When Sam was 10

Today Sam is 11. This means that I can report with great accuracy the matters of Sam being 10.

When Sam was 10…

She learned to snowboard, and got her very own. She learned to snowboard with Ken because even the thought of the littlest of my daughters hurtling down the side of a hill strapped to a board is more than I can look at. My daughter is braver than me.

We were visiting our small friend Max one day and I realized that neither Max’s Mum nor I was watching over him. Sam was old enough to keep a toddler safe. This struck me as incredible, since she was a toddler last week. I’m sure of it.

Sam learned what “mean” meant, and how many other 10 year olds you could apply it to.

She found out that I am a dork. Luckily, Joe is still somewhat cool.

Her feet grew a size bigger than mine.

I cried more than once that nobody in this whole house is small enough to fit on my lap. While this is not Sam’s fault, I do hold her somewhat responsible.

Her fish Sharkbait died.

She cycled hundreds of kilometres in the summer without realizing that was pretty cool, pretty far, or pretty unusual.


She swam in the Atlantic ocean, hiked Signal Hill, saw Green Gables, stood on the most Easterly point of North America and shopped for yarn across the Maritimes.


She baked a decent batch of cookies without help.


She drove me insane asking repeatedly about getting the top of her ear pierced.

Sam learned to play the french horn without it sounding like an elephant in labour. (I personally would like a couple of points for this one. A lesser mother would have bought a bus ticket).


She worked on her french and displayed a surprising (and largely useless) propensity for french involving pizza toppings.

She only slept in our bed once. Knowing that it was likely the last time she would ever do so kept me up looking at her.

She went to sleepaway camp and when the bus left, I was the one who cried.

She was smart, funny and the best reward for not having killed the first two.

Happy Birthday Sam. Hope being 11 is a gas. (and no…you can’t have the top of your ear pierced).

The Flower Basket Shawl Scarf is finished. (Interweave Knits Fall/04)


It grew a very satisfying 10 inches width-wise in the blocking, despite me showing some blocking restraint. I am a fan of the hard-core wet block. I believe in full immersion wetting and then serious pinning out. “Misting” leaves me feeling unsatisfied and wanting something more, though I have had profound moments with “steaming” as well. (As I typed that I realized that I have now guaranteed that someone sweaty will find this blog as a result of a Google search involving “hard-core wet…something your mother wouldn’t approve of“. Hi there. Disappointed?)

I’m delighted to reveal that Michael has won the coral fleece. I was actually thinking about rigging this one, mostly because he is an enormous whiner who won’t let up. I thought better of it though, and pulled names from a hat. I’d like to thank the fates for the moment when I withdrew his name, thus freeing me both from the guilt of a fixed selection, and his incessant whinging for a gift.

The finger continues to be troublesome (although it’s much, much better, thanks for asking) so I continued on straight needle knitting last night.


This little sweater from Sweater Kits continues apace. The label says “Kids Handpainted Cardigan”, but I don’t see it on her website. I wrote a little note, but haven’t heard back yet. I’ll let you know. The variegation is still not ticking me off, so I’m sure the yarn is discontinued. (Yarn Rule #12).

81 thoughts on “When Sam was 10

  1. I have a ten year old. I cry. I refuse to give up having the kids sit on my lap no matter how much it hurts because the physical pain is nothing compared to the heartbreak… envision twenty-two year old crushing me and my knitting but I don’t care and refuse to give up the dream.

  2. Happy birthday, Sam! The biking holiday was way, way cool. You are my hero!
    Glad to hear the finger is improving. Love the non-irritating variegated yarn. You’re right — it must be discontinued.
    My blog is now fixed!

  3. Stephanie, Do not go look at the Knitty suprise. It will make you cry. And you will want one. I had to spend a quiet moment banging my head against the wall repeating, “no more, no more, no more….”
    My youngest turns 12 next month.

  4. Happy birthday Sam! I think you should get your mom an elephant with a french horn, just for nostalgia’s sake. I wish you an enormous amount of joy, laughter, good times and btw? Having the top of your ear pierced *really* isn’t much fun when it’s cold outside. Take it from someone who knows. It mostly just feels like someone stuck an icicle through sensitive, exposed bits. Which is why I took mine out a while back. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Happy Birthday to Sam! My son will be 11 in May – he is one of the few nice boys. I make him sit on my lap periodically, too. He still weighs slightly less than me, but his hands and feet are the size of mine.
    p.s. The top of the ear has almost no blood flow and is one of the most painful piercings you can get and takes an extraordinary time to heal.

