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Thursday, 8 December 2016

#27 On Taking Shortcuts With Children



This may have been a bad idea





'There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.' (Anon/gazillions of parents and teachers)

'Laziness breeds efficiency.' (My husband)

‘I think this shortcut may have been a bad idea.’ (Me)


Shortcuts, corner-cutting, killing two birds with one stone; call it what you want, in childhood we are taught that it’s lazy and short-sighted; in adulthood we learn it can be very necessary unless we want something totally to consume us.

I’d argue that parenting - another massive life job - neatly dovetails both schools of thought. For examples of parental efficiency, consider the time and effort saved when we feed our nippers the occasional (!) ready-made food pouch; when we coincide a car or pram trip with nap time. Parenting demands corner-cutting because it entails far more work than we have time (you can also see here for a host of other parenting 'hacks').

But back to that first quote; can time and effort always be saved, or are some shortcuts bound to end in tears? And in any case,  how do we know when we’re being cleverly efficient or just lazy or disorganised? Spotting the difference takes subtlety and discretion. I don't claim to have either, but here's what I do know about what hasn't gone so well for me.


Leaving Baby on Change Table


She’s lying on her back peacefully, cool breeze wafting round her bum. I need a new nappy and realise they are in the cupboard. Three metres away. It’s not that far and she’s just going to lie happily for a split second, right? Not even notice I’ve moved.

Well-

One, she’ll flip herself over the moment my hand moves away. Two, I lied that she’s been lying peacefully. In fact she’s wriggling like a gleeful little eel beneath my hand, as usual, and I don’t actually know what part of me believes this will decrease once I stop holding her down. Just to see what she’d do I stay right next to her while I let go. Surely she can’t be that foolish I think, and then I see her flip to her stomach and scrabble to the edge of the change table where she all but dives off the precipice head first.

Yes she can, and what the hell was I thinking.

Verdict: a no-brainer on how not to brain your baby


‘Just one more thing’

You’ve been round all the shops, your infant is overdue a nap and protesting and you convince yourself you need to cram in just one more thing while you’re there. In less than a minute they are purple and rigid in their fury and the delicate Nap Possibility window has shut firmly. And you still have to negotiate packing the car/pram and making the journey home.

Verdict: Cut the trip short right now. ‘Might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb’ is never applicable with children. Claw back from them what good-naturedness you still can before it’s too late.

This one usually ties in nicely with:


Double pram up escalator

You’re in a shopping centre, both tots in the pram and, as usual, time and good will are short for all three of you. Hell, just for extra fun you might also be battling with your toddler to stay awake; why not. Anyway, you need to get to the floor above or below. The lift would be the obvious choice, but it’s miles back in the direction you just came from. It’ll also take about three years to arrive at your floor in any case. Guiltily, you glance at the escalator that is right there. Yep, the one with the ‘no prams’ sign. But how hard can it be? Single prams are easy once you’ve got the technique down, right?*

Not so with the double pram. Recently I seemed to forget just how heavy Son had become and as I reversed myself+vehicle onto the escalator, an almighty tug almost whiplashed me as the floor dropped away. The pram was tipping downwards and I had to lean back and pull with everything I had, my heart booming in my ears as I felt the pram slipping, slipping, my Birkenstocks bang-slapping hopelessly on the metal stairs. You can probably guess what images were flying through my head, and they worsened until I felt a sudden bump at my heels and saw we’d reached the top. We wheeled away, my kids none the wiser. Me? For the next twenty minutes I walked with jelly legs and a horrible floaty sensation.

Verdict: I am now the wiser. Take the bloody lift.



Running a red light or ‘amber-duration-denial’


Still amber, still amber, more gas, more gas...

Should be obvious but it’s surprising what running late can do to one’s sense of logic (you may be sensing a theme here). Feeling lateness-guilt / being scowled at, versus a hefty fine or maybe even a bit of death.

Verdict: No, no, no, no, no.



Overestimating Son’s maturity


I am aware that there is a social norm of placing small children under adult supervision in one’s absence. Generally we observe this in our household. However, I admit that I sometimes slightly abuse Son's love of his sister and treat him as a carer. That said, 'During my quick shower please watch your sister while the pair of you sit in my plain sight’ is one thing; what happened the other day was quite another. Let's just say that it involved squeezing the double pram out of our new front door while Son held it for me, hearing it slam and then having my memory fail me in two ways. One: I had left something important back inside which I decided to rush back in and get, leaving the kids outside. Two: I’d clearly overlooked the fact we’d moved house. That is, as Son stood there blinking at me it was not in the leafy driveway of our old, quiet suburb, but on the pavement of the urban main road onto which our new front door opened. And as trucks clattered past I was reminded of this fact, and of the recent theft of my bike (from our back garden) in this new ‘more vibrant’ setting.

