Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wild child

My thoughts have been preoccupied with Sage lately. Namely, how he's doing in kindergarten. Every day I drop him off I pray that he will be good but every day when I pick him up I hear that he was "hyper," or "wild" or "all over the place." Yep, I think, that's Sage. That's pretty much how he's always been.

He stopped taking naps when he was about 12 months old. For a while I tried to institute "quiet time" where he would stay in his room and "rest." Sage does not rest. Instead he would throw all his stuffed animals on the floor and "swim" in them. Sometimes he would read books. By "read" I mean he would take every single book off the bookshelf, study the pictures for a while, dissect the pop-up books, then use them as "skates" and go "book skating" across the carpet. Sometimes he would stack them and use them as steps and climb the furniture.

He's five now and and he's still as hyper as ever. Every morning he wakes up around 7:00 and comes in our room. If I'm lucky, he'll crawl in bed beside me and snuggle for a minute or two, which is nice, until I get accidentally kneed in the gut or elbowed in the boob. Usually though he's yelling, "Breakfast! I want breakfast please! I said PLEASE! Oatmeal. I want oatmeal. No. Waffles. I want waffles. How 'bout oatmeal and waffles? Does that sound good? Mom, wake up! I want breakfast!"

And for the rest of the day the kid does not shut up. If he's watching a cartoon he will narrate it for you. If we're at the store he will comment on every. single. item. that catches his eye. Loudly, mind you. If he's playing with toys he will have an entire dialog going among his characters, all in their own goofy voices acting out some wild scenario where eventually everyone "gets dead." If left to his own devices with no toys or t.v., he'll invent some elaborate story where he's a pirate or a secret agent or a superhero, usually recruiting Kali to be his sidekick and making me and Erik the bad guys.

The kid barrels through life nonstop. He goes to bed at 8:30, yet comes out of his room 5 or 6 times during the night with a new excuse every time. "I'm thirsty" or "I have to pee" or "I want to go to Disneyland" or "I lost my sticker that I got in school because it fell in the dirt and I tried to wash it off but it got all soggy so I put it in my pocket but now I think it's gooonnne!". . . cue dramatic tears.

Yeah, he's a handful, but he's also pretty hilarious sometimes. And he can be incredibly sweet too. Some would say his behavior is typical for a 5 year old boy. Some would say he's the extreme. On the second day of kindergarten his teacher told me she thought he was eating too much sugar because he was acting "wild" in the afternoons (I checked, he hadn't eaten anything sugary at all). Since then, every day when I go to pick him up I pray to hear that he was "good." But every day I hear stuff like "he won't sit on the carpet during story time" or "he squirms all over his seat during table time" or "he was climbing a pole during snack time" or scenarios like this:

They have a program called PeaceBuilders where they all pledge to care for one another and they sing a song. Sage HATES the song. He says it's "creepy" and it makes him "feel weird." When they sing it he covers his ears and shakes his head violently and yells, "I don't want to be a PeaceBuilder!" What the hell? The teachers must think his parents are war mongering Republicans or something.

Suddenly, I'm the mom of that kid. I was a teacher for 6 years and it's strange for me to be on this side of the parent/teacher dynamic. I know that type of kid. The one that requires more energy and attention than all the others. The one the teachers roll their eyes over in the teachers lounge. The one the parents whisper about. The one the kids love to laugh at but then easily turn against and tattle on. If this is what it's like his first month of kindergarten, what will it be like when he's a teenager?

I'd be worried if not for the fact that he's actually pretty good at home. I'd chalk it up to some weird response to having a new sibling in the house, but he's so loving toward McKenna I just don't see it. Plus, she's so easy-going that very little attention has been diverted from him. I thought maybe it was his low blood sugar acting up so I tweaked his diet and removed anything artificial or processed. Nothing. He's still wild after carrots and hardboiled eggs.

I guess I'm just looking for anything other than my parenting as the cause for his inability to hack it in the real world. Did I pay too much attention to him, or not enough? Did I buy him too many treats? Let him stay up past nine too many times? Do I encourage his creativity too much? Not enough?

Maybe it's hereditary. My mom tells me she spent a few afternoons in the principal's office because of my brother. Erik says his elementary years were similar - teachers had him pegged as a "bad" kid and the label followed him into subsequent classrooms. And just like Sage, he could never see what he was doing that was so wrong.

Sage is most definitely not a bad kid. Even his teacher would say that he's not malicious in his behavior, just hyper. If you ask him, he'll tell you that he loves kindergarten. At Back to School night the kids ran up to him and said hi, so I don't think he's annoying them too much. I guess I'll see. I've been asked to observe him in class on Monday, it's that bad. Sage, of course, is very excited about this. Wonderful.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Girls! Girls! Girls!

My blogging has slacked recently because if I'm not carting Sage to and from kindergarten, I'm busy being McKenna's personal milk machine. For the most part though, life has been easy. Sage loves his "lil sis" and she adores her "big bro."

I love having a girl. Don't get me wrong, I love my boy too. I enjoy dinosaurs and pirates as much as the next mom, but I'm looking forward to venturing into the girl world. I can't wait to put McKenna's hair in little pigtails with those plastic Goody barettes (I'm lucky if Sage lets me get a comb near his) . I'm excited about doing all those mother/daughter things like shopping and sharing nail polish and necklaces.

