A couple months ago, Diana started a Christmas list. The first draft she wouldn't allow anyone to see; I had to wait til she went to school before I could read it (she left it on her desk, unconcealed, I didn't go looking for it). On that list was Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats.
A few weeks ago, we finally unpacked her Sesame Street Beans and got them up to her room. She's not been playing with them, apparently she just wanted to know they were there. She started invoking Santa Claus, something she has never done, because she wants Little Chrissy so much. Trying to explain to her that those dolls were never made had no effect. Possibly the myth of Santa finally made it into her consciousness. I don't know, and there's really no way to ask to get a coherent answer. Call it faith, stubbornness, or simply confidence, she is convinced that Little Chrissy and his backup singers will be under the tree Christmas morning.
Having had the experience of her not getting what she really, truly wanted, we were really not prepared to live through it again. I joked to my husband that all those felt foods I have been making for her have been practice leading up to making these dolls.
Initially, I thought I would make them from felt. Talking to my mom, who's sewn longer than I've been alive, she convinced me that felt wasn't the best choice and suggested flannel. We were even able to find all the right colors, right down to the blue/white stripes for one of the backup singer's shirt. For the hair, I found a company that will sell swatches of fake fur as "samples" but really, they're exactly what I needed. I sat down with Grover and sketched pattern pieces, and Mom cut them out for me when we went to D's IEP meeting.
After some tweaking, they are coming together quite nicely, and I'm pleased with the way they're looking. Then another shoe got tossed into my machine: the teachers in our district went on strike, and so there's no school. I've been working on the dolls when she's gone. Saturday, she had her daddy/daughter Christmas shopping day that they do every year, and I sewed for hours. Monday, I worked on them, and that night the call came that they were striking. I was able to get in some sewing in the morning before anyone was up, and will do more tonight when she goes to bed. I'm in pretty good shape, I think, since Christmas is still three weeks away. If I have to be sewing at midnight Christmas Eve, so be it. But she will have those dolls.
The biggest fly in my ointment right now isn't the teacher's strike, it's knowing that she added more dolls to her list, dolls I won't have time to make. Another 8 Muppets: The Cobblestones (featuring Mick Swagger; 4 dolls) and Dr. Thad and the Medications (4 dolls). To put it into perspective, one shoe took me 30 minutes to sew -- that's 8 hours of work just for the shoes! They're too small and too fiddly to do on the machine, so I have to sew them by hand, and I can't hand sew for 8 hours at a stretch (too painful). She will be disappointed, and I hope that disappointment doesn't overshadow any pleasure she has at receiving Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats.
Parents sacrifice for their kids. We go above and beyond at Christmas, making things happen, performing minor miracles, so our kids can have that joy under the tree. The wonder of the season may be tarnished with cynicism and disgust over the crass commercialization of the holiday (we seem to have skipped Thanksgiving, going straight from Hallowe'en to Black Friday this year), but our kids will know wonder and joy. More specifically, my child will know wonder and joy this holiday, or I'll die trying to give it to her.
UPDATE! I may have lost the pattern pieces, but I have a photo of them to give you an idea. Here's the long-delayed promised post about how I made the dolls: Sesame Street Beans Hack. I hope that's a decent start for those of you who are interested.