on walking & learning to sew

a bunch of the kids from ramona’s playgroup are doing a gymnastics class this summer. it’s for kids 18 months to two years, & supposedly focuses on skills like running, jumping, rolling, learning to share, & taking direction from an adult that is not the kid’s parent. i’m not a huge fan of structured activities for ramona, but the truth is that i am not exactly super-active running-&-jumping mom. if there’s one area where we could use a little outside help, that would be it. i can read to her all day long, but i only have about ten minutes of active play time in me at the playground or whatever before i have to go sit down. the magic of all my physical disabilities & whatnot.

but! even though ramona turns 18 months three days before the class starts, she can’t really join in because she’s still not walking. let alone jumping or running. hopefully she’ll be doing that stuff by the time the class is over (it runs until early august & i am REALLY hoping she will learn to walk by mid-july, at the latest, which is when she will be officially, gestationally 18 months old), but there’s no point in shelling out money for a class where she won’t be able to do most of the activities. though it would be interesting to see if she can take direction from a non-parent adult. i’m not totally convinced she takes direction from her actual parents. any time she actually does what we ask her to do, i always assume it’s just a funny coincidence.

also? i think she’s too young to share. sometimes i worry that i’m not really that great of a parent because i really let ramona do almost anything she wants, as long as it’s not dangerous. people get so upset with their little kids for being loud, crying in public, taking toys away from other kids, etc…obviously i don’t love any of that stuff, but…it’s babies being babies, right? i’d make myself crazy trying to control that stuff. it would be like getting upset with her for being in diapers. or not having all of her teeth yet.

i don’t know. maybe i’m too permissive. maybe she’s capable of listening more than i think she is.

in order to get ramona to walk, we have been taking her out with a walker a lot recently. the other day, she walked an entire mile with her walker! jared mapped her route when we got home. she crossed streets & everyone we passed just about lose their minds admiring the cute baby slowly toddling along. (& probably a few people wanted to murder us for letting the cute baby SLOWLY toddle along.) so now we do that a lot, though she hasn’t wanted to walk that far again. a couple of days ago, i wanted to go to the fabric store to pick up a few notions. so ramona & i headed out. half an hour later, we had managed to cross the street & get about fifteen feet up the next sidewalk. it was 90 degrees out & ramona kept stopping to look around as soon as we were out from under the shade of any trees or buildings. i finally gave up, popped her into the stroller, & walked to the block where the fabric store is located. i took her out again & offered her her walker & she acted like i was murdering her. so…back into the stroller, i got my zippers & craft batting, & back home for us.

yesterday i decided to see if she wanted to walk to the library for story time. the library is even closer to our house than the fabric store. the fabric store is about three & a half blocks away; the library is literally across the street. she tooled along more quickly than she had during the fabric store outing, but after half an hour, we’d still only covered about half our route. the second half involved turning & walking north, & ramona refused. she wanted to keep going west, & proceeded to throw herself down & wail every time i tried to redirect her. so…back into the stroller & off to story time. where ramona’s walker was a SMASHING SUCCESS with all the other kids. emphasis on the smashing. i’m sure all the other parents wanted to murder me for bringing such an enticing new toy into the room. when story time was over, one kid just tried to walk off with it, & her caretakers barely spoke any english, so it was a bit challenging to express that the walker belonged to us & their kid couldn’t just have it. (though we got there in the end.)

ramona is also getting some new teeth (her lower canines), so she’s been waking up at dawn & grumping hard. but she’s also learning new things. she started saying “kitty” the other day. jared taught her to grab his nose & make a honking noise, so now every time she hears the word “honk,” she tries to grab someone’s nose. he also taught her to fist-bump. blah blah blah. kids do cute stuff.

the woman who got me into sewing visited last week. she’s the one who suggested i sew a quilt for the baby when i found out i was pregnant with ramona. she got a job in another town shortly before ramona was born, so we haven’t really seen much of each other in the last year & a half, so she missed the lion’s share of my burgeoning interest in sewing. we walked around the house & i showed her all the things i’ve sewn: quilts, napkins, curtains, etc. she kept saying, “how did you do this?” & “how did you make this?” she asked how i did the quilting on the quilts in the bedroom & i was like, “eh, just basic straight stitching with a walking foot, nothing fancy,” & she was like, “what’s a walking foot?” i showed her my walking foot & she said she’d never seen one before! she’d never heard of a quarter-inch foot!

it made me realize how much i have learned about sewing in such a short period of time. a little more than a year ago, i didn’t even know how to thread a bobbin. i would take the entire bobbin case out of the machine & then spend half an hour trying to fit it back in. (this was on my old machine, with the vertical bobbin case–ugh.) i didn’t know there were different needles for different types of fabric & different feet for different tasks. full disclosure: i was fuzzy on the idea that there even were different kinds of fabric! i knew absolutely nothing.

not that i am some world-famous seamster now, but i never would have guessed that i’d someday be able to sew all the things i’ve been sewing. i really can’t believe how much i’ve learned! it makes me wish that lawrence or kansas city had a skillshare event like the boston skillshare i used to organize (which seems not to exist anymore? very sad) because now i really have a skill i could be sharing! there was almost always some kind of sewing workshop at the boston skillshare, but i never attended them. in part because i was too busy to go to many workshops, being an organizer. but also because being interested in sewing just was not on my radar then. maybe someday when jared, ramona, & i are settled into whatever new town we end up in when jared gets a job, i’ll see about organizing a new skillshare conference & i’ll teach a sewing workshop. it’s been quite a while since i did any collective organizing. it could be fun. right? maybe?