  6. Happy Birthday Sam. Tell your mother to let you pierce your ears…since she was very brave ( more so than me) to let you go to sleepover camp. It’s all very traumatic for mothers. Be gentle with us. And stop growing already!

  7. Welcome to The Church of the Hard Core Wet Block, the right reverend Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, G.H.,* presiding. We believe in the full-immersion, the stretch, the insertion of pins, the overnight drying and the lace everlasting. Amen.
    Please join the choir in fifteen verses of “Mama Don’t Allow No Spritz-to-Block-It Here”
    [*Godless Heathen]

  8. MY Sam just turned 8 on Sunday. That makes them both Aquarians – who both stood on the same seashore at some point last summer. What is it about Sam’s that make them so durned charming? Even when they grow bigger . You could put a few bricks on her head, a cummerbund on her waist, and tape her feet to stop her from growing. Well. Parts of her, anyways. One never tires of Samhugs. Hippo Birdie Two Ewe, Sam.

  9. Happy Birthday Sam. For my dd’s 13th, she got a second piercing on her ears, although not at the top of the ear. She also got a “semi” bikini. It’s really a tankini, and I’m still pretty upset to realize that she’s of an age where she actually attracts adult male attention, even in what is essentially a full bathing suit.
    Best of luck Steph. Sometimes it hurts being a mom.

  10. Happy Birthday to Sam, Happy Birthday to Sam, Happy Birthday dear Sam, Happy Birthday to You!
    Fabu on the cooking, biking, sleepover camping, snowboarding year you’ve had. I wish you much of the same excitement for your 11th year and laughter galore!
    Excellent shall/scarf Harlot. You’ve outdone yourself, smashed finger and all. Thank you too for sharing Sam’s wonderful year.

  11. Happy Birthday Sam!!!! The fun is just beginning…
    And I will say no more, only because I am pierced all over and I love all of them. ;o)
    (Sorry Steph, its true) If it makes you feel any better I did not get the top of my ear pierced until I was 23. And although it healed just fine and I have no pain with it, it hurt like a b*tch when I got it done, and several weeks after that.
    My friend is a PAC and she says that she’s see a lot of cases where an ear is pierced and horribly infected-most commonly the upper ear. (Sorry Sam)
    And glad to hear the finger is still on the mend. The scarf/shawl is gorgeous. “Hard-core wet…”, yeah, that’s one for the annals (got to watch my spelling on that one).

  12. That’s just not even true! Incessant? As if! If you think that’s incessant, you haven’t seen anything yet….
    Well, now, I suppose I can start whining after a pair of Mittaines… You know what you should do? Make the pattern for sale… cause I would totally buy one… that is if I don’t win ’em…
    Anyway, I’m so psyched I won something – I never win anything!

  13. Happy Birthday Sam!
    Btw I was 19 and 20 when I got the tips of my ears pierced – I am glad I did it that way because it does hurt. And it takes each one about 3 months to heal. While waiting for it to heal -you cant talk on the phone for very long cuz it hurts and you cant sleep on that side cuz it hurts…
    At any rate Happy Birthday-
    Steph the shawl/scarf is gorgeous. And the knitty surprise is so cute… I just printed out the pattern. Although I dont think I will be using the same yarn… a little pricey for me…

  14. Happy Birthday, Sam!
    Congrats on the shawl (and beautiful daughter), Steph!
    Continued sympathies on the finger, too. I never realized how much I use the top of the right index finger until it got messed up this week. Skinny sock yarn is not my friend *pout*
    I will withhold comment on the variegated yarn…

  15. Happy Birthday Sam. This seems to be a good month for birthdays.
    Morgen got her tops pierced at 13 (I had nothing to say about it). She bitched about the pain for 2 months. I considered it an object lesson.

