Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How to make Minion canvas shoes

A friend of Tricky's was having a Minion party (from the Despicable Me movie, if you're not familiar) for his birthday last weekend. Or "ming ming party" as he referred to it. His mum and I are close friends and with Tricky's birthday fast approaching we agreed to put a $5 limit on presents for each other.

I originally bought him a minifigure because he is just starting to get in to LEGO, but when I popped to the shops the night before the party I saw plain canvas shoes in his size... for $2... and was struck by what can only be described as creative inspiration. It felt not unlike a pinched nerve and initially I was going to call a doctor, but instead, I just went with it and thought I'd see how it panned out.

Now, the insoles are floral, but I'm confident that Tricky and his friend can both embrace their feminine side enough to get over it because MINION SHOES. For the record, neither of them even paid attention because MINION SHOES.

On a scale of one to OMG THESE ARE AMAZING (for an amateur who can't draw), these are totally right at the top according to the birthday boy and Tricky. They got a pair each and were the talk of the ming ming party.

They were super easy to make:

1. Lightly pencil in your design while staring at the movie poster on Google.
2. Grab some textas (I used a combination of Faber Castell, Micador and Sharpies) and work your way up, starting with yellow and then orange for shading. If you're feeling fancy, use acrylic paints.
3. Colour in the eyes (or eye), the goggles and the mouth.
4. With a thin, black marker, draw your outlines and don't forget to add some hair.
5. Coat with a waterproofing spray (check out a haberdashery type store) and let dry. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. If you do, they will have to be dry weather shoes only.
6. Accept copious amounts of praise and feign modesty while you think of more and more things to draw on shoes

Gonna try your hand at some Minion shoes? I'm trying LEGO next.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Letter to Bobbin - nine months

You would not sit still for this
Dear Bobbin,

You've almost been out as long as you were in! That milestone is fast approaching and will pass on the 10th of next month because you decided to stay in my belly until 41+1.

The last month you have done so many new things, and it has been, as ever, a delight to watch you learn. Your vocabulary is expanding and now includes Mum, Dad, Nan, hello, bye bye, ta, baby, star, duck and "raffe" for giraffe. You haven't tried to say Tricky for a while, but then the other day he came running in to tell me you had just said it. He was so chuffed and beamed with pride. Then he asked me to take you away so you wouldn't smash his block tower down. Ahh, sibling love.

Two weeks ago you started pushing a trolley along and walking with it. You look far too little to be doing this! It is super cute and you are just so proud of yourself when you do it. I was always saying that you wouldn't walk early like your brother did - he started pushing a trolley at the same age - but we'll just wait and see. No rush though, baby, you get up to enough mischief as it is.

When you're not walking with the trolley, you have advanced from crawling to speed crawling (still one foot, one knee) and the second you spy an open door or cupboard you zoom towards it. It is not uncommon for me to open the pantry door, look for something on a high shelf and then look down to see you between my feet, reaching for something breakable, obviously) when I could have sworn you were over the other side of the room.

Today another tooth popped through your gum FINALLY. It is tooth number three and has caused much misery in the last few days including putting you off your food. Operation shove all the mushy food in your mouth has been abandoned as you have made it crystal clear you will not have baby food. You know what you do and don't like, and that's awesome and frustrating at the same time. If I put anything you don't want in front of you, you pick it up and fling it to the floor. You could just leave it, but OH NO, it must be thrown as far as possible lest it take up valuable space for your cheese and carrots.

You are completely obsessed with dogs and also other babies, to the point where you will attempt to launch yourself from my arms/the carrier/the pram/anywhere to get to them. You adore Sprocket and can often be found at the back talking to him. He covers your hands with kisses which is both super cute and kinda repulsive at the same time. But it's, err, good for your immunity, right?

I so admire your spunk but I can see us butting heads (figuratively, as we've already done it literally) when you're older. Your Perth grandparents say the apple has not fallen far from the tree with you, my love. You certainly keep me on my toes.

Until next month, all my love,

Mama x

Friday, May 23, 2014

A bobbing Bobbin is a sleeping Bobbin

This is a C1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

This time last year I was getting ready for Bobbin's Babyshower Giveaway and one lucky reader won a beautiful Amby Baby Air Hammock - the most popular prize of the lot because HOW DO I MAKE MY BABY SLEEP seems to be the number question on every parents' lips. Miss Bobbin made her beautiful, water birth arrival in August and has been testing out the Amby pretty much ever since. Longest. Review. Ever.