Yes, squeezing us all back inside would be a nightmare. So, I realised, would the potential outcomes of a three and sub-one-year old being left outside on an inner city street. I made my peace with the object indoors being left where it was.

Verdict: You’re not in Kansas any more. And even in Kansas I’m not sure three-year-olds are left in charge of babies.


...And Underestimating it


So I’m all for doing the hard yards with discipline, engendering an environment of mutual respect and all that, but sometimes when you need quick results bribery or blackmail are attractive options. Until you realise what a smart-arse your child is, that is.

Me: Why are you downstairs? I just put you back in bed. Get up the stairs.
Son: No.
Me: (Dearly missing my glass of wine) Come on. Maybe boys who go upstairs get chocolate eggs the next day. Your favourite.
Son: No.
Me: Eh?
Son: (singsong tone) No thank-you.
Me: (muttering to self) Shit, he’s even being polite. (to Son) Oh come on. It’s late.
Son: Uh-uh.
Me: Right, then I’ll have to take one of your Paw Patrols.
Son: (A benign shrug) OK. (Gestures generously to his doorway) There they are.

The bedtime routine issue is probably worth a blog post all by itself, but suffice to say that many of my short-cut approaches have not been effective.

Better find me some new ones, then. That’s about as much as I’ve learned from all this.



Erica



Seen the book? Take a look! http://lookingatyoubaby.com/
Twitter:  @ericajbarlow
Instagram: @ericajane_20   #lookingatyoubabydotcom



Facebook: Here's Looking At You, Baby https://www.facebook.com/lookingatyoubaby
















Wednesday, 23 November 2016

#26 On Moving House With Children


Be careful what you wish for




Sorry I've been under for a while. We've been moving house. With our two kids. And I've known for some time that people usually put moving house up there with divorce and bereavement in terms of 'stressful times in our life that we don't like', but it's only recently that I've really begun to understand why.

To give you an idea, take this comparison. After birthing a whole mini she-human, my second mini human,  in February, I went off the blog radar for, say, ten days. Maybe two weeks, tops. Now I shan't flatter myself that anyone has really noticed this time around but FYI after moving house it’s been almost six weeks since I’ve touched a keyboard. Yes, that’s two weeks versus six weeks, and for reasons I shall now attempt to outline.

At this point I should note that the comparison to a birth over divorce / bereavement may seem more accurate. Consider birth in parallel to creating a new home: both can be much looked-forward-to events, excitedly prepared for by trawling through pretty websites and buying lots of pretty things. Then, once the event itself has come to pass there is the joy of a New Thing In Your Life to jolly you through the trickier times. By contrast, divorce and bereavement involve, for most people, a sad loss of some sorts and are rarely looked forward to in any way (characters from Dynasty or Game of Thrones excluded). What’s more, much less are they enjoyed when they actually happen or are they looked back upon with any sense of nostalgia (though ditto those same characters). And this is where upping sticks stops being like having a baby and joins the latter two events because once it truly arrives the event itself, aftermath and all, soon reveals its true colours. They are murky indeed.

So what's really so awful about it, then? Well, it actually has nothing to do with how marvellous we think our new gaff is: bricks, mortar or geography.  We love the bigger house and the area (and if you need to know how ready we were to leave our old apartment, look here). We love the garden (an extra room!) the three floors and the fact that our son has his own chamber (the penthouse suite! Or, er, loft conversion). It’s none of this stuff. It is, to a huge extent, the packing. And the unpacking. And anything to do with things in boxes.

That's right: for the last six weeks we have lived, breathed and almost slept (in) boxes. Who'd have thought such a handy cube could kill so much joy. Well, it can because unlike packing for a holiday - where you only pack stuff you like for doing fun stuff you like - packing up a house starts with some of those fun things, if I'm not overplaying how easy it is to even know where to start, then you're left, in each room, to pack up the really crap things. And they take forever, by the way. Let me illustrate with a timeline: with a week or so to go, you start out with best intentions, putting good, useful things into logical boxes. So you continue, and you've still got a week, then still a week, then almost a week, then suddenly you're moving tomorrow. At this point the house is now an utter shithole but you’re all out of time and you desperately go 'fuck it' to your logical packing and start trying to find spaces for blu-tac, random old keys and cups with foreign coins in. Then once you retire to bed that night at 2am you are relieved that most of it is packed up.

