In my post on decorating kids rooms the other day I mentioned we were going to get some new art for the picobee’s temporary room. It just so happened Dave had found some prints on Society 6, and that was the catalyst for us looking properly at that site, I’d always known about it but never explored it properly! After much searching, mainly we settled on getting something from Teagan White. I really love the more adult animal designs, but obviously it I for a babies room (not that he will realy see it mind, but you know) and I do also think the animal characters (presumably aimed at kids?) are so cute. In the end we went for the first print shown here, which is somewhere between the two. I love that it looks a bit japanese, and the colours will go well with the permanent room (which has blue curtains), once we get round to figuring that out.
In another instalment of Franca gets defensive about things absolutely no one has accused her of, I thought I’d talk about posting pictures of your kids on your blog.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I got into reading GOMI for something to do when I was still breastfeeding Milo and now I’m sort of hooked. I read a wee bit most nights while Milo watches in the night garden, and I follow several threads.
One of these is about Love Taza. I looked at this blog once years ago when someone said they liked it, took one look and decided it was a bit boring and then didn’t go back. Until I got into this GOMI thread and now I am fascinated, in not entirely a good way. Basically this used to be a blog written by a stay at home wife in New York with a richish husband about her every day adventures. Now however, said husband has quit his job to do nothing very much and they are apparently living off this blog, making $250k a year from sponsorship.
The thing is though, the success of the blog hinges almost completely on the cuteness of their kids aged 4, 2 and a couple of months (and they are adorable), since the blog content, apart from the tedious affiliate link dumps, is all about stuff they do ‘as a family’. And people go properly crazy over these kids: there have been comments from people that they want to breastfeed the newborn and be best friends with the 4 year old, and lots of people saying they were hanging round their area hoping to bump into them.
And the GOMI comments about privacy* (not just re Love Taza, but other similarly successful monetised and ‘professional’ family blogs) focus on how crazy that is for the kids to be so exposed, and to be of such interest to people with possibly not the firmest grasp on what is appropriate behaviour. Another strand of criticism is about the money that is being made in the back of the kids’ exposure. If they were child models or actors, there would be strict rules about the hours they’re allowed to work, and the money earned would be kept in a trust fund for them, but since they are not formally working, just being monetised, no such controls exist. And it does seem a bit of a problem when the entire family’s livelihood depends on the blog continuing. It would be so incredibly hard to stop, even if the kids do decide at any point that they’ve had enough of being photographed.
And the other thing is that they’re probably not going to have the mind space to decide that. Kids want to please their parents and if their parents want them to pose for photos all the time they’ll start thinking that’s normal. And they might start to rely on the validation of comments from total strangers and be really aware of how they look all the time, rather than just doing kid things. Certainly the older daughter appears to be quite the pro at posing.
And maybe also become quite spoilt. This reminds me of an example from another (much smaller) blogger from years ago. She had a blog and Instagram that was completely dedicated to her daughter. She mentioned one day that she read her all the comments she got. Then a few days later she put a photo up of the daughter sulking because her bath water had gone cold, but refusing new warm water being run. And all the comments were like ‘Adorable!’ And ‘How can you resist such a face?’. So what sort of message does that send: you get to act totally irrationally cos you’re cute? What if you’re not cute any more? Maybe I’m overanalysing this because we’re currently deep in tantrum territory with Milo, but it’s hard enough to deal with without the complication of internet enablers (to be fair, for all I know, she didn’t read those comment out or might have told her that they were all saying that she was being silly).
But I don’t know, I have all these opinions and I can totally see the dangers, but at the end of the day I do still take and post lots of photos of Milo, is that really that different? I’ve talked a bit in the past before about why I do post about Milo. He’s such a big part of our lives now, I’m not sure I could really keep this blog going at all of I didn’t cover him, it would just feel quite fake and unnatural. I’ve always talked about stuff I care about and happen to be thinking about at the time, and this isn’t a topic driven blog, and there’s no way I could sustain one of them. And I do use Milo’s real name, mostly because I don’t completely see what the harm is. And if I didn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t have all these lovely pictures of Milo, I wouldn’t be motivated to take them regularly, and sort and edit them quickly if they were just going onto a hard drive. Whether that would be a bad thing is open to discussion I guess, but certainly my family, who rarely see Milo in real life, like seeing the pictures on flickr and Instagram.
I would definitely stop though if I somehow became blog famous and people started making inappropriate comments. And I am very aware that at some point it might become a bit weird for Milo to be on the internet, so I’m keeping an eye out for signs that he might not like it. I’ve seen a few bloggers stop showing their kids when they start going to school so that seems a likely scenario. I’ve also stopped writing so much about what Milo is up to in terms of developmental stages etc. I do find some things about dealing with him quite hard, and I like to complain about them in real life, but that could come across as excessively negative in writing, and no one needs a record of the tantrums they had when they were two potentially being accessible forever.
But the question I’m asking myself is, lots of people overshare their kids lives, not even just on blogs, as arguably am I, is there really that much of a difference just because some people are massively successful in doing so?
P.s. And just for clarification, there are lots of comments on the Love Taza thread I don’t agree with, but the privacy ones seem pretty spot on. I also really don’t mean for this to be a Love Taza criticism fest, I’m just giving them as an example of that kind of blog.
Photo is clickable for source, and unrelated. It came up when I did a flickr search for ‘privacy’
23 weeks and I’m now so big it’s seriously getting in the way. I stopped cycling into work last week, I just don’t have the energy to speed up even for short burst and it was taking me as long as getting the bus and I felt like I was getting in the way of drivers all the time. I might start again once the weather gets a bit better, 4 months without exercise isn’t ideal. The good thing about stopping cycling though is that combined with having a new car I have finally overcome my irrational fear of driving – previously I’d only drive if there was no other option. It’s something I’ve always been a bit embarrassed about really.