When I was introduced to the Amby, I thought looked beautiful and I loved the concept as I'm a huge believer in the "fourth trimester", gentle parenting, babywearing and cosleeping. But I can't wear her all the time thanks to a dodgy back and cosleeping wasn't appropriate all the time (if Tricky needed to be in with us or if I was exhausted), so a hammock that gently rocks, sways and bobs around as Bobbin moved, lulling her back to sleep seemed like an amazing middle ground.

After a rocky start (pun absolutely intended), I found my groove with the Amby. There was a bit of a knack to lowering her in to it, so I was inadvertently waking her up every time! But I persisted and eventually got the hang (pun intended again) of it. The only issue for me was bending over when my back was knackered, because it is quite low, but most of the time it wasn't a problem. Note to self: if you remembered to bend your knees, this wouldn't be an issue.

Excluding our initial hiccups, Bobbin did sleep longer in the hammock than in her bassinet. She'd startle and the movement created would gently rock her back to sleep, so she was only waking when she was hungry or completely rested.

I've lost count of the number of times I'd hear her babbling to herself after she'd woken up in the Amby, and I can only put it down to waking when she was ready to wake, rather than from jerking herself awake.

I loved how easy to set up it was. It was able to do it in a few minutes and it didn't even require an allen key. Huzzah! Being super lightweight meant I could pick it up and move it to wherever I needed it - it moved around a lot because of our renovations and even lived at a friend's house to help with her colicky baby for a little while. It lives in our bedroom most of the time but when the Freo Doctor would come in after a hot day, we'd pop it out the back so Bobbin could bop around with the breeze gently blowing through the mesh, while Tricky played in the blow up pool. I'd like an adult sized one, actually. With a cocktail, thanks.

She still fits in it, and it's my go-to coping method when she is unsettled and I can't wear her in the carrier for whatever reason.

To see some absolutely stunning images of it, head over to Documenting Delight. Georgia creates beautiful images of everything, but the pictures of the Amby down by the river are so lovely they put my pictures of the Amby on the back patio by the blow up pool to shame. Her little (well, big) bubba Florin and partner, Errol, star in the new video... fitting since she made it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The kindy mum

"she gets me toy cars" - that's love
I've been becoming more and more fascinated with education as Tricky has grown. From reading to him every night since he was born to creating laminated writing sheets to now labeling our entire house in that god-awful Victorian Cursive font (what the hell was wrong with the ol' stick and ball, hey?), it's developed in to a bit of an obsession.

The chance to have a sneak peek in to his school world yesterday had me practically frothing at the mouth. I was certain it would be the cutest thing ever and give me some tips and ideas of things to do with the boy as he demands school work at home. No, really. His second favourite game, behind playing LEGO, is playing schools. He can read. From a few weeks ago when he was trying to, now he can (a bit). The kid blows me away.

I headed in and was not disappointed. The kids were so eager to sit next to the new adult in the room (one little boy insisted on hugging my leg and nuzzling my knee), show me their work and tell me their stories. I heard tales about Guinea Pigs, boxes of grapes, Buzz Lightyear, a windmill and every single one of them told me how old they each were after we sung happy birthday to one of the boys.

I tell ya, the cuteness was on par with a box of puppies. Freakin' adorable.

Sadly, said gorgeousness dissipated super quickly when I was sneezed on, coughed on, and had little snot covered hands grabbing at mine. You can take the gross with your own kids, but someone else's little germ filled munchkin? Ick.

The best part of the day though was being able to see how Tricky interacts in that environment. My little introvert has taken a while to warm up, so to see him participating in the singing and dancing was pure joy. He is really coming in to his own lately, and has progressed so quickly. He is blossoming and his confidence is growing so much - he will even talk to other children now - shock, horror!

I'm loving watching his development and I swell with pride that I've had something to do with it, but I know a huge part has been going to "school" and the influence of his awesome teachers, who, after today, I have even more respect for than before.

