Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baby Con-TRAP-tions

Today was a very special day. Today, Lolly and Jaguar met the 'real Santa'. He had a real beard and all. And a very fancy suit, not one of those cheap ones. He had the glasses, he had the boots, he had it all. Except for the reindeer. Lolly was seriously worked up over the lack of reindeer and how he got here from the North Pole without his sleigh. Cover nearly BLOWN.

The Real Santa came to our library this morning. For the first year, Lolly gladly sat on his knee and told him what she wanted. Powerpuff Girls, of course, and a unicorn. Jaguar also sat in his lap, tear-free. He was highly curious of Santa when he came in, yet more dubious as we approached him. I hinted to Santa that Jaguar would willingly come if bribed with a candy cane. Sure enough, when Santa held out that sweet treat, Jaguar toddled right over and allowed Santa to pull him up on his lap for a picture.

Isn't he a jolly old soul?


(It's been said before, but it must be said again - WHY do we think it's okay to sit our little children on the laps of men we've never met before at Christmas, after telling them all year long to avoid getting overly chummy with all the rest of the world's creepy strangers?)

Fifi almost ended up at the library with us. Last evening, she started complaining of an earache and running a mild temperature. She was acting truly miserable which clued us in that it was for real. She had red cheeks, she whimpered in her sleep. I was sure she had an ear infection. I was all geared up for keeping her off school this morning to arrange a doctor's visit, and since ear infections aren't contagious, taking her to the library with us. But she awoke this morning fairly bright and said it didn't hurt really any more, so we think maybe it was just trapped water or the cold weather or something.

Banoffee wasn't so lucky. We found Banoffee this morning lying in the tissue box clutching a baby doll surrounded by used tissues and cold medicine. We decided to give him a day off elf duties and let him sleep it off. Hopefully he'll be back to his usual cheeky elf self tomorrow.

(And once again, idea stolen. It just happened to really work really perfectly into our lives yesterday.)

We were busy most of the day any way. School started an hour later this morning, so after school drop off, running a few errands, and getting some bits and bobs at Walmart, we came home, made pizza for lunch, and Lolly and Jaguar watched TV while I got out the sewing machine to work on a project (to be discussed post-haste). Then this evening, I made yummy broccoli soup and cornbread for dinner and the girls had an indoor Treasure Hunt as their Advent Activity.


I stole the idea a few years ago from some website, so I can't credit it here. I hope through the years I've changed the little poems enough that it's not TECHNICALLY plagarizing, but I'm probably still committing a crime posting it. If anyone ever discovers its true origin, tell me where I find it and I will link the crap out of it, because it was awesome. The little poem clues I used are are the bottom of this post if you want to use them. The kids had to follow the clues all around the house to find an early Christmas present. Originally, that present was going to be homemade Powerpuff Girl dolls, one for each child, but when Fifi drew the ticket out of the Advent calendar this morning, I remembered I had not yet even attempted making them yet. I had another idea instead... magnetic paper dolls. But Walmart was out of magnetic printer sheets, so I had to think up something else again. The kids love board games, so I slipped a Candyland box into the shopping trolley and wrapped it later when Lolly was busy watching Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup save the world for the bazillionth time. The kids had a great time running all over the house responding to clues and then opening their present.

So... back to that sewing machine. What did I spend my afternoon doing, while my precious offspring rotted their brains with television (Netflix, to be exact)? I spent it devising and creating my secret nighttime weapon - the Jaguarator.

This toddler-sized sleeping bag idea came to me late in the night two nights ago as I lay staring at the ceiling, listening to Jaguar cry and crawl out of his crib every couple of minutes. I needed something that would make it impossible for him to hike his leg up over the crib, without actually tying his legs up, which just seemed a little ... child protective services. Then I remembered the sleeping bags babies sleep in and decided I could make one myself. I imagined up the pattern and the sewing order and what materials I'd need all night long while I didn't sleep.

I'd planned on making it out of thin fleece and lining it with cotton, but Walmart's fabric section only has so much, and I wasn't even considering heading into the metropolitan area to find a real fabric store. Lolly found this cute red polyester thick fleecy-type fabric with puppies all over and it was kind of perfect. It was a bit more expensive than some of the other things, but it was thick and soft enough not to need a lining, so the cost evened out. The fabric and the zipper together cost me $10. To buy one of these things manufactured from a shop we're talking so, so much more.

