Well I might not count these

Good grief. Typing this to you from bed- eyes barely open, four year old flaked out diagonally beside me. You know those days where every time you look at the clock you can’t quite believe there was apparent international consensus to speed the earths rotation and thus shorten hours, but that’s the only reasonable conclusion? I woke up this morning and thought there was real potential here, but every time I glanced at the clock the thing had speed on to some impossible time, and the next thing I knew it was park/wading pool time with Elliot.

(Elliot pictured here driving this toy car that someone donated to the park earlier this year. It’s broken, the door is weird, the steering wheel doesn’t steer, you have to move it with your feet like Fred Flintstone and every kid for a kilometre around is bloody obsessed with it. Competition for drive time is high. When it is Elliot’s turn he practically squeaks with joy.)

Now, here is the thing. Me, a park, a kid – I got that scene.  I practically invented that scene. When the girls were little in the summertime we did chores in the morning, had our lunch noontime and then went to the park/pool every single weekday until it was time to come home and get supper on the table. That was even simple because they drain the pool at 5 and it’s a natural signal. They’d pull the plug and over the girls would trot, trained right up to the schedule.  I would have 4 hours every afternoon to read and knit and write and I loved it. Loved it I tell you, and so this summer it seemed like a no-brainer for how Ellie and I would spend our afternoons together. It is the same park and everything, and he is a supremely civil child (far more than the wild things I raised) and yet… nothing gets done there. Not a thing. Not one.

(Completely gratuitous picture of Penny, a very good dog. I am not a dog person, but I am a Penny person, and though I’m not usually responsible for her I was today, and I cannot blame her for my lack of production. She lay on the grass and smiled. It’s hardly a complication.)

I have been dragging this sweater to the park for weeks (Pattern- Simple Summer Sweater – scaled for my skinnier yarn. Yarn: Rowan Cotton Cashmere that Ken gave me for my birthday.) and making almost no progress. I couldn’t figure it out, it’s park knitting. When the girls were wee I got so much done there, but today I figured out what’s gone wrong.

It’s not Ellie. As I pointed out, he is a tremendously easy and sweet child. (We will not mention the other day when I asked him to do something and from the living room, he shouted “THAT’S A NO FOR ME DAWG.” Blame his mother.) I realize now that it’s the Covidtimes. I’ve got eyes on him 80% of the time to make sure he stays reasonably distanced from the other kids (we’re not saying no to playing of course, but their wee unvaccinated heads together unmasked is a no, naturally) and that surveillance takes a toll on the knitting, and also, without any friends really (he’s just starting to make a few as we open up a bit) he’s used to having and needing his grownups as play-buddies.

I can walk and knit, and talk and knit, and do all sorts of things and knit- but I cannot play soccer and knit. I cannot “watch this!” and knit. I cannot help on the monkey bars and knit. I cannot build the best sandcastle you’ve ever seen and knit, and neither can I teach him to float and knit. He has no pack to run with, but for his grownups, and I am all in. I’ll finish the sweater eventually, and I’m sure it’s going to be great.

Likely not as great as being a light in a little one’s life, so I guess when his wee voice rings out “Gammy, come play with me!” …

Thank goodness yarn doesn’t go bad. Maybe I’ll finish the sweater tomorrow.

49 thoughts on “Well I might not count these

  1. Grammy, wee Elliott won’t remember the sweater, or socks, or hats, but he will remember the times you went to the park with him. Make memories now – the knitting will fall in line.

  2. You can’t go wrong with giving the wee ones your time to play with them. they grow up far too fast, and those days will be over. The sweater will wait for you.

  3. Enjoy the time playing with Elliot! My daughter and granddaughter have been living with me since three months before Covid started, and I just found out they got an apartment and are moving in October 1. I’m caught between, “Omigosh, I will finally be able to find/get to all my yarn again!” and “Oh no, only six more weeks of reading bedtime stories to Olivia!” I am definitely going to focus on the latter.

  4. Elliot reminds me of those photos of Hank when you first began the blog. Back in the days of the manly pink dragon mittens,

  5. How lovely to see these fresh posts. It was fun to provide a ding as the Rally went along. A good cause and a blog bribe rolled into one. All good.

    I have been rereading the archives to get my YH fix, and was just thinking the same thing as Sheila Z above. I love the story of Hank and the blue “knittening” to make a pink hat. It’s a magical age. (My grandson is five: the magic continues. There’s been a bunny.)

    I’m glad I am not alone in finding time passing oddly at the moment. I have just spent several days knitting (and reknitting and reknitting) a baby sock. Maybe 1600 st total? Knit the heel twice, made the foot too short, knit the toe twice. And I can’t even blame a small child. Actually, this week we are having a break in the hot weather, so that can’t be my excuse either. Just oddness all round.

    Lovely to look up from the oddness and come here to these posts. Thank you for that.

