Handmade Mummy returns

I know I’ve been absent without leave for quite a while now so I should probably start with an update on the world of Handmade Mummy. I now have two children! When the little man was about eight months old we discovered that we were expecting another little person. It turns out that it a girl, born in July at a whopping 4.68kg (10lb 5oz to those who work in old measurements) and so we now have a little miss too. Thankfully she is a pretty chilled and very smily baby so the transition hasn’t been too painful so far.

You may remember that we were due to move as well, that happened and we now live in Wellington, New Zealand. It took quite a while to feel settled here but we’ve got there slowly and I am happy to have found an awesome group of fellow crafters to share my passions with.

In the world of crafting I have been busy with the crochet hooks as ever, making hats mainly. Hubby and I have a big project on the go at the moment but more about that later.

I decided I wanted to share the crafty journeys I have been on again so decided to resurrect this blog as a means to do this. As always I will share the projects I have been working on, my insights into life as a mummy and general musings on life.


The truth about babies…what I’ve learnt so far!

I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt in my first six months (almost) of mummyhood. In no particular order…

1. Your baby will always fall asleep on a walk just before you get home/back to the car, just in time for you to have to wake them moving them into their car seat/bed.

2. Just when you think you have a schedule happening your baby will change things up just to keep you on your toes.

3. Your baby will always wait until your other half has gone to work before doing the biggest, smelliest poo possible (Monday mornings are a particularly popular time for him/her to do this)

4. Whenever you think it is safe to get a hot drink/some food your baby will prove you wrong.

5. Just when you think your baby can not scream any more they will find their second wind.

6. Your baby will save his/her cutest smile for the time he/she knows you are most annoyed/frustrated with them (I’m sure this is a built in survival mechanism!)

7. Your baby will behave impeccably around other people, making you out to be exaggerating everything you say about them. The second those people have left your baby will revert to normal behaviour.

8. Your baby will save their loudest burp/fart for when you are in company (but it’s ok to laugh at baby burps and farts!).

9. You will try all those things you were told not to do, anything to get some sleep (a cuddle or a snuggle can solve many things)

10. Despite and because of all these things it is an amazing first six months (even if it is at times difficult to see this)

Please let me know any pearls of wisdom you might have learnt about mummyhood (or daddyhood) as it is always good to get warning about what might be ahead!

Bring on the apple

We made the decision to try the little one on some food. He’s been watching us eat for a couple of weeks now and makes the occasional grab for my cup of tea and then on Sunday he managed to get a piece of apple peel and was in seventh heaven licking it (to the point that he got very distressed when it broke!) With this in mind I stewed up some apple ready for our first attempt as he seemed to already like the taste.

Deciding whether it was time has been tricky with so much advise around about when is the right time. Lots of Mummies I know have already started their little ones on food at around the four month mark, other people say wait until six months. Our little one has never been a very consistent eater as well, some days he will take almost a litre of milk in a day and other days we are lucky to get him to have more than 700ml. I had been advised to wait until he was more consistent but to be honest I don’t think he ever will be so we decided to try and figured if he wasn’t interested he wouldn’t take it. In other words nothing tried, nothing gained. All this advice is enough to make someone want to tear their hair out!

I guess that’s the problem with babies, there is so much “advice” out there that you can end up feeling very over whelmed. As a first time Mum I want someone to tell me what to do, after all I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but there is no one answer and there never will be. It’s taken time but I realise that what works for my little one doesn’t work for another. Some of the babies I know sleep and eat like champions, some lie quietly taking the world in, some are big, some are small. My little boy is a power napping, constantly wiggling,fussy eating little monkey! Together Hubby and I are slowly working out what works and also figuring out that what works one day might not work the next, it’s all good as we are learning together.

He didn’t look too impressed with the new experience of apple and pulled some wonderful faces. Fingers crossed he will slowly grow to like the experience of eating and we will have fun giving him the chance to try new flavours.

There’s an octopus on your babies head!

I am the first to admit that sometimes my ideas can be a little bit out there, a little bit strange, a little bit kooky! Well my inner odd voice certainly took control when I decided to make my next baby hat and somehow I came up with the idea of a hat with a little octopus sitting on it. I think I may have been slightly influenced by this Mitsubishi advert in which an octopus takes up residence on a boys head and stays there until he sees a much more attractive prospect, the Mitsubishi.

I am getting a bit of a pro at making my basic bonnet now and another quick search on the internet came up with the perfect Octopus pattern which I could adapt. The octopus was nice and quick to make up and I think he looks rather nice in his two tone red (yes I ran out of wool and had to change but I can pretend it was deliberate!). I added a red and yellow border to the hat, my usual plaited ties and a little yellow starfish on one of the ear flaps and Bob’s your uncle one rather … umm … interesting hat had been created!

The hat is being added to my Felt shop so fingers crossed someone out there shares my love on the slightly unusual! Although saying that I have already had a request from a friend for an adult sized one!

