You’ve gotta fight, for your right

The jman is one this Friday. And slightly bored maternity leave mum who hasn’t done much apart from vacuum, wash and cook, thought she might do a few things to make the party memorable (for us!).

I completely agree that a theme or entertainers for a one year old birthday are ridiculous. We haven’t even bought the poor child a present yet. And making a huge fuss is more about the parents’ need for validation than the child. But.

I used to be a bit crafty. I made stuff, sewed clothes, cooked interesting things. I haven’t done much lately except get dinner on the table and stress about the state of the carpet. So I thought jman’s birthday was a good opportunity for a bit of “Kraftwerk”. Possibly not in the party soundtrack sense…

But it had to be a) brainless b) easy and c) fun.

So I started with buying a metre of each of these fabrics. And some pom poms. And some ric rac. Because there’s no party without pom poms and ric rac, right?

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After checking out handmade stuff for parties on etsy, i did the usual (and often fatal) “nah, im not spending money, i can do that”. There was a lot about cake smash outfits, handmade favour bags, bunting and the like.

I loved the party hats. And not of the nasty Chinese $2 shop variety. I was cruising the Internet late one night and stumbled upon this blog, Oh Happy Day. The hats were so pretty.

So I made one for the birthday boy, using this template. Finally, the stack of welcome baby boy cards I couldn’t bear to chuck had a purpose, and I’m never against recycling. So the larger cards from his birth and baptism have become party hats! I decided to cover the hat in fabric. Later on I sewed on pom poms, and skewered a hole for some hat elastic. Hat elastic which, as the worst parent in the world, I measured by trying the hat on jman as he slept in bed. Then I churned out another eight. Because I could. I’m really pleased with them.

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The other half of the fabric was designated for bunting. My niece hates the word bunting. She thinks it a) sounds really rude and b) is just a made up word. So to piss her off, we use the word as much as possible. And to really piss her off, I made some bunting.

The other truth is, a friend of ours made bunting for her kids which we borrowed to decorate our baby shower happy hour a year ago . And I’ve had bunting envy ever since. It looked so cute. So I originally bought my three fabrics with bunting in mind.

This guide to bunting was much easier than most. I mean, sure, you can do the piss weak version with wrapping paper or a single piece of fabric and pinking shears, but that was never going to cure my bunting envy. And anything involving a template just sounded like a pain. This was easy, so I grabbed my tailors chalk and ironing board and ruled up my 50 centimetres of fabric one night.

It took another four days to cut it out as we only had crappy scissors and I’m left handed, and left handed scissors are expensive. Plus jman tried to eat the tailors chalk, and tried to grab the ends of the scissors every time I used them.

In the longest craft project in history, the cut up bunting then sat patiently in a plastic bag awaiting sewing for several weeks whilst we all got sick, then well, then sick again. My mum has the family sewing machine combined with low immunity for colds etc, so we couldn’t go down to see her and sew.

Finally, this week, on designated bunting day, mum had had a fall and broke a bone in her wrist. Precious bunting hours slipped away as we waited for her plastering by the Physio. (That sounded unsympathetic. It was just a loooooong day), Lordy. Then I was worried jman would freak out at the noise of the sewing machine (he loses his shit at vacuums, hair dryers, coffee grinders and pull back cars at present ). But no, the sewing machine was interesting, and he stood very still beside me watching making “brmmmm brmmm” noises.

It’s easy, but it takes longer than you think.

Especially with a toddler.

And a helpful mother.

And an idiot kraftwerker who thought she bought 20 metres of 5mm tape, but actually bought 5 metres of 20 mm cotton tape…..so ran out of tape at 6pm at night…..I sewed the tape on, hemming web sounded too fiddly for me when I could zig zag at a million miles an hour.

We cobbled together some other tape from the gift wrapping box and an overlocked piece of bias binding.

Voila!

Bunting!

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It is by no means perfect, but we’re going for a quick and dirty bunting envy cure here, and pretty party decorations. They’ll do the job. Jman nearly had apoplexy with excitement when he saw the bunting. It was very cute. He was grabbing at them and laughing.

Of course, then I had some scraps if fabric left. And, you know, you can’t let them go to waste. So at the end of the hat construction and bunting cutting up, I fiddled and fiddled and came up with a table runner. Because tablecloths are useless with small people. I couldn’t even be assed ruling it up and making it square. I was so lazy I even free cut the number one out of my spotty fabric, I didn’t chalk it out first. Once at mums I started fiddling with the leftover pom poms, and the runner was together 40 minutes later as jman slumbered on (this time without trying on hats).

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Once a type A, always a type A…you start, you have to overachieve. So last night I whipped up these pom poms. I had no idea they were so cheap and easy!

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I have completely failed in my balloon shopping, accidentally buying “linkalloons” instead of balloons, so our balloons are going to either be tied together or look like a giant bunch of boobs complete with nipples. Traps for young players.

