Monday, August 31, 2009

The Adventures of Computer Mouse

Computer mouse
Originally uploaded by haddy2dogs

One year ago on my birthday a fellow Etsy seller and friend gave me a wee needle felted mouse. She delighted my daughter who directly went about the daily care of our new friend. One evening I told my husband in passing that I need a new computer mouse. The next morning I found this mouse by my computer.
" Mama that is your new computer mouse!"
Since that day we decided computer mouse needs fresh air from time to time so we take her with us out and about on our many adventures. She has been to the zoo and out in the country. She helps me ship at the post office and even helps pick out the groceries.

We can't share our dear little friend but you can invite one to your house by contacting LittleElfsToyshop on Etsy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pittfalls Of Raising A Green Kid

Since they were wee I have taught my children to find magic where ever they look. We make toys from all things that enter our path. My daughter at the ripe age of six has mastered this concept to the extreme. The very thing we teach at times becomes our nemesis.

If you were to meet my children outside of our cottage you most likely would depart thinking what a wonderfully imaginative tribe we all are. This is true however one of the side effects of such joyful free thinking is my daughter tends to spend a great deal of time on "projects" . Every item set aside for recycling is inspected by her nimble hands for value. She will cut paste and manipulate just about anything into and glorious creation to stimulate hours of play. The problem is what to do with all of these magical creations which pile up in every corner of her domain. I have yet to find an orderly way to deal with it all and hiding the recycling hasn't helped one bit. I wonder when she will allow me to say goodbye to some of this? Or perhaps is it the first stage of hoarding? Most of the "projects" are homes for the various fairies and friends that come from what she calls the Imaginary World. So am I the evil witch who wants to evict them to restore a bit of order? What started as a simple village has become urban sprawl with no end in site.

The positive outcome is she rarely asked me to buy her toys. When she does I honor her request. These special toys come from Etsy sellers such as mamakopp, freedomrainbow and auntbooesbabies. She treats them all with gentle reverence.

She also is one of the few children I know who would prefer to receive and give handmade birthday presents to her friends. She was invited to a party with several girls she didn't know. I was nervous the others might tease her when she pulled out whatever creation she had fashioned for the occasion. As the birthday girl quickly tore open Barbie dolls, make up kits and plastic ponies I began to search for the nearest exit. To my surprise I was wrong. She opened the handmade wrapping paper slowly to admire the drawings then pulled out the present, a doll bed made from a foil roasting pan painted purple with a blanket, mattress and pillow sewn from recycled chenille. The finishing touch was 2 silk flowers secured with hot glue.

" It's a doll bed" my daughter offered.
" I know! Let's go get my dolls!" the birthday girl replied.
Off the party ran to play with the roasting pan bed. That was a year or so ago. Last week we went to visit this friend and in her room was the bed, still being loved with no sign of a plastic pony.

So I will hold my tongue and not evict the fairies from our small cottage and stand back and cherish this short time she will visit the imaginary world.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Tale Of The Treasure Ball Pinata or Why We Don't Hand Our Blindfolded Deaf Children Sticks

Often when people find out we have a Deaf son they react with sympathy. I think that might be because they can't imagine life with out sound so it must be a tragedy. For our family the reverse is true so although we are used to this reaction it always startles us a bit. Now don't get me wrong my son does have challenges, the biggest at the moment is the state of his bedroom. He suffers from a common syndrome called Cleanaphobia.

Another challenge we encountered on our journey was you should never blindfold your Deaf child and hand them a large stick. When he was three we went to a birthday party attended by all Deaf kiddos. They played musical chairs ( a scarf is dropped to cue them into chair chaos) painted faces and got freaked out by the clown. Then it was time for the pinata. It became clear to me this was not the safest way to entertain this crowd when we couldn't get close enough to stop one child swinging at random nearly missing grandma. At that moment I came up with the idea for Treasure balls.

The concept is simple. The child kicks or tosses it around until the treasure pours out. I often find the parents are less patient then their children so I often provide counseling upon purchase. I remind them the joy of playing with the ball is a fun activity in itself. For some folks I recommend not telling the child of the treasure within. In one case a mama bought one at a Christmas fair and followed my suggestion and reported back that it wasn't opened until summer resulting in gleeful screams.

I offer these in my Etsy shops and I always welcome custom orders.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Never Compare Youurself To Fast Food

So today I was so excited to meet a friend from Etsy at a beautiful state park. I planned ahead and made extra food for dinner last night so I would have plenty to share. I travel in a health conscious circle so I am careful to respect that when I socialize. I packed my lentils and veggie curry in a smart travel pot and and went to bed.

So we left 1 hour before ETA in order to sight see a bit before the meet up. My kids were so thrilled to go on an adventure, I secured my rose tinted glasses. I started my car, much in need of a cleaning and wash, and made a mental note to park as far away as possible so my auto neglect would not be revealed. Pulling away I noticed my husband had found a way to use all of the gas I had prepared for the journey, no worries we have time!

I budgeted $10 for emergencies on this trip which I decided too use for the gas. I started to fill and realized I could wash up the windows while I waited. Wow what a difference clean windows make in masquerading the dirty car! Oops, forgot to watch the pump. The total for gas was $25.91 the cost of clean windows was now$15.91. No worries we will be on time.