My boy looks awesome in hats

The aviator hat

The aviator hat

As I have said before I love making hats for the little one and that is what I have been busy doing. Firstly I made a new aviator hat (pattern by Kat Goldin of Slugs on the Refrigirator) as the one he came home in is now too small. It’s a really easy pattern to follow and I can make one in about three hours all toll (providing the boy behaves).

I also decided that I might try and sell some of my hats in order to bring in a few extra cents and I was given my first commission, a fedora hat. Now I had no idea what one of those was but thank goodness for the internet I was quickly enlightened and a pattern was downloading itself onto my computer.

The Fedora hat

The Fedora hat

The pattern was from Posh Patterns at Craftsy and was very well written. It was easy to follow and the base of the hat was made within about an hour and a half (afternoon naps are great!). I decided the hat looked a little plain without some colour so set about making a two tone band to go round it which then took me another hour and a half (although that was partly due to the nap ending!). I’m really happy with how it turned out and the little one looks so cute in it. The lady who asked me to make one likes it too so now I need to make another one!

Making little monsters

The daytime sleeping has continued, someone asked me if I knew what to do with myself now he was sleeping and I said I sure did! I have been making some more hats, one for our little one and one for a friends little bit bigger one!

White and Green Dino Hat

White and Green Dino Hat

This time I chose a dinosaur/monster theme and decided to see what free patterns I could find in order to achieve my desired outcome. I found a great beanie pattern (complete with ear flaps) on Ravelry* and then a dino spikes pattern on The Boy Trifecta. The beanie pattern was nice and easy to follow (despite my best efforts to keep adding in extra stitches – see previous post!) and built up quickly (always a bonus, especially when crafting time is so precious). I chose a nice blue colour for the first hat and then white for the second hat (mainly dictated by which colours I had the most of in my stash!), the hat then has a nice contrast band around the bottom so I did orange for the blue hat and green for the white hat.

Blue and Orange Dino Hat

Blue and Orange Dino Hat

Next I made some spots in various sizes and stitched them onto the hats to create contrast and hopefully a skin effect, I did these in the contrast colour that was around the bottom of the hats. Finally I made the spikes in the same colour adjusting the size to make them in proportion with the rest of the hats. I also made them slightly different sizes so the spikes got smaller as they went down the back of the hat. The white and green hat was a bit bigger so I did a couple more spikes on it. The spikes were pretty easy to make as well although a little fiddly at the beginning due to the tight circle to start. It’s a good idea to leave a nice long tail as you can then use this to sew them onto the hat (the same is true of the spots).

I’m really pleased with how they both turned out. The little ones hat (blue and orange) is a little big at the moment but better that than too small! I’m loving making these hats and am open to suggestions for the next one if people know of any good designs.

My next project has arrived in the post, a kit to make a fancy christmas stocking for the little one. Annoyingly I need some softie guts for it though and I don’t have any at the moment so the kit is sat teasing me at the moment! Fingers crossed it won’t be long until I can get to town to buy some and get stuck in!

* The Ravelry link may not work unless you have a Ravelry account, if you don’t and love craft I would highly recommend signing up as there are loads of free patterns for both knitting and crochet on there!

The baby pincushion

There were tears!

There were tears!

Our poor little boy was used as a pin cushion yesterday, it was time for his six week jabs. Mummy showed him how to be brave first by having her flu jab and then it was the boys turn. Daddy held him while the nurse got on with what she had to do. There was screams but thankfully they disappeared quickly with a good cuddle and all was soon forgotten. As the son of a doctor there was never any question of him not getting the jabs, obviously Daddy has great faith in them (and so does Mummy). Thankfully the others at our antenatal class were in favour of them too and so we managed to avoid what could have been an awkward argument and the loss of some new friends.

Vaccinations are obviously a rather controversial topic between new parents with the debate over whether they are safe or not continuing to rage across the Internet. In fact the Internet has a lot to answer for, it makes information (both fact and fiction) too readily available to people who may or may not fully understand it. The main culprit here is a piece of research done several years ago by a British doctor that supposedly showed that vaccinations (specifically the MMR vaccine) could cause autism. This research was shown to be bad and the findings were discredited. However once something is on the Internet it is there to stay and so this information is still there and still causing people to not vaccinate their children (I do recognise that this is just one reason people choose but it is generally the most prominent).

As with any medicine I recognise that there is a chance of side effects and even a chance that it won’t work and my little one will still get what he has been vaccinated against but that chance is small. The illnesses that he is being vaccinated against are potentially much worse. Something like one in ten people who get measles for example will suffer a side effect which can range from deafness through to death. Those are odds that I wouldn’t want to gamble with (and it’s highly contagious with over 750 people being affected by an outbreak in South Wales at the moment).

A quick cuddle and a plaster and all was forgotten!

A quick cuddle and a plaster and all was forgotten!

I was heartened to see some parents in Auckland advocate for people to vaccinate their children after their son caught tetanus. They had no idea how serious the illness could be and have now vaccinated all their children, hopefully their plea will help prevent other children having to suffer because they didn’t have the “evil” injections. I was also heartened to read that in general New Zealand parents are good at getting their children vaccinated (all be it a bit slowly), as a teacher I am always aware of those children in my class who aren’t protected (even more so last year when I was pregnant).