Finally, jman and I had a photoshoot for his invites, I got some ridgy cardboard offcuts from Reverse Garbage, and after a bit of fiddling and chucking pieces of fabric on my scanner, the invites for party one were done. Sadly, party two, the family party, has not advanced beyond a Facebook event. I’m all created out.

And our plans for Party games? Several tubes of bubbles, and a box of tissues each. To, you know, pull out one after the other and throw around the room and possibly eat. Because that’s what you do when you are one. And Jman’s main entertainment will be…..cake.

Do you have any suggestions for (healthy) kids party food suitable for one year olds?

Party pics to follow after next weekend.

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Almost one

This week, the jman turns one. It is hard to believe it. A one year old. Lately, there have been a raft of changes, that make us aware we have a fully fledged toddler on our hands, no longer a baby.

First, his personality. The class clown is how I’d sum that up. He’s a lot more giggly, ticklish, deliberately silly, deliberately naughty, accidentally naughty. He listens and follows instructions. He can throw a ball (clear across the room). He claps hands if you say it to him without gesturing. He knows what waving is, and will wave if you ask. He’ll also do his “nuff nuff face” on request…Formerly known as his pasta face. He dances. And when he’s dancing, everyone else is expected to dance too, copping a death stare until they join in.

He calls his dad “da” or “dad”. He doesn’t call me anything!

He signs his version of toast… We taught him some sign language to ease toddler frustrations. We picked toast, as it is his favourite food. When he signs it, it looks like the sign for toilet!!!! But we know what it means.

He does it very very clearly, whenever he is hungry. Which is often! If he’s eating something but wants something different, he signs ” toast toast toast toast” with increasingly stabby finger gestures. This was most noticeable when he was being fed dinner but he knew there was cake around. Very funny.

He also does his own version of the sign for “finished” when he’s done with his meal, which makes it really easy to figure out when to get him out of the high chair. It takes a lot of the heat out of meal times. We don’t argue or push, we just say “all done?”, he signs “all done” and puts his hands out to get cleaned up. We’ve done other signs, like truck, boat, plane, helicopter, bird, dog, hungry, drink, thank you, mum dad, banana….he hasn’t picked up on these yet. We’ll add more when needed.

He’s mobile, but not walking. Cruising the furniture rapidly and one handed, occasionally hovering in a stand without realising it. I think he’s about four weeks off first steps and a couple of months off full on walking.

He’s in the process of dropping to one nap, so we can’t plan anything, including his party! We’ve invited our mums group for 11:30 on the big day, but at this rate he’ll sleep through the whole thing with a 11:30-1 sleep! Some days, it’s two naps, some days it’s one long one, some days it’s a single one hour nap and a long haul to bedtime. It’s a game of changing fortunes.

The one thing I can say about jman is he’s busy. He’s a very busy little man. He’s into everything, and it’s non stop from when he wakes til his head hits the pillow. He is very self directed, he finds things to amuse himself constantly. He can spend 45 minutes with the peg bucket. He unpacks and packs “his shelves” in the kitchen and the lounge. He spins saucepan lids on the floor. He unpacks and repacks his toy box. And climbs in it…definitely not a flattering pic! I was quietly eating my dinner as he played in his toy box, I looked up and saw this!.

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He’s stubborn about going to bed, he’s stubborn about ALL technology being HIS (iPads, iPhones, remote controls, cordless telephones..,these are all JMans, and woe betide anyone that tries to remove them from his grasp). He chatters away constantly on his pre speech babble, and I can tell we’re going to have a real chatterbox on our hands. He can gesture “incy wincy spider”and loves when we sing nursery rhymes to him. He plays peekaboo constantly, and loves peekabooing behind the lounge when we’re on FaceTime. He likes books, and wants to read the same ones again and again, but he can’t turn the pages yet.

His favourite places are the fridge, where he likes to browse, help himself to snacks, and gnaw the end off all of the vegetables.

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His other favourite place is the bath. He loves walking up and down it, being in it (mostly), trying (and succeeding) in turning the taps on. I spend ages everyday trying to think of distractions to entice him back out of the bathroom or the fridge.

It is hard to believe this giant little man so full of beans is the same person that fit on daddy’s forearm as a little 6lb13 (3.1kg) baby…it has been both the longest year and the fastest year of our lives. It is hard to sum up the jman as a person, and how much his little personality has blossomed. He is the apple of our eye, and it is hard to even imagine there was ever an “us” that did not include him. It goes without saying that we love him dearly, that he makes life fun (and challenging, but mostly fun).

Plans are coming along brilliantly for the two (or three) first birthday parties. We’re not making the same mistake as our 90 people plus baby shower! We’re keeping it small. If you check out my previous post you can see my little nasty craft projects to keep me amused in the lead up to the party…it’s been fun having a late night creative outlet and I’m really looking forward to the big day and series of mini gatherings.

