A Sock Monkey Winter
It’s a “Sock Monkey” winter at our house this year! My almost-two-year-old son received this darling knit hat from his Granny for Christmas. Prior to this, my son refused to wear a hat which limited our time playing in the snow. I tried to coax him in many creative and humorous ways but to no avail. I would act goofy wearing my own hat. I offered to let him wear my hat. I tried bribery. I did all but stand on top of my head to convince him that wearing a hat was fun. He was not interested, period. Then along came the “Sock Monkey” hat!
To say that my son loves this hat would be an understatement. He adores this hat. He puts the hat on all by himself. He even wears the hat indoors! This hat is magical, I declare! His enthusiasm led me to learn more about this crazy looking, red-mouthed monkey, called “Sock Monkey.”
Did you know that the Sock Monkey is considered American folk art? Crafty American began making this unusual creature out of socks over 60 years ago. But not just any sock. They used the now patented Red Heel work sock by the Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois. The town in fact is still known as “The Home of the Sock Monkey.” The town even hosts an annual “Sock Monkey Madness Festival.” This coming March will be their 9th festival.
Although Fox River Mills has taken over the Nelson Knitting Mills, you can still make a classic sock monkey from their patented Rockford Red Heel® socks. Fox River even has the instructions on their website. I’ve caught the fever myself and hope to make my son a classic Rockford Red Heel sock monkey soon. Who would have ever thought that the creation of a simple work sock would lead to so many adorable little toys for children? I’ve read that these sock monkeys were first created during the Great Depression. This confirms what my mother has always told me. “Necessity breeds creativity.”
”If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile… But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.”
What a very special weekend we had! On Saturday, we packed everyone in the car and went to the park. This might not sound like a great feat but when you are hauling an 81-year-old woman and a 21 month old, it is quite the task. Aunt Gene, the 81-year-old woman, seemed to really enjoy the fresh air and adventure. She had been stuck in the house all week-long and it was a joy to get her out for a short while. She’s doing so good since moving in with us. I was worried about how we would all adjust to another member of the household but my worries were for nothing. Everyone has adjusted easily and she fits right in. It’s a blessing to be able to have her with us and I love that we are a bigger family now.
At the park, my son refused to slide or swing or anything besides sit on the bench and watch the traffic go by. He was in an odd mood. Not sure why but he simply didn’t want to play at that time. So we didn’t stay long but left there and went to eat at Shoney’s. After that, I took him to a 2 year old’s birthday party where, again, he was not interested in playing. Well, let me back up. He was not interested in bouncing in the bounce house. What he was interested in doing was playing with the pedal tractor and wagon. This little boy is obsessed with tractors and wagons! Of course this might have something do to with his Papaw having a tractor! Well, he was in luck on Saturday! The birthday boy’s Papaw had a real tractor and offered to take us for a ride. We happily accepted! My son was in HEAVEN!!!! LOL It was a good day.
He spent the night with his Papaw and Nana on Saturday night, then I picked him up Sunday morning for church. We tool Aunt Gene to church with us too and she seemed to enjoy that as well. It was a really great weekend!
Here it is Monday morning and time for the rat race! But I will not worry about all the problems ahead of me at work. I will rest my mind on the Lord and know that He will enable me to do good work. I’m so blessed and so thankful that I know the Lord as my personal savior. Without Him I can do nothing. I pray that He will guide me and be with me all day every day. God bless all who happen upon these words. Amen!
If you have ever heard the Hot Potato song by the Wiggles, you surely have never hummed another song. I cannot get this song out of my head. I’ve tried. I’ve listened to other music. I’ve tried singing country music. I’ve tried nursery rhymes. My brain refuses to acknowledge any other tune except “Hot Potato, Hot Potato!” Therefore, I am giving in and letting go. I’m going to sing this song as many times as I possible can for the remainder of the day. I’m using the same strategy as my grandmother used on my uncle when he caught him smoking. She made him smoke until he was sick. He is not a smoker and never has been since that day. I am hoping that I will make my brain “sick” of this song.
Do you think it will work? How do you get those annoying tunes out of your head?
We recently had a pool installed in our back yard and I must say that it is a pure delight. I feel like I am on vacation every time I step out my back door. Having breakfast by the pool on Saturday and Sunday mornings is becoming a habit. Arriving home from work during the week has become a race to see just how quickly I can transform myself and my son into pool attire. I’ve even been know to take a quick dip after my son goes to bed. Yes, we are truly enjoying having our very own pool.
However, my 17 month old son has been struggling with some fear issues when in the pool. I have been patient with him and slowly helping him to feel secure in his life jacket while within my reach. He does really well as long as I am holding him. But the second I let go, he starts crying even though the life jacket is keeping him afloat. I try to keep him entertained so that he will have fun while swimming but it gets so frustrating when all he does is whine and cry the entire time. This was the situation last night in the pool. Finally, I sat him on the step and told him to watch mommy swim. As I was making my way to the other end of the pool (backwards), he boldly stood up; gave me one of those “watch this” smiles; then proceeded to “jump” off the steps into the pool by himself. He didn’t reach for my hands. He didn’t cry. He didn’t whine. He laughed and laughed and laughed.
My son took a leap of faith, literally. I am still in awe of his bravery. Here is a lesson for us all concerning our fears. Make the decision to jump in, feet first, and face them. Believe that you can. Stop thinking about it. Stop whining about it. Stop crying about it and simply jump.
She is the first person I run to for advice. She is the first person I call to share good news (or bad news) with. If I forget the last ingredient in a recipe, yes you guessed it, I call her. I go to her for everything. She is my mother. But sixteen months ago she took on a new and even more important title. She was crowned my son’s “Mamaw”. The relationship that’s growing between her and my son holds more magic in it than all of Disney and MGM put together. It’s better than a weekend full of sappy Lifetime movies mixed in with a little Barney and some Wiggles. My heart leaps almost out of my chest with joy when I see my mother’s face light up brighter than the Fourth-of-July in the simple presence of my son.
