added a bunch of pastel, and I still don’t much like it – but at least it’s further along than it was.  Maybe I’ll work on it more.  Maybe I won’t.

The girls have joined me in the fun.  I love that pastels are cheap and not very messy, so I can let them play all they want.  Kitten has done a series of scribbles, and Beauty has been coloring my hastily-sketched depictions of the characters from Frozen.

That’s Princess Ana, Princess Elsa, and their father.  Princess Ana has a purse, at Beauty’s insistence.

And then there’s this, which I love:

You may remember this flourish painting, which has since been named Vivant.  (It was Carnival Flourish for a while, but I never much liked that.)  I pulled it out and did what my high school art teacher used to do: cut a window out of a piece of paper and moved it around until I found a composition I could blow up for the next artwork.

I intend to give it to my sister C, because I decided it felt like her about halfway through making it and Beauty spontaneously commented that it was for C when she saw it.  So she’s stuck with it.

Maybe I’ll give the next one to N, seeing as this is all her fault in the first place.

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Resurrection and Nihilism

My family has a new tradition!!

As Messianic Jews, we celebrate Passover every year, and not Easter.  The traditional Passover seder includes several elements that represent Yeshua (not that that’s the traditional explanation, but it’s hard to imagine what else the afikomen is meant to represent), and several years ago my family expanded the end of the seder (the Cup of Redemption, the Afikomen, and the Cup of Praise) to include the account of Yeshua’s death and resurrection from the New Covenant.

A few months ago, my mother mentioned to me that it would be nice to do something on the third day to celebrate Yeshua’s resurrection, and she suggested that I turn the idea over in my head and see if anything occurred to me.  So I did, off and on.

It seemed to me that Yeshua’s death marked victory over sin and our justification, but His resurrection marked victory over death.  So I wanted something that would emphasize that.  None of the Jewish traditions I’m familiar with seemed to fit the purpose, and the Christian Easter traditions are mostly centered around symbols of fertility and new life borrowed from pagan spring festivals.  I have no problem with swiping other traditions when it seems appropriate, but victory over death isn’t quite the same as fertility, so it felt a bit off.

So I poked around a bit on the internet, reading about springtime festivals in other cultures.  A lot of them have a big bonfire around now, for fertility or cleansing or to bring back the sun.  Or just because bonfires are awesome and it feels right to our hearts to have one every so often.

So tonight we showed up at my parents’ house after dinner (well, after our dinner anyway – they hadn’t eaten yet, as none of them are four).  I brought dessert in a fireproof dish (a tiny Le Creuset dutch oven, which was a wedding gift from my grandfather and his wife) and wrapped it in flash paper.  I had my sister and my mother read two passages: first Ecclesiastes 9:1-6, which is as nihilist a passage as you’ll find in the Bible, and then 1 Corinthians 15:53-56, which celebrates Yeshua’s victory over death.  Then I lit the flash paper (which burned beautifully, and completely freaked out the baby) and we discovered that death had not triumphed and we could eat the dessert inside.

It was simple and it said all it needed to and it involved fire and ended with yummy dessert.  What more could you need?

(If you are doing this, please do remember that flash paper is designed for indoors but isn’t actually safe.  We had the paper-wrapped dish sitting in a glass pie pan, with a big sheet of aluminum foil underneath.)

The dessert was Eton Mess, made with store-bought meringues, homemade whipped cream, and frozen raspberries (microwaved for a couple minutes with a spoonful of brown sugar, to make a thick sauce) since strawberries aren’t in season yet.  It was even kosher for Passover.

I can think of ways to expand it – but I think this probably works better when kept simple.  So we will.

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Getting Out

(Two posts in a row?  Don’t get too excited – I mostly posted yesterday so the art post would be on top because reasons.)

Anyway, I’m sending out a whole bunch of postcards at once, some new and some old, and I figured I’d show them all at once.  Voilà!

postcards

As I said, some of these are older ones that you may have seen before.  But I kinda like having them all together, and it’ll make a useful post for people who want to see my art.