Mother of invention # 14: the toddler diet

Having trouble losing those baby kilos? Turned into a cake eating monster with breastfeeding hunger? Both eating for six thanks to that shut in lifestyle where you grab anything you can to eat in the sixteen seconds your child decides to nap?

Here on the baby shopping network, we give to you the miraculous toddler diet. Forget the Dukan, forget the low carb, forget the palaeolithic diet. They are sooooo yesterday. The toddler diet is where it’s at.

The diet includes full meal and activity plans for seven days. Your jeans will love you for it. To participate fully in the diet, you need to embrace the toddler mindset like a method actor. The deep seated irrationality will assist you in maintaining activity levels and eating plans.

More detailed meal plans will be provided when the full diet plan is purchased. Just $79 will see daily meal plans in your inbox for a whole month. Eat my shorts, Jenny Craig!!!

Day 1

You are an eating machine. You love food. When a bowl is empty, you squeal and shake your hands to get more like you will die without it.

Breakfast: 3 bowls of stewed fruit with yoghurt and rice cereal.
Toast. Spread toast thinly with butter and vegemite. Try to smear every bit of vegemite into your hair or onto someone else’s outfit. Suck on each piece of toast for six minutes, longer if someone looks like they may want to leave the house. Then spit it out.

Lunch: anything on anyone else’s plate. Give the impression of being full as the bags are packed, then get really hungry once you’re out. Eat most of your mother’s pasta, a banana, sixteen corn cakes, half an avocado, and then look around like you’ve never been fed.

Afternoon snack: bust open a packet of rusks in the kitchen, then have a hunt in the fridge for something to dip them into**.

Dinner: sweet potato, carrot ,pumpkin, green beans, chicken strips. Try cramming all of these into your mouth at once, so you resemble a squirrel. Under no circumstances should you chew**.

Second dinner***: a veal shank bone and a bread roll. Make meaningful noises at people til you get some fruit and yoghurt

Exercise: unpack every cupboard in the house onto the floor. Find a random object from every room to hide somewhere unrelated**.

Day 2:

You hate food. They are trying to poison you. Refuse everything.Eat mainly dead leaves and flowers in the park. Chew on any sticks you find. Eat jewellery. See if you can find any tasty looking cuff links**.

Day 2 activity plan: Lose your s#%t anytime you see a piece of technology someone won’t let you have. This includes iPhones, iPads, remote controls, and cordless phones**. By throwing yourself at the fun police and hurling your body at fixed obstacles, you will burn calories and tighten up that muscle tone.

Day 3:

You are really hungry, but only want things you can feed yourself. As an adult, to achieve toddler zen in this sense, eat all of today’s meals using only a straw.

Exercise plan: crawl quickly around the house all day, non stop, with the aim of collecting every minute object stuck in the carpet^^.

Day 4: Colour my day.

Eat only one colour food all day. Preferably not green. Choose from apples, tomatoes, red meat and capsicum, or cheese, banana and polenta, or just carb up on the white stuff.

Day 4 activity plan: wait until you think everyone else is really busy with lots of things to do outside the house, then sleep. And sleep. If possible, sleep the entire day, waking only long enough to wee, eat, and drink before going back to sleep**.

Day 5: One bite day.

Today, you will eat one bite or every single food that is offered to you. Make appreciative noises. Then refuse any more. Except avocado. If anyone offers you avocado, go nuts for it. Eat and eat and eat and eat avocado**.

Day 5 activity plan: today is a falling down day. If anything has wheels, climb on it. If there’s a hard surface, whack your head into it. Trip on your own feet and face plant at least three times**.

Day 6: avocado is your enemy.

Today, eat only yogurt and breakfast cereal.

Day 6 activity plan: refusals. Burn calories today by refusing to lie still during nappy changes, refuse being strapped into the car seat or pram , go berserk when you are put into a chair trying to get out of it, go mad when you are put down, and mental when you are picked up.

Day 7:
repeat your favourite day.

The toddler diet. Because there’s very few fat toddlers out there, and lots of frustrated parents playing “airplanes”. Because you can be as thin as they can, if only you embrace the insanity that is a one to three year old.

**this really happened
*** jman nearly always has second dinner
^^ this happens pretty much every day

The Monday snapshot: action man

J-man has two favourite places: 1. The bath. He can now say bath because he loves it so much. He particularly loves walking up and down it, and throwing random things into the bath.

2. The kitchen. He tears up the j-man friendly shelves as I cook, or wash up, or chop up, or make tea. I pick up his containers about sixteen times a day. And last night, he busted open the cornflour. The bugger. I just caught the clouds of white in my peripheral vision as he waved the open bag through the air and the flour settled all around him.

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He also quite likes watching the footy with dad.