Friday, February 25, 2011

Aren't they clever?

I've been wanting to decorate the walls in my house for ages. I wanted to get rid of the old prints we have from our pre-kid days and put up our own artwork and photographs. Look at what my kids did!

They're ready to be hung over the cabinet by the back door - we just need a trip to the hardware store for some 3M hooks :)

Here are some action shots of the Small Boy's effort:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Losing touch?

I love technology, I really do ... I believe it enhances our lives but I also believe in keeping more of the more traditional skills alive (says the girl who has a computer in the kitchen and married a man in a Star Trek suit).

In the Herald Sun earlier this week I read about a new iphone app to help mothering newbies (read story here). It's designed to remind you when to feed the baby, record sleep/growth patterns etc and give advice on baby friendly shops in your area. I was almost tempted to download it only 1. I don't have an iPhone and 2. I don't really have a newborn any more. So why was I so tempted to download it?

There's been a lot of research showing that people are losing the 'art' of basics like cooking, changing a tyre and all those things our grandparents could do in their sleep... I don't so much think that we've lost the 'knack', but I do think that we've lost all faith in ourselves as capable human beings... we're now more likely to ring an expert rather than muddle through and trust ourselves to get it right.

It's so easy to second-guess yourself when it comes to mothering. After all, your job is to keep your most precious posession (your child) not only alive, but developing into a socially conscious, capable human being. And mothering has now become a 'closed door' type of vocation.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read every book I could lay my hands on regarding childbirth and child rearing. As I had very limited experience with babies and toddlers, I relied on the experiences of doctors, midwives and parenting experts. And I found that my experience was NOTHING like the book!

Whereas a hundred years ago you would have helped your sister, neighbour, even mother (-eek!) give birth and care for infants in your teen years and right through your own reproductive years, nowadays the very first birth you attend is likely to be that of your own child. Women of today are unlikely to have seen the trials and hardships felt by other women in their own circle of friends and family - never seen 'the blues' first hand, never heard someone yelp as they attempt breastfeeding, never seen the destruction an unsecured nappy can unleash on a living room rug... So it's very easy to feel that you have it (mothering) all 'wrong' if it's not as rosy as it looks in the Huggies commercial. When you are experiencing the pain and confusion of childbirth and child-rearing all alone behind a big door, you tend to beat yourself up about your inadequacies and try to hide them from everyone in the 'outside' world.

This third baby has been really liberating for me (most days). I haven't felt the need to pick up a 'guide' to parenting, ring 13HEALTH or hide my emotions/flaws/inadequacies from everyone. I just do what I can, forgive myself my shortcomings and try to do better every day.

I finally TRUST myself to do an OK job. I wish I could have felt this in control with my first two experiences of mothering a baby! I still make plenty of mistakes, but I'm learning to celebrate my successes as well... and I'm so thankful for other mummies who are so open and honest about their own shortcomings (you know who you are) :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Being different... (and how to make easy and unique bag tags)

I enjoy being different. A long time ago I realised I was never going to be exactly like everyone else and decided I could *sometimes* wear uniqueness as a badge of honour. Life gives you lemons and all that. Lots of times I wished I could be like everyone else but mostly I was happy not to have the pressure of looking/being/thinking like everyone else.

So.... when I went to Kmart to get school bags for my little munchkins and discovered all the bags were all very alike, I decided that would never do :) Mr Z had wanted a 'cool' bag that was uniquely his, so there was nothing for it but to bedazzle it a bit! Unfortunately buying the smallest (easiest to carry) backpack meant I was also buying the shoddiest cheapest one there... so I knew I couldn't get away with sewing something directly onto the bag. That's when I decided to make these tags:

First we found and printed some pictures. Then we carefully cut them out and covered them (front and back) in clear contact. I trimmed the contact to leave a 0.5cm allowance around the edge. Next we laid the covered pictures onto felt pieces and then stitched around their outsides using the sewing machine. After trimming the felt down, we added a felt loop to the top and then tied them onto the bag. We used the rope handle from some old crushed giftbags to tie them. It took around 20 minutes to do each one and cost less than a dollar all up. Now Mr Z has no trouble identifying his generic bag amongst the other bags - he just looks for his special swing tags :)

I think that when he is a big bigger (and can carry a bigger, heavier bag) we might redo these, but instead of stitching to felt, we might stitch them directly onto a better quality bag.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Mummy vs: The Woman who has it all together

I struggle most days to keep things together. Sometimes I feel like my life is just one loooooong treasure hunt for that lost receipt/permission slip/actual important document (eek!) Sometimes I know I really neglect the 'mummy-ing' in an attempt to appear a competent, grown up type person who can manage a household while doing other things.

This whole not working lark is hard - I feel like I have lost my identity now that I'm not a teacher or a student and am 'just' a mum. Like I have to prove I'm still a rational, thinking person inside this body. Probably why I have to constantly keep myself busy with all my baking and making and other time-sucking, unnecessary (but satisfying) things.

Which is why I was so pleased to read this by Squigglemum yesterday. Today I gave myself permission to leave the groceries, unpacked, on the kitchen floor (I did put away the cold/frozen things) while I made an impromptu collage with Little Miss (4). What can I say - apparently the special sequins we'd found at the shops just HAD to be used right there and then. While I did it, I patiently applied glue, curled ribbon and looked for shiny pink things in the collage box mess and I DID NOT worry about anyone coming to the door who might notice my untidy kitchen and think less of me because of it. I didn't need permission, but it was nice to have the back up of someone else who knows how important this job of MOTHER is...

Squigglemum's blog (along with a few others) is somewhere I know I can turn to - any time of the day or night - whenever I'm feeling a bit jaded about the world. When I see people neglecting their kids on TV or around town, I know I can go there and find a place where kids are loved and valued. And it makes me feel better about the contribution I'm making to the world through these little people. And regardless of what the world thinks about my time out of paid work, I can feel so lucky to have chosen this precious time at home with my greatest work, my children.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Small boy can sit... and has a new hat to celebrate

As you can see, it's baby-steps around here. Yes, he's brave enough to sit occasionally. No, he will not let me have the dummy...

I made this without a pattern, but it was quite a basic process. It's only one ball of a soft Angora-blend wool I picked up for $1 at Kmart. I crocheted and unpicked and crocheted some more until I got where I wanted to go. As I said to someone yesterday, I like the adventure of making things. I'm not interested in making the same things over and over, I bore easily. Although apparently I have to make one for Mr Z now too! It's ok because I was looking for an excuse to go and pick up some more bargain wool, anyway ;)

Are you a pattern person, or do you like to take an adventure when you put on your art/craft hat?
I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)