Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Butterfly quilt

My cousin, Elisa, made this beautiful quilt for Sylvia:

I think it's beautiful (only because it is--thank you Elisa!). She even rushed to finish it while Derrick and I were in Salt Lake so she could give it to us in person.

I've claimed a few times that Sylvia's started smiling. Well, here's the proof:

Funny story, in part about the quilt (and another part of why the quilt was finished so quickly): on the Wednesday we were in Salt Lake I went down to hang out with Elisa after I submitted my abstract for AGU. I got there maybe an hour before lunch, which was just long enough for Sylvia to need two diaper changes and one wardrobe change. Maggie (Elisa's middle child) was quite happy to help me choose what to put Sylvia in and generally interested in all aspects of child-care. Anyway, Elisa's agenda for the day when I showed up consisted of first, having a good lunch, and second, giving me a good trim. As soon as she pulled Sylvia's car seat out of the Explorer we were borrowing another item was added to the agenda: buying a new car seat.

When we registered for baby items we had a few thoughts about what we did and didn't want. Derrick didn't want anything from China (not that total avoidance of Chinese-made products is possible, but we tried) and we both wanted the sleekest, smallest, and least stuff possible. We're in a one bedroom apartment with not that much closet space, so we're not really in a position to store a bunch of stuff we aren't using. With that in mind, we registered for, and later received, a convertible car seat supposedly appropriate for babies from 5 lb to 35 lb or something. It's supposed to last for at least three years, which sounded ideal to us in our quest to avoid accumulating more than we need.

Here's the thing: Sylvia hated the car seat. She wasn't comfortable in it at all--her head was always pushed into her chest and flopping around, and it was very constricting. This is what she looked like in it about the time Derrick's parents visited:

I think she sort of looks like an astronaut.

In her time in the car seat, Sylvia perfected the blood-curdling, you're trying to kill me, aren't you?, scream. I kind of got used to it (as much as one can when such pitiful sounds come from one who is so loved) but it really did tear my heart out every time I had to put her in the car seat, knowing how much she hated it. In fact, I started avoiding going out, and avoided taking her, because I knew I'd have to put her in the car seat. we joked it was the mother's curse in action--when I was nine months old my parents drove from Salt Lake to San Diego with me and I screamed or slept the whole way except while they were driving through Las Vegas and I was distracted by lights. I also hated car seats. We learned a few tricks--if I fed her just before leaving she'd not cry, or not cry as much, about half the time. The other half of the time it made no difference and she just wailed. When Derrick's parents were in town this made things rough because we were going out and doing so much running around feeding her before every trip wasn't feasible, and, as much as the crying bothered me, it really, really bothered Derrick's mom. There were a couple of times where I thought she might just take Sylvia out of the car seat to sooth her because it made her feel so bad.

That weekend we had a discussion about possibly trying a different car seat, which to Derrick's mind I think meant going to Target and putting Sylvia in some different models and trading, if one was actually better. I'm pretty sure, knowing my husband, none of them would have been, but that's beside the point. The point I'm trying to make is, we had a car seat that only sort of worked and left my nerves frazzled and Sylvia unhappy and I was kind of sort of under the impression that Derrick was willing to try another car seat. So, with some minor arm-twisting from Elisa and more blood-curdling screaming from Sylvia, Elisa and I bought a new bucket-type car seat.

Derrick was not, in actuality, okay with the new purchase. Sylvia still cried in the bucket seat (though I maintained she did it less) and he would rather have not spent the $50 (Elisa kindly donated the remaining $50, though if she has another child she gets the seat back). I'm sure this is more a testament to how good our marriage is, but this was probably one of the worst arguments we've had in our four years of marriage. He was annoyed with me the rest of the week, to the point that by Friday I was ready to return the car seat, or at least give him the option of returning the car seat. So I asked Elisa to bring our car seat up to the chili-fest so we could possibly swap seats (she had also gracefully volunteered to store the extra seat until we needed it).

Elisa was livid. She was so mad at Derrick she called other family members to try to get them to pressure Derrick to not take back the other seat and lectured me, telling me the final decision was mine because this was my child.

The funny thing was, Derrick was about to the point where he was just going to say the decision was mine.

Eventually, after much discussion and many cell phone calls, we got things smoothed over. Elisa stopped being mad at Derrick, and Derrick stopped being mad at Elisa, both for her part in the purchasing and for being annoyed at him. But as part of her apology she rushed the finishing of the quilt so we'd have it before we went home. I'm not sure it was necessary at that point--Derrick's memory for annoyance is surprisingly short--but he definitely appreciated the quilt and the thoughtfulness. I think, of all the blankets and quilts we've received for Sylvia, it is likely his favorite, both for the quality of the workmanship and just because it's a dang cool, well-thought out and beautiful quilt.

Thanks again, Weeze.


  1. Oh Man, I cannot believe you put that out into the great unknown. I am feeling uh well shagrined, she is still crying in the new one, oh man! I love you all so much! If Sylvia wasn't one of the cutest kids in the world I would not have been such a maniac. I love that kid. I show her to everyone. Thanks Steeny for your loveliness. Love,Elisa

  2. Actually, Sylvia sleeps in her car seat now. The only time she cries in her car seat is when she's bored. It's awesome!