Archive for December, 2009

sewing project: a bear ballerina costume

December 9th, 2009

c swings PBballerinaballet 3 square

Carter wanted me to make Pink Bear a tutu. Actually, he was quite specific about it being pink, and sparkly, and how it would stick out. To Carter, a simple request. After all, I made his favorite teddy bear red pants.

I told him: Wait until Grandma gets here. My mom sewed costumes for all my dance concerts, from grade school through high school. I’ve sewn PJ pants. My mom sewed my sister’s wedding dress (and all the bridesmaids’ dresses and my dad’s tuxedo). Thank goodness, I knew she was coming for Thanksgiving when Carter started dreaming up Pink Bear’s ballerina outfit.

My mom and I spent hours at Joann Fabrics, finally finding pink netting in the bridal department, and chiffon ribbon with sparkly hearts to piece together for a bodice overlay. (We also each got a purse handle and purse pattern; now we just have to get the fabric and make the purses to match.)

My mom designed, cut, and directed. I pinned and sewed. And sewed. And ripped seams. And sewed. Took my sewing machine apart, and sewed and ripped some more. Small does not mean fast with sewing.

Carter says Pink Bear looks beautiful in her ballerina outfit.

Sewing with my mom is like baking with Carter. We get to do something we like to do together. There’s teaching; there’s learning. We’re proud of each other and what we make together. Bonus: we get to enjoy the end result—eat it, share it, or just admire Pink Bear wearing it and see how happy that makes Carter.

licensed characters crowd the bookstore

December 2nd, 2009

My dad loves to take grandkids to bookstores, and going to Borders with Carter was one of three things he wanted to do when he and my mom came to visit for Thanksgiving. (The Creamery for a root beer float and The Counter for a burger were the others.)

Usually, Carter heads straight for the airplane books, but this time (for the first time) he never got past the toys, games, and sticker books in front of the children’s book section. And I have to admit that I was embarrassed that it was licensed characters—Dora, the Super Why team, Up movie characters—that attracted his attention. (At least, Charlie Brown and Olivia debuted on the printed page.)

It’s not that I don’t like these characters. Dora is a positive Hispanic female role model, and the Super Why TV show is getting Carter excited about learning to reading skills. But I feel guilty that my child can so easily recognize so many TV and movie characters. It feels like a mark of poor parenting, which I compound by buying licensed products. I don’t like how so much stuff is marketed successfully to kids, yet I’d rather my child read licensed books than no books. And he likes them.

In the end, Carter had Grandpa get him a Super Why ABC Letter game and an Up sticker book—and, thankfully, to redeem me: an airplane sticker book. Before bed tonight, Carter, Jeff, and I played the game. The first question posed to Carter: What rhymes with “hill” and “drill”? The moment when he answered “daffodil” somehow made it ok that I had succumbed to the PBS marketing muscle.