I came home, set up my mom's sewing machine and laid the fabric out to create a 'pattern'. And by 'pattern', I mean I totally eye-balled it. I took one of Jaguar's larger sleepsuits and laid it over the fabric to get an impression of how big it needed to be. I cut out a shape around the sleepsuit a few inches larger all around for comfort. I cut the front part in half so I could insert the zipper. I eye-balled the straps too, which were actually my biggest mistake.

When I cut out the straps, I folded the pieces in half to make them even on both sides, but when I unfolded it, I realized I'd made the neck room extremely tight. I started imagining the headlines: BABY STRANGLED BY OWN MOTHER'S HANDMADE BABY SLEEPER. So I started messing around with it, cutting the neck line lower in the front, almost into a v-neck. Finally I realized if I cut any more I was going to ruin the whole thing, so I just went with it. Once I'd put the whole suit together, and tried it on Jaguar, I discovered that not only would my original neckline have been already too gapey, but with the new cuts I'd made, it was huge. The baby would've been able to squirm right out of the top. I readjusted and tightended the straps, thankful I'd given myself so many extra inches at the bottom, and the bag fit perfectly.

Jaguar was able to walk around without tripping, but the real test was the crib. I placed him into the crib with a bright smile and stood in front of him, hands on hips, waiting to see what he'd do. Sure enough, that little leg came climbing up... and stopped. He couldn't get it any higher. He started pulling at the bottom of the bag to loosen it but it was firm! He was stuck! I plucked him up out of his crib with exorbitant glee. I win! I WIN!!!

However, I might want to refrain from counting my chickens before they are hatched. He's in his crib asleep right now in his warm blanket / baby trap. When he wakes up at 2am, we'll know for sure if the Jaguarator is a true success.

(No, this photo doesn't fit in anywhere, but it's so cute, right? Any guesses where he learned to handle a keyboard and mouse so eloquently?)

**And as promised...
The Indoor Treasure Hunt

Again, I have no idea where I found this on the web. It may have even been a collaboration from several sites. Please don't sue me, I have no money.

Cut out the clues and hang them in the right spots. Each clue will take them to the next spot with the next clue until they come to the end and find the treasure.

Follow this clue to a very cold place,
where ice cubes and popsicles fill up the space.
Go into the kitchen to solve this brain-teaser,
and open the door to the family’s _______.

Follow this clue to a very dark spot
Where bedding and linen and towels may be got
Go to the hallway (go there yourself)
The clue will be hidden up high on a ______.

Numbers and letters
combine on the screen,
where I made up this rhyme...
can you find the machine?

When you're feeling less than fresh
or you want to have a laugh,
you wash and get all squeaky clean
inside a warm bubble _________.

Dora, Peppa, Charlie and Lola -
are what the children like to see.
Shows like Gilmore Girls and Scrubs
are what Mummy puts on the ________.

This place is mostly filled with papers
that often bring you glee
Like letters and packages,
plus the bills you'd rather not see.

At breakfast and dinner
and sometimes lunch when we are able,
we set out the dishes and put out the food
and we gather around the kitchen ________.

Our cleans just keep getting dirty
and we put them here to get them clean.
We like to take turns pouring in the soap
and pushing the buttons on the washing _______.

Up and down, and up and down
you climb these every day.
You've likely seen the clue on these,
but passed it anyway.

This room is for the kids to sleep
when going to bed for the night.
Let's hope the bed is comfortable
and sheets are clean and white.

Be the first back to the room
where this hunt did begin
If you're the first you'll hear the words,
"Congrats, to you... YOU WIN!"


  1. I hope you don't end up wishing you'd... ah... put the zipper in the back. If he figures it out, maybe you can put it on him backwards? Good luck!

    1. If that turns out to be the case, I can take back out the straps that I took in and reverse it, taking the straps in the other direction. That should work if needs be!

  2. I'm SO GLAD to hear that it worked! I only said that about the zipper in the back because we had some friends who had a baby who would poop in her diaper every morning (early) and then strip herself naked and spread poop all over the entire crib before calling her parents to get her up. They finally just started putting her sleepers on her backwards. I think you are a genius, and between getting a chance to sleep and taking a trip to the west coast, I am quite sure that your doldrums will be soon past and forgotten!


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