Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Point

Let's start off by passing along the knowledge that I practically never spank my kids. They're generally pretty well behaved on their own. Except Younger Son, and that's all out of my hands anyway. But Son and Daughter are usually very good. I consistently get compliments in public on how well behaved and polite they are.

That being said, yesterday I spanked son for the second time. He's also on his first ever grounding sentence. He's been pushing me as far as he can lately, and I really can't take anymore.

The first time I ever spanked him was last summer, probably late August. We moved into this house in July, and he was told he was free to play outside in the back yard whenever he wanted. It's fully fenced in and I didn't have to worry about people being tempted to take him or him wandering away. Or so I thought. Part of the way Autism Spectrum Disorder displays in him is that he has no sense of danger. He constantly wanders off if I don't watch him. So there was a period of a few weeks last summer where he would open the gate and leave the back yard. We'd find him out front or over at the neighbor's house usually. We had many talks about why he was not allowed to leave the yard. Every time, he said he understood and it wouldn't be a problem anymore. But then one morning I was cleaning the kitchen and I happened to turn and look at the front door. Son was out front, peering in the windows at me. I lost it in an instant. I brought him inside, straight up to his bedroom, and I spanked his butt. He never did it again. I felt horrible about it for days afterward, but he was over it in an hour and the problems with him wandering off stopped.

Lately, we've been having constant battles over everything. He back talks constantly. He argues with everything everyone says, just to be obnoxious. He's been drawing all over the walls and in his books and on his clothes. For weeks now, we've been fighting him to chew with his mouth closed and to stop talking with food in his mouth. We tell him no less than five times at every meal and nothing changes. Yesterday was another one of those days that I couldn't take any more. At one point, Daughter came to me with a toothpaste tube and asked me to open it. She had toothpaste all over her face like she'd been eating it. I asked Son where she got it and he said he'd given it to her. After a call the Poison Control, I'd had enough.

I sent Son to clean up his bedroom. That means pick up all the Legos, throw away all the pieces of trash, get the clothes off the floor. Basic stuff. I ended up telling him twice more. And then I spanked his butt. He never did pick up the stuff. At nap time, I pointedly told him there were to be NO toys or books in the bed, he was to lay down and be quiet if he wasn't going to sleep. At the end of nap time, there were no less than six books in the bed. Various toys. Some pens (which we'd all ready taken away and forbidden multiple times).

After dinner, Husband, Son and I sat down together so that I could explain to son that he was going to be grounded for a week. No movies, no video games, all the toys were coming out of his bedroom, and there would be no books going into the bedroom. They left to get everything cleaned up and Son went immediately to bed as it was only twenty minutes before bed time anyway.

This morning, Son asks first thing if he can have his video games. When I said no and asked if he remembered why they were taken away, he gave me a blank stare and sulked out of the kitchen. I'm not sure he's going to learn anything from all of this. I'm very frustrated and don't know where to proceed from here.

On a positive note, I worked a while on my embroidery last night and discovered that I had, in fact, made much more progress on it than I remembered. It was a small moment of joy in my otherwise stressful day.

Here's hoping that things settle down a little over the next few days, or I'm going to start locking myself in the bedroom and hiding like a hermit.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Progress- In a manner of speaking

This afternoon, I came across more prime examples of my inability to stick with any hobby I take up. In the middle of knitting a square, I decided it was time to get up and sort out the floss that came with the counted cross - stitch rooster kit I got last year (I had grand intentions of getting it made and framed in order to give it to Grandmother for Christmas last December, but...)

So I spent two hours untangling and sorting the flosses. They're all labeled by color number and chart symbol. Then I opened up the chest next to my knitting chair and dug out an embroidery project I started about.... Oh, two years ago? It was another one of those things I decided on a whim that I wanted to learn to do. It's just outline embroidery, but... So here's the progress I made before I forgot all about it.

I sorted out the accessories for my counted cross - stitch and put them in my nifty little travel bag and then promptly zipped it up and set it aside :-/ I dug out the separate flosses for my embroidery and set them aside too. I've got all my knitting books stacked neatly by my chair.

And yet, after the disaster that was The Beret That Wasn't, I'm reluctant to really take on any project now. I also have a tendency to let my mind nag at me about every other project than whatever I happen to be working on at that moment.

Wait. The Beret That Wasn't? Yeah. It had a lot of potential. But my lack of attention span and the fact that I've never worked on circular needles didn't lead it any place good. So it ended up with weird stitches and the shape and size are all wrong. If I had been trying to make a mushroom hat, I couldn't have done it.

Le Sigh. Hopefully the boredom and reluctance will pass soon and I can get back up and try again.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Procrastinators Anonymous

Really, I should be cleaning up the house. We moved in seven months ago and it's still a disaster. But instead, I'm looking at knitting patterns and avoiding making lunch for Children.

