Monday, February 9, 2009


Last Monday night was on of the true high points of my life as a knitter and a parent:
Coco finally decided to try knitting this summer, starting with the kitchner stitch. (Her contrarian nature is such that if it is supposed to be easy and she can't get it right away, she refuses to keep trying, but if I tell her it's complicated and hard for some, she's got to try it.) She wanted to make something for her baby sister of course, so I decided on the Mason-Dixon mitred square dishcloth, which I love because it turns out to be a square, but it's not boring. She managed the first three quarters of the square, with me casting on and picking up stitches for her, but we hadn't had time to sit down so I could show her the sl1, k2tog, psso double decrease, which I was afraid would frustrate her.
Anyway, on Monday evening, partly because the beastly cold means we can't go to the playground, she had finished all her homework before supper. Ian had a meeting, so after Washington went to bed, she went and got the knitting and said, "Show me the last part."
We sat together on the sofa, and of course she caught on to the double decrease in a flash; then, there we were in a quiet, cozy house, sitting side by side, each working on a project (I'm almost done with the first Bristow sleeve), and just chatting. Now, just being able to sit and knit is pretty blissful, but equally wonderful is a leisurely, agenda-free conversation with my oldest daughter, in which I wasn't trying to get her to hurry up or do something. (Actually, part of the time we were discussing Gail Carson Levine's book Fairest, which we had recently read together and which is quite a clever riff on the old Snow White fairy tale and extremely thought-provoking on the topic of what makes someone beautiful and what sacrifices beauty may or may not merit.) Finally, there was the added satisfaction of watching just what a skillful knitter my daughter has become. Admittedly, she still pulls things a bit tight, but she can really churn out the garter stitch rows, and is now even able to pick the stitches back up without panicking if they slide off the needle.
Because of the nature (and small size) of the last square, it was finished just in time, and of course big sister was dying to give it to little sister right away, but the baby was asleep, another factor contributing to our undisturbed knitting time. However, just before Coco went to bed, Marly did wake up, all smiles as usual, and when Coco handed her the little washrag, her face lit up even more and she shook it all around and gripped it with both hands and babbled about it, so that the three of us girls were generally bursting with happiness and love for each other.

So anyway, that's my little pearldrop of a moment to carry around and think about when the big girl won't get out of bed on time or won't take a lunch to school or when the little girl is feverish and so clingy that I can't knit or even when I myself have done something disappointing like lost my temper with Washington or failed to add a leafy green component to supper yet again. It's my talisman and my reminder of how rewarding this parenting business can really be, and I'm so thankful.

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