  16. happy birthday Sam! You don’t want to hear this, but I’ve had the ‘tips’ of my ears pierced twice and had horrible problems both times. You don’t want to go there… especially if you have a metal sensitivity. My ears are much happier in their unholy state. Un-holey state. Whatever.
    I should try the hard-core wet block. I’ve never been able to figure out why misting seems so mundane… maybe this is what I need to put the spice back into my relationship with lace!

  17. Happy birthday Sam! You have grown into a wonderful girl and given me hope that my ten year old will survive being ten. Steph, I am glad to hear that your finger is better. Ouch!

  18. Happy Birthday Sam! Maybe you could come to an agreement with your (very cool) mother… Say you learn to operate Mr Washie, and she lets you have the top of one ear pierced?

  19. Happy Birthday to Sam! My baby boy just turned 13 and I cried…..
    Sounds like you all are pretty lucky in the love/family department and I think you are ALL cool!
    BTW, Sam, I’m 44 years old and got my upper ear pierced last May and it is just now to the point where it doesn’t hurt. Think long and hard about it, K?

  20. But reb Harlot, what if my lace is knit in a wool-silk blend? Am I not forbidden to wet-block silk?

  21. Happy birthday to Sam!! Another Februarian.
    And I agree, you deserve a special mom prize for not buying a bus ticket.
    And the shawl goes to…..?

  22. Happy birthday Sam!!! And if you really want another hole in your head, just go for another piercing near the one you already have. It will heal faster and hurt less.

  23. I read in awe about your big daughter. I realize that a lot of mothering joys (and scares) are ahead of me. Happy Birthday to miss girl of the world.
    Lovely shawl! Btw, what’s with all this blocking you overseas people keep going on about? What’s wrong with an iron and a wet kitchen towel? :]

  24. Hey, harlot. I’ve only been reading your blog for the last few months but really love it. Happy Birthday to Sam and may we watch her grow for many more years! (But not in the creepy way that might have appeared).

  25. Your post about Sam made me cry! I always feel teary when my kids age, and you’re right; it seems like just yesterday that my 14 year old twins were toddlers.
    Happy Birthday Sam!

  26. Happy birthday, Sam!
    And you know, as long as you’re careful, a kid can sit in a parent’s lap at just about any age. I was 26 the last time I sat in my dad’s lap, and I know I sat in Mom’s lap a handful of times in my late teens.
    (Okay, yes, I still have my favorite teddy bear, too.)

  27. Hey, harlot. I’ve only been reading your blog for the last few months but really love it. Happy Birthday to Sam and may we watch her grow for many more years! (But not in the creepy way that might have appeared).

  28. Stephanie, I believe you have a cat. Therefore, there IS someone in your house small enough to sit in your lap. And you won’t have to put that someone through college! I know, little consolation, but I’m trying!

  29. Happiest of birthdays to Sam, you rock, girl!
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the FBS. That is just too pretty for words. And in my favorite color, too…

  30. I ‘m sure Millie is still small enough to sit in your lap. Whether or not she chooses to is another matter.

  31. Happy Birthday Sam! I have an 11 year old (turned last month) and I have a feeling that part of the reason I have an almost-3 year old is because I wanted more kids-on-lap time…

  32. Happy birthday Sam! You chose an awesome day to be born. (Today is my wedding anniversary – a rockin’ day indeed.)
    I also have the top of my ear pierced (I was in first year university when it was done) and lemme tell you, it hurts like a sonofapooch. Sleeping on that side and talking on the phone are right out – for *months*. Takes a looong time to heal. Easily infected. Even now, ten years later, I get weeks where the darn thing is painful. So…I know it looks really cool (I still love mine) but think really hard about whether you want to put yourself through that right now. It is owieowieowie.
    Harlot, that scarf looks fantastic.