And since I’m not cycling any more, I also don’t need to wear trousers, so I think I will get by on just that one pair of jeans. It’s actually really nice to just dress once in the morning and then be done with it rather than having to cart clothes around and get changed at work. And to be able to carry a handbag rather than a rucksack! This is a dress I bought new when pregnant with Milo. It’s probably my fave maternity dress, even though the colours are not exactly my usual.
I also had a haircut, hence close up. Not that it looks any different really, just shorter and hopefully less damaged.
* dress – Jo Jo Maman Bebe * shoes – clarks * coat – asos * bag scaramanga *
He’s big into waving and saying hi and bye at any opportunity at the moment
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2015
Last weekend, one of the ladies in my craft group organised a ‘Crafternoon’ to sew bags for charity. The bags were for the beads of courage programme which operates at the local children’s hospital Sick Kids. It’s a programme for seriously ill children. They get given a beaded necklace with their name on when they first start and then for every treatment they get another bead. The bags are to keep the beads in, as apparently some kids end up having something like 2000 treatments.
The afternoon was brilliant fun! Lots of people brought sewing machines and they were set up all over Morag’s flat, every room you went into there’s be a couple of people sewing. We ended up making 26 bags in that afternoon, and ended up running out of labels! How lovely do they all look? I’m hoping to make another four before they all get handed over to the Sick Kids.
The pattern for the bags is here if anyone’s inspired.
This is the groove shawl by Westknits, and I made it for Dave for his Christmas. I was speed knitting towards the end and didn’t finish it it til Boxing Day, oops. It’s taken ages to get pictures for various reasons. We were going to take some outside on our errants, but then the weather turned horrible so that wasn’t an option. So I made Dave pose by the window instead. The photo taking was then almost immediately highjacked by first Bertie, then Milo, with some interesting results.
Anyway, this pattern is a free one out of knitty, and it’s one of Stephen West’s earlier designs. I really like his older stuff, it’s interesting without being weird, and I like that he made shawls for men a thing.
I’m less of a fan of the more recent stuff, which is all neon colours and a bit style over substance with elaborate photoshoots involving lots of hair and make up and basically doesn’t give you any idea of what the designs would look like in an everyday setting. And some stuff that no one would ever wear, like knitted leggings and hotpants. I’ve heard him described as the Lady Gaga of knitting designers and that seems about right.
I’ve also heard that the quality of instructions isn’t the best, like jumpers come in one size and it just tells you to go up or down needle and yarn sizes for bigger/smaller sizes. I’m no expert, but I think fit is a bit more complicated than that. There’s also a jumper with a panda on the front where the pattern for the panda bits is just a picture of a panda and the instruction to improvise stitches. So basically just a plain jumper then, which given that the pattern is called Pandamonium is pretty cheeky.
Anyway, I have no experience with the newer stuff and no problems at all with this one! The instructions are detailed and clear and it’s a great pattern for me, with a good mix between brainless and interesting. The main body of it is garter stitch, which I love (so squishy!), with cables at regular intervals. The shaping to make the moon shape is pretty clever too. The buttons look good, but are not strictly necessary as Dave never wears it with the buttons done up. I’m not quite sure how it’s worn buttoned up in the pictures that go with the pattern, cos ours isn’t long enough to wrap it around all the way and then do it up. It’s sort of like a little cape if you wear it that way round and don’t wrap it, which I’m not sure anyone would really. Definitely not for a man.
My one real criticism of the pattern is that like the Colette Albion, it wildly overestimates the amount of yarn required. I have half of what I bought of the dark colour and almost half of the light colour left, so 100% over again. It’s pretty annoying, cos it was expensive yarn too, Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester bought at full price (Dave picked the yarn himself and he does know how to zone in on the most expensive item in any shop or on any menu. It’s a special talent) and it’s not the colours I would wear myself and not soft enough for baby knitting. I guess I’ll find a purpose for it eventually!
I wore this cos dress all the time when I was pregnant with Milo and also after, but I keep skipping it over this time round. So this outfit was the result of conscious decision to actually wear it – if your usable wardrobe consists of just ten things, you probably don’t want to start ignoring things! And I do actually like the result!
The jeans in this are now sadly kaputt as well, there’s a giant rip on the inside of the thigh near the top. No idea how or when that happened but they’re not decent to wear unless it’s with a dress in top. So I am now down to one pair of trousers. Dave’s jeans always die in this way, but it’s never actually happened to me before, it’s most bizarre.
This is also the first time in ages I’ve worn my hair up. It badly needs a cut (happening on Saturday), so it seemed like a good idea, but I had no idea all those crazy wispy hairs at my temple were still quite as crazy and wispy. And I’m about to start the whole process of postpartum hair loss followed by painfully slow regrowth all over again. I probably won’t be back to normal for anothe five years or so at this rate. Anyway!
Final thing about this outfit is the coat, which is the lighter maternity coat I had last time. Dave made it and I love it and thought I would give wearing it a shot, since it was sunny. ‘Twas really too cold though, so I only wore it for the pictures then changed into the red duffle for actually doing things.
Outfit stats: dress – cos * cardie –
H&M * jeans – H&M * shoes – Clark’s * necklace – gift * bag – Cambridge satchels * coat – Dave made it *
Hanging out in the toy trunk in his new pirate pyjamas at 3 in the afternoon. 2 minutes before this was taken he was also chewing on his toothbrush, but that photo worked less well as an image, so I went for the one where he’s just about to get out.
A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2015
… for project 52 from when we were in Aberdeen, that I’ve decided I needed to share all the other ones from that weekend as well. Apologies for photo overload, but it’s Friday, so I reckon everyone’s got time to look at pictures!