Monday, December 31, 2012

can this really be happening?

this week, with a mingled sense of excitement, grief, happiness and disbelief, i put the invitations for arty's first birthday party in the post.

(excuse my dirty fingernails - i'd just been doing some gardening!)

i found the invitations on etsy - they're vintage, dutch, and about fifty kinds of cute.

s-j is planning his cake, and i'm collecting bits and pieces for some fun party bags.
this day is going to be upon us before we know it, and we're going to do our best to make it special.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

first christmas

arty's first christmas passed in a blur of family, friends, food, and festivity.
he loved spending time with his favourite people, and has had a blast playing with his new toys.

we started a couple of our our own traditions as a family.
inspired by his oddparents, arty chose a present for a baby his own age to place under the wishing tree for someone less fortune than himself. we will definitely be doing this together every year.

i made him his very own stocking, which of course he was too young to know what to do with this year. i wanted him to have it for his first christmas, and hopefully for many christmases to come.

i also made all three of us our own decorations to hang on the tree together every year.

and now it's nearly the end of the year, and we're enjoying the remaining skerricks of the christmas cake, and the final days of having the decorations up before moving on to 2013... and somebody's very first birthday...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

baby noms: festive turkey dinner

arty has been so keen on all the festive food that's been around for the last couple of weeks. he thoroughly enjoyed the different elements of christmas lunch that he sampled, and even had a taste of his mummy's delicious christmas cake.

with that in mind, i decided to make him some festively-inspired baby noms.

no matter how delicious it is, a puree always looks like mush...

festive turkey dinner


250g turkey mince
1/3 cup dried cranberries
sprig of fresh sage leaves (approx 1 tbsp when roughly chopped)
1 small onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 tbsp butter
drizzle of olive oil


  • fry the onions and sage in olive oil until the onions become translucent
  • add turkey and cranberries, and continue to cook onver medium heat until turkey begins to brown
  • meanwhile, either steam or boil sweet potato until tender
  • mash sweet potato with butter, and combine with cooked turkey mixture
  • puree for smaller babies, or serve as is for bigger one

don't wait til next christmas to try this one. it's yummy all year 'round.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

dear arthur: 11 months

my darling one,

this month seems to have sped by even more quickly than any other since you've been born. maybe it's because this is a busy time of year. maybe it's because time seems to be gathering momentum as your first birthday approaches.

you are starting to understand language more and more. when we say "where is your head?" you put your hands on your head, and you put your hands on your tummy when we ask you where your tummy is. it is, quite honestly, the most adorable thing in the world, and i am so proud of you. when we cheer for you, you clap your little hands in glee.

last month you became interested in cupboards and drawers, and this month this interest has extended to boxes, baskets and bags. you like to move objects in and out of them, and understand when we say things like "put the block in the box". it's so exciting to see you comprehend and follow simple instructions like that, because it shows that you're understanding your world, and your language, in new ways.

we think you have said a few words, but you never seem to say them more than once or twice. we're sure you said "josie" when she was sitting in the back of the car with you the other day, and you have said "up" a couple of times when you've wanted me to pick you up.
you're still saying "dat" for cat, and "nununu" for any forbidden objects (power cords, shoes, glasses), and those are the two words you say with most consistency.

in the last few days you've started pointing at things when you want us to give them to you, or notice them. i like to try and say the name of whatever you're pointing at so you make the connection between the word and the object.

your separation anxiety seems to be reaching a peak at the moment, which i believe is right on cue. you often get upset when i leave the room, especially if i leave you with someone other than your mummy. the other night your mummy and i went out for dinner, and your lovely babysitters called us after about half an hour to say that you would not stop crying, and i had to come home to you. i was happy to do so, because i want you to know that your mummy and i will always come for you if you need us.

we got to spend a couple of days with your nana this month, when she came to visit from perth. you enjoyed hanging out with her, and she made the most of cuddle time with her grandson. it was a lovely couple of days.

you are getting quite close to standing independently. sometimes, when you have been hanging onto the couch, you will become so absorbed in playing with a toy that you will forget to hold on. you stand there until you realise what's happened, and then you plonk down on your bottom.
i don't think it will be long before you're walking.