I guess I should have numbered them if I want to talk about them properly.  I suppose I still could, but I’m not going to.

Anyway, the bright pink and green ones (left top and left bottom corners) were done on paper grocery bags – I had some contact paper stencils left over from another project (the Silhouette kept shredding them, or stopping halfway through, or otherwise mangling cuts – eventually I realized that if I left the contact paper under something heavy so it was flat when it got cut, the cut went more smoothly) and I laid them down more or less at random and started piling color on top.  Once I’d pulled up the stencils I could cut them into postcards or other collage material – I’ve actually still got some left.

Several elements here were inspired by i am rushmore, including the overall layout of the one that says “I can’t have a saber toothed walrus,” the circle stamp that you can see on several of them (made by cutting circles out of fun foam and gluing them to the lid of the mod podge – I guess I’ll have to keep the lid when the jar is done!), and new experiments with transparent layers.  I have a roll of rice paper diaper liners lying about since my abortive experiment with cloth diapers, and I recently discovered that it makes a great transparent layer.  It’s sturdier than tissue, but it disappears almost as well when I glue it down.  So I wrote on it with sharpie and the glued it on upside down, to make an abstract-ish handwriting element, and I stamped it and ran it through the printer and generally had an excellent time with it.

As for the quotes, “secret place of thunder” is from Psalm 81, “I cannot have a saber-toothed walrus” is from the very funny (if you’re enough of a nerd) Things Mr Welch Can No Longer Do In An RPG, and “I was too busy watching you going wild child to be worried about going to jail” is from the song “Cop Car” by Keith Urban.  I thought “Cop Car” was hilarious, actually, but I think it was only funny at that time and that place.

Beauty and Kitten added paint to some of my old ICAD cards, and I cut up the resulting cards for collage elements in a few places.  That kind of iterative art is really fun to play with.

And now most of these are going out in the mail to various friends, and that makes me happy.

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Ducklings

I’ve started calling my girls my “ducklings.”  I’m not sure why – it started a few weeks ago when I turned to see them trundling along after me and their little bobbing heads (well, mostly Kitten’s bobbing head – Beauty is a bit big for bobbing) reminded me of ducklings walking.

Since then Beauty has decided that only children under the age of six or so can be ducklings.  If I ask if any other family members or other adults are ducklings, I get a resounding “nooooooo.”  Other children are sometimes ducklings, depending on mood.

Beauty has really been blossoming lately, though.  I’m not sure what triggered it (time, probably) but the past month or so saw a whole little renaissance in how she thinks and interacts with the world.  She suddenly started coloring in the lines (at at least attempting to) and has colored several beautifully-vivid mandalas I printed from the internet.  She used to just stack stickers on top of each other, but now she notices what they are and creates abstract map-scenes depicting the interrelation of the items.  She speaks English far more than nonsense now, and she makes up “games” and tells Kitten to “fly like this, and then turn around, and then a big jump, and then…”  Admittedly Kitten mostly laughs and flaps her arms, but it’s the thought that counts.

She’s also (finally!) potty training.  Last time around I tried using treats, which was useful for getting her to try the potty but ultimately hurt the cause, I think.  This time we used a “paradigm shift”: from now on you use the potty because that is how it is.  It’s going pretty well.

Beauty still loves painting and still mixes all the paints together into brown most of the time, but occasionally she will keep them separate, and she always wants to tell me about what she painted.  Kitten is finally able to paint with a brush instead of trying to eat it, so I’m excited to see what she gets up to next.

