Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knitting up a party

Glad tidings . . . I've finished my knitting gifts, satisfied the hard-to-find yearnings for friends and family, baked the last batch of cookies and breads for exchanges, and settled in for the heart of the holiday.

Today I'm leaving work a bit early to attend the Christmas party for my knitting circle. I call it "my" knitting circle even though my job now precludes regular attendance. I love the ROCKers - such a delightful mix of personalities that meld beautifully together. I have my treat to warm up in the Nature Center kitchen, a knitting project in hand, and I'm on my way!

The St. Luke's Presbyterian Church Rockers (Reaching Out Through Crocheting and Knitting) has a mission of creating layettes for stillborns through Share Atlanta, a wonderful grassroots bereavement organization that does wonderful work for parents of children who don't come home from the hospital. That's awfully hard to say, let alone experience. We create luscious, soft blankets, hats, and booties in a range of sizes, from premature to full term. Nurses wrap the babies in these hand-knit gifts and give parents time to hold their child and say good-bye. The parents keep the sets as a keepsake. I try to make one set each month . . . our circle has made hundreds of sets in the past two years.

The Einstein Coat is still in progress - the lower section is half finished. I want to finish it pretty soon because it already feels heavy and warm. I added a few inches to the length so it'll hit me mid-thigh. Since designer Sally Melville cautioned that the coat lengthens with wear, I hope it'll eventually come to just above the knee.

One of my many pleasures is teaching phonics to preschoolers. My business, Preschool Phonics, means I get to stay in the preschool world long after my own children have moved on to tween and teendom. After six years, my little "graduates" number more than 220, which means I run into familiar faces at the grocery store, elementary school, music studio, pool, and everywhere in Dunwoody we roam. They love to tell me what they're reading. Introducing them to phonics concepts is the core of the classes, but nurturing excitement about reading is equally important. It's so much fun to see those light bulbs click on.

Then, of course, comes a time when they don't recognize me anymore. Hey - three years is a long time to a seven-year-old! That happened at my son's most recent Boy Scout meeting, a Court of Honor when he was recognized for completing 100+ service hours and receiving the Presidential Service Award (wow). A little Phonics friend was there, watching his own brother advance in rank. M didn't recognize me at all! Ah, well. I have enough memory for both of us.

Making Do Pointer #4
School - whether public or private - will not meet all of your child's needs. Since my children were in preschool, we've had "Mom School" during the summer. I've focused on content that was inadequate or not mastered so that my children could be comfortable with each subject. I've seen many discussions about the concept of summer school in the home - that kids need time off, that summer should be carefree. An hour in the morning isn't a burden for my children, and it's such a habit for them that they are completely comfortable with the lessons. Part of Mom School is also reading for pleasure. I want to make sure, particularly as my kids get older, that t hey continue to read books they enjoy because required reading takes over so much of their time in the upper grades during the school year.

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