Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Innovations & Inventions

I can't sew. I can cross-stitch and do needlework, but I cannot sew. I don't even own a sewing machine.

Kaiden hasn't hit his growth spurt yet and he is somewhat stout. I won't call him chubby or even terribly overweight, because he's a solid little guy. But because of the way he's built, I have been on a never ending, and so far, futile mission to find pants that fit him. If they fit around the waist, they are about 6 inches too long. At the beginning of the school year, I had him try on brand after brand and size after size, until he sat on the floor of the dressing room in his underwear and exclaimed, "No more!"  Jeans, sweats, baseball pants, are all non-existent in a size that allows him to be comfortable. I think part of the problem is that he has absolutely no butt. He is constantly hitching his pants up so that his crack doesn't show. I have to hold on to a back belt loop as he hoists himself into the car and sits down. I tried a belt. He chose one that had extremely cool flames on one side (to satisfy him) and reversible to a plain black on the other side (to satisfy me). But he is under the assumption that the tighter he cinches it, the better they will stay up. Not true, especially if there is nothing below the belt to really hold it up, if you know what I mean. Shawn had to pick him up from school because of a stomach ache only to learn his belt was too tight. Even at the tender age of 6, he is painfully embarrassed by his body type and I'm trying everything in my power to stop that. But, I can't sew. When we brought home the various styles of jeans and sweats, I folded the bottoms of the legs up and...duct taped them. I'm not kidding and I'm not proud. It's just, well, that's all I knew how to do. It will actually hold up for several washes that way, and honestly, he's too young to care about how ridiculous that is as long as from the outside, they look normal. Shawn bought one of those hand held sewing things, the kind you would expect to see on some late night infomercial. So you can imagine my joy when I sat down and hemmed up 3 pairs of pants for Kaiden. The next day, I proudly pulled a pair out and asked, "How 'bout these?" and he agreed. Eight and a half hours later, I walked into daycare only to see the hems of those pants 5 inches past the top of Kaiden's feet followed by a long trail of white thread. "Moo-oom," he whined, "Look! I tripped over them all day." I hung my head in shame. I didn't realize you had to somehow knot the hem!

Over the years,  I have come to pride myself on being able to make something out of nothing. It's almost a challenge. When the kids were younger, they would open the refrigerator door and help themselves to anything they wanted. This wasn't something I had agreed to. I would find half-eaten hotdogs, pieces of cheese with bites out of them, and open yogurt cups with a spoon still in them. But the worse part was they never mastered the ability to close the door after they opened it. My refrigerator is snug against one wall, but doesn't quite reach the back wall. So Shawn came up with an ingenious solution. He took a piece of rope, folded it in half, ran the folded end between the gap in the handle and the fridge, and threaded the other end of the rope through that loop. So now the loop was securely around the door handle. He then made a big knot on the un-looped end and ran that along the side of the fridge, and set the knot between the gap created between the back of the fridge and wall and the counter top. So now, the only way to open the door was to lift the knot up and out, and it was beyond my sons' reach. Problem solved...except when you forgot about the knot and nearly yanked your arm out of the socket when looking for left-over pizza.

One particularly windy day, the boys claimed there was nothing to do. "Can't we go kite flying?", Kaiden asked. We didn't own kites. But we did own those plastic bags you get your groceries in, who doesn't have several of those lying around? So I found some string, tied the handles together and let them have at it. It was actually easier for them to get the "kites" to fly since it was basically a bag full of air.

If you've ever lived where it snows, you know that there is that inevitable gap between your glove and your coat. Especially if you're jumping off snowbanks, throwing snowballs, or making a snowman. But I've learned that if you take a pair of old (clean) socks and cut 4 slits at the toe for fingers and one on the side for a for a thumb, the leg of the sock will pull up almost to your elbow, or higher if it's one of dad's tube socks, and will keep that delicate skin from freezing.

Our town has a tendency to flood in the spring. One particularly bad year, the water was rising fast and our city filled hundreds of thousands of sandbags to try and build dikes around the homes close to the river. It really was an amazing thing the way people came together and worked 24 hours a day to save their neighbors' homes and businesses. The reason it floods is not necessarily rain, but the moisture in the melting snow, and we had over 126" of snow that year. Basically, people were home bound unless you caught a ride to help fill and place sandbags. The boys and I were stuck at home and running out of things to do. Shawn had come home from sandbagging his employer's house and had several sandbags left. So to keep the boys happy, we dug a pathway to our shed out back, grabbed the plastic pool, put it in the garage and filled it with sand from the sandbags. A makeshift sandbox kept them busy for hours!

Their creativity does carry over to baking with me (on those rare occasions, because I can't bake either. But it's better than my sewing.) We once had a batch of blueberry muffins that mysteriously ended up with grape kool-aid mix in it. (My didn't do it! No, of course not Kam.) But you know, they weren't all that bad.

I love the fact that children haven't been tainted so much by the outside world and aren't afraid to try anything, to see the wonder in creating something "brand new." Who knows? Maybe someday it will make them rich or maybe even ALL of our lives easier.

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