Saturday, September 21, 2013

playground woes

We have all experienced the heartache of exclusion.  I've always told myself,  I don't need them, I didn't want to be friends with them anyway.  Weak words that give me little comfort.  But when it happens to my son I honestly don't know what to tell him.  My son is outgoing and friendly, but he is 4 so his friendly invitation for others to join him to play are sometimes snubbed, ignored or rudely responded to.  I've seen other 3 and 4 year olds scream NO in his face, push him away, tell him he can't be where they are playing and one time he was punched in the eye just for saying Hi.  (That time I was actually hysterical and completely embarrassed myself, my sister, my son and the mother of the hitter.)  Most of the time I don't say anything and just redirect my son to another kid or another area.  Almost always the child he is speaking to is shy or distracted and doesn't even realize.  But my irrational fear is that he will lose his gentle, friendly happy spirit even though he always seems unfazed.

Two day ago we were at a playground and he tried to join a group of kids his age, first he asked if they would like to play his game 'Ninjas' and they ignored him.  He persisted and asked their names and told them his, he was still ignored.  He asked them what they were playing.  They all still ignored him.  As the group of four year olds stood there in silence for a few moments, one girl instructed the other two boys to "walk away slowly and act normal."   I am heartbroken again, I want to scream.  But she is only 4 and Cleary doesn't even seem to mind, so I keep my calm and play Ninjas with Cleary.  We went to the playground again the next day and he quickly made a friend as he was not phased in the least by rudeness from the day before, I'm not even sure he noticed.  He comes home from school and tells me sadly of the friends who won't play with him but excited about the fun he has had with the friends who want to play.  He is resilient, I have to keep telling myself this because I have no other answer.

I have been searching for over a year for peace on this subject, I know there has to be an answer.  I have asked all of my friends, what would you do?  What do you say to your child who is hurt because another kid won't play with him?  And then I remembered this...

"I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers." Kahlil Gibran

So, I hope to be kind and inclusive.  I strive to be more friendly and inviting.  I will encourage my children to be kind and friendly.  They will have plenty of opportunities to learn from the unkind.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let me introduce you to my doll family!

These are a few of the first Naptown Boys.  Well, I thought they were all boys...

Shephard and Clover, the two on the left still live here.

The guy on the far left is Shephard, the very first waldorf doll made by me.

Shephard looks like this now.  (he's always naked)

I was so proud of Shephard, I knew I wanted to make 100 more.  Is he perfect?  No, certainly not.  Has that stopped him from being desperately loved?  Again, No.

I really wanted his eyes to be perfectly round, perfectly even.  After my 5th or 6th attempt I settled with close enough.  Shephard was handed over to my son who was anxious to meet him and given a huge chocolate milk kiss right on the forehead.  I will never forget that kiss!

Shephards hair was suppose to be long and messy, but I cut all of the yarn into strands and half way through realized I wasn't going to have enough yarn.   So I cut the yarn in half, it still wasn't enough so I had to take some out and cut it in half and put the two strands back in.  He ended up with long shaggy hair in the front and short in the back.  At least it's not a mullet right?

The pattern I bought did not explain how how to turn the rectangle of fabric into shoulders and arms.  I decided square must be right.  He is wrinkly, he is lumpy, he is messy.  He has sloppy stitching all over and mistakes galore.  Is he perfect?  Actually yes, I guess he is.

So lets move on to doll number two... (the guy up there in the brown shirt) poor guy sat on a shelf in my studio for a year.  I was so sad about his short squatty forehead.  I couldn't believe I would make a doll that looked so weird... especially after I had just made one so perfect.  I finally had just right round eyes and the shoulders nice and tidy, but he absolutely didn't have any forehead at all!  Who could ever love a doll like that.

I ended up taking out his perfectly round eyes and making them smaller to help the forehead grow, so he has a little scar from that.  I tried at least 3 different types of hair and moved his hairline up as much as I could, and then he became Clover.  Our very first girl!

See his... um, her neat shoulders compared to Shephard?  She's still not perfect (she's lumpy and bumpy and not stuffed enough, her arms are too fat and hands too small, she has wrinkles in her forehead and it's still too short), but we love her!
Shephard is a whopping 22" and Clover is 18" but I was aiming for 16"!

 Now I must introduce you to Nickel, the absolutely most loved doll in our house.  He was made for my nephew but stollen straight off my sewing table by my son.  He was never even finished.  No belly button or leg seams, poor guy.

Now, I was absolutely positive that Nickel was perfect in every single way when I first made him, nice shoulders, neater stitching.  Round eyes on the very first (okay, maybe second) try!  But looking back, on this doll that I made over two years ago, I see so many things that I would 'fix' because he is full of mistakes. 

These were my first dolls, I was learning.  Do I strive for perfection with every doll I make, as a doll maker?  Yes! ... is what you expect me to say, but let me put it this way instead.  
I will be as perfect as I have gotten.

I tried to get a group shot of our doll family, but little man said "me have all off them!" 

If you are making your first doll, just remember wether every stitch is perfect or not they will still be full of magic in you child's eyes. 

We have one more doll joining our family this week and  I will share with you how much difference a few years of practice makes!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Romy the Butterfly girl.

Romy is a 8.5" tall Napling Butterfly.  She is made of hand dyed organic wool interlock.  She is stuffed with eco wool.  Her face is made of cotton and the details on her face and wings are embroidered with cotton floss.  Romy comes with two dresses.  The floral dress has a removable black ribbon and black lace up boots.  She also has a white skirt that comes with a simple pink ribbon that is wrapped around and tied as a shirt.

Romy is a wonderful storyteller. She can talk and talk and talk... sometimes she doesn't even realize that there is no-one around to hear her story. But, believe me when I say you don't want to miss her tales!