Nico’s Basic Pants (in black)

Shortly after making Nico’s wearable muslin pants, I quickly sewed up another pair, this time in black fleece. 
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Complete with cat hair and lint… Oops!

Nico doesn’t like to wear pants, and I thought maybe it’s because all he has are stiff jeans (not the easiest thing to wear for jumping, crouching, and general cavorting). I wanted to make a pair of pants that were comfy cozy and a lot more wearable for an active little kid.

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Uh, and good for lounging too…

Dana Made It‘s pattern is great, but I did modify the width of the pant legs. I tried to make them as narrow as I could, while still giving Nico a full range of motion. I think I succeeded:

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Sorry for these terrible photos. Black pants on a brown couch. Yuck. But I’m really happy with these pants, and they are in heavy rotation (especially with the late winter we had and cold spring) and holding up quite well.

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Now that summer is sort of here, he’ll be switching to shorts, but I’m grateful for the practice and I now think I could make these pants from memory, without looking at the instructions.

Aside: Nico starts school in September!!! Yay! His school has uniforms… The tops have to be ordered from a supplier, but the bottoms are generic navy blue pants or shorts. Do you see where I’m going with this??? I’d love to really improve my finishing skills and make pants with pockets and other finishes and that can stand the abuse of busy school days. Plus, they need to last through two cycles as they’ll be hand-me-downs for Louisa. I’m excited to get sewing!

Random Aside: Blogging has slowed significantly for me and will indeed cease completely by end of year. The short of it is that my computer is OLD and crashes constantly. I can’t edit photos anymore, writing a post has to be done in phases because my computer doesn’t really support Google Chrome and freezes after 20 minutes or so, and it’s just getting really tedious for me to do anything online. Thanks for sticking with me, and I’ll still be active on Instagram @sleepykins

Louisa: 16 Months

IMG_1860Illness. The last few months have been non-stop illness. I had already thanked my lucky stars for sparing us this winter, where we collectively only suffered the odd runny nose. But it wasn’t winter I should have watched out for, but SPRING. The turning of the seasons came with it bug after bug after bug, and not even Louisa was spared. Most of April saw her with a mild fever and runny nose, making breastfeeding difficult and sleep erratic. I’ll tell you what, never was I so eager for warm weather (which, hooray, is finally here!)

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Movement: Louisa continues to move through her life just fine. She can navigate all the levels of our backyard (including three cement steps from the back deck to the side yard) by herself, which is great, and has made our days outdoors more interesting. She can climb onto most furniture, whether we want her to or not. It’s not unusual for me to come out of the kitchen with a snack, only to find her standing on the table reaching for the chandelier, rather than sitting in her chair. She likes to run, too. When we go for walks, she’s not one to sit or be carried. She RUNS!

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Louisa has been walking for a long time, but now I can clearly state that she is in fact pigeon-toed. I had a pretty severe case of it until I was about 12 or 13, so I hope my poor girl can straighten out her gait well before that. For now, though, it means she trips on her feet a lot. There are quite a few cuts on her nose and knees from the tumbles she’s taken running down the sidewalk.

I’m glad both my kids are independent explorers, and I certainly don’t want to impose restrictions on running, but I’ll be glad when she’s a little more sure-footed and the daily falls peter out.

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Communication: Louisa has started Shushing us. She holds her finger up to her mouth and says “Thhhhh”. The “TH” sound is clearly her favourite, since she uses it constantly. She can clearly say “This” emphasizing the consonant sounds. There aren’t any new words, but she still communicates well through gestures and facial expressions, and sounds. She waves at everyone too.

Growth: We went to the doctor’s on April 22nd, and here are her stats:
weight: 22lbs13oz;
height: 32 1/2 inches;
head circumference: 48 cm.

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She’s on track for everything, so no concerns there. Girl is tall. She wears size 2t and the occasional size 3, which boggles my mind. (I heard somewhere that baby girl clothes are sized smaller than baby boy clothes, so that’s probs why she seems to fit into the same size as her big brother).

