Monday, December 5, 2011

lining up a onesie.
 I am screen printing now!  I owe Nate a huge thanks for helping me get started.  He burned a screen for my best-selling design, then put some hinge clamps on a little table in the basement.  Now I can go down there and print 10 onesies in a half hour, including set-up and clean-up time, whereas the old stencil method probably took 30 minutes per onesie.  Pretty good improvement, eh?  There was a little learning curve, and I had to throw some botched onesies in the Goodwill box, but I am getting better at it, and most of my screen printing attempts are keepers now.  Yay!
pulling ink.
 I feel super proud of us for figuring this out, and once again I have to thank Nate.  I never would have tried it on my own, but he encouraged me and said it would be easy and that we could definitely do it.  I don't know if easy is the term I would use, but the important thing is I am doing it now.  There is a whole world of serious screen printing out there, and I know I could learn loads more about it.  But I'm not really looking for another hobby or creative outlet.  I'm just looking to make some onesies more efficiently.  So I am happy with my simple set up and very limited knowledge for now.
In my life as a parent I have been struggling.  I have been wishing I could quit, looking for the exit, dreaming of retirement struggling.  I have been face in hands, cannot do this, soggy pile of tissues struggling.  It seems to me that 90% of what comes out of my eight year old's mouth is some form of negativity.  A complaint, a statement of something he can't or won't do, an insult, a description of something he hates.  IT GETS TO ME.  Understatement of the year.  Is it his personality? (Please, no.)  Is it just his age? (God help me when he becomes a teenager.)  Is he doing it to intentionally push my buttons?  (Quite possibly.)

Then, on the other hand, I spend my mornings alone with a five year old who is constantly badgering me to grant him screen time.  (He has designated screen time on Wednesdays and weekends, and the boys watch plenty of impromptu after-school Phinneas and Ferb.)  Some times I am trying to get other things done and so I try to tune out the whining and negotiation attempts.  Other times I try to engage him with some other activity, but he is not interested in any regular activities that a five year old and a parent might do together.  Read a book?  NO.  Do a puzzle?  NO.  Play a game?  NO. Draw a picture?  NO.  He will come up with projects that require jigsaws, nailguns, $500 and 15 hours, but nothing short of that is a satisfactory use of his time.  (Cue more whining when I turn down these proposals.)  THIS ALSO GETS TO ME.
spiffed up and ready for their school holiday program.
 These phases of my sweet boys have left me feeling in over my head, incompetent, frustrated, and downright sad.  There have been some tense times in our house.  Nate refers to my interactions with S as Mexican standoffs because we both dig in our heels so stubbornly.  And he is pretty much right on with that comparison.  Not good.  Commence hours of negative self talk wherein I inform myself that I am a failure who doesn't know what she's doing, is ruining/scarring her precious gifts of children, etc etc.  Oh, it has been an ugly scene in my head, my friends.
with dad, attempting a science experiment.
 But guess what.  No quitting in motherhood.  So it's time to buck up.  It's time to look at my own behavior and see what I can change to make things better.  Here is where some actor's training would come in handy.  I think if I can act like these negative attitudes don't get to me, then they might rear their ugly heads less often.  If I can make myself smile when I really feel like hiding under the covers of my bed, the mood in the house will lighten.  It's basically a "fake it til you make it" philosophy as applied to parenthood; a conscious effort to see the best in my children instead of the little bumpy, hairy bits.  It's a big-girl-panties realization that all the lectures in the world about "attitudes" won't do a bit of good if I am not modeling the sunny disposition that I would like to see, and using a patient, loving tone of voice to deliver whatever advice or reprimands I deem necessary.  It's a tall order, and I am far from perfecting this new technique, but I am working on it.  And will be for the foreseeable future.  Marathon shoes: on.

I made up a ton of onesies last week, working hard to get my inventory built up.  I was hoping to work on a few other projects while that sold down, but now I have a ton of custom orders lined up.  Remember when I used to make magnets?  I really want to work on those again.  I have missed wielding my tiny paper scissors and making collages.  I desperately want to get back to it.  But the onesie stuff is keeping me too busy.  I don't want to complain; I am happy to have a successful shop.  It's just, you know, I want to cut some paper! Such a cliche thing to lament, but, seriously, there is NOT ENOUGH TIME for all the stuff I want to make and do.  Next school year will be better in that regard, I hope.
Our most recent dinner-time book was The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which we all greatly enjoyed.  Last night we took a rare trip to the movies as a family and saw the movie adaptation.  We liked it.  I would recommend them both. 

1 comment:

Martin K. said...

You will make it through! To help, here is a story about my negativity as a boy.

I went through a long phase of pointing out the negative in things when I was around 12. I had no idea I was doing it, but I spent an hour after school each day with a kid I carpooled with and one day he took me to task for talking about what I hated all the time.

I am not a negative person, but I think I was fascinated by all of the bad things that I could see, but no one ever talked about or acknowledged. I brought up the negative partly because I thought I was the only person who noticed it and wanted to share my keen insight and partly because it was interesting exploring the total picture (positive and negative) and gain a better understanding than commercials on TV and positive thinking adults communicated with me.

I consider myself an optimist, but I am also a skeptic. I believe that things can be good, but I don't want to just pretend that they are. Maybe Simon is the way.

When we visited you guys last Simon and I were talking Pokemon (which you KNOW he is super positive about) and he was talking about how they slit the game in to two versions. I was talking about how they do it to encourage people to play and trade with each other. He agreed, but also added that he thinks they do it to sell more games. He's right, that is exactly why they do it. Mamma didn't raise no fool!