As I pull out of the gas station 12 minutes behind schedule my son tells me he is hungry. No worries soon we will have a lovely picnic lunch! No he is really hungry and will morph into an evil demon within minutes if not fed. I consider my options, let him lose on the curry in the back seat which will result in an almost guaranteed massacre of the leather upholstery, grocery store for healthy food which involves hungry bickering or fast food. Fast food is taboo but cheap so off to Taco Bell we go. Shh don't tell.

I pulled up to the menu and realized this is not my skill. There were 5 thousand food products listed in front of me and I had no idea what they were. My kids were euphoric shouting requests for this exotic cuisine and I sat there like a deer in head lights. Apparently everyone else knows the blessing of Taco Bell because the entire town was lined up behind me. I panicked and ordered what the kids were requesting. " Your total is $13.41." We haven't even left my neighborhood and this trip is costing $39.32.

We are now 35 minutes behind schedule so we are going to be late. As I drove I realized some folks think natural toys are expensive. But for the cost of a toxic fast food meal you can buy one of my felted dolls which is good for 10 years of development. So then I thought people all over are choosing to line up and yell at a metal box for food rather than buy my felted goodness. No worries today would be magical.

We arrived at the designated park 15 minutes late. My friend was no where to be seen. In fact this park was a random central choice we were not really sure of the name so I navigated it by google. The area is surrounded by waterfalls and glorious natural attractions but this park consists of a picnic area and a single grave, no joke.

Across the street was the most interesting house. No occupants and in the process of decay. No worries I will text my friend. response. So we drive off to search for them and finally 1 1/2 hours past the meet up time decide to hike to a water fall. 1 mile round trip. My darlings are sad to miss a friend hook up but thrilled to take a hike. As we get close to the glorious water attraction nature has provided my friend who had lost her phone connection texted me. We cut our hike short and ran back to meet them up at the top of the trail. We waited 20minutes in the parking lot for them to arrive.

Let the wild rumpus begin

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Goodbye- confessions of a helicopter mom

Last week we loaded our car a set off to take my son to summer camp. At age eleven he was about to embark on his first independent adventure. For several days we prepared packing his bag, shopping for the perfect tools to insure success in the wild. We bought him a fancy flashlight, digital camera, travel clock and first aide kit. We packed clothing for every possible weather change.

This was a huge step for both of us. He would be away for one week without me to hover over his daily life. He would have to remember to wash his hair, brush his teeth and of course brush his hair after he washed it. He would need to know what foods are OK and which are toxic. Would her remember to drink water? Would the other kids be nice or would he be trapped in modern version of "Lord of the Flies?". What if it rains and he clothes get wet? What if there is a forest fire or he gets struck by lighting!

I am a helicopter mom, it is my dirty little secret. Not in the common sense, my affliction is seeped in denial. I like to think I have set him up for success. The problem is I tend to intervene if I sense a roadblock. He is after all just a child and that is my job. So this will be the first time I can't intervene. If he encounters a bully he will be on his own. At lunch I will have to trust he knows the chocolate cake will make him feel sluggish. I hope he knows he doesn't brush his hair we will have to shave it because I can't get the knots out.

My son had his own concerns. He didn't want to ride the horses because Christopher Reeves fell off a horse and lost his mobility. He went to check out the camp web site and saw they were still advertising for a nurse and lifeguard, how could I send him away to unsafe territory? What if he was drowning who would save him? What was injured or worse struck by lighting? My child is not a wimp but he is more of an intellect than and athlete so everything is up for analysis. This time I would need to cut that short and push him firmly out of the nest.

Well I did, sort of, he didn't pass the swim test when we arrived. I was shocked because he has taken swimming lessons and loves the water. So I explained to the newly hired life guard that he was tired and maybe his allergy medicine was affecting him. Problem solved. He could swim in the deep end with the other kids. I mingled with the staff , parents and kids to make sure it all felt safe and then it happened. He told me to leave.

So we waited for one week. Evey day looking for the letters he promised to send. Every night resisting the urge to call and check up on him. finally the day arrived. His session was over and we could go rescue him! I was surprised at how happy and healthy he looked. He was bubbling over with joy and kids were swarming us. It had been a success.

He settled on the couch to tell me the tales of horseback riding, scuba diving and archery. He told me the food was awesome and we should get Frosted Flakes like camp. He told me how they slept in a tee pee one night and he woke up with half his body outside under the tent drenched from the rain but it was fine because his face was dry. He lost his flashlight but it was fine he just shared with his friends. His travel clock went off at night because he forgot to turn it off. There was a huge fire. It turned out to be the farm next to camp burning their fields. Everything was not only fine but awesome!

He then told me a large (fat, in his words) boy tackled and punched him the first day. He was just sitting on a bench and pow! I was horrified. I asked how the staff responded and this is where I learned of my son's strength. He told me the pain was nothing. He said " I am not big enough to fight this kid so I used my strength. I am much smarter. If I told on him he would find ways to continue to bully me. So I found the coolest high school kids and became friends with them. He left me alone and I protected the other little kids by including them."

So he is already asking to go back next year, this time for 2 weeks.