  33. The following comment is redunant, but I feel the need to write it.
    Happy Birthday, Sam! AS for the ear piercing. It hurts, for a good long while. When it is cold, it hurts moe.
    It hurts to sleep on for even longer. And when you’ve decided you’ve had enough and take it out, it leaves a pointy scar when it heals over.
    As for Steph. My baby sis is about to turn 13. It makes me cry. She is no longer the little sis, since she’s taller than I am now. But I remember changing her diapers and rocking her to sleep. *sniff*

  34. Happy Birthday, Sam!
    I got my ears pierced when I was about 10, but didn’t move up to cartiledge until college. My mother freaked, so I wisely decided not to tell her about the tattoo I had also gotten. ๐Ÿ™‚ I now have 10 holes in my ears, and 2 tattoos. As a bit of advice, if Sam ever does get the tips of her ears pierced, be sure to wear hoop earings as soon as they’ve healed – it makes sleeping much more comfortable. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. If you cried when the bus left for the sleepaway, I can’t bear to think what your reaction will be when the plane leaves for Austria. Our son went skiing in Austria when he was 16. I still get goosebumps when I remember his leaving. (His fortieth birthday is in April!)
    Happy Happy birthday Sam. You have the loveliest smile ever.

  36. Happy 11th, Sam! Just get the ear pierced anyway, fooey to parental consent…it’s just a thing they made up to make mom and dad “feel” in control. Mwahahaha
    (The top of my left ear is pierced, and it is rad)

  37. Happy B-day Sam! 11 is so grown-up!
    On the topic of the ear piercing (this is a disgusting story): I have 7 holes in my ears – 3 on one side, 4 on the other. I was 16 when I got the 4th hole on my right ear. It went through the cartiledge and was really sore for a long while. Then, one day in math class, I didn’t know, but it was really infected and when I reached up to rub my ear it sorta exploded. I was sitting in front of the hottest boy in school and of course I had a crush on him. I was thoroughly humiliated. I sometimes wonder if this incident is what led him to become a dermatoligist, but I’m too embarrassed to ask. I have avoided all piercings since. Sooooo, the moral of the story? It’s not only your mom who might embarrass you as you get older, sometimes, you embarrass yourself!

  38. Happy Birthday, Sam! 11 is a cool age to be — once Mom realizes that you’re old enough not to need micro-second supervision. She’ll get there! But give her hugs once in a while and totally surprise her. That will let you get away with a lot more, trust me!
    Steph, I know exactly what you mean about these darn kids growing sooo fast — my DS became a teenager 2 weeks ago. I miss my cuddly boy! But he’s not too old or too big for me to pull into my lap once in a while. Okay, it usually only lasts 2 seconds, but… He did actually tell me the other day that he loves me. I wasn’t sure whether he felt he was too old to say the “L” word, but I’m certainly glad he did!
    Love the flower basket scarf – it’s on my list of things to make (after the 20 other projects/yarns that are all yelling my name. Yarns, quiet down in that basket, I can’t concentrate on my Ribby Cardi!)

  39. I’m asian so I feel like I should do the asian woman thing and exclaim over how much prettier you have grown, how much taller you have sprouted, and force you to “eat more eat more growing girl” while shoving food on your plate. Nevermind I wasn’t around for your last blogged birthday and don’t have a comparison basis. But, true to my heritage and to fact- Happy Birthday Sam, you’re growing more and more beautiful inside and out every single year.
    People always told me to enjoy my younger years and I scoffed at them because I was in a hurry to be older. Then I hit my older years and wanted to be back in the younger ones. Let that be a lesson for ya.
    And Sam, your mom is a Good Mom. We know you may think she is a dork, but maybe she’s only a dork to you because she’s being a Good Mom. All the coolest mom’s in the long run are Good Moms. Plus she has a fan base who care for her, her progeny, Joe, her relatives (especially your supernice uncle), the cat, Finished Objects, and Mr. Washie enough to creepily read anything she writes.
    Hard-Core Blocking Steph- I challenge you to take the freecia’s super-hard-core blocking method. Take the blocking board outside when it is warm enough to do so (California here) and pin down the corners of the dry victim. Take the fancy hose mister attachment and turn hose on. Imagine the lawn. Take aim. Water away. Stop when you fear for the blocking board (I wrap mine in trash bags). Laugh maniacally. Take out more pins and pin the sucker into shape with restrained enthusiasm because fingers vs pins always results in fingers losing in a painful humiliation. Finish. Laugh more. Leave it outside to dry. Unpin when dry. How is that for a liberating wet-blocking method huh? Who’s the boss of that wool! Extremely satisfying.

  40. Wowsers. Your post about Sam made me tear up a little, and I don’t have kids. It also made me want to be really nice to my mom, since I am sure it’s hard to have all those emotions running about about a child and have them somewhat oblivous.

