I know, from the reaction to the pictures of Hank that I posted yesterday on Twitter, that many of you are as concerned about him as I am. I don't want to get into the details, but you're all right. There is a problem with Hank - namely that he is indeed 11 years old, and appears to be as tall as me and growing up quickly. I have attempted to explain to him that his is the youngest child in the family, and that it would be best for all concerned if he would remain emotionally and physically stunted for many years to come, but he appears helpless in the grasp of growing. I took several steps yesterday to retain his loyalty in the face of impending teenagerness. First, I bought him french fries, and onion rings, and an adult sized burger, even though I knew there was no way he could eat it. (He didn't.)
Then we went shopping for a present for his mum for Christmas, which is something we've done for years. While out, I purchased an olive grabber, and a bag of tiny, tiny little oranges.
These were immediately combined in the hoped for manner, and in public, a process which I not only condoned, but encouraged.
I believe that these things together got me enough buy-in, and Hank enthusiastically spent the rest of the day making cookies. This year he was old enough to work the cookie press - a machine that thrills all kids perpetually.
(I was shocked last night to discover that not everyone knows what a cookie press is. I have this one, but there are lots of them. It's like a caulking gun that makes cookies. They're so interesting that you can keep a teenager in the house for up to 45 minutes at a time if you have one.)
Hank elaborately decorated all the gingerbread, and started to learn how to bake. (New skills - leveling off a cup of flour with a knife, knowing the vital difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, and scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl.)
It was a great day, made even greater by knowing that any minute now, there are going to be a thousand things Hank would rather do than spend a day with Auntie Stephie. For now though,
He's still my cookie boy.
Gifts for Knitters, Day 17
All right my non-knitterly friends, I'm having company tonight so we're going to rip through these two days. It's all perfectly simple anyway. You know what you're knitter likes? (Pro tip: We've been over this.) YARN. You know what they would like a lot? If yarn that they didn't pay for came to the house at regular intervals thoughout the year. Although this is going to sound strange to you, there are clubs that knitters can join that will mail them yarn throughout the year. There are a lot of them - and don't look at the screen like that. In a world where you can get an Olive Oil of the Month Club, Bonsai of the Month Club, Beef Jerky of the Month Club or a Necktie of the Month club, you really though that there wouldn't be yarn? C'mon. Here's a couple I found for you. Look through them and see what your knitter might like.
Rockin' Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber arts, looks to be a fun one this upcoming year. One skein of yarn comes with two patterns, one for socks, one for an accessory.
Sweet Georgia has several clubs, and her stuff is lovely, and Canadian, if that's on your list.
Cookie A's got one (that one comes with sock patterns, yarn and cookie recipes)
Anne Hanson has two (The Bare Naked one looks cool) and I like the look of the Tanis Year in colour (another Canadian company.) Twisted has a shawlette club - I could go on and on, and I bet that the knitters in the comments would be thrilled to list some of their favourites. Check there for more ideas.
Gifts for Knitters, Day 18.
You know your knitter really well, so you'll know if this is right for him or her, but can I suggest a manicure? A gift certificate for a manicure or paraffin wax treatment, hand massage... or some other total pampering thing for your knitters hands. Our hands are very hardworking this time of year - and they're the most valuable tool we have. It would be nice to give them a treat.
If that doesn't sound like your knitter, how about some lovely cream/lotion for their hands? My current favourites are Lo-lo To-Go from Bar Maids and the Everything balm from Goodies Unlimited (actually, anything from Goodies Unlimited.) Good hunting.