Thursday, January 15, 2015

Of Elsa-s and Olivia-s

This year, Halloween was FULL of parenting triumphs. (Late, I know, but worth the telling.)

First, a little backstory:

A couple of months before Halloween, Genevieve, Mom, and I took a trip to the fabric store, and bought a pattern and fabric for an Elsa Dress. Maybe for Halloween, maybe for regular play, maybe both. No biggie.

Genevieve and I talked about Halloween, and I made a few costume suggestions.

"You could be Elsa," I suggested, "Or Olivia the pig-"
"I want to be Olivia," she answered.
"Are you sure?" I asked, "Because Mommy needs time to make your costume."
"I want to be Olivia."

Ah, to be so young and so sure. In any case, as it happened, we got a copy of Gramma Nancy's Animal Hats to review on the podcast. How timely! (CAVEAT, we gave it a very mixed review. Listen here.)

One of the great things about Olivia is that she has a fantastic wardrobe- so we had a lot of material to choose from. So, Genevieve and I looked through the books, and we came up with this for her Olivia the Pig costume:


What you are seeing are: striped pajamas (which I got on SALE! Also, double bonus of just taking off the outer clothes before putting her in bed that night), a red corduroy jumper from Nantucket Brand, and of course, the pig hat that I knitted for her. [Also, rain boots because it rained right up until it was time to go trick-or-treating.]

A month before Halloween, I checked in... Genevieve still wanted to be Olivia.
Two weeks before Halloween, I checked in... Genevieve still wanted to be Olivia.
A week before Halloween, I checked in... Genevieve still wanted to be Olivia.

And then, I made a tactical parenting mistake.

I went on Facebook (on my phone) while Genevieve was snuggling and slowly waking up from her nap. (This can take up to an hour sometimes.) There, Genevieve saw my friend Julie's daughter in the MOST AMAZING Elsa dress. Why so amazing? Because Julie sewed it herself, and it was bomb-diggety. Julie has skills and skillz.

The following exchange will likely not surprise you.

Genevieve: I don't want to be Olivia. I want to be Elsa.
Me: We are going trick-or-treating with the neighbors in ONE HOUR.
Genevieve: I don't want to go.
Me: Hmmm. Well, we don't have an Elsa costume, and we *do* have an Olivia costume.
Genevieve: I don't want to be Olivia. I want to be Elsa.

Now, I could have freaked out, and cried. I could have yelled. I could have canceled Halloween.

Instead, I summoned Andrew to the bedroom, and had him change Genevieve while I took some deep breaths and collected myself in the living room.

I had an epiphany. A straight-up, lightbulb-over-the-head moment. I went back in the bedroom.

"You know," I said to Genevieve, "Olivia is pretty great. *I* bet that Elsa would want to go as Olivia for Halloween. So, how about you go as Elsa, dressed as Olivia?"


SuperAndrew looked at me with wide eyes, and we shared a moment of non-verbal communication done only with eyes and eyebrows that translates to something like this:

I can't believe that worked. (Andrew)
Be cool, or she'll catch on. (Me)

I couldn't believe it worked. THIS was my magic water moment. Less than twenty minutes later one previously-distraught child was now ecstatic. WIN.

*Literally* jumping with joy


The other huge win is that I pre-gamed her trick-or-treat bucket. I bought a big bag of lunchbox pretzels and put a few in her Elmo bucket. She trick-or-treated, I let her eat the pretzels, and MAGICALLY when she went to bed, all the forbidden candy turned into pretzels. You would have thought Genevieve won the lottery she was *so* happy. PRETZELS FOR ALL!

And now, the obligatory aging sequence. Brace yourselves.

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2014
Fun fact: Our pumpkin looked like grumpy cat a week later, and Mom got a picture. (I'm just so proud that Mom knows about grumpy cat.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

A little knitting

Mom has been knitting tube socks for Genevieve since she was just a SharkBean.  It's a very simple tube sock.


You don’t actually have to buy the pattern, we give it away (verbally) in Episode 258, towards the beginning of the episode.


We've gotten loads of requests to write it up, and write it up I have. Every cent we make on this pattern (priced at $1) will go directly into Genevieve’s adventure account. She would thank you for that, but she’s busy (still) freezing Arendelle at the moment.



** A fun variation- the hat-top toe from Lara Neel's (FREE) Fork in the Road socks. (Pictured above)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Under the Mistletoe

This year, Genevieve was crazy excited about Christmas. I don't know how it started, but a week before thanksgiving, she started asking about Christmas- specifically, the tree.

"Our" tiny tree- borrowed from Mom's house

"First we go to Thanksgiving at Auntie Laura's house, THEN we set up the tree," I explained (over and over again, like one does with kids her age), "Christmas doesn't start until AFTER Thanksgiving."

SuperAndrew manfully set up the half-tree (phenomenal if you have dogs, small children, or both in our case) the weekend following Thanksgiving, and per German tradition, it was decorated on Christmas Eve. (Certainly not because we waited until the last minute. German tradition is the story and we are sticking to it.)

[In case you're looking to buy one, Mom says that she bought it at Michael's ONE MILLION years ago. This one is the closest one I've seen online.]

Genevieve directed the application of the decorations, which consisted of sheep, Star Trek ships, and of course, Frozen Ornaments (courtesy of Auntie Laura, who loves Genevieve all the way to the moon and back).

Anna, Genevieve's favorite

Elsa, normally played by Andrew
Olaf, who loves warm hugs

Of course, we have a few fake Mistletoe Balls (because real mistletoe is VERY TOXIC), which are normally placed strategically around the house for maximum surprise kiss-age, which SuperAndrew keeps with the ornaments.

Genevieve, being a toddler, insisted on hanging ALL THREE of them on the Christmas tree. In hopes of moving the mistletoe to a more... high traffic area (rather than under the tree), I explained that when someone is standing under the mistletoe, you have to give them a kiss.

[OBLIGATORY PARENTING BIT: Yes, we are teaching her about consent. Yes, we are teaching her that she doesn't have to hug or kiss anyone she doesn't want to.]

Every ten or fifteen minutes following that conversation, a little voice would call out, "I'm under the mistletoooooooe!", and it was a RACE to get to be the one who kissed Genevieve first.

(The best part of this is that- since the tree is still up, we will still periodically hear the call of "I'm under the mistletoooooooe!" It is So. Great.)

It was one of those evenings where having a toddler in the house made the holiday MUCH more fun.
And definitely more kissy.

... And then, it was Christmas morning. Genevieve got eight million small gifts (we don't do Santa here**, just presents from people who love her).

"Cover me in the snow!"

Gopher grin!

The cold never bothered her anyway
When all the holiday dust had settled, and we were all snuggly in our fuzzy pajamas, I asked Genevieve what her favorite part of Christmas was.

Instead of listing off a favorite new toy, or that we let her eat a sugar-loaded breakfast (normally, COMPLETELY verboten in our house), she floored me in that way that only a toddler can.

"Spending time with people I love," she said.

My heart grew three sizes. File this one under "things we are doing right".

** Speaking of consent and parenting things, we approached the Santa Situation by reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas! first, and getting across the message of Christmas that way. I'm not comfortable telling Genevieve that it's okay for a stranger to come into our house. KidBrotherSam and I weren't raised with Santa; we celebrated family and presents. Also, chocolate advent calendars. Your holiday mileage may vary.