Monday, August 29, 2011

Sew Fun!

Dear Delilah,

When I wrote to you about making you a doll, I mentioned that I was looking forward to making matching dresses for you and Abba. Since I am very new to sewing, I decided to start out making practice dresses using some fabric I've had laying around for years, before cutting into the adorable fabric you helped me pick out.

I used Prudent Baby's DIY "Pillowcase" Baby Dress Pattern to guide me. For a novice sewer, the tutorial was surprisingly easy to follow! Still, I'm glad I did the practice dresses, because I made some mistakes and found sewing the bias tape around the arm holes particularly challenging (I couldn't avoid the fabric around the arm hole getting bunched up, though I resolved it somewhat by making sure the bias tape bunched up a little instead). I'll probably make a few more practice dresses and try out a few different patterns before I get brave enough to go for it with the fabric I bought especially for this purpose!

I made your dress first, and when I tried it on you, your father remarked that "it kind of looks like she's wearing a pillow case." I told him that since the pattern is called "Pillowcase Baby Dress", that must mean I did it right. ;)

Here is a photo each of you and Abba wearing your new dresses today:

I was hoping for a lovely photo of you and Abba together, but you weren't terribly cooperative with my ~vision~, so here are some of the results of that endeavor:



P.S. I would definitely encourage any beginning sewers to check out Prudent Baby's dress patterns and tutorials. I'm hoping to give this one a try when I get some more experience under my belt!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Mamma Mia, Here I Go Again

Dear Delilah,

The end of summer is always a busy time, and if you're wondering where my letters to you over the past few weeks disappeared to, well, let's just say that with an impending move and all sorts of other things keeping us busy, this year it's been more hectic than most. Even though I haven't been writing to you, I have been creating for you! One of the projects that has kept me so busy was gathering with a few lovely ladies to make you a doll!

I'm a novice sewer at best, so sewing a Waldorf doll by hand sounded overwhelming at first, but a good teacher and willingness to embrace imperfections made it a wonderful experience.

Since I wasn't making the doll as a gift for any specific ocassion, I let you play with her and love her up throughout the process. Even when her arms and faceless head were attached to each other, but not yet attached to the rest of her body, you loved carrying her around and hugging her. You named her before she had hair or clothes. The first time I asked you what you wanted to name her, you answered "Bob". I was in the midst of sewing a dress for her, and while there's certainly no reason that a doll named Bob couldn't have a dress, I tried again, and you answered "Abba!" As far as you were concerned, Abba didn't need hair or clothes to be a perfectly lovable baby doll.

That photo was taken last Friday, which happened to be the day before my birthday. While you were playing with your beloved but naked Abba, I started hand-sewing a dress for her using some fabric I'd attempted to make a shirt out of years ago. I worked on it all night, and your father impatiently asked me several times if I was REALLY going to sew the whole thing that night.

The next morning, my birthday, I found out why he'd been so annoyed that I spent a good three hours sewing a tiny little dress. One of his birthday gifts for me? A sewing machine. If I'd been a bit more patient, I could have sewed that dress in a third of the time, and with much straighter stitches! I still get a good laugh thinking about it! Still, I'm proud that both the doll and her first outfit, a dress and head scarf to cover her poor bald head, were sewn entirely by hand. I did use the machine to make a matching cloth diaper for her!

The look on your face that morning when you saw Abba in her new dress was priceless.

Yesterday, you accompanied me to the final doll class to give Abba hair. You had so much fun playing with the teacher's daughters, coming over to me every so often to touch Abba and check my progress. I am so proud of how beautifully she turned out, and of all of the hard work and love I put into her. She is not your first doll, but you have taken to her in a way that you haven't any of your others. Perhaps it's because she's about 3 times the size of your other dolls, but I'd like to think she's extra special since she was made by your mama!

I am looking forward to becoming more experienced at sewing and to making more dolls for you. I've already got plans for matching dresses for you and Abba that I'm hoping to have time to sew this weekend. I'll be sure to blast Abba songs while I sew to give you the full experience of the name you chose for your baby!



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Monday, August 1, 2011

World Breastfeeding Week

Dear Delilah,

This year, August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated in over 170 countries world-wide. What a way to kick off my birthday month! :)

For the past few days, I've been debating what to write about for World Breastfeeding Week. If it weren't for school, a new job, and starting the process of moving (gee, I should probably be documenting some of those exciting events some time soon, eh?) I would love to fill this week with informative posts based on my experience with and knowledge about breastfeeding.

I could write about some of the products that made breastfeeding easier (like the Pumpease hands-free pumping bra or Bravado Nursing Tanks or Earth Mama Natural Nipple Butter). I could write about the evolution of the nursing relationship, from newborn to toddler. I could write about some of the non-baby-feeding uses for breast milk I've discovered (from healing cuts and scrapes, to treating eye irritations and pink eye, to soothing a new tattoo). I could revisit a number of breastfeeding topics that I've touched on previously, like breastfeeding dolls, my desire to let you self-wean, or all of the support we've had for our nursing relationship.

I certainly have no shortage of topics to choose from, nor do I have a shortage of words to say in glowing support of breastfeeding, nor a shortage of nursing photos to share. If time allows, I will touch on a number of those topics throughout the week, but when I think about what I most want to share with you, in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, it is how healing our nursing relationship has been, and continues to be, for me.

After you came into the world by cesarean birth, rather than the un-medicated water birth I'd been planning for, it was difficult to ignore that tiny but nagging little voice that told me I was broken. Even though there was nothing I had done that caused you to be breech, or that caused the other complications at the end of my pregnancy, and even though I had done everything in my power to encourage you to turn, I couldn't help but feel that my body had, in some way, failed to do its job of bringing you into the world gently and naturally.

I worked through those feelings by focusing on being successful at breastfeeding. I was determined and committed, and I had all of the support, encouragement, and resources a new nursing mom could ask for. You latched right on the first time I put you to the breast, and despite some minor bumps in the road while we both learned how nursing works, breastfeeding came relatively easy to both of us.

All of that time spent nursing in your first few months of life created an impenetrable bond between us. I remember, when we were still in the hospital, feeling unsure whether we were bonding properly, or whether the surgical birth was impairing or delaying that process. I remember the rush of love I felt every time I nursed you, and how it melted those worries away. I remember the first time you signed for milk and the first time you smiled and said "Yummm!" while nursing. Nearly 21 months in, our nursing relationship continues to heal me. My favorite nursing session each day is the one first thing in the morning. We snuggle in bed together, drifting in and out of sleep, and you nurse on one breast while gently patting the other and stopping every so often to affectionately say "Boobah" with a smile.

Breastfeeding has restored my faith in my body. Breastfeeding has reassured me that I am not a failure. A body that can make milk that both nourishes and comforts a baby is not broken at all.




Dear Readers,

Do you have a blog post in honor of World Breastfeeding Week? Link it up with Natural Parents Network on the linky below! If you enjoyed this post and have a couple of clicks to spare, please click here, scroll down to Dear Delilah Fine and Fair (currently at #49) and click on the thumbs up to vote for me on Babble's Top 50 Mom Blogs. At the time of posting, I need just 2 more "likes" to move up a spot! 20 more would move me up two! :) Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support! <3

I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.
(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)
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