I’ve been thinking a lot about Bronson Alcott lately (father of Louisa) and his contention that “the child is the book.” Channeling European romantics, Alcott believed that every child arrives already endowed with the essence of her being. The truth of her soul is always already there. The parent, then, becomes a guide for the child’s process of revelation, revelation to the parent and to the world of that soul, of that “book.”
I’ve been thinking about Alcott as I scour the local used bookstore for children’s classics, like Mog, the Forgetful Cat (what a gem!). I’ve been imagining J, and Homer, and the baby snuggled together on the teal couches, reading Mog again and again. I’ve also been thinking about Alcott as I keep my needles in constant action. I shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve been simultaneously knitting and reading term papers.
There are many projects to catalog here, but I'll start with just one for today.
This little number is the puerperium cardigan. It's a free pattern on ravelry. A friend in my knitting group who is expecting a boy in January tried it first and I thought hers rather ingenious. So I pulled out a lovely, variegated skein that I bought this fall in Vermont (my treat to self after just through a talk). It's smooth and tiny, just right for a late March baby.
But I mention Bronson Alcott and puerperium cardigans in the same post because knitting for my own child feels a strange mix of wanting to impose a certain aesthetic from the start (I do romanticize the age of homespun) but also being weary of imposing too much. I suspect that this will be my biggest challenge as a parent: wanting to heed Alcott's advice but being a bit too anxious to always let that soul emerge organically.