Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nailed It

I've been seething since the weekend. A parent of one of Pickle's friends told him "you'll have to stop Mummy painting your nails in a few years". I turned around and politely told this man that Pickle actually asks me to paint his nails and chooses the colour each time.

The "offending" toes - outrageous!
I'm allowing Pickle to express his individuality as he wants. He wants to put the pretty colours on his toes, like Mummy does. Is he likely to want to conform to gender norms down the track? Probably. But it will be his choice, not something I'm going to force on him.

Pickle has a tea set, he has a baby doll he nurtures, along with a myriad of stuffed toys.  Not to mention Lulu and Hermes, who are subjected to his attentions he also adores. He also has a Buzz Lightyear, dinosaurs, light sabers, laser guns and a train set. He plays with the lot, in fact the dinosaurs often have tea parties.

As a society we're (still) figuring out that girls/women are as capable boys/men - if I had a girl, I'd be buying her Goldieblox.  If you don't know what they are, there are some excellent videos on YouTube here and here, and a fantastic TEDtalk.

Can we do the same for our boys/men please? (But in reverse, if that makes any sense?) They can be - and indeed are - loving, caring and nurturing.

Picture from Stonewall UK - a great resource site
And what about Rainbow individuals? As a counsellor, I particularly want to work with children, young people and their families. The risk figures around mental health and suicide sky-rockets for Rainbow youth. By raising Pickle to be accepting of all people, I hope he'll be an influencer in his generation on acceptance of all people.

If I painted that man's toe nails, would it change his sexuality or preferred gender? I promise to get off my soapbox soon, but would really love it if you watched this video that asks the question gay people get asked all the time... and this mind-expanding TEDtalk about transgender youth.

As a girl, I think I had the best of both worlds, I had dolls (and cats) I dressed up, but I also climbed trees, and rode both a bike and a skateboard... I'd like for Pickle to have the same opportunities.

Do your boys paint their toe nails or play with tea sets? Do you allow your girls to build with blocks or train sets? 

Cheers, KangaRue :)

PS. Thanks for allowing me my rant!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Pickle is Two-Twooot!

I wrote this post about six months ago. Then went looking for the invite photo, as I wanted to show off B2's fab handiwork - he did a great job encapsulating the image I had in my head, and managed to capture my rambling descriptions perfectly. But I couldn't find the image, and thinking it would eventually turn up I waited. And waited some more. And then didn't blog other stuff because I thought this should be posted first. So since Pickle's third birthday is rapidly approaching, and I'm already tossing ideas around about his party, here is the post about his second birthday, sans invite image (sorry B2).


I love birthdays. So when Pickle's birthday is approaching, I can't help but get excited about preparing his celebration.

For his first birthday, he had a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme... Invites, balloons and some of the food was themed. I tossed around loads of ideas for his second birthday, but decided that he would get more out of some of the themes when he was a bit older. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

I normally manage to stretch my own birthday celebrations out over a week. Pickle had a birthday month! With no less than three birthday cakes.

Pickle's 2nd birthday cake (Part 1) for playcare
Because we were going to be in Western Australia with my Outlaws on the actual day, his celebrations at playcare happened before we went. I decided to take the easy route for this one and use a packet. The first dairy-free packet I used was a disaster, so I had to make a second cake, so not the quick and easy option I'd hoped for. Purple icing and the sides covered with a mix of sprinkles rescued it though, and I was reasonably happy with the end result.

Nanna's marshmallow covered birthday cake
Off we went to the Outlaws. My MoL made a delicious orange cake - her normal recipe, substituted with Pickle'a dairy-free spread... But it was a little warm when she tried to ice it, and the icing ended up in a puddle. She did an awesome restoration with marshmallows - Pickle's treat of choice. I love this photo of him blowing out the candles.

We returned to Hervey Bay for his official celebrations. There are some great playgrounds here, one of Pickle's favourites being the train park (that's what the locals call it, it's official name is the Ernie Organ park). So with a fantastic location, a train theme seemed obvious. I found some Thomas the Tank engine loot bags, so it was just the invitation and cake that really needed theming.

I knew what I wanted as his invite in my head, but my computer capabilities limit me somewhat. BigTed's son B2 came to the rescue. Not only is he one of Pickle's favourite people, but he is a whizz technically and talented creatively, and he managed to translate my wobbly ideas onto paper with a great result.

I decided to bake the cake from scratch after my last "shortcut". My darling friend Chaz, is a chef, and had pointed me to a recipe for a dairy-free (vegan) chocolate cake for Pickle's birthday. It was a huge hit that time, and I surprised people by telling them it contained avocado. I kid you not. There is no dairy, but a gorgeous creaminess. I used neon colours in the dairy-free "butter" icing and decorated the cake with various Pickle-friendly lollies. Pickle was thrilled it was a yellow toot-toot (his favourite colour).

Pickle's train cake - not sure I'll be able to top this!
Even BigTed's big boys got into the action
We had a lovely day, we played pass-the-parcel, the kids played with his new toys, and the train playground *eventually* got a look-in. It was an absolutely brilliant day.

The final celebration came right on the end of the month. Our cats, Lulu and Hermes finally arrived from London.
We missed you!
After a couple of false starts, nine months had passed since we last saw them. Pickle was excited - he even had a sign to hold up at the airport! They've settled in really nicely and Pickle is learning to be quiet and gentle with them. Hermes was always his best friend, and he puts up with a lot of hugs and enthusiastic squealing.

Not sure I'll be able to top this next year! Shall I start thinking of themes now? (Ideas welcome).

Cheers, KangaRue :)