DIY Baby

There are a legion of things to spend money on for babies,  just thought I’d post a couple of things I’ve made for The Boy over the last few months which are free, easy and don’t even require a trip to the shops.

Firstly, a baby bouncer with interchangeable pictures.  Babies love black and white images, so I used to draw pictures of things for him to look at.

Lately I read that he’s learning to see primary colours, so the current pictures are in blue, green and red.  Well, the green one has been kicked off, but the other two have just about made it (apologies for the dodgy artwork, never could draw.)

The baby bouncer itself was a Freecycle grab.  Not having to give £30 to a warehouse baby store always makes me happy.  The clips were borrowed from a clothes airer.

Next up are some rattles made from baby bottles, rice and pasta.  I haven’t tried anything else in them yet, but I guess you could put all kinds of things in there, to make different noises.

The Boy is still a little bit small for them.  He is just starting to grab things, but is at a fairly early stage. Give it another few weeks and he’ll be able to shake them himself.  At the moment he likes listening to them and watching the stuff inside fly around.

The sustainability freak in me likes these things.  They haven’t had to be manufactured so that I can buy them, and they can be dismantled again and used for other things when he’s too old for them.  The baby bouncer will probably go back to Freecycle eventually.

There will be blood

Something has ruined my salad.

Not only dug it up, but then done an enormous poo on it, and invited a load of bluebottles to come and dance on its grave.

The point may have been the massive poo and the seedlings were perhaps destroyed as a side project, but the result is the same.  Luckily I planted a truly ludicrous amount of lettuce, so hopefully there is enough left, but I am Not Happy.

In other news, The Boy has developed shrieking, but is temporarily distracted by large fluffy bunnies.  This is a marked improvement on last week, where he had developed shrieking.

Finally, if I could knit, I would knit these.

City bump has landed!

It’s taken a little while to get around to posting this, but back in March, city bump finally arrived!  We are having a lovely time with him and looking forward to returning to some kind of normality before too long (18 years?)

Hope you’re all well and enjoying life in the sunshine when there is some.

Rach xxx

How to name your baby

We haven’t settled on a real name for Little Wilb yet, but I thought I’d share some of the baby-naming strategies I’ve been mulling over recently.  It’s an intimidating responsibility, and one which is not without its pitfalls.

Aside from dropping the poor kid on its head or leaving it at a bus stop, giving a baby a bad name is one of the worst crimes a new parent can commit.  This is after all, the handle your child is going to carry with it for the rest of its life (assuming it doesn’t change it by deed poll out of desperation at some stage) and it will blame you for the name you chose as the root of all its various incompetencies during its teenage years anyway regardless of how inoffensive you thought it was at the time.

Here are a few strategies you could use to try to avoid the most obvious perils on the road to the registry office.

Strategy 1: Choose something popular.

This appears to be a good strategy for avoiding ‘Darius syndrome.’  Darius syndrome is the fate which befalls names which are a bit different but perfectly fine, until somebody of the same name becomes famous and ruins it for everyone due to their astonishing lack of talent/downright evilness.  You might be all set on Darius, having found it in a baby name book and learnt that you are naming your little bundle after a Persian emperor, and then along comes… Darius, and you’re scuppered.  To illustrate this point further, here is a graph of the popularity of the name Adolph (variant of Adolf) in the 20th Century.

If you were naming your child in April 1889, as Mr. and Mrs. Hitler were, Adolph or Adolf would have been one of the most popular names going.  And, if you’d looked it up in the baby book (assuming such things existed back then) you would have been reassured to learn that your baby was to be blessed with the qualities of a ‘noble wolf.’  Not surprisingly the popularity of the name took a bit of a nose dive in the late 1930’s, and has now more or less disappeared out of the charts.

Whilst there’s not much you can do to predict a fascist despot ruining your baby’s name, sticking to popular and somewhat more middle of the road names will probably ensure that your child doesn’t end up with every introduction resulting in a raised eyebrow by the time he reaches his mid-teens.

Strategy 2: Choose something ‘different’.

The down-side of strategy 1 is that you don’t want to go for the same name as every other parent in a 30 mile radius, lest your baby ending up thinking it’s name is actually ‘MattB’ by the second year of school, so as to distinguish him from MattA, MattC and MattD.  But then I heard recently about a girl who was the second ‘Sienna’ in her play-group, so there really is no predicting which direction trends will travel in.  Unfortunately, a ‘different’ name is only different at the point of naming, and if everyone has the same idea, then you’re stuck with a permanent initial stuck on the end of your name for the next 16 years.