Teeth: Still as before: 12 teeth total, with her first set of molars all completely out. Last week I looked into her mouth and saw her gum stretched white where the top left canine should go, and I inwardly wept a little. Canines were the WORST for Nico, and I hope they don’t afflict baby girl too much.

Food: Oh food. Here is confession time… I’ve been pretty run down, so making food has really fallen off my priority list. Angelo took charge and now does the groceries and makes dinner most nights. That leaves me with breakfast, lunch, and snacks. And even that is super challenging for me. I’m really trying to adjust my expectations, look at what she eats over the course of a week rather than at any given meal, and do all the other things that we’re supposed to with feeding a toddler. But always, there is this nagging sense that I’m failing her somehow. The constant cold of the last 6 weeks doesn’t help my case, either. With a distinct drop in breastfeeding (her choice, not mine) and a new refusal to eat certain foods, I know she’s not getting the nutrients she once was. Neither am I. Not that this is about me, but it really shows that when I’m eating poorly, the kids are less apt to eat balanced meals. There was a particular lunchtime when they both had red pepper sticks on their plates. Neither touched them, opting for the grilled cheese instead, until I reached over, grabbed a stick and crunched it loudly. They wordlessly looked at me, each grabbed their own, and munched away. Since then, I’ve made more of an effort to eat lunch with them (instead of passing on it altogether) but some days I fall off the wagon.

Everything is a work in progress.

Sleep: Big changes happened for Louisa this month. Namely, she got a bedroom.

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I’d been working on her bedroom for a while, ripping out the old carpeting, painting the walls and trim, acquiring furniture. The last piece of the puzzle was the most important: her bed. She has always hated her crib, and refused to sleep in it. There was absolutely no point in keeping something that was stressing her out simply for convention’s sake. I was trying to piece together a bed for Louisa using used/donated pieces, but mattress and frame sizes just weren’t matching up, and finally my dad very kindly bought us a new bed. We put it together right away, and the moment we had finished, put the slats and mattress on, Louisa climbed right into bed, and laughed and cheered. She crawled all over it, and then pretended to go to sleep on it. What a difference in her reaction to the crib (which was met with shrieks and cries).

She sleeps in her bed maybe 30% of the time, and already that’s helped us all get better quality sleep. She’s also become attached to her zebra, using him for comfort at night, and I can usually find her asleep in our bed or hers with her arm around his neck. I thought I would hate to see a substitute for my own neck, but all I feel is relief!!

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Favourites: her aforementioned zebra (he has a name now: Felix); singing and dancing; school buses; swimming.

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned swimming yet! She took the “duck” level class last month, and she just LOVED it. She’s really good at kicking her feet, and lying back on the water (something that most babes aren’t too keen on) and she just loves being in water. Cottage season is now upon us, so we’ll see how she feels about lake swimming, but I’m pretty confident she’ll be a fan.

One funny thing to note: my father dutifully kept all of my old My Little Pony’s and recently gave them to me. They were in need of a little cleanup after all those years in storage, so I took a bunch of them and gave them a good scrubbing and hair detangling. I set them out for Louisa the next day, and she REFUSED to touch them! I was finally able to coax her to pick one up by the body, but once her hand brushed up against that nylon hair, she made a disgusted face and dropped it. Oh no!! Maybe she’ll develop a taste for them as she gets older, but it just goes to show, you never know the fickle taste of children.

Louisa: 15 Months

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The 15th month mark has proved to be a momentous one for Louisa. She had another big leap forward this month, as she seems so much more alert and responsive, and demonstrative of her likes and dislikes. Her interactions with each of us, and with her world, are much more meaningful than they were before, and she navigates through her day with resolve and purpose. It’s really a great time to be alive.

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Easter Photos. They clean up real nice!

Communication: She makes animal sounds. She “woofs” when she sees a dog, “meows” when she sees a cat, and “roars” when she sees anything else. I’ve also tried to make more of an effort to name things for her. She gets it, and she can follow basic commands surprisingly well. She has also upped her facial expressions game. She makes really funny faces, scrunching up her face or acting “surprised” by raising her eyebrows. She’s just super lively and takes part in the conversation in the ways she can.