this month most of the babies from our mothers group came down with a bad case of hand, foot, and mouth (hfm) and unfortunately, you were among them. you spent a couple of days in abject misery, with a high temperature, vomiting, and no appetite at all. then you broke out in nasty little spots in your nappy area, on your arms, legs and around your mouth. it was so hard to watch you suffer - you seemed so confused as to why you felt so bad, and why we couldn't fix it. i hope we don't have to go through anything like that again for a long time (bunny hopes so too).

your favourite games at the moment are noisy ones. you love to knock down towers that your mummy builds for you. you love whacking our stainless steel cooking bowls with spoons. you love making big splashes in the bath. you love dropping things from your high chair to hear what they sound like when they hit the ground. it is lots of fun to play these games with you, and see your little face light up when things go bang.

you're now big enough for us to order you your own little meals when we go out to cafes. you are a proper little inner-northern baby, and you love to brunch on eggs, toast, avocado, asparagus, and beans. it's a lot of fun to go out with our friends and eat together.

your infectious laugh, your insatiable curiosity, your fierce determination, and your sweet, affectionate little nature, are my joy and my delight, little one. i love you more every single day.

with all my heart,
your mama xxx

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

poor bunny

sometimes i think it would be a sweet gig to be a baby's sleep toy. you'd get to be snuggled by a sleepy little creature as they have their baby dreams, and snuffle and sigh through the night.
but then there are the times when you get covered in spew, and have to get hung on the line by your ears.

swings and roundabouts.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

old bag revisited

before arty was born, i made a post about the bag i was taking to hospital. it was  the one my mum had made and taken with her to hospital to have me.
at the time i mentioned that she and my grandmother used to carry me around in it sometimes, and that there was a photo of that somewhere.
well, my mum found it recently, and posted it on my wall on facebook.

looks like i was pretty happy about the whole situation! who wouldn't be?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

why we're a no-santa family

arty's first christmas is fast approaching. we've started decorating the house, sj has made pudding, and there are already a few presents under the tree. but there will be no presents "from santa" for arty.

maybe you think this makes us mean and joyless parents. maybe you think we're robbing our son of a magical part of his childhood, but hear me out. i think there are some very good arguments for not doing the santa thing.

1. he's a bit creepy
this may be my flimsiest reason, but i'm opening with it because it is totally legitimate.
i find the whole concept of santa kind of unsettling. a bearded recluse who lives in isolation all year round, except for one night when he breaks into people's houses, eats their food, and judges their children worthy or unworthy of reward based on his seemingly arbitrary judgement of their behaviour? that is WEIRD!
only invited guests are welcome in my house, and they'll keep their judgements about my son's conduct to themselves if they know what's good for them.

2. he's not real
we don't have a lot of hard and fast rules about how we parent. we tend to go by feel, and amend our ideas based on how things work, or how circumstances change. that said, we do have a strong commitment to certain overarching principles, and one of those is (age appropriate) honesty.
as they mature, plenty of kids come to a perfectly happy understanding that santa is a fiction made up by their parents to help make christmas a little more magical, but i'm not happy to risk the possibility that arty will see this innocent deception as a more serious betrayal, and come to question his parents' integrity on other levels when he discovers he's been lied to about the jolly gift-giver.

3. i like giving presents
buying presents is fun! we put a lot of time and thought into selecting gifts for our family, and i'll be damned if i'm going to let some other bugger get the credit for the gifts we picked out!

4. what about the other kids?
there is a deep injustice that comes along with the santa myth, and this is the real deal breaker for me.
when kids get together and compare their gifts after christmas, how do we explain why santa was kinder to the children of wealthier parents? was there something lacking in the children whose parents couldn't afford to buy them the newest and best toys? should they have tried harder to be better? did santa just ignore them because they aren't as important?
the santa myth reinforces the injustices of class and social inequality, and that doesn't sit well with me at all.

if we have anything to do with it, arty will have many happy christmases.
he'll eat pudding, he'll play with tinsel, he'll watch 'the wind in the willows' with us in accordance with smith-deGraaf family tradition. and of course he'll have presents to unwrap. but he'll know they're from the people who love him.