Friday, October 31, 2008

The Pea Princess by Colleen Mills

The Pea Princess

She arches like a bowed branch of willow,
Quivering from stem to leaf.
With each flex of the wrists,
Roll of a shoulder,
Gentle realignment of the ribs,
The lump burrows deeper.

Now beneath the breast plate,
Now between hipbone and pelvis,
Now knotted at the base of the neck,
Clicking between the knobs of the spinal column
Where the vertebrae, like the panels of a washboard, find the lump,
As it rickets over the thinly sheathed bones with each shift in motion.

Whether between knucklebones or toe bones,
Nestled in the many small joints and junctures of the body,
It journeys like a pebble smoothed over in a sea of feathers,
Pressing against the inside of the knee cap,
Working its way up the thigh,
Wandering the flesh land of the belly.

Each night the same rotation
As she arches, curves, twines her body about the bedposts,
Weaved like a tight shoe lace between the pillars of the bed,
Spiraling between the sheets
Trying to find the one place
Such a lump will fit beneath her frame.

With each stretch,
Each extension or contortion of a limb,
The minutest of lumps,
Buried beneath bedding twenty upon twenty layers high,
Burrows still deeper, pressing into the skin of thinly padded skeletal extensions
As it grates to a final rest against the gentle hollow above the collarbone.

Like the smoothed sand in the mouth of an oyster,
The tenderest of peas seeks shelter
In only the softest concaves of flesh,
Where the pea, like the pearl,
Proves perfection
By defining the flaw.
--Colleen Mills

For your trick-or-treating pleasure: BLOG CANDY!!!

I have a piece of scrapbook paper that I bought before Elizabeth was born that has babies in pea pods on it. I've wanted to make her a pea pod bunting for months. Now that she's outgrowing even the biggest of the fleece sleepers Mom made her, I thought I ought to finally get it done before she's walking and refuses to wear it.

Well, I made one, and took her picture in it, and she is indeed telling me she's not gonna let me put it on her again. I was short on fabric, so it's a little small, and her legs get cramped. So Now I'm offering it to any of my blog readers with a baby smaller than mine. Halloween's over, but it's cute enough to wear anytime, even just for one photo. Leave me a comment if you'd like it, and if more than one person wants it, I'll hold a drawing or something.

Isn't Elizabeth cute in it? And her little doll too. I had enough scraps of slightly different colors to make a copy for the doll (I'm keeping that one, sorry. It's a good way to have the memory of Elizabeth's without taking up closet space with an outfit she won't wear -- and besides, how likely is it that you'd have a doll the same size? Also, I bought the doll at a thrift store, and she doesn't have any other clothes.)

I was trying to take cute pictures, but Elizabeth wasn't happy to be in the outfit -- it was about 80 degrees, and 80% humidity. I got some OK shots like the ones above, but nothing really great. Then our grumpy chain smoking neighbor started talking to her -- saying, "Hi Elizabeth! What a cute girl you are!" That kind of attention has earned almost everyone she's ever met -- from friends and relatives to strangers at the grocery store -- a heart melting smile, and it worked again. I got the two shots you see below, which I think are some of the best of the bunch.

Here are the jack-o'-lanterns we carved Monday night for Family Home Evening. I really like the glowing effect in these photos (though some of it might be motion blur). The one on the left, Peter's pumpkin, was the one that grew in our garden this year. The vine died about a month ago, and we brought the pumpkin inside. I've been tapping on the rind pretty regularly, looking for soft spots, but it survived remarkably well. I carved the other two for myself and Elizabeth. The middle one is sort of sorry looking, but you have to understand that while most pumpkins have a paper thin rind on top of and inch or so of flesh, this pumpkin had a tough tough rind about a centimeter thick. It was like the gourds they use to make maracas out of -- almost like wood. I seriously got out of breath sawing just a few crooked triangles into it.

Here's Elizabeth looking at the pumpkins. Notice that she's eating the smile from the middle pumpkin. She actually ate the whole thing (not including the rind).

Here's some shots of little pumpkin head with the pumpkins in the daylight. Five days later in our warm moist California weather, the pumpkins are already looking saggy and gross inside, but Elizabeth doesn't mind. They're just three more interesting things in a world of interesting things.

We had a ward Trunk-or-treat party this evening. I thought I'd make our trunk go along with our costume theme (more on that below), so I made a kind of pixie hollow with flowers, autumn leaves, and lots of dolls dressed as elves and fairies.

