For Munchkin with Love

Dear Munchkin,

A few weeks ago, somebody suggested a weighted blanket might help you settle down for sleep. She said they weren’t too difficult to make, and an internet search would quickly produce instructions. So I searched. In addition to sewing instructions, I found a host of web sites selling blankets. They were pricey, but it was tempting.

I possess very meager sewing skills. As a young 4-H’er, I did sewing projects as a matter of course. My mother, God bless her, was very patient as she worked with me, teaching me. Sewing is precise, time-consuming work.

I hated it.

I often felt like I spent more time picking out stitches than putting them in. The measuring, the pinning, the endless ironing, the painstakingly slow movement of the fabric through the machine: it all drove me nuts. I just wanted it to be over, but I had to take my time to do it right.

It is a practical skill. As an adult, I’m glad my mother took the time to teach me, resistant though I was. And I have owned a sewing machine for many years, though it has mostly remained unused.

In the end, I decided to take the plunge and make your blanket myself. Tuesday afternoon I took you to pick out the fabric, hoping your involvement would make the blanket that much more appealing for you. I tossed it in the washing machine before delivering you and Peanut to Lola. That evening, I liberated the sewing machine from storage and began the project.

I ironed the fabric, pinned it together, and stayed up until 1:30 a.m. doing battle. But the three sides were attached, and I felt some small victory in that. The next day, I ironed again and worked on putting in the channels.

I spent more time re-threading the machine and picking out stitches than putting them in.

Finally, I consulted a friend who does a lot of sewing. She suggested I might be using the wrong needle, something I never would have considered, and she was right. I also needed to adjust my approach: I had been rushing again, pushing and pulling the fabric under the presser foot. I needed to take my time to do it right.

Once I found my groove, the rest of the project went smoothly, if still time consuming. In addition to the sewing, I had to measure out the pellets for each little pocket. The bulk and weight of the completed pockets posed a challenge, too, as I made progress. Midnight approached and passed. I acknowledged how tired I was, especially after staying up so late the previous night, but I was committed. I wanted it done. If it would help you sleep, if better rest would give you energy and help you concentrate, I didn’t want you to have to wait any longer. We had already lost weeks to research and indecision. And before that, years of ignorance.

I finished at about 4:30 a.m.

Your blanket is far from perfect. Not a single seam is completely straight. There are quite a few other mistakes, too, evidencing my inadequacy. But it is sufficient. And I am proud that I created it for you.

You were very excited about the blanket, asking on Wednesday if it was done yet. I gave it to you for nap time on Thursday; you were overjoyed. You fell asleep comparatively quickly, though it would be premature to attribute that to the blanket alone. At bedtime, I covered you with it again, but you grew hot after a while and pushed it aside. You fell asleep only a little earlier than usual. Only time will tell, I suppose, if it really makes a difference.

But I’m excited by the thought that this blanket might survive your childhood, perhaps tucked away in a storage bin at some point. Some day you might handle it again, in the same way that I caress things my mother made for me. I hope the flaws remind you it was made entirely out of love.

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