And then when she's older, shopping for stuff like makeup and prom dresses. Maybe she'll want to wear mine?

It was vintage then, it'll be almost an antique by the time she's ready for it. Speaking of vintage dresses, I had a bit of girlie inspiration in my sewing room this weekend and made these little girl outfits with some vintage fabric I'd been holding on to:

Those are size 2T and 4T. The fabric is from the 70s and has little girls blowing bubbles, playing piano, and taking care of kittens.

These are little schoolgirl-themed sundresses, size 12 months and 2T:

and I made two of this outfit, one is 12-18 months and the other is 18-24 months:

They'll all be up on the website soon. I made them in bigger sizes so I'm not tempted to keep them all for McKenna. There's plenty of time (and fabric) to build her a kokoleo wardrobe, but for now I need to save up money for diapers. . . and Goody barettes, and nail polish, and prom dresses!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thrift and Ye Shall Find

I haven't been able to go on any yard sale excursions lately. Newborn babies + strangers old junk just don't mix well. The last good yard sale I went to happened to also be the day I went into labor (luckily though, not until I got home.) Maybe the excitement of the finding the yard sale score of the summer spurred my little one to come into the world early?

It all started when I got the big monster order mentioned in my last blog post. Unfortunately I was out of stuffing and my nearest stuffing supplier is in Sherman Oaks. So on August 18th (I'll never forget this date) my mom and I headed out on a stuffing run. Since it was a Saturday morning, I checked Craigslist and mapped out a couple yard sales to stop at along the way.

Guess what the first sale had? A half a bag of polyester stuffing! Score! Not much, but enough to fill a monster. Then, at the yard sale next door I found a full bag of stuffing! I held it up and said, "Hey mom, look!" and the lady who was having the sale said, "Do you need stuffing?" You can have that for free. In fact, here's two more unopened cases, take it all!" 32 bags in all - Sweet! Erik didn't even grumble when I brought these huge boxes home to take up space in our garage because he knows how quickly I go through stuffing. With all the personalized pillows, decorative pillows, and friendly monsters I make, it will all be gone by Christmas.

I'm convinced that if I want something badly enough, I will find it at a yard sale or thrift store. My friends joke that I've got some magical thrifty mojo working for me. Here are a few other recent scores:

This lamp from Ikea:

It retails for $40 . I know because I'd been stalking it for months. I got it for $5 at a yard sale in Toluca Lake.

Elsewhere in the house, we needed backless barstools for this weird bar/nook area of our kitchen. Countless web searches and trips to Ikea and Target yielded nothing and then one day I found these listed on Craigslist - 2 for $20.

For outside, we had gotten one of those above ground pools and were using a step stool to get in it because I didn't want to shell out $50+ for the ladder. Lo and behold, I found one at a yard sale for a mere $5.

And this maternity shirt - I saw it at target for $25, but didn't get it because it fit kinda weird. When I saw it again a few weeks later for 50 cents at a yard sale, I bought it. After a little nip/tucking on the sewing machine it fit fine and became one of my favorite shirts of the summer.

Also, there's this Baby Bjorn carrier, originally priced at $94.00 (craziness!). I got it for $1 at a Burbank yard sale, good as new.

I could go on, but I'll stop lest you think I'm a cheapskate. Does seeking out bargains make me cheap? Then so be it. Unless it's a one-of-a-kind like art or handmade clothes and jewelry, I hate paying full price. And I love that little adrenaline rush that comes when something I've been wanting forever falls into my lap for a fraction of the price that other people pay.

Do you like deals too? Well, since you took the time to read this entire post, I have a deal for you. You can type "I love kokoleo" in the voucher area at checkout and receive 15% off anything on the kokoleo website (excluding personalized commissions). It's good through 2008.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just another Monster Monday

It seems I've abandoned my "Made by Monday" posts. Oh well, how about I just blog about the stuff I make as I make it? There's less pressure that way. Coincidentally, today is Monday and look what I made:

Don't look for them on the website though, they are currently under the supervision of the U.S. Postal Service as they travel to their new home at the Children's Museum of Portsmouth, Virginia. A few weeks ago I got an order for six of my monsters. I was very excited that someone on the other side of the country liked my monsters enough to order six of them, but also a bit perplexed as to what they planned to do with all those monsters. So I asked. Ha! Only a small-time indie designer would wonder such a thing -- You really like my stuff? Really? Enough to order a whole bunch of them? Really? Wow. Can I ask why? Here was the reply I got from Helen, the Education Coordinator of the museum:

Hello KB,
And welcome to your new baby girl! How exciting it is ushering in our newest citizens of the planet! We actually stumbled across your website in our search for prop items. Your little folks were so colorful and so cute we couldn't pass them up. The program we have developed is called Stuffee and the Aweful Icky-Yuckies. It is a program being funded by a grant through the Virginia Department of Health about the spreading of germs. Obviously, by the title, it is geared towards pre-school aged children. Your monsters will be the star "germs" Icky and Yucky. We don't have anything online about them yet but we will. Our website is
Thanks for all of your help. We look forward to our new "friends".

How cool is that? The kokoleo studio was all abuzz these last few weeks with the monsters (or Germs, as they now prefer to be called) bragging about how they were leaving Hollywood forevah! and following their dreams to become big-time celebrities in Portsmouth. Bon Voyage snaggle-toothed ones! Have fun!


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