Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is my house full of drama while raising four girls? Noooooo.

Often, when I reveal that I have four little girls, people say, "Phew. You must have a lot of drama at your house."

Usually I smile and shake my head in the negative, "Nahh. It's great."

Or they say, "Ohhh, just wait until they are teenagers."

And I smile and say something non-sarcastic and hopeful, like "Oh, I'm sure it will be great. We're pretty easy-going."

But maybe I need to change my denial coping mechanism. I should just own it. We are drama. And I should start putting away money to build Mike a ginormous bat cave for the teenage years. Wait. What about me? Even though I'm a woman, who supposedly understands and is part of all this drama, I'll need some place to hide too. So I'll start putting away money to build a ginormous parent hideout with soundproof walls and a recording that repeats in a soothing voice, "You are right. You are so right. Thanks for working so hard at parenting." Is this a thing? It should be.

Tonight I spent TWO HOURS combing a doll's hair. Why did I do this? Because every time I stopped combing the doll's hair, to do something unimportant like make dinner, rescue the two-year-old from being beat to death by an eraser that looks like licorice, or take K a drink of water (she's currently dying, dying, dying because she threw up 24 hours ago), H would throw herself on the floor, "You promised! You promised! What about MaryLyn's hair? What about her hair? Her hair! Her hair!" And then she would grab my arm in a vice-like grip and refuse to let go. (This always brings out the sweet and calm mother in me.)

Now, normally I am a completely rational mother who always follows through with consequences, and never gives into whining. But sometimes, sometimes, my dearly beloved H (and K and E and N) pushes me beyond the limits of whining.

It's like I am the comet 67P, and they are the Rosetta, whining and skittering around space for 10 years, picking up momentum until they finally catch up to me and are able to launch a probe onto my surface. And the only way to emerge unscathed from this whole Deep-Space Whine encounter is to pretend that it was my idea in the first place to put all other needs aside and comb the *(%&# doll's hair for two hours.

I guess I will just chalk this up to another skill that I never thought I would develop, but now have, like cleaning up throw-up, or wiping noses, or tying blankets on as capes. My next job application is going to be pretty awesome:

Tissue application to unwilling noses
Cape-blanket tying
Doll hair care and maintenance
Disposing of and Cleaning up throw-up
Shutting the door and locking it
Finding teensy-tiny things in sandboxes
Matching socks
Dancing with short people, including the dizzy twirl
Wiping up spills
Speaking calmly while incredibly angry
Swearing privately
Ignoring desperate, soul-sobbing crying about suckers
Breaking up slap fights
High tolerance for whining and general unhappiness

Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween 2014 Matryoshka Dolls

Just because everyone had to ask what the girls were doesn't mean it was an epic fail, right?

Can you guess what they are? Let me give you a hint: Russia. Okay, another hint: Dolls. Okay, okay, don't give up, they were Matryoshka Dolls, otherwise known as Russian Nesting Dolls. 

They're still adorable, even if you don't know what they are. My sister Alisha always has these great ideas for Halloween for my girls.  So even though every year I vow that I am not going to make Halloween costumes, every year Alisha has this great idea and then I have to figure out a way to make it work.  

I googled for some ideas on how to make the costumes, but only found elaborate things that looked difficult to sew or paint. I sew just about as well as I perform cartwheels (marginal at best, with one leg always crooked), and I don't paint, so none of those was going to work for me. But then I found a pumpkin costume tutorial, made from a too big shirt and I adapted it to fit my needs. 

Steps to Make a Matryoshka Doll Costume

1. Find a shirt that is too large. I used X-small women's shirts for my normally 7-8 oldest girls and 7-8 size shirts for my toddler and preschooler.
2. Using elastic thread, sew the sleeves and arms of the shirt. This is a fun technique to make a too-big t-shirt fit a little better. You just wrap the elastic thread on your bobbin and use regular thread on the top. Here's a tutorial on sewing with elastic thread that I found helpful.
3. From felt, cut out an "apron" (the large pink piece) and the flower pieces. I traced two different size Tupperware lids for my flower and freehanded the leaves. My pink bottom pieces were 14 inches tall and 9 and 3/4 wide at the bottom, and they fit onto size 7/8 t-shirts. The older girls (age 7 and 9) are in small women's tshirts and their "aprons" are 18" tall and 13" wide at the bottom circular part. I freehanded the pink aprons by tracing a giant lid on the bottom to get the circular shape.  
4. Hot glue, or sew the top of the flower together. I finished it off with a button.
5. Sew/Glue on the flower stem and leaves
6. Sew/glue on the flower top
7. Hot glue the "apron" onto the t-shirt. I hot glued it first to get it where I wanted and then sewed it on. (Be careful not to sew over the hot glue or it will gum up your needle.)
8. I cut out the head kerchiefs all the same size and I was going to sew them and make the edges all nice, but then I ran out of time so they just had raw edges and it was okay. Now they won't be able to keep them as treasured momentos of their fantastic Halloween, but oh well. They were triangles that measured 32 x 21.5 x 21.5. 
And there you go.