It is a short-lived relief. Yes, the karma of your tired carelessness comes back to bite you hard as once you arrive at the other end, it is these same bits of crap that dog all attempts to unpack. You move them to one room just to have them out of your sight. Then you come back to that room, some days later, to realise it now looks appalling and is a dumping ground. And this is made worse by even the unpacked stuff that you do like because this place, and its storage, is different and a lot of stuff does not just fit away logically any more. In fact it can take weeks to work out exactly where the least annoying new homes for most things are. It has taken us six weeks so far and is still a work in progress. And so, in endlessly moving things from one room to another just to convince yourself that any one room is ‘done’, your house becomes like a giant Rubik’s cube where you kid yourself that one matching line completes the puzzle. And I’m not very good, or patient, at Rubik’s Cubes.

But where do the kids fit into all this? There’s a good reason why I’ve left them out until now: for someone who likes, well, to point out their quirks, I have to admit that they have been the least of our worries here. I mean, yes, we’ve had far more stuff to shift now that we have kids; yes we’ve had to shoehorn packing up into their daily schedules. Worse, there has been driving across the city in rush hour twice a day, three times a week to get Son to daycare back in our old neighbourhood, an hour round trip. But for all that the kids have helped us through what was actually the worst part of all: the moving-aftermath back at our old property. With crisp cheer the estate agent reminded us just how soon the property needed to be perfect again or else we’d lose our deposit.  Not satisfied with the stress of this deadline, we thought we’d add some extra fun by being cheap and trying to do lots of the cleaning ourselves rather than have professionals do the whole lot. The result: thinking it a ‘good idea’ to spend ‘just a couple of hours’ cleaning out the kitchen with the kids there. I.e. scrubbing grubby cupboards on all fours, all day, while they rolled around on a filthy floor, Son using up all my iphone data watching YT Kids (see here for how brain-addling that is) and Daughter picking up all manner of scummy things to put in her mouth. It was hellish.

But when I say they helped, it’s because they rarely complained while I basically abandoned them to being ignored by me on a vastly grimy, boring, depressing day. And not only that, in my own misery at how giant my task was, my own guilt at neglecting them for hours, they were my rock; Daughter, playing with a damp mop head, creased me up with laughter and not least of all when she appeared to have a pube stuck to her elbow. At another point I tried to hide the fact I was crying from exhaustion and disappeared off to another room. Then I heard a little knock at the door and Son came in to hug me, saying nothing but holding on more tightly the more I sobbed. To be fair, a few days later he started chortling at me, saying ‘you looked really funny the other day, Mummy, when you were crying. Ha ha, siiii-lly’, but nothing could undo how sweet the little jackass had been in that moment.

Moving on, the old house is but a memory now, the new one mostly finished. Summer is almost here. Everything is looking rosier. But challenging though it can be having kids, it remains an experience to be cast firmly apart from moving house and the rest of The Stress Trinity. Because nothing can light up the gloom like those pleblets can, really they are less a rock than two little precious stones.


Better sign off before I get too soppy. Damn them.


Erica



Seen the book? Take a look! http://lookingatyoubaby.com/
Twitter:  @ericajbarlow
Instagram: @ericajane_20   #lookingatyoubabydotcom



Facebook: Here's Looking At You, Baby https://www.facebook.com/lookingatyoubaby




Saturday, 15 October 2016

#25 On Kids and Screen Time



Enlightening


..To clarify: we don't have a TV. Now before you go making judgments about us, thinking that we believe ourselves too lofty or literary to own such a thing, think again: we binge Netflix (on our projector) as much as anyone and our son likewise likes to binge the iPad.


...Which is really the problem (with our son, I mean), and I know we are not alone in this. Screen Time has been a mixed blessing for parents ever since TVs came about but for all the advancements of TV, Apple’s touchscreen technology surely makes their products far more interactive and user-friendly - for toddlers in particular - than any remote control. What’s more, the design of clip-based viewing apps like Youtube or YT Kids add to this by being especially accessible for chubby little hands and short attention spans. It seems great: free of the need for our input, Son is quite confident navigating these apps, with Youtube we use Guided Access so he can't come across anything unsavoury, and he is entertained completely for pretty much as long as we need him to be.


