no preschool, yes crazy pants

i’m so stoked i get a real weekend this week! jared was out of town last weekend, so my week went straight from full-time toddler care to…full-time toddler care all weekend to…full-time toddler care all this week. i am zonked.

i enrolled ramona in a toddler art class in october, & she has been talking about it ever since. recently, at the fabric store, she was picking up skeins of embroidery floss & using them to pretend to paint on bolts of white muslin, saying, “i’m painting with the colors!” it was just like when she painted for real on the easels at art class. so i decided to go ahead & enroll her again.

she had her first class yesterday & she LOVED it. the instructor provides old shirts for the kids to use as smocks, if the parents are worried about stains (i am not), & when ramona saw one kid being changed out of her regular shirt & into a smock shirt, she insisted on taking her shirt off too. but she wasn’t terribly interested in wearing a smock. so she spent the entire class topless & got paint all over her belly, which was beyond adorable.

she painted more than twice as many pieces of art as any other kid in the class & experimented with every single art station. (there were easels, balloon painting, paint-dripping, clay, watercolors & salt, & toy trucks dipped in paint to make a track.) what’s more, she interacted in a friendly way with the other kids! usually she is really shy & retiring with other kids, but at art class & the last time i took her to toddler gym, she did a really good job mixing with other kids & holding her own when other kids tried to push her around.

at the end of art class, there’s a physical activity element to help the kids work off their energy & give the paintings a chance to dry. it’s always something different & this time it was a parachute (which i LOVED when i was little). the last time ramona took the art class, she was about 23 months old & did not participate in the activities like the other kids did. she would wander off to the side of the room & dance around in front of the mirror, or try to get out other toys (balls or hula hoops), or just try to leave the room. but this time (five or six months later), she was really into the activities & for the first time ever, she followed directions given by an adult to whom she was not related!

i was really thrilled by this because preschool has been a hot topic among the various toddler parents i know. everyone is agonizing over it & going on & on about the supposed benefits: kids learn how to get along with each other, listen to adults other than their parents, learn independence & language skills, etc. i had mainly been worried that ramona is so freaked out by other kids & does not pay a lick of attention to any adult besides me & jared. but in the last week, i think she showed me that these were things that she just needed to mature into.

& of course, i am not remotely concerned about her language skills. she’s really into butterflies right now & i overheard her in the living room last night looking at one of her butterfly books & saying, “one chrysalis, two chrysalises, three chrysalises, four chrysalises…”. this morning she strolled into the kitchen & announced, “butterflies have taste buds in their feet.”

the bad thing about art class is that it amped her up so much, she couldn’t nap after. i went in a few times to try to settle her down, & she just kept saying, “i want to paint with the colors again!” she did have some quiet (not napping) time in her crib, which i used to cut out fabric for a muslin of the vogue 1411 pants. i bought some black-on-black floral ponte de roma from mood to make the final pants, but i was nervous to just cut right into it without testing the pattern first. i went to the indie fabric shop to look for appropriate fabric for a wearable muslin: it had to have moderate stretch & be generally bottom-weight, but i also wanted something non-hideous that i would wear if the pants came out okay, but not too expensive if it was a total fail.

i couldn’t find anything that fit the bill & figured i’d have to make the trek out to hancock for one of their “spot the bolt” remnant sales. i was putting it off because they have tons of fold-over elastic right now & i was worried i wouldn’t be able to stop myself from BUYING IT ALL.

but then i remembered that i had some black stretch denim in my stash earmarked for a jacket i never got around to making. perfect!

i learned recently that some people don’t like black denim & think it’s tacky & dated. who are these people? black denim is a classic! more for me, i guess.

so i spent ramona’s quiet time cutting it out, & it was such a pain in the ass because i was tracing. god, i hate tracing. but since it was for what is technically a muslin, i didn’t want to cut into the pattern in case alterations are necessary. i forget how many pattern pieces there are to these pants. more than a dozen, for sure. lots of crazy seaming. even jared, who knows nothing about sewing, was like, “wow, those pants have a lot of pattern pieces.”

for a while, i was having recurring dreams in which jared & i broke up. i don’t know why. but in one dream, we broke up while he was a contestant on “project runway,” & i was so pissed because, you know, he finally gets into sewing & has some clue what i’m talking about when i used words like “muslin” or “seam allowance,” & then we break up? unjust. in any case, we are not actually breaking up. i have no idea what all those dreams were about.

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.

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