I crocheted this little guy today.
He’s a little tiny elephant wearing a hat. You can’t tell from the pictures, but I used this sort of sparkly white yarn that I bought last year to make snowflakes. I’d planned to just leave him all white, but Julia wanted him to have a hat like the one in the pattern I was following (He’s Percy the Elephant, and you can make a female version with a little bow on top instead of a hat, if you want. If you crochet.)
He took a while to do, mostly because I’m not really all that experienced crochet-wise, but I enjoy it enough to unravel my mistakes and try all over again, so I think that’s a good sign.
Anyway, yesterday I made this one:
The pattern for Meimei the baby elephant can be found here. I used a multi-hued purpley chenille for the ears and feet, and a soft heathery gray for the body.
Julia loves the two new elephants. I think she has about a thousand stuffed animal elephants. Maybe not quite that many, but it’s a lot. And here I am, adding two more to the collection.
Can’t help it. They’re cute.
I also crocheted a couple of little baby hats, for practice and for any babies that might be coming along anywhere. (NO, not me. I’m all done with that business.)
Speaking of being all done with that business, I’m really enjoying – reveling in, even – my kids at this age.
Sometimes I think back on when they were babies, or toddlers, and I do miss aspects of that. A lot of aspects. But you can’t go backwards.
And I don’t miss diapers. Or having to feed them, and then clean all the excess food out of their hair, off the high chair, off the walls, the table, the floor, and my own entire self. I don’t miss sleeplessness.
I miss all the little milestones. The smallness of them. The little tiny voices.
But I digress. And I become nostalgic.
Right now, there are lots of good things. They are old enough to be responsible about a lot of things. They aren’t always, but their average is good.
They don’t get along all the time, which is fine, and normal, and can be a headache. But when they do get along, when they are doing stuff together without being aware that I’m gazing at them with a goofy look on my face (sort of like those dreamy expressions you’d see as the opening theme song would play for some old tv shows and they’d show an actress and put her name under the image, and she wouldn’t be doing anything, she’d just be LOOKING somewhere slightly away from the camera pointed right at her. I remember being able to mimic all the facial expressions of cast members of various favorite shows. A long time ago. I don’t do it now.
ANYWAY…so my kids.
Alex, as you know, has played baseball since birth, or five years old, somewhere in there. Julia played a year of T-ball when she was five, but has been “doing gymnastics” since age three. I think she loved the physicality of it, but was never interested in the competitive or artistic aspects of it. Suddenly last spring she announced that she wanted to quit gymnastics and play softball now. Now and forever. (And I just noticed after typing “now. Now and forever” that I am still – OH THE HORROR OF IT – pressing the space bar twice after a period. I know, that is not the way to do it. But very old habits die hard, and when I learned to type back in the first half of my sophomore year in high school (ON A TYPEWRITER!!!!), we had to put two spaces after a period, or any other end-of-a-sentence piece of punctuation. And I pride myself on my speedy mad typing skillz. I swear – no disrespect to any of my other high school teachers – that typing was one of THE most useful classes I ever took. My husband never learned to type – he does the ever-so-annoying Two Index Fingers In Search of the Next Key form of typing, and if I’m in the same room when he’s typing something I either offer to type for him or I have to leave the room because slow typing is painful to me.
Probably just like too much space after final punctuation is painful to other people.
But I love my husband, so I don’t slap his fingers or push him out of the way. Because I know he can’t help how he types.
Just like I can’t help but type two spaces after a period. Or an exclamation point! Or a question mark? See? It’s like breathing for me. So please don’t slap at my fingers or push me off a chair.
I digressed again, didn’t I?
My kids. So we let Julia not go back to gymnastics and this fall she started softball.
She’s been part of the picture whenever Bill has taken Alex to a field to practice his hitting or fielding or pitching for the past bunch of years, mainly because I’d be at work and she was too young to stay home alone. But over the years she’s picked up a few things, and she’s always had a good, aggressive swing. (I maintain that she mostly just likes to hit things.) And while softball and baseball have definite differences, like, why use such a huge ball for little girls with little tiny hands, and that crazy underhand pitching, there are plenty of similarities.
So now that Julia’s on a team, Alex is much more likely to ask her if she wants to go play catch or practice hitting – without Bill being involved.
Over the summer, once Julia had said she wanted to play, yes, really really wanted to play, Bill started working with her. He bought some softballs, we sent her to a softball camp for a week, and Bill worked with her on fielding. With his (and Alex’s) coaching and encouragement and, sometimes, frustration, Julia made up her mind one day – and it really was as abrupt as that – to stop being afraid of the ball coming at her. That was it. She just stopped. And that’s huge. Balls hurt when they hit you! Softball, baseball – if it’s thrown or hit hard enough and it hits you, it hurts.
But she’s not afraid.
And she’s so much fun to watch at her games and practices. She is fearless. She is naturally athletic, and she’s so HAPPY to be playing. She beams.
She’s been playing shortstop, and then last weekend she asked her coach if she could try catching. He let her. And she looked like a natural.
I told her after the game that I was so proud of her and she did great, and she told me she was shaking the whole time because she was afraid the bat or a ball would hit her. But she loved it.
And she got to catch again today.
Alex was impressed. He doesn’t get to all of Julia’s games because sometimes his practices or games are at the same time.
I took this picture earlier in the game – Alex was giving Julia advice or feedback on something in between innings.
I love this.
I love their interactions. I love them sharing a love of a sport (or two very closely related sports). I love how kind he is. I love how she is so much more confident and proud of herself.
They are so different in some ways, but they have so much in common, as siblings do without even trying. They drive me crazy at times, and they amaze me all the time. They make me laugh and they make me gaze off, dreamily, like a sap. They are fascinating.
I love these two people.
And I guess I’ll stop here. I’ve rambled all over the place, and while I’ve probably got more to write about, I figure this is plenty for one evening.
Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. (My mom used to say that when she put us to bed. Glad I never really thought that there were such things as bedbugs, and that they really might bite me. I’d have slept in a chair.)