  41. Geez. I don’t know if I’m ready for 10 yet. Kaelyn’s still 9 for a few more months and she’s already getting too big (and too proud) to sit on my lap.
    Happy Birthday, Sam. Hope 11 is fabulous!

  42. Happy Birthday Sam!
    Steph – I now know rule #12 – Have I missed something that I haven’t heard of rules #1 through #11?

  43. My oldest is going to be 7 in April, and I already feel like she’s thirty at times. When Liv (the one in the middle) turned 4, I cried. She was a perfect 3. Alas.
    Gorgeous shawl.

  44. Happy Birthday Sam! My youngest was eleven yesterday – we moms all know that our kid’s birthdays are very special days to be devoted to wonderful memories of all of your specialness – and hopes for your futures. Enjoy your special day.

  45. Happy Birthday Sam!! What about an ear cuff? All of the cool, none of the mutilation.
    Stephanie, we think you’re cool, even though it’s Sam’s opinion that matters.

  46. A very very very very very happy birthday and blessed next 365 days until you are twelve, which your mother is dreading more than you will ever know… until you have a little girl of your own…

  47. Happy Birthday Sam! February is the best month to have a birthday (mine’s the 28th, my sis is the 21st). My oldest daughter, Megan (21), pierced her own ear top with an ice cube and a needle when she was 14. I flipped out and made her take out the earring. She got a painful infection. She decided not to do it again. So please, don’t try this at home! I hope your 11s are as adventurous as your 10s were, with or without additional piercings.

  48. Happy Birthday to Sam! And Mom? The last time I sat on my Mother’s lap, I was 36. There were mitigating circumstances, but she told me I would never be too big or too old.

  49. Happy Birthday Sam, 10 is such a great age (sigh!!). Stephanie, I’m a bit late, but how can I donate to MSF? I’m in Australia, so I’m thinking PayPal is the way to go?? BTW I love the Flower Basket Scarf, I was taken with it in the IK mag, and am plucking up the courage to give it a go…
    Thanks again for your wonderful dose of Yarn Harlot each day!

  50. Hey Sam,
    Have a wickedly, awesome, amazing day. I’d tell you to just go and pierce your ear anyway but Ken and Steph would beat me.
    I think I ran out and pierced the top of my ear when I was 13 or 14 and I took it out when I was 28 or so because it never, ever healed. But it didn’t stop me from going out and getting 7 or 8 other ear piercings. And despite all that, I’m thinking about getting another one at the top again.

  51. Happy Birthday Sam. I hope my two girls turn out to be as nice and talented a young lady as you. Hope you had a wonderful day…

  52. Hey Steph! Can we see a photo of the Flower Basket in all it’s long and blocked glory? I’m curious how big it is…
    And speaking of blocking, any suggestions on how to block mittens? I’m thiiiiiiis close to being done with my Uncle Tupper mittens and I haven’t a clue how to block them. I could just dunk ’em in water and then pin ’em to a towel but maybe there’s a better way
    And if whining is the key to a giftie I’m going to have to warm up because I *seriously* covet the mittens without borders. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Birthday to Sam! Hey Sam, how does it feel to get this ton of birthday greetings from a bunch of good-willed, though odd strangers? ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Seconding Tish’s warning that home-piercing is a bad idea.
    I had three earlobe pierces done by shops (badly — a doctor is preferable) and decided to do a fourth myself with a needle and an ice cube. The wound healed better and didn’t hurt — BUT I now am allergic to nickel. Which is in nearly everything cool and jewelry-like. Which means horrible itchy blisters or weeping infected pierces if I wear something that I thought was steel and wasn’t. Forever. This is Not. Fun. At. All.
    Ear cuffs, and toe rings, are much much more fun. As are henna “tattoos.” And hair dye.
    (Just don’t use your mum’s wool dye!)

  54. ok i KNEW we were KINDRED SPIRITS… Green Gables cinched it…. love love love PEI… didnt you enjoy it?
    happy birthday to sam from a fellow Anne lover and kindred spirit.