I went and purchased the "I Taught Myself Crochet" kit yesterday. It's upstairs on the puzzle table, unopened. Puzzle table? Yeah. Husband bought a dining table to put in our bedroom for the sole purpose of putting jigsaw puzzles together. It's actually a good way for us to spend time together as we don't tend to talk out loud a lot. But it brings about another prime example of my tendency to procrastinate. We have approximately 50 puzzles stacked up in the closet, waiting to be put together. We also have 4 or 5 rolled up in felt puzzle rollers, waiting to be finished. We have a few that are finished, but they're glued together and clamped between poster board so that we can mount them and, theoretically, hang them up.

Anyway, the crochet kit is sitting on the empty puzzle table. There are skeins of yarn stacked all over my art shelves, half of them unraveled at the hands of Daughter the Curious. On a good note, the baby blanket squares are almost finished. I have four more to make and then I can block them and put them together. Then I have yet to decide on the finishing for the edges and learning to make the crocheted flowers.

Hopefully, New Baby will wait to be born. There have been a few times over the last week that we thought we might have to go to the hospital. Regular contractions, baby putting heavy pressure on my pelvis, changing positions doesn't help, orange juice doesn't help. Yesterday morning, desperation set in and we went for a walk in the cold. It worked, so we came home and things have been relatively calm since then. I'd rather not go through all that excitement again for the next couple of months.

This morning, Grandmother told me that my knitting looks very nice, especially for the fact that I'm still just learning. That was a huge compliment in my eyes because she's been knitting and crocheting forever and she's made some very beautiful things.

As it were, I should get up and go do something. Like clean all the toys off the stairs, as I'm sure Children have a secret plot to kill me. And then maybe I'll go clean the mirrors in the bathroom and gather up all the recycling and...

No. I think I'm going to go knit another square. Screw this housework nonsense.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Down for the count

It's been an interesting week. I've had the flu, or something very similar, for six days now. Theoretically, it should be gone in the next two or three days. Luckily, it hasn't been anything particularly terrible, and I've been fairly well able to keep up with the daily routine without getting tired until the end of the day.

About four days ago, Daughter developed a mild fever. Nothing I really worried about. I anticipated that if I left it alone, it would run its course and she'd be back to normal in a couple days. Every day, it was a little higher. But she kept eating pretty well and wasn't refusing to drink. Still sleeping, still playing, still tormenting Brother.

4:30 in the morning yesterday, though, everything changed. She was crying in her bed. We went to get her and she was roasting. We gave her some Ibuprofen and decided we'd get her in to the doctor as soon as they had an opening. Husband stayed home to accompany us to the doctor. Diagnosis? Influenza type-A. We picked up some Pedialyte on the way home and Husband went to work.

Once home, Daughter really acted like she had the flu. She wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink much, wouldn't sleep, didn't want to be touched. Nothing. Husband came back home from work early because Daughter was finally sleeping, and I didn't want to get her out of bed to go pick up Son from school.

Last night was more of the same. We took turns playing Hold The Baby. Eventually, she tired out enough to go to bed. At the time Husband and I were going to bed, I jokingly thought to myself "See you at 4:30!" but I refrained from saying it on the principle of wanting to avoid it coming true.

1:30 rolls around, and I wake up with terrible internal rumblings combined with alarmingly regular contractions. I would have gladly opted for death at that point. Nothing came of any of it, thankfully, and I went back to sleep. 4:30, cue crying Daughter. Husband went to get her. Fever spiked again. Ibuprofen, and the ensuing fight to get her to please at least lay down so we can go back to sleep. Not happening.

About the time I was accepting that we wouldn't be going back to sleep, Husband's alarm clock made the final decision. After he took a shower, we came downstairs to see if Daughter would eat anything. To my delight, she ate a granola bar and a couple graham crackers.

As a consolation prize, I went and bought myself a set of interchangeable circular needles from knitpicks that I've been coveting for a few weeks. Before ordering them, I debated a long time about whether I wanted the needles more than I wanted a Little Swift knitting tote bag.

The needles won, of course, and next will be the bag. If I even still like knitting at that point.

For a few weeks, I've worked on making individual knit squares to put together for a baby blanket for New Baby. I have seven squares left to make, and now it's occurring to me that I don't know what I'm going to do for the edges. I decided I'm going to make some crocheted flowers to sew to the front of the baby blanket. The flowers are from Nicky Epstein's Crocheted Flowers, and they're the only flowers I like in the whole book. I checked it out at the library after I saw the flowers my sister made. It immediately went onto the list of Books I Wouldn't Spend Money On.

Speaking of books, I have found a few that I really like, thanks to finding them at the library, and I'm working my way toward building up a decent knitting library. One of my most coveted at the moment is Knitted Wild Animals: 15 Adorable, Easy - To - Knit Toys. Now, I've only been knitting a few weeks, but most of these patterns look really easy and the animals are completely cute.

I bought a few books on sale a few weeks ago. Knit. Sock. Love. by Cookie A has some wonderful designs in it. I haven't started to make anything from it yet because a) I don't have small enough DPN's and b) I'm not yet brave enough to try cable work.

I also bought Diagonal Knitting by Katharine Cobey, admittedly only because of the item on the cover. The book is intimidating because the charts are different than any I've come across yet, and because I don't know how to do diagonals. But my grandmother really likes the book on the whole, and she used to do lots of knitting, so I guess it's a win.

