Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Letter to Bobbin - twelve months old

Dear Bobbin,

Happy birthday, you gorgeous thing, you! I cannot believe you are one year old already, where did the time go? It seems like it was only a few months ago that you came in to this world in the most gentle way.

In the last month you have gained so much confidence with walking that you don't crawl at all any more. You're picking up more and more speed every day; I blink and you're across the room trying to get something you shouldn't have. You are also very much in to climbing absolutely bloody everything you can get a knee on, leading to many heart attacks as we look up and you've pushed out the highchair and used it to climb on to the table (searching for the fruit bowl).

Strangers have been stopping us a bit lately to comment on two things: your adorable pigtails (mama is a little obsessed with them because CUTE!) and your walking... because you are only a petite little thing, the size of the average eight month old, it looks like you are way too young to be doing it.

You continue to be a feisty little firecracker. You like things done your way and are very quick to let us know when you don't like what is happening. You fling yourself to the floor, kick your legs, and scream. If you're chucking tantrums before you turn one, I'm a little worried about what the future holds. Part of the issue is that you are fiercely independent - a characteristic I love about you, but it does make it a bit hard sometimes because you will scream if someone tries to help you move a stuck toy, pick up your water bottle, anything really. Drama Queen!

You have so many words now; mum, dad, Tricky, duck, hello, yum, bye bye, no, baby, Nanna, star, woof, vroom, ta and more. You sign for milk and food because yay, you're eating now!

We were starting to get concerned that you weren't very interested in food. The doctor gave you a medicine for a minor problem with your gut it and it was amazing how all of a sudden you started eating more and more. The doctor thinks you'll grow out of the gut thing and you might even start putting on weight - though maybe you're just a little thing like your Albany Nanna and Aunty Kitty.

Some of the cute things that you do that I want to remember (cute to us, they're probably boring to other people) because they make us melt are going and laying on your pillow pet when we say it's bed time, going over to the tomato plants and pointing when we ask you where they are (you love cherry tomatoes - you suck all the goo out and then pull the skin from your mouth and throw it on the floor!), turning on Tricky's CD player so you can dance, blowing kisses, walking around the house calling out for Tricky, sitting on the back doorstep (why do you love it there so much?), go on the dogs bed and in his kennel (you love Sprocket), shaking your head and saying noooo (won't be cute for long, I'm sure) and doing gigantic nods yes - seriously, your whole upper body is involved.

One interesting little thing you do is twist your dummy around so that the fabric of the clip wraps around the teat before you put it in your mouth. The fabric is partly inside your mouth and partly on your cheek. It's an unusual little comfort routine you do most times you take the dummy. People will unwind it for you, thinking it has got caught up, but you just take it out and re-wrap it again.

Next weekend we'll have a rainbow birthday party for you. You won't remember it, but I'm hoping it will be great for the people who can remember it. You'll have your first taste of cake, icing and chocolate - well, if your cake works out.

It's been an amazing year and I've enjoyed watching you grow so much. Whenever I've felt down or anxious, I've just put everything aside and concentrated on you, your brother and your Dad. You three are my happy place. Sitting down and watching you stack blocks, bang on drums and lift every flap in every lift-the-flap book we own is better than any drug. Granted it means I don't get much work done, but you're totally worth it.

Enjoy ripping paper off presents and getting even more cuddles today than normal, my girl.

Love Mama xxx

Friday, August 22, 2014

OMG you've put on so much weight... what happened?

"Oh my god, Glow, you've put on so much weight... what happened? Oh, you probably don't want to hear that... but what happened?"

These were the EXACT words that greeted me a few weeks back when Bobbin and I shuffled off to a morning of stopping my child putting crap in her mouth at playgroup.

I'd like to say that I immediately had some witty retort but instead I just mumbled something about life being hectic and "oh Bobbin is getting too close to the heater, excuse me". She was half a room away, but it was the best exit strategy I had available, and one that I will continue to use, I'm sure.

I avoided the woman who said it for the rest of play time and even left early because AWKWARD.

When the only pants that fit you have an elastic waistband and your muffin top is now a whole fucking bakery top, it's a bit obvious you've put on weight. But I was absolutely gobsmacked that it was said (before she even said hello), and since it was only a day after the whole baby in the car incident, my already fractured confidence was further shattered. It's not like I didn't know it had happened, but kick me while I'm down, whydontcha?

I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that it's just not polite to mention that someone you haven't seen for a while is now a fatty boombah. Because a) RUDE, b) what business is it of anyones? and c) REALLY FUCKING RUDE.

I asked the followers of my Facebook page what I should do when I was going back to playgroup...

"Oh my god, you've become such a bitch! What happened?" was quite popular, as was ignoring her. I was so anxious and I played different scenarios over and over in my head all morning and even considered just never returning. But I rocked up with Exit Strategy, err, I mean Bobbin, ready to see what happened and maybe, just maybe, be an adult.

