It’s been a very quiet blog time. I’ve been solo parenting for the past month whilst Organic-Dad is in China on a training program. In the contest of whether I should neglect the blog or my children the answer is evident. While I’ve crafted posts almost every day in my head, I’ve been learning and creating many other things instead or writing them down. In this post I’m reflecting on my joy of parenting before sharing one of the craft projects I’ve been working on – Felt Dress up Dolls! Feel free to skip straight to the craft part if details of my inner parenting journey are not of interest.
Even though parenting and homemaking involve greater efforts sans-partner, I’ve found myself immersing more fully and willingly in the fleeting gift of motherhood. This is a wonderful time of watching my children unfold and I am cherishing each moment – enjoying all the cuddles in my lap, the smell of their hair and trying new things each day. One day they won’t need me to hold their hand on the potty, take them into a dark room or read a story so I’m making the most of now. If our lives are a ‘Parenthesis in Eternity’ then the part of the lives that we have our children is totally miniscule. I’m giving thanks and embracing this time and by doing so I feel more fully present in my life. Whilst the photos we take will only show time-lapsed snaps of the progression of their childhood, I want to explore all the details and have them soak it in to my deepest memories. I recently watched a fabulous TED talk on ‘Feats of memory anyone can do‘ in which the speaker quoted an old man who said ‘people’s lives are the sum of their memories’. I am the sole witness to so many of the details in the lives of my children at this time and I feel honoured and rich to be the holder of such treasure.
Parenting alone has bought me into greater appreciation of my children and how our lives flow together. I’ve found gentle discipline approaches even more of a absolute necessity to keep peace and connection and respect for all of us and I’ve reached for more tools in learning and reprogramming myself in this endeavour. The Leading Edge Parenting online radio show has, as always, been a great source of information alongside some of the yahoo forums on unschooling. Through taking in these gems of wisdom I’ve been willing to make more mistakes and take each day as it comes, rather than striving to be a ‘perfect’ mother (which, as stoopid as it is, I sometimes still attempt!). Instead I’m learning to be kinder in each situation and actively looking for ways to grow and connect with each interaction. I’m being gentler with myself on the many times I don’t get it ‘right’ and instead see these moments as a learning opportunities rather than failures that churn up guilt and inadequacies. This is truly an inner journey that has many miles, all walked at varying paces and directions.
I’ve swapped a lot of nightly computer time to get more organised in order to have our days flow with greater ease. Having a meal plan, bags packed for a walk or a swim, and a few games and crafts at my immediate disposal means I can be more proactive rather than reactive and focus on the children rather than getting lost in the details. I’m opening up to receive more help as I need it. A few weeks back I had someone clean our bedroom and laundry room whilst we were out and returning to fresh sheets, folded clothes and mopped floors made me giddy with luxury and relief! Solo-parenting really requires support and I embrace it.
But most days it’s just me and the children and at the end of the long and full days I’ve been taking time to refuel and refill my own cup by retreating to the sofa, putting on some positive media and crafting. Sewing is meditation for me, I can relax and focus my creative energy on making something with love. And the blessing of this time and space and Internet, I can also listen and watch some beautiful empowerment at the same time. These are some of my recent favourites:
So onto the crafty part of this post… the Felt Dolls
The story begins when I was in the midst of sewing some felt magnetic fish (post coming up soon!), but suddenly had the urge to stop and create some felt dolls for Keeyah. I had noticed how much she really enjoys dressing and undressing her Barbie dolls and thought she would really like another version of playing dress up. I was determined to get something created from start to finish in one evening so I gathered around felt, scissors and a glue gun and got to work.
I was really inspired by the felt doll tutorial on Smile and Wave and decided to use her templates but since I don’t have a functioning printer (I have printers that don’t work!) I traced the templates right off the screen. This turned out to be the perfect size for the book covers I placed them in. Because I also didn’t have the time nor inclination to make the big board for the dolls I looked for other options. I saw a great idea for a felt doll book on Proverbs 17:22 but even this required materials that were unavailable so I quickly improvised and found a couple of hardback books in which the pages were tatty and was no longer of interest to the children and ripped out the contents. I then covered it with glue from the glue gun and stuck on some fabric (I make this sound simple but it was a learning process as I had never used a glue gun before in my life – so much thanks to my dearest friend Celia who lent me hers)
Then I got to work with the felt, creating 2 templates in tan and brown skin tones. Then with some delicate snips I cut out a variety of clothes, shoes and bags. Fiddly but Fun! I made some little purses inside to contain the clothes and fold out into ‘wardrobes’.
I presented them to Keeyah the next day and she was so delighted! She spent hours playing with them and sang songs about how she’s not ever going to stop playing with it! Wow my heart was joyful. We added in a few extra items at her request such as the swimsuits and sewed the beads for the details. She now wants a wedding dress for one of them! All this dress-up then led to another fab dress-up game that I’m going to share in a post next week and with the Carnival of Natural Parenting coming up soon on the subject of Families Creations I’ll finally get to showcase the felt fish that I put on pause to make this project. For now enjoy the felt fashion!