And Kitten is racing around as fast as her little feet will carry her, which is faster than I expected sometimes.  She loves to find pieces of clothing – from the laundry, from the dresser, from the floor – and carry them all over the house.  She also likes dancing, and I see her carefully focusing on sequences of motions (first raise hands, then turn in a circle, repeat) when there is music on.  She likes stickers – mostly peeling them off the sheet and handing them to me, but sometimes she sticks them herself – and pulling all the spoons from the silverware drawer and waving them around with a gleeful flint in her eye.  My current theory is that she’s planning on turning them into shurikens somehow.

We’re also getting her first real words, aside from “yeah” and “hi.”  Beauty listened carefully and pulled out whole words at once, so that her vocabulary seemed to spring from nowhere.  Kitten has spent ages experimenting with all the sounds she can make, and now she’s starting to take a stab at the words they go with.  So she says “ma” for “more” and “me” for “milk” and “ah da” for “all done” and (cutest and happiest of all) “ah-la” for “I love you.”  She isn’t very consistent with any of them, but it seems to make her happy.

While Beauty has long enjoyed watching me shower, Kitten insists on getting in with me, and Beauty usually follows her.  This makes bathing interesting, as I’m sure you can imagine.  Kitten especially likes hugging my leg and letting the water pour over her – which is surprising given that I don’t make the water any cooler than usual.  (Though today Kitten decided to investigate the shiny silver knobs and made me yelp when she turned the water cold!)  But it’s a nice way to keep them both happy for half an hour or so.  It was especially helpful the last time Hero was sick – he would stand under the hot water until it ran cold, allowing the steam to help his congestion, while the girls cavorted in the water around him so I could have a break.

And that is my girlies.  I might add pictures at some point, if I’m feeling ambitious, but don’t count on it.

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The Sound and the Nerdery

I was fairly good at recording Beauty’s every move and word and discovery, but less so with Kitten.  This is life.  We do have plenty of photos of her, so that’s something.

Kitten is more cheerful than Beauty was at this age.  She’s more convinced that life is wonderful and people are friendly and things are waiting to be enjoyed, where Beauty was more inclined to study and analyze and understand things and people before attempting to interact with them.

Consequently Kitten is more eager to walk, and insists that we walk her everywhere, all the time.  I don’t think Beauty ever showed interest in walking with support.  Kitten grabs things, and eats things, and loves to feel textures and find pretty pictures and taste things and make sounds.  Beauty looked at things – especially text – and I think listened to words more than music.

Beauty valued words and sounds because they let her communicate.  Kitten values sounds because OH MY GOODNESS I CAN MAKE ALL THE SOUNDS!!!  She says “yeah” a lot (I think it counts as her first word, since she seems to know it means “positive.”) and spends ages making as many noises as she can find to come out of her mouth.

Beauty is painting a lot these days – I wrapped all our holiday gifts in paper grocery bags and let her paint them.  She generally ends up painting herself as well, but that’s okay.  She also likes homemade puffy paint (I love homemade puffy paint!) and gluing bits down.

She’s also enrolled in toddler gymnastics, and it’s wonderful for her.  She’s more active, more willing to try new things, more social, more confident – I’m not really sure why, but it just seems to click in her brain and unlock new paths and achievements.  So we’re *keeping* her in gymnastics.

(Gymnastics also gives me a mini-break, since I’m not required to be present for the 45-minute class.  There’s a shopping center around the block, so Kitten and I go to the grocery store or Plato’s Closet.  I’ve gotten some cute tops that way.)

Beauty seems to be interested in trivia – she wants to know the name of every song and the label for every day’s weather and so on.  I don’t get the impression that she cares much about the meaning behind the questions she asks sometimes, but she asks and locks away each fact as it’s given to her.  She’s a nerd in a way that I’m not; she’s constantly looking for trivia to file away.

And as for me, I’m painting and writing and blogging a Bible study and life goes on.

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Peekaboo

I’m not feeling well enough to write fanfiction tonight, so I figured I might as well let you lot know that I’m alive and well (well, mostly) and not quite insane yet.

