Juggling Jelly

Baby wrap idea

Wrap the baby

Having a new baby feels like juggling jelly. I’m stuck on the sofa with just an iPad and one free hand most of the time, but my mind is full of ideas that I can’t do anything about. Then I found an app for drawing with your finger, so in an attempt to keep a grasp of my remaining shreds of sanity I have decided to start sharing these ideas for inventions to make the task of juggling jelly a bit easier.

In my addled brain these seem like good inventions. No doubt half of them have already been invented, and the rest are no good which is why they don’t already exist.


Uh oh

Here we goooooo….!!!

The dear baby is rapidly transforming herself into a lively creature, taking the form of what a friend has apparently defined as being similar to a ‘demented dwarf’. She suddenly started crawling, and the beginnings of walking, talking, signing, singing, dancing, reading, imitating animals, and trying our whether she can make us angry, all in the space of about a week. It’s pretty intense and I’ve just realised there a dangerous chemicals under the sink and we have a wooden staircase with a stone floor at the bottom, and pins in the sitting room, and razors in the bathroom……uh oh!

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter
One hears a lot about how awkward it is to look after children, what a burden of cost, energy, hassle, etc, they are, and parents tend to mention these things quite a lot, perhaps in a very British form of self-deprecation, and also because it is bloody hard work, especially when you are old and poor.

Now I’m not saying we never hear about the good stuff but I think it’s time I mentioned some of the good stuff from this particular sofa.

Just to bring the mood back down, it occurs to me to write in the form of a letter to the bairn, which is something for her to have in the event that I were to (god forbid) vanish from her life at a premature date.

Dear daughter,
Thank you!
You have made me eat healthier, in an attempt to set you a good example.
You are making me fitter through continual heavy lifting and carrying. The steady weight increase allows me to increase my own strength in a nicely paced gradual way. I am developing the biceps of a sailor. I love to feel strong like this, carrying you.
You have made me realise I am actually a grown up and am entitled to charge properly when I work.
You have shown me how much I do know and how competent and skilled I really am.
I have had to stop worrying about how I look, which I regard as a pleasant holiday from the usual pressures.
You have made my parents very happy and we are getting along much better these days. Mum in particular is full of lightness and fun when you are there. When you laughed delightedly to see her the other day, I was very happy.
You make me smile a lot because you enjoy life and laugh so often.
Your delightful little body is so warm and delicious. Observing the development of its processes has taught me greater reverence for my own body, weary and saggy and voluminous and worn as it is. It works, and it’s quite powerful, and quite adept, and it gave you life, so that’s not bad.
You have allowed me to clear out a lot of junk, both literally and metaphorically.
Prioritisation has never been a strong point for me but I have made a significant improvement in this area. Similarly I am much more focused about how I spend my time. (That’s my excuse as to why I haven’t hardly done any jelly posts for so long).

Dear daughter, thank you for these and other gifts. I wish you find your place in the world, with a reasonable level of contentment, as I have, and have some good adventures along the way, as I have.
With love from your Ma.

(Well that’ll do for now.)

Magic Elastic

Magic elastic

For how many years will I have to keep picking things up off the floor?

Dearest darling bambina is now at the stage where she has discovered the joy of throwing. She also takes such an interest in things that if she sees a new thing while playing with an old thing, she will drop the old thing having completely and instantly lost interest in it, and grab the new thing. Each thing may entertain for anything between thirty seconds and about ten minutes, so in a day we can get through a lot of things. And a lot of stooping to pick up dropped things. The other day I foolishly allowed her to chew my wallet, which disappeared until the charming people at Star Anise wrote to me to say they had it, and I have lost two pairs of sunglasses (one was discovered by another walker who overtook us on the chalford towpath) and various less significant items.

It’s all getting a bit out of hand (as it were) and notwithstanding the skill, developed in late pregnancy, of picking things up with one’s feet, I propose to develop Magic Elastic TM, which is invisible and non-strangling, and may be attached easily to all things, and thus we can squeeze every last bit of interest from each thing, and more importantly, save my back from an early demise.

Baby Crystal Ball

Tell me what the baby will do today...

Tell me what the baby will do today…

One of the things I find hardest about looking after the baby is the unpredictable nature of her habits. Planning is almost impossible, as she may take a nap at nine for ten minutes or at ten thirty for an hour, and those naps are precious patches of sunlit freedom to sleep, wash, tidy up, or even, the unthinkable Do Some Work. Having to remain so utterly flexible is exhausting and I often need at least twenty minutes for my brain to unscramble and register that I can now focus on something from my own world. By that time she may well awake and bingo! My brain is a pile of fuzzy egg mash again.

