Can you spot the frog??
There aren’t words for how much I love her little scrunched up face in this picture.
A few weeks before her birthday we had a conversation where it occurred to her that I’d made far more dolls for her siblings than I had for her. I believe that this doll is the only one that I’ve made for her (she got a little update here). And it’s true that I’ve made two or three dolls, or more, for each of the other kids (some of which can be seen here if you scroll through). It’s also true that I’ve made her other toys and that I’ve bought her two dolls, which I never did with the other kids. None of this was intentional, it just kind of worked out that way. I think part of it is that I’ve been quite ill for the vast majority of her life, resulting in far fewer little side projects like that, but also, she took an interest in the kinds of dolls that I can’t make at a much younger age than the others. I told her that I didn’t realize that she was now interested in the kind of doll I make (Waldorf dolls) and she assured me that she very much was. So, of course, I offered to make her a doll and had her describe to me what she would like….a mermaid with rainbow hair.
Instead of pushing myself to try to make it as a surprise (the truth is that these days, I’m in bed for as many hours as she is, if not more) I told her we would make it together. Mairi was intrigued and asked if she could make one as well. In the picture of the three mermaids side by side, Mairi’s is the first, the second was drawn by Seraphina, and the third was the one that I made for her.
It’s been a tradition in our house to read The Seven Year Old Wonder Book aloud to children approaching their 7th birthdays. It’s a conflicting sort of thing for me because that book really speaks to children at this age and there are elements of it that hold great beauty, but it’s also racist. There is simply no way around it. I’m not sure when it was written, but the author was born in 1901, which is not an excuse, but it does start to explain why some of the imagery used comes across as inappropriate to the modern sensibility, which is hopefully more in tune with social justice. My compromise, and I’m not really sure if it’s a good one or not (!), is that I’m the only one who reads the book and I change the objectionable parts.
The book reading was very different this time, as my voice is still limited. I would read her a couple of pages a night, sometimes less. It took us a long time to get through that little book, but it was our special time together and every night she thanked me for reading because she knew it was a struggle. I got her Snow and Rose for her birthday and we’re reading it in the same slow, patient, quiet way now.
As is also tradition, she had a wonder book of her own as well and people (okay, mostly me, but I talked some other people in the house into contributing too) volunteered to be “rhyme elves” for her, adding in pictures and poems for the two weeks leading up to her birthday. Her beautiful wonder book came from EllieBeeCrafts on Etsy. She was really sweet and customized some things for me so that it was exactly what I was looking for. It’s magical. Seraphina was so pleased!
She wanted a cat cake, only the cat’s ears where supposed to actually be mountains and the mountains were to have a whole forest on them and there were supposed to be gnome houses in the forest (?!?). I’ve got to be honest with you, I haven’t even managed to picture that, much less figure out how to make it! In the end, she settled for a pink kitty vanilla bean cake with raspberry jam between the layers, white chocolate-strawberry buttercream icing, and marshmallow fondant details.
I own a small collection of vintage baby knitting patterns…but of course I no longer have babies to knit for! Because my brain works in mysterious ways, despite the fact that there are probably thousands of patterns that come in her size, I decided to adapt a pattern meant for a six month old. Not only that, but I liked certain elements of another pattern so opted to combine the two. It was quite an adventure (in knitting terms anyway), but I will spare you the details. The yarn is Snuggle Puff in ‘Hatchling’ and ‘Lamb’. I expected and wished for a much softer shade with the hatchling, my face fell when I opened the box of yarn, but I’ve learned to live with the disappointment.
We went for a walk in the afternoon and our neighbor spotted us and sent over clumps of snowdrops and a crocus as very apt birthday gifts for my sweet, little, spring babe.
Waldorf Inspired Mermaid Doll by ThimbleGarden
Slightly modified Sweet Dreams Vintage Bloomers by RabbitRabbitCreation
Angel Top #1 from Fairytale Baby Book by Susan Bates, with edging from the Two Color Angel #14