A book I bought and did not like one bit was Vampire Knits. The reason I didn't like it was because it's overly Twilight - crazed and I'm not into Twilight. At all. It had one or two really cute designs in it, but they weren't anything I couldn't all ready do on my own, and everything else was pretty much run - of - the - mill stuff that you can find anywhere. I mailed said book out to someone via paperbackswap.

Now that I've completely derailed my own train of thought, I'm going to go check Daughter's temperature and hopefully get her dressed for the day. If I'm lucky, this flu mess will miraculously disappear by midnight and the whole weekend won't be ruined by everyone being sick.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Starved for success

I have a terrible tendency to give up on every task that I take on.

I've done it all. Painting, sculpting, watercolor, you name it. If I haven't done it yet, I have plans to. My amazing imagination always gets the better of me and it usually ends with the repeated revelation that I suck at everything I like to do. If I don't like to do it, I'm awesome at it. I've told myself since I was a little girl that one day I'd be *that* artist. Maybe not known world wide, but known well enough to have a small following and for my ideas to eventually pan out and become a suitable living for me.

Cakes make me mad before they're ever done baking. Leveling and base icing them takes about all the patience I have. By the time I'm supposed to decorate them, I've usually lost all interest and don't want to continue.

About six months before youngest daughter was born, I decided I was going to learn embroidery. I learned basic outlining, but never the intricate filled - in stuff that everyone does. I lost interest after a couple weeks anyway, and the piece I was working on is in the bottom of a trunk, a long way from finished.

My next decision was to learn counted cross-stitch. I threw myself into it with all the enthusiasm I had. I bought a ridiculous amount of kits. I got some outrageously priced patterns. I bought yarn and cloth and all the accessories. Including a bag so that I could carry it in the car with me.

I worked hard on a Lightning McQueen piece for my oldest son. Then one day I made about 8 stitches too many in a section. I was mad. So I put it down and have never picked it back up. The patterns and kits are in the trunk with the embroidery. Abandoned.

Last summer, I decided I was going to learn to make glass stuff. Starting with beads. I told myself I could make some awesome beads and turn them into jewelry and that would be my ticket to the Rich Artist status I've been chasing my entire life. Then we discovered we were expecting the baby we'd been hoping for. I became incredibly sick, as expected, and the glass was put on the back burner. Next, it was winter and I certainly wasn't going to work in the cold garage. I suppose eventually we'll finish the art studio in the basement, but that's a ways off still.

On New Year's Eve, I decided on a whim that I was going to learn to knit. So husband and I went to WalMart and got some yarn and a beginner's knitting kit. Yarn puritans at this point are having a collective heart attack at the thought of my purchasing *gasp* ACRYLIC yarn. Red Heart Super Saver, no less. But I can justify it for two reasons; I didn't know what I was doing to start with, and I'm well aware of my tendency to quit.

I made a scarf. All garter stitch. It's orange with purple and white stripes at each end. Clemson colors. It perfectly demonstrates the fact that I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. There are whole sections where I obviously stopped counting my stitches. It's an awful scarf. Really. I gave it to my son. He loves it. But that's because he doesn't know how bad it really is.

Next, I made a hat to go with said scarf. It's orange. And it's awful for multiple reasons.

After that came a smaller version of the same hat. Made in Caron Simply Soft acrylics. I didn't follow the directions for finishing it, though, and it's got a goofy uneven point at the top. I figured I'd make it look better by tying some long yarn strands to the top. That certainly didn't help. I've decided I'll give it to the new baby when she gets here in May.

A few days ago, I decided it was time to learn to knit of fixed circular needles. I seem to have slightly less than the required number of brain cells to do so correctly. I can do rib stitching just fine. But on circular needles, it seems to suddenly turn into rocket science. My rows become uneven, my stitches are backward, twisted, dropped... You name it. And there's no *apparent* reason for it. I MADE SURE to count as I went along.

Around the ninth or tenth time I tore it all out and started over again, I decided I was going to finish it whether or not it was messed up, whether or not it killed me. So I kept right on truckin'. This morning, I reached the point in the pattern that said "When there are too few stitches to continue on circular needles, switch to double-pointed needles".

I didn't even panic.

Instead, I went to youtube and watched a video on how to knit with double-pointed needles. Looked a little complicated, but I threw myself right into it. It was EASY. I kept on going. I was at the last row! Wow. I'm kicking ass!

As I picked up my tapestry needle to sew the last 7 stitches closed... Disaster struck. I pulled the needle out of all seven of the remaining stitches. they unraveled for four or five rows. Dropped stitches don't scare me. Multiple dropped stitches that unravel a LONG way do scare me. I diligently went and fixed them all. Or so I thought. I tied up the top, weaved in the end, and went back to check my work. More dropped stitches I didn't see.

In short, I spent a half hour fixing holes from dropped stitches. It looks okay enough. I gave it to daughter. Too big. But I suppose that's okay as I won't have to make another one in a few months' time.

As for now, it's almost noon. I suppose I should go find some lunch for the kids. I'm giving serious thought to starting another beret for myself. But I know it will drive me crazy. Besides, I really should go finish the squares for the baby blanket I'm making.