A crystal ball would enhance my life enormously.

Baby Joy Bottle

Baby Joy Bottle

Bottle it!

At times, I feel as though this little creature is draining my life force away at an accelerated rate. I am like a salmon that has spawned and is dying, for its offspring and other predators to feed off it’s rotting remains.

But thankfully the baby comes with a kind of inbuilt booster juice which I can only describe as Baby Joy. She just is so charming and funny and happy (most of the time) that you get a fillip looking at her and it’s enough to get you limping on to the next task or moment of the day.

And if you could bottle that sh**, you’d be minted, as they say.

Mojo Not Quite What It Was

I did find my mojo, but it’s still not really working properly and you have to prop it up in an awkward spot on top of the fridge with the aerial out of the window at a particular angle. Even then it only transmits intermittently. So apologies good people for the hiatii in juggling.

A Baby Cushion

A baby cushion for softer landings

For those times when you are overcome with the desire to throw the baby out of the window.

DISCLAIMER: please do not try this at home. We do not endorse any form of endangerment when it comes to babies.

Baby Toy: Cloth Cube with Bell

Plan for making a cloth cube for baby

Cut the cloth, and have some stuffing and a bell handy

I must get my sewing machine set up as I have an enormous proliferation of sewing projects going on, now I have a new nephew and my own baby keeps growing all the time I need to keep up..!

Until that happens I am still sewing by hand in the moments in between everything. This is a thing I made in one evening at the make and mend evenings which my lovely girls come along to when the old man is on a night shift.

They make a very nice toy for baby who constantly needs new things to explore. Super easy to make by hand, in a single interrupted evening, you can use up cloth scraps. I used those sample pieces you get from fabric shops sometimes. One sample square made two cubes.

They work well because they are pretty, make a noise, are super soft, and allow the baby to practise grabbing a thing. I think it will also make a good toy for a toddler as it can be thrown and kicked like a ball. Of course you could easily adapt it to make balls as well although they might be harder for baby to grab hold of.

I used wool to stuff it, but I imagine old socks, tights, buckwheat, polystyrene, or shredded paper would all probably do just as well.

Baby toy to make at home

Baby seems to like it

Lost Mojo Found

Lost my mojo

Was lost, is found

I went silent on this blog for ages. The baby has grown a lot and probably so have I . It wasn’t that I had no ideas any more, although they were far fewer… I suppose my brain was busy and the mojo got lost. Maybe I was just too tired to notice it.
Anyway, it’s back, a little battered and with a few quirks (one of the dials is stuck and it goes silent without warning now and then, and then comes back on quite loud and suddenly) but I will keep it nearby and try not to lose it again. Thank you to the anonymous person who found it and left under my pillow for rediscovery.

Baby-Proofing the Fireplace

Hearthstone fire guard holder

This is an actual technical drawing

I can’t really explain why I stopped inventing things for the past couple of months. Maybe the baby has become so fascinating that I have lost all my creative juices. Or maybe she sucked them all out. No, that can’t be true, because I’ve started a baby book making project…
Maybe it’s just all got more real. The fairyland vibe is fading into the background and this new normal is becoming established. I’m starting to get the thing of ‘I can’t imagine not having her’ that I’ve heard other parents saying.
Anyway, reality tends to bite, and the looming fact is that dear Baby will soon be able to crawl into and towards and over anything she can get her grubby banana-smeared fingers on. And our house is to put it mildly, not very crawl-friendly. Eg
– borax, zinc sulphate, 5kg of salt, 5l acetic acid, and open paint pots stored on the floor of the kitchen (no closed cupboards)
– large heavy drawer containing paint-making equipment at floor level (kitchen again)
– for some reason electrical sockets are invariably at floor level too, even though it’s not only bad for babies it’s also really inconvenient
– the nursery is really a study, with ceiling height open shelves suitable for climbing, and electrical equipment all over the place
– an open fireplace
– a stylish but heavy glass free-standing fire guard

My first attempt to make this place even vaguely suitable for keeping a toddler in is to design a thing to hold the fire guard up without it looking hideous. And I’ve done it in neon sketch, and I think the stonemason has deleted the email thinking it’s some awful viral thing. (Why do all the people I try to hire always just vanish at the quote stage?)

Luckily we’ve also been given a playpen, which I think will be seeing a lot of use in the coming months. At least until she figures out how to knock it down.