Breathe. You'll be fine.

She waved hello, with a warm, genuine smile.

I gave her a close lipped, raised eyebrow smile. You know the one. The one that says either "oh, we're friends, are we?" or "I think I have something in my teeth". I'm not super proud of myself but I was panicking a little.

After a while she made a beeline for me, and asked if I was OK because I seemed anxious.

Aw geez, don't be nice! I'm trying to be indignant and maintain a sense of superiority. That just won't work if you're not a cold bitch.

I brushed her off (I'm really not good at the whole conflict thing) and a few minutes later she came over again, expressing concern that I was so stressed that she could see it from across the room. Here I was thinking I was acting cool and aloof when in actual fact I was showing signs of being seriously unhinged.

Oh great, you're fucking lovely and concerned. How am I meant to be cranky at you now?!

So I did it. I acted like an adult.

I told her calmly and carefully why I was the Queen of Awkward. I let her know what she had said, and that it had hurt my feelings that she would rather point out my weight than talk about ANYTHING else. As soon as I said "hurt my feelings" I was kicking myself. I felt like I was seven. I had rehearsed this and used a thesaurus full of words because that totally makes me feel smarter. Insulted. Annoyed. Offended. Affronted. Antagonized. But no. Hurt fucking feelings.

She was absolutely mortified and so genuinely apologetic. She thanked me for being honest with her and you could have blown me down with a feather, you know, if I wasn't so fat. She had wanted to start a conversation on her own weight gain and that is how it popped in to her head to start it. I hadn't noticed her weight gain (which is probably indicative of my observational skills rather than any "I see inner beauty only" bullshit), but she explained to me she'd been diagnosed with a thyroid condition and promptly diagnosed me with one too.

I diagnose myself with cake. And zero self control. And poor time management. And chocolate. And binge eating.

I'm disappointed in myself for eating my feelings (and oh boy, they are delicious) and not dealing with my problems. I'm annoyed that I was so healthy this time last year - a great weight, a great BMI and a great place mentally. I lost all my baby weight then put it all back on, one Nutella croissant at a time, and at the same time went a little crazy.

I'm slowly coming back from the crazy by focusing solely on my family (and thus neglecting the blog and what feels like a billion emails), taking medication and I've even started exercising. It'll figure itself out soon. Well, it better. Otherwise I'm going to need to buy new clothes. But hey, at least I don't go around pointing out if people have gotten fat.

How would you deal with this situation?

Monday, August 11, 2014

How to make a kids viking costume on a budget

The Trickster was invited to an awesome How To Train Your Dragon party a few weeks ago, and because he is a little obsessed with dress up at the moment (gee, where does he get that from? *wink wink*), he said he wanted to be a viking for the day. Even after being told it wasn't actually a dress up party. The kid is a fabulous.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a costume and I've been embracing my inner craft blogger of late, so I decided to MAKE a costume. Ambitious, much? I thought I could stitch some material together and it would be quite, ahem, rustic and therefore historically correct. Vikings didn't have overlockers, ya know!

SO I checked for some faux fur material but on my way I stumbled across this:

Oh yeah, I did. I sent my kid to a party wearing a bathmat and toilet mat set. That cost $6 in a 50% off sale at Best and Less. Classy shit.

It's kinda fur-like, and the toilet mat part was even already shaped for a vest meaning less cutting work for Miss Lazypants. I got to work, cutting the bathmat up and sewing it, occasionally holding it up to the little guy to see if it was looking vest-y. My year eight home ec. teacher would have a seizure if she knew I was using my sewing "skills" 20 years later. Related: Holy shit it's been 20 years since I started high school.

I threw the off cuts from the arm holes down and they landed in the shape of a beard and moustache... BRAINWAVE! All vikings need facial hair for historical accuracy, yes? The longer offcuts from the bath mat I kept for leg thingamajigs that I saw some of the vikings wearing in the movie. They look like legwarmers but it just doesn't sound butch enough to say viking legwarmers, does it? I grabbed some shoelaces from the supermarket for $1 to tie them on. Because vikings didn't have safety pins. I'm assured historical accuracy is fun.

Then it was on to the weapons. I was pointed in the direction of a tutorial to make viking hats (because historical accuracy can be thrown out the window if things are cute) and shields. Some late night cardboard cutting with the help of MapGuy who can trace his roots back to the vikings (which makes up for the whole viking hat thing, ya know), and some masking tape and gaffa tape produced awesome results:

All that was left was to put the whole ensemble together. It's a little rustic, but that is part of it's charm. Because I had the cardboard (a nappy box) and the two lots of tape, those parts were pretty much free, meaning my outlay for the whole project was a whopping $7.

He loved it. I loved it. People could recognize what it was meant to be, and it cost me almost nothing. That's winning in my books.


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