It occurs to me that I somehow have not shown you the majestic costume I put together for Becky’s 5th grade Explorer Museum project. I say “put together” rather than “designed” because truthfully, she did all the research and all the designing. I just made the patterns and sewed the thing together.
Her school does this neat project where each kid picks an explorer and then does a whole living museum exhibit kind of thing (I think it would be even more cool if they did this with a group that wasn’t largely European dudes who were responsible for an awful lot of mass genocide and slavery but I digress). They put together reports and “artifacts” and journals, and then the parents show up and the kids all have to tell us about their explorers. It’s very involved.
Becky decided to be Ponce de León. I may have strongly suggested ol’ Ponce because I was under the misconception that he had the cool hat and 1/2 cape outfit. Not true. His hat is totally dumb, and no cape at all (okay, he’s wearing a cape in this picture, but in most renderings there’s no cape). I don’t know who I was thinking of, but it sure wasn’t Ponce de León. There’s a fairly ubiquitous rendering of the man wearing a chest plate with a fancy slash-sleeve shirt underneath. Several statues of him also show him wearing matching shorts. That Florida heat, I guess.
So we went to the fabric store and picked out a heavy blue-gray upholstery fabric for the tunic/armor, and yellow and red fabric for the sleeves. The kid’s a stickler for accuracy. We got home and I started planning this thing out, and I quickly realized that I had never done slash sleeves before. A quick whirl around Pinterest and I was all set with a nifty tutorial for Snow White sleeves.
We had already decided that the sleeves would be connected to the “armor” rather than part of an undershirt, and after some discussion we decided to go with short sleeves rather than long. We rounded up a pair of plain black boots (her feet are almost as big as mine already!!!) and I whipped up a quick crocheted beard. I am super, super pleased at how it came out. But more importantly, Becky was really happy with it, which was the goal.
I had strawberry shortcake for breakfast today. I’m not super proud of it, but I wanted to blog about strawberry shortcake and the other day when I made it for me and the kids, I made these gorgeous, decadent towers that fell over long before I had a chance to capture their majesty.
So I had just enough cake left for one more go, and I thought to myself,
The very empty can of Redi-Whip. Breakfast was delayed for a few minutes while I went and had a very calm (okay, it wasn’t particularly calm but I didn’t completely lose my shit on her, either) discussion with my 10 year old about a) not eating whipped cream straight out of the can and b) more importantly, not putting empty containers back in the fridge so that people would get two-thirds of the way to a delicious breakfast and then discover they’re missing a key ingredient.
I dimly recalled buying some “shelf stable” cream from Trader Joe’s to make ice cream with, and it turned out I still had a box, so the 10 year old gets to live. I whipped it up, threw some sugar and vanilla in, and called it a day. You’ll see in the pic that it could have used more whipping, but I was about to starve at that point and still had to take the photos so I just served it up. Still delicious.
The strawberries were the big disappointment: they looked so pretty and juicy, but they were just kind of flavorless. I can hardly wait until we get the fresh-off-the-vine strawberries we pick ourselves…that’s when I’ll know it’s really summer.
We were walking home from the town fair and, as is our tradition, stopped for ice cream at the truck on the way out. I mentioned to the kids that when I was little, the first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was an ice cream man.
We crossed the street and the kids started stuffing ice cream in their faces, and suddenly Zack said, “Wait a minute, Mom — you couldn’t be an ice cream man! You’re a GIRL! You’d be an ice cream WOMAN!” And Becky chimed in with, “Or ice cream PERSON.” So I explained that back in the olden days when I was wee, the distinction wasn’t really made all that often — it was still fireman, policeman, chairman, and so on, no matter what gender the person doing the job actually was.
Then Zack asked the question that started the conversation that gave me one of those super-proud-mom moments, wherein it is demonstrated that my children do indeed think critically about the world around them and want to change it for the better: “Is that because they didn’t respect women as much?” I answered that yes, that was pretty much the reason, and he said he was sure glad it had changed. So I told him that yeah, it’s changed a lot, but that kind of disrespect is still there. Then I mentioned the wage gap and he stopped dead in his tracks: “Mom, that’s just not right! I wish I was a lawyer, because I would pass laws so that wouldn’t happen anymore.”
I explained that there are some laws for that, but that they’re really hard to enforce, and that’s why it’s so important for us to always do our best to make sure we’re doing the right thing and not just following along because it’s convenient. I also talked a little bit about how important it is for those who are in the “respected” class to be advocates for the people who are being disrespected. He nodded, and held my hand as we walked along.
Then the gloaming was upon us and there were fireflies to chase. So he ran off, and I thought about how proud I am that he has noticed that women are often disrespected but even more, that he feels the wrongness of it and wants to rectify that. He’s a good kid, and conversations like that give me a glimmer of the good man he’s growing up to be.