I'm especially pleased with the little boy doll I made to match Peter's outfit with a leaf vest and acorn cap.

After last Halloween, I went to the after sales (a great way to pick up inexpensive costume pieces) and found a baby fairy costume. I have been trying to get a fairy costume together for myself for years, so I thought this would be a great excuse to finally do it. I made a few modifications to the baby costume to make it match mine -- I added the pink flower tutu over their white glittery one, and replaced the weird silver stuff that was approximating lacing with actual laced up ribbons. Here are a few shots of Elizabeth looking like a cute baby flower fairy. I think she looks almost worthy of Cecily Mary Barker, don't you?

Here, she's about to eat a stick.

And now Mama took the stick away, poor baby.

Here's my costume. I made the tutu this year, but the rest was stuff I already had that just needed a little tweaking. The corset is one I had made a few years ago for a flower fairy costume I never finished for an event I didn't end up going to. It could use about twice as many grommets, and about an inch more over the shoulders, but, eh, what can you do? The shirt is the silk one Mom made for my wedding dress. The headband is reworked from the one Mom made for Lesli's wedding (though the only photos I have of the event has Lesli wearing different flowers in her hair). The pants are the ones I got for my Princess Amidala in white costume. The two pairs of wings and the wand came from the dollar store.

Here is our whole family. Aren't we cute?

Peter was very kind to agree to wear the costume I made for him. A lot of my friend's husbands won't consider wearing any costume at all. I reused the vest from the Legolas costume I made for the Lord of the Rings themed Halloween at Driver Alliant (by the way, does anybody have a copy of the photo I sent out from that? I seem to have lost several digital photos from that year somewhere along the way). I needed to put in gussets under the arms and down the middle of the back to make it big enough for Peter since it had been made for a petite girl. I also added a lot of fun beads to the corners, including some large leaf-shaped glass ones I got from Wal-mart. They make a fun clinking sound as they knock against each other, and Elizabeth really wants to eat them. I had considered making leaves out of some scraps of green fabric left over from the quilt I made for Peter this year, but when I saw some leaf garlands at the Dollar Store, I figured my time was worth a lot more than $2, so I bought them and used them on his shirt and the trunk. I crocheted an acorn cap for Peter using pretty much the same pattern as the ones Miriam and I made for my nephews last October. A pair of my brown stretch maternity pants just fit Peter and finished off the outfit nicely.

While Peter was holding Elizabeth on his shoulders, they put on some music, and she was so excited by Shake Shake Shake Senora that she just had to shake and bounce herself.


  1. Love it! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!!!!!! The whole thing is so very wonderfully cute--your pictures, the write-up and the costumes. I'm glad Peter was willing to wear the costume. YAY PETER!

    I'd like to put in a bid for the pea costume for Hazel. Barbie doesn't have a computer at home, so I don't know how soon she will be able to see this. I'm sure she would love it--or do you think Hazel will be too big by next year? Methinks she is destined to be a rather large princess…

  2. Yes, Kathey, we do tend to large princesses in our families: the best kind, with large hearts to match.
    Great poem choice: I feel for her, literally.
    And Elizabeth is doubly adorable! How did you get her hands in the same position (!)as the pea doll? So cute.
    and good job on the fairies, too. Peter was a good sport: his beard looks great with the hat. Elizabeth's is perfect: I can just see her dancing (like in that video we have of Aidan at one year old) and waving her wand.

  3. I'd also love to have a pea pod photo shoot. I'd be happy to ship it off to another baby as well. We could have a flikr group of moderately related babies all in Karen's adorable pea pod costume!

    I love your little fairy family! And you're right. Peter is a saint. Sam would do it, but he'd hate it. A LOT.

    And my final thought: I love how gloriously happy you look in your wedding picture. It's fun to see that dress again after I watched the construction of it over Christmas break.

  4. I would think, if it's a bit tight on Elizabeth now. And Hazel will be a year old by then. But it doesn't have to be for Halloween. --Helena

  5. That's true. It could be for other things.

  6. You guys look fabulous!!

  7. nice costumes. Elizabeth looks super cute.

  8. Super cute! Thanks for the pictures as always. I have one to prove that Mom and Dad didn't wimp out on their costumes, but my battery is dead, so I can't download it until I get back down to Columbus.