But to get why this is a problem, you really need to watch these apps. Or, you really need to watch YT Kids. Designed for the critters to use easily, it is garish and simple on every level, from the plinky xylophone theme tune to the extra large icons for play, pause, etc. But this also extends to its lobotomised content. Here, rather than simply with the Peppa, Paw Patrol, etc available on normal Youtube, there often isn't the licensing on YT Kids to access the shows themselves, in which case what you do get is either favourite clips in any language other than English or clips of an extremely dodgy visual / auditory quality. Better yet, there is my personal favourite: clips featuring footage of the toy figurines from said shows being either played with or reviewed by some random. So to be clear: your child will be much entertained by watching some Thomas the Tank toys being filmed pushed around a train track by a very visible human hand, all character voices supplied by the hand's owner, which is often a grown adult. What other work these odd individuals do all day is beyond me, but the amount of advertising on these clips is testament to the popularity of this model. It is also testament to the sad age of meta-entertainment we live in, where the 'Youtube career' (no, really) of goons like Pewdie Pie rests on the popularity of viewers not playing games, but watching the playing of games. Ironically, such apps now make for the most and least interactive form of entertainment for viewers. These include, of course, my son.


It is probably unsurprising, then, that when Son watches these clips he does so with a slack-jawed fascination which is part-transfixed, part-impatient and irritable. Like an 80s dad channel-hopping with the remote control, he'll dismissively swipe his way from clip to clip getting quickly bored with each. It would appear he is not enjoying himself and yet vast upset takes place should we wish to extract the device from him. It is the behaviour of an addict we see - covetous and yet ultimately unsatisfied - and at the end of a very long day it is tempting, like the loved ones of any addict, to opt for the easy life and let him indulge himself rather than kick off. I won't say we've never done it. Nor would various (actually, pretty much all) friends of ours who cite the same conduct in their own kids. And I'm sure neither would you.


Why do we allow it at all, then? Well, for the same reason parents have ever allowed screen time: it gives them a break. And in our case of having two children, we need a lot more breaks from entertaining Son than we used to. Consider the logistics: in the evenings when Husband is not home yet, the kids part company, since Daughter has the earlier bedtime, once her dinner is over. Or should I say, once she is over her dinner, since she likes to signal this to me by gurning, twisting and shrieking in her highchair to the point where only a tepid bath will soothe her. So during the rapid succession of bath-boob-bed for her, something needs to be done to entertain poor Son who sits finishing his dinner on his tod. Enter the iPad. And since I am trying to settle Daughter in another room, the last thing I need are Son’s shrieks haunting me down the corridor because the Guided Access on Youtube is limiting his clip control. So the dumbass YT Kids it is.


Now it is not always like this. There are times when he actually gets to watch his favourite shows - and even ones we like, eg/Sesame Street - and the overall result is less disturbing. Consistent with this is that extracting the device is usually easier, since if we give him a countdown and ask him to turn it off himself, he complies. His adoration of these shows is still plain, nonetheless, yet it is actually this that lends another important function to the iPad: as behavioural management tool. You should see the difference in his reaction: the threat of time out (current source of amusement) vs threat of fave-show-ban (source of untold anguish)


‘Do x or Peppa goes. I mean it. Ten, nine, eight…’


gets to almost one


‘I’m serious. Going, going…’


X miraculously occurs


The added complication is that some kind of record is needed of exactly what has been banned or reinstated and when. You can imagine how often we mess this up. Oddly enough Son sometimes helpfully reminds us anyway: ‘No, Mummy, Paw Patrol is gone because I was naughty.’ What better law enforcement than a cooperative one? It’s utopian, for sure.


So while I totally get the guilt about screen time, I also get that parental breaks are necessary. And hey, maybe it’s a fair introduction to the world of us functioning iPhone addicts. More than that, it’s exposure to popular culture, which every parental generation believes mind-numbing for their kids where every kid generation turns out to be fine. I mean, look at us, right?..?


In fact, maybe I’m missing a trick and it’s time to start working on my Youtube career.


