“I hope this year isn’t just gonna be two thousand-dicks.”

Happy New Year! We are off to a pretty decent start in the Xyerra-Taber household. Jared offered to make a special New Year’s brunch for us this morning & asked what I wanted. I asked if bread pudding qualified as a breakfast food, or if it is strictly for dessert. Jared said, “You’re the mom. If you say bread pudding is a breakfast food, it’s a breakfast food.” I was envisioning your typical French bread pudding with raisins or something, maybe a little whipped cream if we wanted to get extra-fancy. But Jared made chocolate bread pudding! It was one of the most chocolate-y things I have ever eaten. Ramona was thrilled because she almost never gets sweets.

Of course, she turned her sugar high into a series of ridiculous tantrums over things like Daddy not wanting to spend all morning laying in bed reading books with her, Mommy cleaning up the blocks she had dumped all over the floor, Daddy suggesting that she not lick the dustpan, etc. I calmed her down with some tickling & let her drape clean cloth diapers all over me until she was happy again, & then we took her for a walk. Unfortunately, all of our usual destinations were closed for New Year’s Day, so it was just a long walk punctuated by Ramona asking, “Where are we going?” every five seconds. (Though, if there is anything cuter than a three-year-old saying “Massachusetts,” I haven’t seen it.) When we couldn’t provide an answer, she laid down on the sidewalk & insisted on being carried. & this is why I still take the stroller everywhere I go, even though she’s three & clearly capable of walking on her own.

Let’s talk resolutions. I always have several. This year is a bit of a question mark because we may be leaving Lawrence this summer after Jared defends his dissertation. Then again, maybe he will get a job in the area & we’ll stay put. We’ve been looking at moving away every summer since Ramona was born, so I’m getting sick of trying to plan around this eventuality that never seems to transpire.

Anyway. 1) Potty-train Ramona. She’s three. She likes to wear underpants & she is obsessed with putting stickers on her incentive chart, but if we suggest that she sit on the potty, she acts like we’re trying to sacrifice her to a volcano. But I really want to get her at least day-trained before she is four.

2) Wear something I made myself everyday. This should be a pretty easy one. It’s a rare day that I manage to put together an entire outfit of RTW clothing. Today I am wearing a t-shirt & underpants I made myself, & I wore my handmade winter coat (& brought my Supertote, of course) when we went on our family walk.

3) Post photos on Instagram? I don’t know. I am a little iffy on this one. I used Instagram a lot in November & then I fell off the wagon, mostly because I am still baffled by my iPhone. But I have slowed down on taking pictures of Ramona now that she is an actual kid that runs around & never stays put for two seconds, & I’d like to change that at least a little.

4) Get up at 6:30am everyday (maybe excepting weekends–I haven’t decided). Ramona usually gets up at 7:30am & I find that I feel a lot happier & more calm throughout the day if I get a little time for myself in the morning before she’s up.

5) Sew one thing a week (on average). Not necessarily a garment. Obviously I make other things too–quilts, bags, curtains, etc. I finished cutting & bagging my January projects yesterday. My last project was the Butterick Lisette pajamas. I’m making the long-sleeved long pant version from flannel. I had to cut out the pattern & the fabric. Ramona wanted to dress up in her construction outfit & take the little play tool set I got her up to her room so she could “work on” a random nail sticking out of her wall. She can only access the nail from inside her crib, so she was contained in the crib, I shut the cat out of the room, & I spread my pattern out on the floor & got to making flat pattern adjustments & cutting.

I used to trace patterns off on to Swedish Tracing Paper, which is hardier than pattern tissue, but I really don’t bother anymore. It just adds one more enormous step to the already-enormous steps of cutting out patterns & fabric. Especially with Big 4 patterns, I never buy them unless they’re on sale, so I will sacrifice the $1.99 to just cut the tissue directly.

I realized that my flannel was only 44″ wide. I totally thought it was 60″. I had four & a half yards, but the pattern said I needed six. It took some very careful cutting, & cutting a few pieces on the cross-grain, but I managed to eke it out of four & a half yards. Yay! But it seriously took me four hours to cut the pattern & the fabric. By the time I was done, I was ready to go to sleep, but Ramona was just getting up from her nap. Curses!

Pajama style question: the pattern calls for traditional pajama piping on the cuffs, collar, & placket. I decided to use flat piping, but then I thought flat piping would look dumb on the collar & placket, so I decided not to pipe those parts. but then I thought, maybe I can do flat piping on the cuffs & regular piping on the collar & placket? Would that be weird?

6) Make one mini a week, on average. I really don’t know what I’m going to start with. I’m obsessed with this sleigh bed pattern in one of the miniature-making books I bought for a penny, but I don’t really understand how to cut craft wood with a utility knife. That shit is NOT EASY, & everything I read is just, “Cut the craft wood with a utility knife.” I’m sorry, but apparently I also need Hulk-strength for this? Am I using the wrong kind of knife? I still need to check out the saw attachment on the rotary tool i got for Christmas. Maybe that will help. But first I need to overcome my fear of power tools, so…deep breaths.