    • And then I “failed the human verification test,” whatever that means. Perhaps it’s not just the times that are odd?

  6. Sounds relaxing. Penny and Elliot seem like great companions and you’re right about the knitting…it will still be there!

  7. My son is three weeks younger than Elliot, and this is a 100% relatable account of my existence right now too (right down to the gloriously funny unexpected comebacks to chore requests!). What a strange old year, but thank heavens for the small humans for keeping things unpredictable.

  8. I have 5 of these sweet ones and have spent a lot of time with them during this weird year plus and I finally gave myself over to them-no more attempts to knit and play and listen. They all need lots of
    unconditional love from Grammie and one who listens to the breathless stories and knock knock jokes. This is a hard time. Elliott is blessed to have you.

  9. Others have said it, but I’ll add my agreement: That boy is going to treasure the memories of the times he spent playing with his Gammy. He’ll likely always think of you with knitting in your hands, but the moments you put the knitting down will really stand out for him and be a real demonstration of just how much you love him.

  10. My grandson is two and a half and loves a park and his Grandma, so I can really relate to this post. He has definitely kept me as sane as could possibly happen during covid times, and he is my favorite human on the planet. Enjoy!

  11. Childrens’ love for these cars knows no bounds and is internationally recognised, here in Australia in any play area or home that has them they are a hot commodity!!

  12. You already coined SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy). Maybe WIPBLE?

    Whatever. It’ll keep.

    My 21yo is home for 31 hours (I counted) and it’s all I can do to keep myself from simply looking at him while he sleeps so as not to miss a moment.

    • I so hear you. My 22 year old is home for a little longer than that. 2.5 days. For what he says is his ‘moving out’ weekend. He is taking everything. He is cleaning out his room. Not leaving a thing.
      So hard not to follow him around. Oh, wait…he’s gone to check his laundry….I’ll be back later…..

  13. I’m going to add an unromantic, unsentimental note to the discussion and say: love, schmuv. Right now, you are a daycare provider. You’re not getting any reading or knitting done because you are at work, providing an essential service. Go ahead and respect that. I do.

  14. Just when I think my family, my kids, COVID19, my dog, my job, my friends, freaking NoFrills, the doctor, why did I start knitting a cardigan, and I just. can’t. take. one. more. thing, you have a lovely post about knitting or not knitting and the park and everything is well in the world.
    Also thank you for finally changing the text colour, it is so much easier to read now! I should go buy a lotto ticket everything is coming up roses today. You are the best.

    I snorted coffee right out my nose. Best line from a four year old ever.

  16. I have finally been able to spend time with the five grands: even meeting the newest Whitehorse grandson shortly after his first birthday. I have not knit a stitch since June! I started knitting when I was four and have kept it up for nearly 63 years even when our three closely spaced daughters were wee. But not in COVID times. The littles need (and want) their adults and I am delighted to oblige.

  17. This post was so well timed. I’m having lunch with my 20 year old granddaughter today. She calls me for lunch regularly when she’s home from college and I feel so blessed. I KNOW it’s because We bonded when she was a baby/toddler. It’s such a special relationship. Enjoy.

  18. I hope that “THAT’S A NO FOR ME DAWG.” has been recorded in a life journal!!
    (side note: I heard a child, that I don’t even know, yell “WATCH AND LEARN” at a cottage down the lake from us last weekend, and I laughed out loud. Gotta love what comes out of wee ones’ mouths. 🙂

  19. Hurrah for being the play bubble our kids/grandkids need! Also, why did my 5 yr old just come over and say “Now you say ‘That sounds ominous’ and I go about my business. Don’t look.”

  20. Enjoy Every. Stinkin’. Minute. with that kid! What a treasure! When he graduates from college, your heart will remember these precious times.

    You are The. Best. Knitter. Ever. You inspire me always. Your sweater will be beautiful.

    THANK YOU to you and Sam for sharing such sweet sweet moments with Elliot with all of us.

  21. Pure joy! Thank you for this. Eliott is adorable!

    (And my kids always severely wanted a car like that when they were little like their friends had and they were like $40 in the ’80s and no way could we afford one, and never did. So deprived. Lucky Eliott that he gets to!)

  22. As you surely know by now, having raised your own children, time flies by for the little ones and they are grown before you can blink your eyes. Take the time to enjoy Elliot, especially since he clearly enjoys Gamma time, too. Knitting can wait.

  23. Psst … the links for donations to the Rally from your post earlier this month seem to be broken. Your end? Their end? thought you’d want to know. Maybe due to the server/cloud problem?

  24. This. This is my life. A lone mum, to a single kid and I do not get anything done, ever. Of course, I love my kid with every breath in my body, but I would sometimes really like it if someone else could watch that. Just sometimes. Hang in there. Things change.