But yes!  I’ve been writing fanfiction lately.  I should probably put a link on the sidebar at some point, come to think of it.  Maybe replace the zibbet button, since I don’t think anything is listed there.  I’m writing under the name ladyphlogiston (what a surprise, I know) at fanfiction.net and I’ve currently got a shortish LBD fic (which is probably finished, but I might add another chapter so someone can ask Darcy if he has a bum-warmin’ toilet) and an AU Pride and Prejudice set in the 20s and a four-way Sherlock Holmes crossover.

I’m enjoying myself.  The Holmes one is fun and easyish to write (though I don’t actually know what the bad guys are up to yet, so I should probably figure that out) and the 20s one is harder, in part because I have to stop every other sentence and find the right slang term or figure out what hats men wore or whether the Charleston was danced in the closed position.  Which it was, at first.  Now you know.

I’ve also been reading a ton of Pride and Prejudice fanfic, because it’s relaxing and fun and usually decently written.  So has Hero, actually

In other news….Beauty and Kitten are still growing and doing their thing.  Beauty takes great delight in confirming (over and over and over) that the sky is blue and the clouds are white.  I feel like there’s some spiritual lesson in that, but haven’t bothered working out what it is.

Oh!  I finished a chainmail bracelet for my sister.

The weave is called Open Round or Roundmaille, and it’s pretty simple and quite fun.  I’ve started taking my kit to the women’s bible study sometimes – it occupies my hands, like some women do with knitting.  Anyway, I used that tutorial to get it started, but every time I dropped it, it got horribly jumbled and it would take me ages to figure out which way I was going.  (Once you’ve added a few more rounds that’s less of a problem, of course.)  So I threaded a piece of t-shirt yarn through it to keep the shape, and when it was long enough I replaced the yarn with pretty ribbon.  There’s a clasp under the bow, by the way.

I haven’t seen anyone else doing this (putting beads or more rings inside is fairly popular, but I haven’t seen the ribbon through) but I doubt I’m the first to think of it.

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Dentist

I kinda feel awful right now.

Beauty’s first dentist appointment was today.  She’s three.  I keep seeing articles and things saying that your child’s first dentist appointment should be when she’s two, or one, or when she gets her first tooth, or whenever, but when I called a year ago they told me to call back in a year.

So there we were, and we put her on my lap and the hygenist counted her teeth, which went okay (though Beauty tried to close her mouth whenever they put something in it), and then they got out the polisher and the hygenist asked Beauty if she could use it on her teeth.

And Beauty said no.

And the hygenist asked a couple more times, and Beauty said no, no, no I not!  And I explained to Beauty that we needed to do this a little bit, and the hygenist got the first few teeth and then started asking again, and Beauty said no some more, and finally she gave up.

We’re going to a different dentist next time, I think.

But the reason I feel awful is that this is probably the first time that Beauty was asked if she wanted something, and she made it very clear that she did not, and I made her do it anyway.  If the hygenist hadn’t asked permission, but instead had taken a “this is what we’re going to do…” approach, I wouldn’t feel bad.  We’ve been down that road at the doctor’s office plenty.  But as it is, my daughter was asked what she wanted and then her wishes were blatantly ignored and I really don’t like it.

I feel like I didn’t have any good options.  Right now I wish I’d advocated for her.  I wish I had pushed the hygenist away and pointed out that she asked and my daughter said no.  But it’s also a fact that I need to teach Beauty that what she wants isn’t always what’s good for her.

It is not helping that I’ve been seeing a lot about rape culture and consent and things lately.  I haven’t been seeking it out, but it’s been there.

I’ve always embraced a mind-minded approach to parenting.  It’s one of the things that makes me good at it.  I don’t think I did a good job today.

I think I’m finding a new dentist.  In a year.  Her teeth are fine.

And so is she.

Update, later that evening: I’m a lot calmer now.  Hero says my neurochemistry is clearly off-balance, and he’s usually right about that so I’m believing him that this will all look much better in a few days.  Stupid hormones.

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