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Movement: Louisa climbs!!! She climbs the couches, the stairs, she climbs up on everything, and we’re confident enough in her abilities to let her. She can get herself down from most things, which is incredibly liberating for both her and me. She can even get down from our bed, which is great because it means I can leave her there for naps. She also loves to romp around the yard with her brother. Unfortunately, though, her balance isn’t super developed yet, so she tumbles quite a bit, and with the freeze thaw spring we’ve been having, there are A LOT of ice chunks to contend with outside. Her forehead is a veritable rainbow from all the bruising she’s incurred.

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Growth: We have an appointment in two weeks, so we’ll find out her measurements then, but obviously she’s always getting bigger and taller. We finally made the switch this month from her bucket infant carseat to a toddler one. We even put it forward facing, since her long legs were pushing on the back of the seat in the car when she was rear facing. It’s a nice thing, to have both of them sitting side-by-side facing the same way.

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Teeth: Teething continues… All four molars are through, but one of them still has a corner to push through the gum before it’s completely out. She chews on everything, and she bites. She bites her own hands, she bites toys and chomps on wet cloths like it’s her job, and she bites my collarbone when I’m holding her. It hurts. I deal with it by giving her a firm “no” and putting my finger on her mouth, then if she does it again, I put her down. She HATES that. But it’s not stopping her from biting me the way it did with Nico. I blame her pesty teeth. They suck.

Food: Louisa is becoming a bit picky these days. Things that she gladly shoved in her mouth a month ago now get a solid head shake. She will tell us no by shaking her head whenever she’s done or doesn’t like something, so it’s easy to know what to insist on, but I hope that she gets over this picky phase soon.

I’ve also bought reusable squeeze pouches and I’m planning on making some purées for her and Nico. I hope the internet helps me out finding some good recipes that the kids will gladly eat.

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Sleep: As always, she’s a tough sleeper. Whole weeks will drag on endlessly where she only sleeps in two-hour chunks, and I’ll be beside myself with fatigue and desperation. But very recently, she had a “good” night. She slept 5 hours, then 4 hours. It was great to only have one wakeup that night, and even though it doesn’t come close to paying my sleep debt, it gave me a glimmer of what life will be like when I’m not horribly, sickeningly sleep deprived.

Favourites: Louisa still loves all her usual things: her zebra, her toys (the kitchen and the trains in particular), her books, music and dancing, and animals. She swings her hips now when she dances, jutting them out as far as they’ll go from side to side. It is seriously cute.

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She’s also started to enjoy time to herself this month. I’ll often find her in a corner, on the couch, or in another room, playing quietly or reading a book to herself. She can amuse herself at the play kitchen for long stretches of time. And I guess that’s how it goes with second kids: they learn to play with others first, and develop a taste for individual play later; whereas Nico only knew solo time at the beginning, and had to learn to play with others later. Anyway, Louisa gets 4 hours to herself once a week while Nico is in daycare. Angelo and I have also started separating them and doing one-on-one activities with the kids on the weekends. Giving them undivided attention has really filled some emotional needs, and though there’s still tugging and shoving and rivalries and jealousy, it’s a small blip compared to the overwhelming love between the two kids.

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Louisa: 14 months

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Moving:
We had our first tumble down the stairs, and oh did my heart just stop for a second! She was climbing up quickly, because my mom and I were watching her, and in a moment of pride, she twisted her body around to flash us a smile, and the momentum took her over and she fell backwards, headfirst, down three or four steps. I was there and caught her before her head hit the floor, but it was terrifying and I had to calm myself afterwards. I’m hoping it scared her too, and that she’ll remember it next time she tries that move again.

Then of course there was this little trick:

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Ha, obviously I didn’t let it go on for long, and the thing is anchored to the wall, but still, we gotta watch this girl!

Communicating: Not too much to report this month. Same as always, babbling and progressing well. Oh, but she’s started to tease. She teases her brother, and me, a lot. Usually she just makes funny faces at us, especially when we’re asking her to do something. Oy.

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Growth: Louisa has become such a BIG GIRL this month. She seems so tall, so strong and sturdy, and definitely able to hold her own. She has two boys in her life (her brother and cousin) who love to roughhouse, and she seems totally capable of warding off their taunts. Way to go, Louisa!