Now I don’t mean this post as a preach at people, it is simply a way for me to express my views. I know there are people out there who strongly disagree with that view and they are entitled to feel that way. However I urge people to research carefully when making this decision, check where the information you are reading comes from, make sure it is current and credible, after all it is your child’s life you are gambling with.

I found this rather well written opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald, the facts and figures make for compelling reading and the author is right, there really is nothing more persuasive than seeing someone who has suffered the effects of the illness that could have been so easily prevented.

Grizzle Monster

I’m not quite sure what is wrong with the boy, all possibilities have been eliminated…he’s fed, clean and cuddled…but he is a right grizzle monster. He was like it yesterday afternoon as well but obviously whatever was bothering him thankfully disappeared at night and he was fine. The grizzles have returned today though and I am home alone so it could be a long day.

I don't think my cake will look this good!

I don’t think my cake will look this good!

Today, however, I have made the decision to just get things done through the grizzles as otherwise I end up feeling frazzled and frustrated. Nothing makes time drag more than being stuck on the sofa with a crying baby. With this in mind we made a trip to the supermarket (which he kindly slept through only to return to grizzling when we got home!) and I have made a cake (when I say made, I added a couple of ingredients to a packet mix but it’s a start!). I intend to have a shower later as well, something that I totally failed to do yesterday. I am also making full use of my arsenal of distractions, he is currently lying on his musical play mat and is momentarily quiet!

Through all of this I will do my best not to watch the clock and count the hours down until Hubby gets home. Thankfully he is off for the next two days as tomorrow we are giving the little one a reason to grizzle…his first jabs!

Nanny and Granddad

When I was little I was very close to my Dad’s Mum and Dad, they were known as Nanny and Granfy. I’m not really sure where the name Granfy came from but that was what grandfathers were called as far as I was concerned. Hubby’s grandparents were Nana and Granddad and Grandma and Pop’s (Pop’s apparently deciding on his name to slightly annoy his wife who went with the more conservative option!). As soon as we found out we were expecting the little one the obvious question had to be asked of both sets of parents, what did they want to be known as.

It was funny to think of these people who we had only ever known as Mum and Dad now had to decide on what their grandparental identity would be. It got me thinking about all the quirky names that grandparents are known by, those funny little family words that make those grandparents even more special to their grandchildren. It’s almost like a special little club with a secret password that only those in the know use. I guess I kind of expected that my Dad would choose Granfy after all that’s what grandfathers are called, aren’t they?! He didn’t though. My Mum and Dad went for Nanny and Granddad and Hubby’s went for Grandma and Granddad.

The really exciting bit for us is Nanny and Granddad arrive in New Zealand on Thursday for a three week visit. The little one is going to get lots of cuddles and to be honest Mummy is hoping for a few too!

The Great Dummy Debate (a.k.a The Pacifier Polemic)

When I found out that I was pregnant I knew that I didn’t want my little one to have a dummy. I hated seeing children with them and was sure that they were totally unnecessary. I never had one when I was little and neither did Hubby. My little boy was not going to become dependent on a little bit of plastic.

Is this really so evil?

Is this really so evil?

You will probably ask why I took such a strong view point on this issue and to be honest I’m not really sure. I guess I had heard that they cause dental problems and I hated the idea of being tied to this little plastic thing, fearing it going missing and becoming a part of our lives for far too long. When I say I hate seeing children with them I guess I mean toddlers, three or four year olds still hanging onto this symbol of baby-hood. After researching I found that these little items can also cause problems with breastfeeding, something called nipple confusion can apparently happen as baby suddenly doesn’t really know what is boob and what is dummy. I obviously didn’t want to make feeding any more difficult than it was already going to be.

However my view has changed…a night of constant screaming that only seemed to be eased by placing a little finger in the little ones mouth was enough to break us. It turns out that sucking can help ease gas pain and the boy is rather windy. Feeding him doesn’t help as it adds to the wind problem and putting your finger in his mouth every time he has gas pain is not going to work. More research also revealed that apparently these “evil” little bits of plastic can help prevent SUDI (or SIDS) if used when they are falling asleep…perhaps they aren’t so evil after all.


The Moustache Pacifier

The little one now has a dummy and it helps keep him calm and quiet when the gas pains hit. Despite my reservations I have to say he actually looks rather cute with it too (especially the funny little moustache one sent to us by some close friends!).  In some ways my position has not changed, I am still determined that he will not continue to use one long term (and thankfully he appears to be indifferent to it at times, spitting it out if he’s not interested), but I now see that they have their place and our little bit of plastic has certainly made our life easier and allowed us to keep our sanity.

Here is an interesting article from the Huffington Post on the Dummy Debate that you might find as interesting as I did. It is interesting to see that a dummy is an easier habit to break than thumb sucking and that is another thing I hate to see so maybe I have chosen the lesser of two evils.

What is your point of view on this debate, I would love to hear your thoughts.