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

10 thoughts on “on walking & learning to sew

  1. I don’t try to rein Emmett in, except to keep him safe. Granted, he’s 8 months old and incapable of understanding “no” at this point. I figure I’ll save my No’s for when they really count — like when he’s trying to touch the hot oven or play with the garbage can.

    He was uninvited to continue in baby yoga because he’s become such a handful. The class isn’t really designed for mobile babies anyway. He would crawl across the room, realize he’d gone too far and then cry about it. He’d steal other kids’ toys. He once bit another baby. Granted, that baby stuck his hand in Em’s mouth, so it’s not like he went out of his way to bite him. But still, not great. He also pulled the leaves off a potted plant. Even so, I was bummed that we were told to go to the tots class (which doesn’t even make sense — that class if for kids up to 6 & Emmett can’t really play independently yet). The two friends I signed up with were allowed to continue, and one of their babies is a better crawler than Emmett is! Anyway, I guess I have an out of control baby and future delinquent on my hands, but I’m still not prepared to start disciplining him.

      1. Honestly, I’m a little proud of him. Like, why shouldn’t he crawl around and explore? I think his incredibly noisy seal bark sound didn’t help either, but good for him anyway. Be noisy, baby! This class was when he was 6-7 months, so I feel like I’m not out of line, parent-wise, for not holding him to high behavioural standards, you know? And the teacher was really nice about it.

        (Sometimes I worry that he’s hyperactive though. [Get a life, paranoid mom.])

        1. eh, i wouldn’t worry too much about hyperactivity or anything. babies have a lot of energy when they’re up & around. it’s very impressive that he’s crawling & standing in his crib already! ramona didn’t start standing in her crib until seriously like two months ago! she wasn’t pulling up at all until she was more than a year old (about eleven months, corrected). she started crawling at about nine months, corrected. of course he wants to move around & explore! go, emmett!

  2. I’m so on of “those moms”, and hooked on semantics before they can really even talk, but I just don’t believe that it’s reasonable to ask any child under whatever age, or maybe even over whatever age, to “share”. “You need to share” means “this could be your thing, and you would have it all the time, except now I’m asking you to give up your thing. in the name of “sharing””. yadda yadda. I know that my two have a distinct advantage in the not-all-about-them-individually arena (don’t worry, I also know they are at plenty of disadvantages. As evidenced by the last 14 months of EI.), but I insist instead that they “take turns”. Which somehow instead, to me at least, means “now, for this moment, this toy belongs to the other baby. it is THEIR turn. And one day (lets be honest, probably in less than 60 seconds), it could again belong to you.”And they get it. They get turns. As in, if they are having a tug of war with some random playgroup child, I can say solemly from across the room “Joey. It’s Henry’s turn. It’s Henrys TURN.”, and she will stop taking, and instead wait expectantly for the tides to turn (yeah, yeah.). So far anyway. Who’s to say if it will still work tomorrow. But I do like the semantics.

    1. yeah, i too am not wild about “sharing”. for the reasons you stated. i like the idea of “taking turns”. i haven’t had to think about this issue too much because i just have the one & she’s pretty chill. she almost never tries to take things from other kids, & when other kids take things from her, she almost always just rolls with it.

      i like that you used “henry” as an example. i seriously know four or five kids named henry, all around ramona’s age. i’m sure you do too, & you live in a completely different state.

      do you also think it’s a bit strange to enroll a kid ramona/joey/ellie’s age so they can “learn to listen to other adults”? i’m not 100% sure i want ramona to listen to other adults just yet. or at least it’s not necessarily a skill i’m going out of my way to cultivate. hmmm.

  3. I know. I really wanted another baby, and for it to be named Henry, but I’m starting to have my doubts…

    I think, based on basic evolution and stories from my mom friends dropping their kids off at YMCA daycare, that children this age (once abandoned by their parents) find another adult to cling to and trust to keep them safe and alive. Not that they wouldn’t be traumatized if their actual mom never came back, but functionally, they’re probably disoriented enough to listen way more to that stranger than they would their actual mom in the safety of their own home. I’m 100% certain this changes at say 2 1/2 (when they might be more inclined to test everyone), but – while I am in full support of toddler gymnastics – I’m not sure it has any impact on the developmental staying alive reaction. Also, now that I think of it, I have one kid who would not follow anyone’s directions (la la la!), and one who would tripod on her head and sob until I came back… I guess maybe they’d learn to somersault?

    1. well, it’s not like the names you picked for the kids you already have are the most unusual in town. (& not that that’s a bad thing!) there’s a kid named ellie in our playgroup. hers is short of elizabeth though. i’ve met a few little kid eleanors. it’s not nearly as common as henry, but it’s not rare. i guess i haven’t met any other baby josephines.

      we def want another kid & have our boy name all ready to go. but if we had another girl, it would be a fight to the death. i warned jared that i am feeling pretty insistent on pippilotta, but i don’t know if that’s true. maybe. ramona & pippilotta? that is adorable & amazing! & there are plenty of nicknames she could use. but it is a little bonkers. jared has already put the kibosh on most of my other favorite girl names (augusta, georgette, etc). oh well. we don’t need to worry about this yet anyway.

      we haven’t left ramona with sitters much, but the reports we’ve gotten indicate that she has been pretty chill with them once she accepted that mom & dad were gone for a while. i know a lot of people with kids our age are already contemplating pre-school & wondering how their kids are going to do in an environment where they have to respond to a non-parental authority. maybe?

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