7) Be more active. I just had to replace my Fitbit due to a mysterious screen-cracking issue. Not sure why I’m paying for it if I’m not going to make the effort to use it. Plus I am a little bit agoraphobic & it always gets worse when I give in to my natural proclivity to stay in the house.

8) Eat better lunches. Usually I have buttered toast & Instant Breakfast. I know. It’s tricky because I have to eat something that Ramona isn’t going to demand (or something I can make for both of us, & she is really set in her ways with her lunch menu). I would probably have a lot more energy in the afternoons if I made an effort to eat some protein with lunch. But I hate to cook. In the past, I have been okay at making things like pizza (from scratch), tuna casserole, tomato soup & grilled cheese, baked potatoes, etc, but all of that was before I had a child. What is fast, easy, toddler-appropriate, & protein-packed?

9) Don’t waste so much time on the internet. If I don’t watch myself, I can fall down crazy rabbit holes of Reductress & Hard Times articles for like an hour at a stretch. I’m in a few FB communities where I go to take a quick peek, & when I look up again, I have a three-foot beard & apes have subjugated the human race. & then I wonder where my free time goes.

10) Read a lot, keep up with my trusty five-year diary (now in its seventh year! Yes, I filled one & bought another), make the bed everyday, blah blah blah. You know, the “stay human” stuff of life.

PS–I keep forgetting my pledge to use proper capitalization here. I’ll work on that too.

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.

6 thoughts on ““I hope this year isn’t just gonna be two thousand-dicks.”

  1. Lunches are something I finally started to get right this fall. I have to pack on, do these are make ahead options:

    1) black bean or chicken quesadillas
    2) turkey sandwiches
    3) hearty soups (make on the weekend)
    4) the “bowl” concept: grains + roasted vegetables + beans/baked chicken
    5) hummus and vegetables

    1, 2 and 4 are make ahead. On Sunday I cook up several cups of rice/barley/whatever and roast 2 sheets of vegetables. Getting a rotisserie chicken and chopping it up is good.

    1. Good suggestions. The tricky thing is that obviously it makes the most sense for me to eat lunch at the same time as Ramona, but she can take anywhere from ten minutes to two hours to get through her lunch, so it’s hard to predict when to cook something so it will still be hot when I go to eat it & I won’t have to abandon it halfway through to do her nap routine (which generally takes another twenty minutes). I often wait until she’s in her crib to eat, but that means I’m eating breakfast at 7:30am & sometimes not having lunch until 3pm. By which point I am just completely depleted, physically & mentally, & it’s hard to muster the resources to make a healthy lunch.

  2. LJ did not want to use the potty either. Until my sister bought a bag of M&Ms and started bribing her with them to use the potty when we visited. I’m not a big fan of rewarding kids with sugar, but it did work. We still have some accidents, but she is 100% in underwear now (daytime, naps, nighttime). She also responded really well to excessive praise and applause. An added bonus was getting a standing ovation from her whenever I used the potty as well. 😝

    My resolution is to average 10k steps a day on my Vivofit.

    1. we have been bribing/rewarding her by letting her put stickers on a chart (she is obsessed with this) & we told her she could have a marshmallow every time she used the potty. it has not worked at all. she just begs for stickers & marshmallows but still acts like we’re trying to murder her if we ask her to sit on the potty. there have been a few times that she used the potty by accident, like she just couldn’t hold it anymore when she happened to be sitting on the potty, & even though we were like, “yay! great job, ramona!” she cried & cried. we’ve never made a big deal about accidents, so it’s not like we’ve conditioned her to think that poop & pee only belong in a diaper. i don’t know. she’ll get there eventually. & in the meantime, if we’re not night-training, that means we are putting off the transition to a toddler bed for a little while longer.

      1. To be honest, I think potty training is pretty overrated. I didn’t mind diapers that much, and accidents are sooooooo much worse. I’m glad the training is mostly over (we still have the occasional accident), but I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to make it happen either. Lilian once pooped her pants and then requested M&Ms, so even the blatant bribery takes some time to sink in. :p

        We keep very neutral about accidents, but when we first transitioned to underwear, Lilian would put herself back into pull-ups if she had any accidents. It would be a week of her refusing to put on underwear, then a few days of her refusing, until finally she could just roll with it.

        It also probably helped that she’s in daycare a few days a week. She wanted to be in underwear like her friends. Peer pressure kinda sucks, but it’s also super effective.

        1. yeah, i don’t really mind diapers either. the only negative about them is that we have to wash them (since we use cloth still). but they contain messes & she’s easier to wipe during a diaper change than she is on a potty.

          we give ramona the choice between diapers & underpants. she goes through phases where she only wants one or the other, but none of it moves the needle as far as using the potty. we’ll get there eventually…it’s so weird that this is something people need to learn.

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