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keeping up with the big kids!

Teeth: Two new molars have begun their epic journey to the surface. That means there’s only one to go!

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Food: Louisa got sick in February, and basically stopped eating solids for a couple of days. My milk supply is still going strong, so that’s good, though I feel like the weaning has commenced. I notice that Louisa doesn’t drain the breast as well as she used to, and she usually only takes one side at a time now. There have been more and more instances where I leaked through my shirt (usually at inopportune moments) and it’s taking my body a bit of time to adjust to her changing (dwindling) needs. It doesn’t help that she still nurses a lot at night.

Sleep:

IMG_6866During the day, she sleeps best in the carseat. Second only to my arms, of course!

Just as in the day time, her nighttime feedings have reduced in recent weeks, meaning that I usually wake up in the middle of the night in a puddle of milk. The sheets get soaked, and I end up sleeping in a cold wet puddle. Not ideal, but I know that this phase is also a brief one, and I’m hoping that as her needs for milk die down, it will ultimately mean more consolidated sleep for us all.

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On a somewhat related note: one day I got particularly upset in her room looking at her crib that she won’t sleep in. So I made a decision, and I switched it out for her bed. This set was given to us, and it’s tiny (made for toddlers) but at least – when the time comes – I’ll be able to lay down with her in this bed to ease her transition out of our room and into her own. Still no rush on when that will actually happen, but I felt better getting rid of the crib (and I’m sure she’s happy it’s gone too!!)

Favourites: Louisa has become a total book worm! She pulls books off the shelf constantly, and sits down with a good book all by herself. She has a few favourites, mostly ones with flaps to open, but she’ll gladly try new books according to her whims.

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Louisa’s kind of a little mamma. She really loves her dolls, and especially her zebra (it used to be Nico’s, but he never really took to plush toys). Whenever she’s upset, Nico is quick to find her Z and bring it to her. Then she squeezes it so tightly. In fact, the other day I closed the door on her while I tended to Nico in the bathroom, and when we opened it again, she was standing there, squeezing her Z. She had gone to get it herself for comfort! Way to go Louisa!

Nico’s Basic Kids Pants

I made some romping pants for Nico. They’re pretty basic, really just a wearable muslin to test fit.

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Nico does NOT like to wear pants, like AT ALL, but with the very cold winter we’ve had, he’s been forced to reluctantly keep a pair on for more than 10 minutes together. However, he always asks to wear pyjama pants because (duh) they’re way more comfortable than his jeans or cordoroys. So, I’ve decided to fit him out with some comfy pants that aren’t pyjamas.

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I used a pattern by Dana-Made-It, and I really like it. As she says, she’s adjusted the waist so that it hangs below the belly in the front. Her tutorial is great, and easy to follow. Perfect for a soft reintroduction to sewing. I’m very rusty, so I needed something E-A-S-Y.

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Such a cute belly!

I used my serger and was able to complete the pants in seriously less than one hour. That includes printing the pattern, choosing fabric from my stash, and fiddling with my serger when one of my threads broke (arg!).  So you know… doesn’t get much faster than that.

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As this was a tester pair, I wasn’t meticulous. You can see that in the stitch for the waistband. It’s not even close to straight, but the pants are a good fit, and will only require the most minimal of tweaks.

The details: Nico is ~37″ tall, weighs ~30lbs, has a 21″ waist and a 15″ inseam. I cut the pattern as written, and serged the seams with almost no seam allowance. Next time,  I’ll add the recommended 3/8″ seam allowance to make them a tad skinnier. Also to note: I made the pant legs straight (the pattern has a slight flare) and I might even go skinnier with the next pair. Though I don’t want to give up Nico’s comfort for style, since the whole point of these pants are to provide him with a comfy alternative to the pants in his closet.

Action shots:

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IMG_6820So now I must sort through my meagre fabric stash, neglected for so long, and find some nice fabric in appropriate weight/colour. As vibrant as this Shamrock Green might be, it’s not the softest fabric in the world, and won’t necessarily go with too much in his closet.

Me, sewing again. Guys, this is exciting!