I spent a glorious day sewing a jumper for Mary! The children are now at blissful ages at which they play together fairly well for an extended time without my constantly having to break up quarrels (a word John has just learned and enjoys using). (I don't know how much their behavior is a function of their ages, their temperaments, and/or that Chris and I seriously focus on disallowing sibling fights.) I was able to sew for seven hours in one day by: letting the kids watch one television show (I have a TV in the combination guest/sewing room), making them "go play" in the adjoining upstairs bedrooms where I could hear them, enforcing quiet play time in their rooms after lunch, enjoying the time when Chris took John sledding, and finishing my sewing after the children were asleep for the night. Mary seems to have come to understand quiet time after lunch, so she played in her room quite peaceably and, in fact, fell asleep in there. Then she woke up crying and I thought she was awake, but she cried and cried until she fell asleep in my arms, so I plunked her down on the guest room bed surrounded by my sewing supplies and I sewed for at least another hour in peace!
Not only did I manage all that sewing, but I (basically) kept up with normal daily chores of washing four loads of laundry and cooking dinner (only possible because I cooked frozen lasagna and frozen meatloaf from batch cooking I'd done earlier), plus I launched potty training with Mary! I did Elimination Communication with her, she initiated full potty training at 18 months, she was fully trained at 19 months (day and night), and that lasted about two months when she mysteriously regressed and I didn't know how to handle that. I still don't know what I should have done. But she regressed to almost being a typical toddler in her pottying. I really want her potty trained before the new baby arrives in three months, so I launched this week with conventional potty training. I'm trying the "Naked & $75" method plus using a Potty Bell for reminders (she rebels against me but not against the potty bell), and she did great on her first day, with only two accidents about which she showed great natural remorse (which is much better than her not caring). We shall see how it continues. After our experience six months ago, I'm well aware that she could change her behavior at any time!
We're still snowed in because the snow was followed by "wintery mix," which creates dangerous ice conditions. I'll post a photo of my finished jumper (empire waist, box pleats) after I've purchased and sewn the buttons.