Saturday, 16 May 2015

Humatrope 5: Hello Little Girl in the Bullet-Proof Vest


Embroidery finished. Next: remove the basting and Solvy.
I've decided against using the pearls and syringe caps on the collar. Maybe on the ties...
Whew! The pants are hemmed, and the embroidery is done! The words of love that eluded me so long? The lyrics to the song I've sung my daughter since a baby in the NICU* of Children's Hospital: "Hello Little Girl", the first song ever written by John Lennon. The Beatles played it as part of their Decca audition on New Year's Day, 1962, where they were famously rejected and told they'd never make it in show business. The song never appeared on any of their recordings until the Anthology series in 1995, which includes home demos, rarities, outtakes, live recordings, and other gems.
*Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, natch

Like Paul McCartney's first song, "I've Lost My Little Girl",  which was written shortly after his mother died of breast cancer, "Hello Little Girl" is speculated to be have been inspired by the death of John Lennon's mother. She was hit by a car on her way home from her sister's house, where John lived at the time. Ironically, John was waiting for his mother at her house when the accident occurred.

It's not a particularly sophisticated song: a love-sick boy is being ignored by the girl of his desire. She won't look at him, and doesn't care about the flowers he sends. He hopes to "catch her eye" and wonders if she's thinking about him. That's as far as it goes. A far cry from the auto-biographical masterpieces to come; I doubt very much if pre-Beatle John was the kind to send flowers. But it's got a catchy tune, and the harmonies are sweet, and she is my little girl.

"Hello Little Girl", from Anthology 1

The lyrics to the song are embroidered in blue and green onto the thread snippets and alcohol swabs that make up the collar, using freehand machine embroidery. Then, with pinks, I added words to describe my daughter, her likes, her quirks, why we think she's so terrific. The words used up 8 bobbins of mismatched thread, plus 1 1/2 spools of brittle, vintage cotton.

Now thinking about the next step: removing the Solvy, which will be heated with an iron and, if all goes well, easily brushed off. I'm a little nervous about this part. I don't particularly want to "brush" the swabs or the underlying threads at all, for fear of raising fuzz and wreaking havoc. Must approach this gingerly.

On the scoliosis brace front

Bless the teenagers at the Vancouver Learning Centre, the neuroplasticity tutoring place we spend two mornings a week instead of going to school! After the success of her first night in her back brace, I convinced my daughter to continue wearing it, just to her session at VLC. The kids there made such a fuss about how cool it looks - like a bullet-proof vest - that she was emboldened to wear it to school the same day! That went well, too, and she's been wearing it every day since. Another "whew"!

She still looks uncomfortable - she walks with her left shoulder lifted, probably because the brace is pressing in to her armpit - and she gets mighty itchy. We rub alcohol on the red marks when she takes it off. The printout that came with the brace said it's supposed to toughen up the skin, though the orthotist was unconvinced. Don't know if it works, but it feels like we're doing something to help. We scrub her, all over, briskly, with a dry facecloth to discourage her from scratching. We'll see the orthotist next week to see if the armpit area can be adjusted.

It might be a while before I can do more work on the collar: in 5 days I'm taking my son to Tokyo to an old friend's wedding; there are things to pack, salmon to buy, wedding clothes to iron. I'm at a save point with the collar, so it's all good, but I know I'll be itching to get to it when we're back.

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