Erica


Seen the book? Take a look! http://lookingatyoubaby.com/
Twitter:  @ericajbarlow
Instagram: @ericajane_20   #lookingatyoubabydotcom


Facebook: Here's Looking At You, Baby https://www.facebook.com/lookingatyoubaby

Thursday, 29 September 2016

#24 On Having Multiple Children (or at least two)




Ever the entertainer


I’ve got this kid thing down. Sleep? Routines? Pacifying? Sorted. As it stands, I now have pretty much a 100% hit rate with all of my strategies and I don’t see that changing...


Or so I stupidly thought when I had just one child. Pregnant with my second, I mused over how it would be with two, you know, in the way you muse over anything which you can never truly appreciate until it happens. So far, my concept of ‘being a mum’ had involved honing my techniques for the previous eighteen months with Son, until I’d reached a point where I felt pretty secure in the whole business. A second would be easy, surely: imagine all the experience I could bring to the role this time. Imagine all the hypotheses I’d formed, into which baby #2 would neatly slot.


Obviously, I would discover, this was utter crap. I got heavily served. Yes, my ability to rock, shush and nappy-change an infant had been fine-tuned, though I’d argue that all parents figure out how to do all that pretty quickly anyway. Equipment-wise, I’d tried to be one step ahead; the brand of dummies my son had used had been  becoming - cheapo as they were - increasingly difficult to get hold of. Then, pregnant again, I remember going into a supermarket I’d never been into before, and seeing them stocked in their dozens, a myriad of sizes and colours, shining from the shelf like rare gems.


‘So this is where you’ve been hiding, you bastards’, I thought. ‘Come to me...I’ll take five, six, no….nine of you.’ So smug was I to have found them that I just hadn’t fathomed that my new baby, once born, would not simply need a little persuading to take a dummy, her eyes would widen and she would disgustedly eject said object, accompanied by Hammer Horror gagging sounds. So now, moan as I do about our current lack of space, I have a whole shelf in the kitchen dedicated to a mass of boxfresh dummies, ever unsucked, that I should probably try to sell or give away.


The tricky thing about parenting is that you try and be prepared, but preparation involves prediction and kids are often pretty unpredictable. Go and look on ebay or various kids’ classifieds and just look at the amount of toys for sale ‘never used’ or ‘used once and then he/she lost interest.’ As grownups and professionals we pride ourselves on our ability to plan ahead, not to be caught out, and yet little ones will often undermine this.


One major reason for this is just how different your newest's personality can be from its predecessor/s. Son? Bottle, dummy, cigar, given to him by a total stranger for all he cared. Daughter? Mammocentric all the way: it has to be boob so it has to be me. Son: sleeps anywhere, any time, like he’s on valium; in the pram to send him off all I had to do was take him over some rhythmic bumps (cobbles, a boardwalk, etc) and he’d be out; Daughter, the Princess and the Pea, takes far longer and bumps appear to ruin her day. Imagine actually taking a pram out and avoiding any kind of these; I urge you to try it.


That said, these differences tend to have presented only temporary issues once you begin to adapt to them. One thing that remains a constant is the effect of plural babies on your time and energy. Yes, you do become better at military-esque logistics. Your ‘Mary Poppins’ handbag becomes even more bottomless. You begin to wonder how just one baby used to take up so much of your time and effort. But dealing with a double onslaught of illness, having two under-threes sharing a bedroom where one shouts a lot and the other still wakes at night, is some next-level trickery. Often Husband and I have to take one each - She needs feeding back to sleep and He needs taking off as he’s insisting on sleeping in our bed at 4am- to the point where we become passing ships in the night. Unsurprisingly, the combination of broken sleep and physical distance does no wonders for a relationship; bickering definitely increases and in those poisonous silences that follow hissed exchanges, there are definitely more times where you narrow your eyes and send waves of hatred to the back of your loved one’s turned head. Still, that’s what those marriage vows were invented for, eh. Dammit.


‘This, too, shall pass’, all parents quote, as they reflect on the tricky, but transient, stages of having little ones. I know the same is true for us. There is one advantage that overrides these pitfalls, however. Having a sibling has made Son a better child - no, really - since he’d have gone through tantrumming and the terrible twos anyway, but we’ve seen another side to him. For all his loudness and mania, it is he who shushes us in the evening with a grave authority:


(finger theatrically pressed to lips) ‘You’ll wake my sister. Stop talking. Shhh.’


He is desperately protective of her, reduced to an impossible and almost comic gentleness around her. And the comic element extends to being their truest bond, because she is the most loving and indulgent audience of all of his performance and jokes. It is excellent to watch. And, dare I say it, probably worth relearning a whole set of skills for.


