When I was young and fat, I sewed. I owned a sewing machine, but also mastered the hand sewing running and whip stitches. I would arm myself with a mayonnaise, Pringles, and American cheese sandwich, decline into pillows more cushioned than my stomach, turn on the television, and sew. I fashioned stuffed animals and pillows. I spawned Christmas ornaments and aprons. I haven't sewn in fifteen years.
I boomed into the house Sunday morning radiating booze and bad decisions. I smelled like an Irish pub after the last passed-out alcoholwhore has been rolled onto the sidewalk.
Upon glimpsing my existence at the door, a screaming chorus of, "Kara, let's make stuffed animals!" greeted me. The parents were in Australia. There were four children. I staggered to the refrigerator and shoved my head into the freezer.
When I emerged from freezer revival, I suggested watching a movie.
"We're sewing stuffed animals," the seven-year-old announced as she marched between the pantry and kitchen table, issuing thread, felt, and needles like an arts and crafts store on crack.
"Let's play hide-and-seek," I proposed.
"Stuffed animals," they yelled. The three-year-old clapped his hands.
"You don't want to jump on the trampoline?"
"Stuffed animals," they shrieked.
"We could go in the pool?"
"Stuffed animals," they howled.
"What about the sand pit? Or the monkey bars? We could go across the street to the playground?"
"Stuffed animals," they screeched. The five-year-old cried.
The seven-year-old declared that we were making stuffed animals, and everyone was now ready except for me.
I almost cried. Instead, I folded a white piece of paper in half and drew a teddy bear outline. I cut it out and then elevated it for approval from the little tyrants.
"The ears are too big," the five-year-old wailed like as if I had turned on the blender with her hand inside.
I made another.
"The arms have to be bigger," the seven-year-old demanded.
My brain sobbed. I popped four Advil.
Within twenty minutes I had cut eight teddy bear sides from four different colored felts. Twenty-one minutes later, the children got bored. My fingers were sewing with the speed of a ninety-year-old with severe ADD. The seven-year-old sighed that it was taking so long. I had only sewn one quarter of one bear. She decreed it was time for morning tea. They dragged the little kid table and chairs from the playroom to the living room. The table scratched the wooden floors. I distributed muffins and bottles of juice and water by tossing them across the room. I continued sewing. After tea time, the little terrorists launched a united destruction campaign. The seven-year-old brought the bunny into the house. The five-year-old retrieved her respective collections of dolls, fairies, My Littlest Pet Shop, and stuffed animals. She dispersed them around the living room. In attempts to hold his favorite movie, Cars, the three-year-old dislocated twenty other movies. They fell from the shelf onto his head. The baby sobbed when a toy car collided with his skull. I inhaled more Advil, hurled the baby into his crib, and then sewed.
Three hours later, I exhaled exhaustion and relief. I had sewn and stuffed four teddy bears. I interrupted the shrieking and crying ruptures to tell them their stuffed animals were ready. I presented the seven-year-old with a pen and her bear.
"You can draw a face or an outfit on your bear, whatever you want," I said.
I then shuffled into the adjoining room to pick up the toy explosion, DVD's, and bunny feces. I returned to the kitchen three minutes later. The seven-year-old had drawn in permanent pen on all four of the bears. She had drawn nipples and penises.