Also, when you’re going for different, don’t forget that you may be shouting your chosen collection of syllables 20 or 30 times a day.  It’s worth considering this before settling on Philomela or something equally long and difficult to articulate in a crisis.  Bear in mind that it needs to be easy enough to shout quickly and at volume across Tesco’s car park when your adorable toddler is on the brink of slamming a shopping trolley into somebody’s Peugeot.

Strategy 3: Choose something topical

I don’t know if the parents of the several thousand 18-month old ‘Obamas‘ are regretting it yet, but they have managed to combine the pit-falls of strategy 1 and 2 in one fell swoop here.    You can bet your bottom dollar that there will have been a lot of parents who fancied naming their children Obama following his election in 2008, and those children will no doubt end up as ‘ObamaA’, ‘ObamaB’ and ‘ObamaC’, so as to avoid confusion (see Strategy 2.)  There is also the danger that Obama’s popularity will take a further tumble, and then the name doesn’t seem like quite such a clever idea after all.

Even if his presidency is a resounding success, it’s not like this will rub off on any of the baby Obamas, because we just don’t associate people with their name-sakes.  Do you think of the silver screen stars when you meet an Audrey or a Marilyn?

Strategy 4: Choose something cool.

The best place for picking up cool baby names is undoubtedly your local Apple store.  Have a bit of a mooch around, pretend to be shopping for an iPod or something, but secretly you are looking at the employee name tags for inspiration.

Choose the guys who have chosen to wear long sleeved t-shirts under their  staff t-shirts.  They are undoubtedly the coolest.  If you’re really lucky, you might find one who’s also wearing a scarf, an unfeasibly large pair of headphones around the neck and a baseball cap.  Check out the name on the end of that lanyard, and you’re onto a winner.

I hope I’ll be able to settle on a name myself at some point in the near future.  If in doubt, at least give the poor scrap a sensible middle name, so that they can choose that instead if Griselda doesn’t float their boat.

Tube wars

Being now 19 weeks into this pregnancy thing I find myself unable to stand up on the tube for very long without feeling dizzy.  The problem is, I don’t look very pregnant yet and being a fairly unassertive sort of person, and the tube being quite a ‘don’t look me in the eye, I might implode’ sort of place, I tend to just grab a seat when I can rather than asking people to move.  So far this has not caused me any great hardship, and I am mentally preparing myself for more assertiveness, which will no doubt kick in at the point where I won’t even have to ask.

However an interesting philosophical question arose in my head the other day.  If, after I find a seat, another pregnant woman asks me to give up my seat, then what do I do?  Ask her how many weeks she is, and if it’s less than 19, let the bitch stand?

More recently it occurred to me that this question is probably academic in any case, because pregnant women are more likely to ask the bloke with the skateboard to stand up for them than another woman who might be in the same condition.

Having thusly put the whole scenario out of my mind, I was completely bamboozled today when I was roused from my book by a bloke asking if he could have my seat.  I was confused by this, not because I couldn’t understand why he’d want one – he was carrying a toddler – but because there was an empty seat further along the carriage and I was sitting next to a young, healthy looking teenager who actually had a skateboard.  No word of a lie.

I sat, dumb for a few seconds trying to work out the politest way to say, ‘I’m actually pregnant, why don’t you take the empty seat which is 2 yards away, or ask Bart Simpson here if he would mind standing for a bit?’ but sadly failed to string the sentence together, and ended up apologetically gesturing in the direction of the empty seat and murmuring something about there ‘being one over there.’  He trudged off looking a little miffed to say the least.

Great guilt then ensued when I realised that he didn’t just want a seat, but my seat, because it would enable him to be next to his wife, who was in charge of the buggy (a buggy with a suitcase in it, bizarrely – I can only assume that the suitcase was heavier than the toddler.)

Anyway, the guilt was mainly due to my having failed to explain myself, rather than my apparent rudeness.  Had I understood the situation more quickly, I could have moved, he could have sat next to his wife and blissful harmony would have ensued.  Sadly, my confusion just made me look like some kind of feminist über-bint.  Oh well, every cloud…