  55. I have an industral (or rather, the holes for it at this point) in my left ear and a carilidge peircing that was going to be a second industrial on my right.
    If Sam wants one, please point this out to her. Cartilidge peircings are the most painful and slowest to heal peircings on the body, because the tops of the ears don’t get a lot of blood flow. They’re also the hardest ones to keep happy, and they tend to migrate (which is why I have a former industrail in my left). It was a full year before the left one stopped hurting, and about 9 months before the single piercing on the right stopped hurting. If she gets one, DO NOT GET IT DONE WITH A GUN. GET IT DONE WITH A NEEDLE. There’s a possibility that with the gun, the cartelidge will shatter.
    She’ll constantly get her hair stuck in it, and it will pull. For the first month, this will almost hurt enough to make her cry. After that, it’s not so bad, but it does increase the chances of infection.
    On the plus side, I loved mine and I’m probably going to get it re-pierced at some point. They are just a lot more difficult and finicky than a lot of people realize.
    Something you may want to look into if Sam is really wanting to be a hip, counter-culture kind of girl is yarn extentions. On top of being awesome, and made of yarn/roving, they’re temparary and you can literally clip them on and take them off. I do some yarn ponyfall stuff, and it’s very cool. I also still have hip points, only being 21 and going to Uni and all that.
    And…it’s an excuse to buy roving. Really. Do you need anything else?

  56. Hi, Stephanie–I too would like to know the knitter’s version of Murphy’s Law. A list of knitter’s rules like #12 above would be consoling for some and a warning for others.

  57. I had to post and tell you that my daughter and yours share a birthday. She turned 2 today. She is the baby (the youngest of three) and there will be no more.
    “She was smart, funny and the best reward for not having killed the first two.”
    You give me hope that there is a reason we do not eat our young. Thank you for sharing this bittersweet day with me.

  58. Happy Birthday to Sam! My twins turned 10 on Wednesday, so when Sam was 1, they were a just a day old… ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s kind of amazing what they can learn in such a short time span, huh?

  59. Happy Birthday Sam!!
    Harlot, reading about your youngest made my cry knowing that I have a 9 year old daughter who is growing up,even though I do not want her to, who will be doing some of the very same things that your Sam has been doing. My daughter learned last weekend how to scramble eggs and is dying to learn more, except cleaning up after herself.
    Anyway, cudoos to you for raising such a beautiful and confident young lady.

  60. i can’t even imagine the last night with them in my bed. i guess it happens slowly… right now we are in the thick of it, with a 2 1/2 yr old & an 8 month old.
    we look forward to it, the journey.
    happy birthday!

  61. Have a GREAT birthday Sam.
    My son just celebrated his first birthday. I came to the realization that birthdays have a whole new meaning when you’re a mom. I couldn’t help but think about what I was going through 1 year ago all day.
    OTOH it was great fun and amazing to think of the differences between a year ago and now.
    May the french horns never sound like calving elephants, the cookies always rise just right and the bicycle beckon.
    Oliver 2-14-04

  62. One more happy b’day wish for SAM!
    My little ones are 15y and 12y and your comments brought me to tears.
    Harlot – Don’t cave in on the ear piercing. My neice just got her ear done and ended up in the hospital for 2 days. They had to cut the earring out and put her on intravenous antibiotics when it got infectd overnight!
    FBF is gorgeous – please show more!

  63. That post made me remember the 10th year of my sweet girl and maade me a little misty-eyed, too. Time really flies doesn’t it? My sweetie just turned 18 and I KNOW for a fact that she was 10 last week. And don’t tell anyone this – lest she finds out I’m sharing this with the world and thoroughly embarrassing her – but she still climbs in my lap regularly (and yes she’s taller than me and it sometimes makes my leg fall asleep), clings to my arm in public, and likes me to tuck her in. And I hope it never changes. I hope your Sam had the happiest of birthdays!

  64. This is what I get for skimming: I thought that Sam had knit a flower basket shawl just like yours! That really would have been a good year for her, considering everything else she accomplished :-). Anyway, happy b-day, Sam!

  65. Happy belated birthday to Sam! I’m very jealous of her bike adventure. I had to wait until I was 30 to experience that joy. Out of curiousity, how old was your youngest when you started cycling hundreds of kilometers in the summer? I don’t have kids yet but am already planning that family bike vacations are a must ๐Ÿ™‚

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