I stayed for three hours before I had to rush off to feed Bobbin. Three hours of just helping; cutting up fruit, keeping kids on task ("what great colouring in"), stopping them from climbing shit they're not meant to ("chairs are for bottoms"), and playing with them, and I was absolutely knackered. Teachers need a raise. A big one. I need a sleep. A big one... but I can't wait to do it again.

Do you like being the parent helper?

Monday, May 12, 2014

First Aid Saved My Baby

Look pensive, they said. It'll add weight to a serious issue, they said.

Instead, I look somewhere between annoyed and smug. Even potentially stoned. Bobbin looks like a deer in headlights so we make a great pair.

From The Sunday Times, 11th May 2014, page 30

BUT the point of the article, featured in the The Sunday Times on Mother's Day (and online today) is still important.

Miss Bobbin choked a few weeks back and I put the skills I learned at the St John Ambulance first aid course I attended back in December, in to action and saved her. You know, the one where she shat all over my leg a few minutes in? That was being filmed for TV so we can all remember FOREVER that I was on TV with poo stains on my leg? Yeah, that one.

Poopants or no, the point is still the same. First aid saves lives. I'm pretty chuffed with myself for being able to do it and I've already ordered my superhero cape. I made sure I mentioned that I pushed MapGuy out the way, because I have to find something about the situation to laugh at. Shoved him to the side and swooped in there in full blown Mama Bear mode.

The Target 20,000 campaign is going strong, I encourage you all to sign up and learn how to save a life or refresh your memory if it's been a while.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Leraning how to say no

The universe, or my fairy godmother, or whoever must have been listening to me last week, because no sooner had I said I should have been a teacher, I was asked to interview for an amazing role.

It involved teaching parents of children from different backgrounds (predominantly immigrant, Aboriginal and low socioeconomic, but also any families within a geographical catchment) in the comfort of their own homes, how to be their child's first teacher. Tricky is in the program this year because he's been asking me actual school questions lately and is trying to read (what?!) and I didn't know if I was teaching him properly or going against everything he was learning in kindy. So we enrolled in the program mainly for me to be confident that I could help him.

He loved it. I loved it. To be part of the staff on that program would be amazing. I attended the interview and I left feeling so bloody confident. I'd nailed it. Except for the bit where I said "Roleplay in interviews makes me feel like a dick". Classy, Glow, real classy.

My parents had agreed to look after Bobbin for a couple of hours at a time, but even then, with clients booking in all over the place, it wouldn't have been an easy schedule. My dad, the army dude, needs regimented schedule. My mum just needs to know when she can and can't go out for coffee. It was going to be hard, but they said they'd give it a go.

The next day I went to Tricky's kindy for a Mother's Day Morning Tea. I've never been one to cry at kindy; the idea of my kids growing up and gaining more and more independence doesn't make me sob, it makes me celebrate. No really, because if they're not growing up... yeah, the other alternative isn't so nice. So anyway, I'm sitting at Tricky's kindy and he's winking to me from the "stage" area as they were getting ready to sing us a song. The kid who never sings and never does the dances at school. Get him on a dancefloor and it's a different story, but in a bunch of kids, no go.

He sings. He dances. He waves at me and points directly at me when the lyrics say "I love you". I melt in to a giant puddle and come the closest to crying at kindy I ever have. I'm talking lump in my throat the size of a house. I was so damn proud of that kid, previously paralyzed by shyness and here he was SINGING and DANCING!

If I was working, I might miss out on these little things that are actually HUGE to both him and me. It got me thinking, and as I turned around to pick up Bobbin (who was making a beeline for the home corner), I realized I would be missing out on so much of her first year when I didn't have to. I had so much time with Tricks, and this year with him at school, Bobbin and I get to have one on one time together where she comes first and isn't just being stopped from eating Lego or being moved away from one of Tricky's creations.

She is a handful and then some, but geez, she's good value. She needs her mama. I need her.

On Tuesday, the company called me to offer me the position, and, on Wednesday I formally declined.

I've never turned down a job before. I've never been in the position to. I felt awkward and uncomfortable, wanting to please them and say yes. But the right thing for me, for my family, was to finally learn how to say no. I feel that if I go back to paid work right now that both of my kids would just miss out on so much, and since I'm in the very privileged position to not have to go back, I feel like it would be short changing them, particularly Bobbin.

I take my hat off to you paid-working mamas, and to the paid-working dads, I really do. I couldn't do it.


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