  25. I know all about those cars. Amazing, right? Also, if it’s a choice between a child and knitting — well, you know the answer. As someone already said, you are providing an essential service, which is being a loving attentive presence in a young person’s life. I love hearing about Elliot, the dog, the park and all the rest. Squeeze those moments of fun for all their worth.

  26. Thanks for a lovely post. I second so many previous comments, and it’s wonderful to have you back again!

    I.would like to add a thought re: your choice to pay attention to Elliot, rather than focusing on your knitting. When I was growing up, my mother hated spending time with us, we were just a bother. she would tell us to leave her alone, she had more important things to do than talk to or play with us, and not very kindly. This was ingrained in me: I was a waste of time, a royal pain in the a**. I have no memories of her laughing with us, playing, being spontaneous. We knew she didn’t want us and that we were in the way. Not a fun way to grow up. This is another gift you are giving your grandson: he knows he counts, that he is worth it, that he matters. Every time you look him in the eyes and he knows you are paying attention, that you care, you are giving him something positive he will carry for the rest of his life He’s a lucky kid, because his parents and extended family obviously care for him and nurture him. So, just a little pat on the back from me!

    • Oh, my heart hurts for you. I spent my early career as a child advocate, and now that I’m a mom in the mom circles I draw on that experience to say to fretting parents “kids are resilient. What they really need is to feel loved by an adult. It doesn’t even have to be their parent, if someone else loves them and they can feel it.” Kids can bounce back from most anything else. I hope someone else stepped in to love you as you deserved to be loved.

  27. You are back, you are back! I can’t tell you the joy I felt when I came back from a looong camping trip and saw your posts. I am still mopping up my desk from “That’s a no for me Dawg” The sweater will wait. Major big hugs

  28. Definitely prioritize Elliot time. You know from your own girls how fast time flies and wee ones are all too soon grown up. For my grands the car was a Yellow ‘Cozy Coupe;’ Loved by them all!! Time for knitting can always be put to later when the other option is spending time with the grands. With your own you always had to share time with the kids and household chores. with grands, it’s all about your time with THEM!!

  29. The sweater will keep and Elliot will grow so much faster than the days go by. He’s a top priority!

    We call most days Blursday around here during Covid-time. I’m doing good to remember what day it is even with it right there on my watch.

    It was grand to see that all the goals were surpassed. Congratulations and thank you for all you’ve done!

  30. Thank you for these newish posts. (When did Elliott’s hair get so long, so dark?) How very charming, thoughtful, again, as usual.
    We wish to send some $$ to DWB/MSF, and to credit them to your campaign, with which we mostly started our support of them so many years ago.
    But, does the link to you still work? You should benefit from your own sponsorship-for whatever values of ‘sponsorship’- of how much you’ve raised knowledge of them and their role in the world.

  31. I envy your closeness to your extended family. My grands are half a continent away, in Seattle area. I would love to be just a hop and a holler away like the other set grandparents. Not that I mind that much. I have a pretty full plate here with adult caregiver duties. I love being here for my Dad as he ages. More things are being forgotten and less gets done. He doesn’t remember the day of the week or whether he took is meds. But taking him out for a drive or dinner at his favorite restaurant is the joy of his day and mine.
    However I am looking forward to my volunteering “job” for the next couple of weeks when I can get my mojo back.

  32. My partner points out, like you have here, that we have had to fill the role of being our preschool grandkids’ friends. I point out that our grands have filled the role of being our friends. I suspect we got the better end of the deal.

  33. My grandgirls are 10 and almost 13. I was very close to my grandparents and I wanted that relationshipwith my girls… I figured out early my grandparents paid attention, my mom had all the other kids and the house and the bills… But my grandparents could focus on the grandchild. That’s what I try to do. They’re my joy and I let them know that. Sounds like that’s what you have with Ellie too.

  34. My son is just a few months older than Elliot, and this is my life. Even if we’re watching a movie together, he wants to hold my hand — and after a year or so of being supremely frustrated by this, I got to the point of realizing he won’t want to hold my hand all the time for much longer, and by God I will miss that with every fiber of my being (and stash). So we snuggle, and I don’t knit. (Negotiations are proceeding for him to hold the part of my hand that isn’t required for knitting. Sometimes.)

  35. Ah. Sweet summer days. The leaves are free falling from the trees in Interior Alaska and the heavy clouds are sitting on the hilltops…just a few degrees cooler and the ground would be a different color. Hoping that nonsense moves to October where it belongs.
    Pretty wonderful that you’re part of Ellie’s playpack.
    Sounds like you’re spending your summer perfectly.
    And that summer sweater? It will play perfectly in the tropics -which the covid equivalent may be cranking up the heat, laying on a beach towel in the living room under the brightest lamp with your sunnies on, and being served icy tropical drinks by your personal cabana boy.

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