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Cooling vest and more "Farties"

We live in a very very hot place. Very hot. Triple digits for 3 or 4 months in a row. Raya doesn't seem to handle the heat like the rest of us can. She sweats nonstop all the time, even in air conditioning. I know I get crabby and tired when I'm overheated so I started thinking that heat could be at least part of the cause for Raya's recent crabbiness. I had seen links on a couple of special needs-related facebook pages for cooling vests and decided to make her one rather than shell out $$ for one.

I am impatient when it comes to sewing. And many other areas of my life, but let's not get into that right now. I've made a LOT of things since I got my sewing machine 8 years ago, and I think I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've used a pattern. I like to wing it and a lot of the time it works out in my favor. :) For Raya's vest, I decided to trace a vest I had made for Cole's pirate costume a couple years ago that was about the right size.

The hardest thing to decide on was what fabric to use. I decided on some corduroy and broadcloth that I had left over from when I made a diaper bag. Because she's small, I put 2 small pockets on each side on the front and 2 larger pockets on the back. Here's how it turned out:


Since it was a prototype, I decided to keep it simple and just cut openings for the ice packs and then sewed a flap over them. (If I'd had more fabric, I would have made the flaps bigger and put velcro or snaps on them.)

For ice packs, I wanted something cold but not frozen solid so I used 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 or 3 parts water in plastic baggies. They worked pretty well and were the perfect size for the back pockets. The first time I put it on her, she just wanted to take it off and play with the ice packs. I should have guessed. :) Yesterday it was really hot and I asked her if she wanted to wear heer vest to cool off. That time she liked it and wore it for 15-20 minutes. She didn't sweat nearly as much while she had it on and it did seem to perk her up a bit.

I definitely need to make another one. Even though it seems wrong to make a toddler wear a flannel vest in the summer, I'm going to use flannel to line the next one so it will insulate her back more. Maybe even a double layer. I will also need to make it a teensy bit bigger because it won't close. Oops. :)

It's a good start anyway. Hopefully the next one will turn out better now that I know more of what I want it to be like. In other news, the "Farties" didn't do the trick today like they did yesterday. We sat down to have some food and she didn't want anything but ice. I gave her a Smartie and she just stared at it with a frown on her face. Eventually she picked it up and ate it but it took her about 12 bites.
So what am I supposed to do when she has no motivation to eat the motivator?? Fortunately for me (and her) she REEEEALLLLLY wanted an ice cube, so that became the motivator. I love it when she takes a bite out of an ice cube and says, "Yummy!"

The deal was three bites of baby food pears and blueberries for one bite of an ice cube. She suddenly prefers for me to feed her whatever I'm bribing her to eat and I'll admit that I love feeding her. We're making up for lost time, I guess. Once in a while she would say, "Have Fartie?" So I tried to keep a straight face while I handed one over. Once she had eaten as much as she could take, I let her finish the ice cube and eat a couple more Smarties and then she wanted sour cream. I put it in the bowl and gave her the spoon and she started to scoop up a bite. Then she held it up to me and mumbled something I couldn't understand and frowned at me.
It took some doing but I realized that she was mad at me for putting the sour cream in the same bowl as the other food. She didn't want them mixed. I can't blame her, I don't like for my food to touch either. Later on the big kids went to karate and we snuggled (sort of) on the couch. I read my developmental psychology book and she watched Backyardigans and Dinosaur Train.

She's still meowing more than talking this week but sometimes when she pretends to be a kitty, she climbs up on my lap and meows at me and I pet her head and pretend she's my kitty and we're both happy. :)


  1. Hey Brandis,

    Great cooling vest! I think I need to make a grown up one for myself. I'm pretty sure sme of the medicines I am on is making me more heat intolerant.

    Keep working on the eatting thing. I'm still trying to get myself to eat. In this heat, I usually don't feel like eatting at all. My goal has been to eat one thng a day, it I'm still struggling with it making me sick. I just don't want to eat when it's hot, nothing sounds good but nice cold ice water. So, I kind of relate to Raya not wanting to eat much at times. She's making progress!

    On days when I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, I think about how much improvement I have made in a year. My improvement is slooooow, but I know that I am better from a year ago.

    Stay cool!


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