Since having “my little miracle”, the relationship between me and my mom has taken a new and better direction. We are closer and relate to each other more than ever before. It’s as if we were just introduced to each other for the first time the day of his birth. Perhaps I am the one who has changed the most, resulting in a deepened and humbled respect for her as a mother and a woman. I am in awe of the absolutely incredible job she did in raising me and my brother. In retrospect, I do not know how she managed at times.
When I was 12 (and my brother was 4), my parents divorced. My mother did not even have her high school diploma at that time, but she was determined to be able to support us on her own. She obtained her G.E.D. and went to nursing school. I remember seeing her studying a lot during that time but she never allowed it to interfere with her role as a mother. She managed to care for us flawlessly (cook, clean, do laundry, etc) and earn excellent grades in unison. She graduated as an L.P.N. within one year (an accelerated program). She went on to have a very successful career in the medical field and we (me & my brother) never lacked for anything. She maintained and re-enforced the value of the family by keeping a respectful relationship with our dad. She attended our school functions. She spent quality time with us. She was everything a mother should be while still devoting a lot of time and energy to her career. If there is some sort of award for “super-mom” out there, this woman deserves it!
Now, it’s her turn to relax and soak up all of the love a toddler has to offer. I am honored to be a part of this. She continues to amaze me with her capacity to love and care. My son is a very lucky boy to have her as his Mamaw. And I am a very lucky woman to have her as my Mom.
“A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.” ~Lois Wyse
And there he goes, onward bound without even as much as a glance backwards at his mommy. At 16 months of age, his desire for independence is already peeking through (to put it mildly). He doesn’t want me to hold his hand or climb the steps with him. No, he wants to do it all by himself. Where is the “dislike” button for this? “Wait for me,” I beg. “Wait for mommy,” I plead to no avail. The strong desire to “do it on his own” has unraveled me a little. I want him to “need” me. I need him to need me. In a sense, I feel like a love-struck teen age girl chasing after the love of her life. He certainly has me wrapped around his little finger just the same.
I don’t have to ask. I know it’s only going to get worse. He’s going to continue to grow and demand more and more independence. He’s going to need me less and less. And my heart is going to break over and over. I thought I knew what being a mother was all about before I became one. I thought being a mother meant giving bottles, changing diapers, cooking dinner, cleaning, doing laundry, saying yes and mostly saying no. I never factored the emotional equation into motherhood. Sure, I always heard the old saying, “when they’re young, they’ll walk on your toes, but when they’re older, they’ll walk on your heart.” I thought I was safe at least until he turned 16.
An article on Parents’ website refers to this as a <a href=”“>”Toddler’s Declaration of Independence”. The article goes on to describe how my son, as a toddler, is attempting to balance “what he wants to do with what he can do,” and how this is an internal battle for him. I had not really considered this aspect of the power struggle and corresponding temper tantrums until now. Although I doubt it will calm my nerves at the onset of these occurrences, it does give me better insight and understanding of how his little brain operates. (Bless his heart!) Seriously, it must be tough trying to remember that he can’t touch the hot cup of coffee but he can touch the cup of juice. There are so many things to learn and understand that of course there are going to be moments of frustration and struggles between parent and child. However, this “declaration of independence” should have come with a warning label, “may cause excessive weeping and/or screaming”. I’m not ready to begin “letting go” at such an early age. But, ready or not, there he goes.
UPDATE: I just read an incredible post about cultivating a kind, gentle voice. It’s funny how often I’m led to just the right post at just the right time. Considering how much my patience has been tested as a direct result of my toddler’s new found independence, I desperately needed to read this!
My dad is an awesome man. He is smart, successful, and highly intelligent. I ask his advise on a daily basis. I love him and I’ve always been proud to call him dad! But I don’t have his genetics. That’s right, I have a separate sperm donor who is not and has never been a part of my life. I know who he is but choose not to have a relationship with him. He is not my dad even though a DNA test would state otherwise. I do not even carry his last name. I have my dad’s last name. Today, as a grown woman, I am very comfortable with this part of my life. But that was not always the case.
I remember, at age 12, when my mother sat me down and explained to me that my dad was not my “real” dad. Uh? What? Say that again! How could this be? I call him dad. He’s the only dad I had ever known. I was so very confused! I lost my identity. I struggled with this for years and years. I resented my mother for a very long time for her lies regarding my birth father. I just didn’t understand how she could have lied to me for 12 years. She allowed me to build this father/daughter relationship without ever considering I might need to know the truth. How could she lie to her own daughter?
Today, the tables have turned. I am now a single mother of a 16 month old, which I shall call “T” hereafter. T’s biological father (sperm donor) is completely aware of him and in fact is due to begin child support soon. However, T’s sperm donor does not want a relationship with him. Therefore, it’s just me & T for now. But I do hope to meet a nice man one day who would be a “dad” to T. He deserves a dad and I feel guilty that he does not have one. I pray that God will send someone into our lives so that we might have a real family one day. When and if that ever happens, I will be faced with the exact same situation my mother was so many years ago. What will I do out of love for my son?
I know my mother loved me. I didn’t understand this at age 12. I know she wanted me to have the best life possible and I am thankful she met my dad and brought him into my life. Anyone can contribute sperm in the conception of a child, but not everyone is a “dad.” I love my dad whether or not we are genetically related or not. I want the same thing for my son.
What are your thoughts about step-dads standing in and taking the place as the “real” dad in a child’s life? At what age do you tell the child about his/her biological father?