Erica


Seen the book? Take a look! http://lookingatyoubaby.com/
Twitter:  @ericajbarlow
Instagram: @ericajane_20   #lookingatyoubabydotcom

Facebook: Here's Looking At You, Baby https://www.facebook.com/lookingatyoubaby

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

#23 On Children's Birthday Parties





So wouldn’t you know it, November the fifth is rolling around soon which can only mean one thing. Correct: it’ll be the day before my son’s third birthday party.

Significant why? Well because we’ll be frantically preparing for it unlike most of his peers’ birthdays - many of which are happening most weekends at the moment - which will have been prepared, in advance, for more like 24 weeks than 24 hours. Yes, this is Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (think London’s Chelsea or NY’s Greenwich Village) and so like it or not, just like at Christmas that weight of expectation falls on your reluctant shoulders to produce the perfect party in keeping with all the others you’ve been to/ heard whispered legends of.


Let me give you a brief outline of how our efforts will compare to those of the local norm. Incidentally Daughter is still not one year old and so has not yet warranted a party; this post might double up as a ‘what to expect’ document that I can show her before she starts getting any ideas:

Local Birthday Parties
Our Children’s Parties
Child-centred
Adult-centred. Many of our friends over here indeed have kids, but many don’t and once you’re a parent you need as many excuses to see people as you can get
A start time of 10am; finishing at 12.
What?? OK, I get it- it fits with kids’ sleep times, you do two hours then you get to kick everyone out and go and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

However:
i) Our childless friends are very unlikely to be anywhere for 10am on a weekend, unless they are still out

ii) We are tramps and cannot break the ‘party= boozing’ truism, yet even we have (mostly) gone beyond the days of morning boozing, so an afternoon party it is

iii) Children - especially those fizzing on E-numbers - are much less annoying when you are tipsy


Elaborate spread, often outsourced from pricey caterers
Much as I like attending these parties as I love a posh nibble, old trampy habits die hard and once again our money tends to be prioritised for booze.

Other than that, something easily barbecueable is provided.

Veggie? Kosher? Help yourself to either the burger buns or some Aldi crisps. I don’t think even the ‘meat’ flavours have ever even flirted with genuine meat, so that’s all good.


...Which may include high-end sweet things

Aldi’s finest jelly sweets and packets of teddy biscuits, I’m afraid. I’m sorry if your children end up twitching a little.



Adhering to a theme with matching activities, bunting, tablecloths and more besides
Adhering to theme of ‘weekend’. If there is a children’s theme it’s something like ‘Wacky Races’, i.e. ‘get your kid to bring their bike and someone less-unsober may vaguely supervise them.’ No really: this is what last year entailed.

-Bunting, etc, originally sourced from Hot Dollar, cobbled together from previous parties. If it remotely matches I feel most proud.

...And also matching invites, which may have been hand-crafted, hand-written and posted weeks before

A sketchy Facebook invite with what I consider to be a zany picture of my son as the masthead.
Showcase a beautiful themed cake, often professionally outsourced
This is the one concerted bit of effort I do make, as I enjoy doing this. But don’t confuse this with being that good at it. For me, fondant icing is just grownups’ play-doh. And even if the cake looks passable from 2 metres away, step closer to feast your eyes upon:
  • The cheapo battenberg I have used for the inside
  • The piped icing used to conceal a multitude of amateur errors
Hired entertainer



Tired entertainer, often in the form of my dear brother, half-cut, dragging around chuckling toddlers that have their hands clasped about his ankles.
Otherwise see ‘bring your own bike’ point above
Face painting
Does food colouring from eating the cake count?
Or..battle scars from a felt-tip fight
And finally...goody bags containing themed goodies.
Are you serious?? There is some definite input-output inbalance going on with preparing these things. Consider your memories, your ensuing hangover and a day where your kids have hopefully entertained themselves a bit, your goody bag.


If, after reading this, you are still keen to join us on 6th November, then you are a true friend indeed and welcome to enjoy with us some craft beer (sourced by Husband) or cheap prosecco (sourced, yes, by me).

Oh yeah, and hopefully your kid, if you have one, will enjoy it.


See you there.



Erica




Seen the book? Take a look! http://lookingatyoubaby.com/
Twitter:  @ericajbarlow
Instagram: @ericajane_20   #lookingatyoubabydotcom
Facebook: Here's Looking At You, Baby https://www.facebook.com/lookingatyoubaby