Out of necessity, this year is full of compromises. This is particularly evident if you take a close look at our living quarters. Our very physical baby seems to have that special knack for finding the most precious thing in the room and destroying it. Add to this a new found ability to open sliding doors and close swinging doors and we’ve fast had to develop an extra pair of eyes and hands each.
Prior to our BNN year Poppa designed possibly the best baby proofing contraption ever (let’s call it, the “best patented baby proofing contraption ever”…just in case…) when he covered the lower shelves of our bookshelf in Little Fearse’s play area with a black board door.
Since BNN began, and Little Fearse started walking, the kitchen became a danger zone. Little Fearse loves to hang out with me while I’m cooking. Sometimes she is more than happy to sit in her high chair and chat with me while I cook. Other times she wants her freedom. Hot ovens, boiling liquids, sharp knives, rolling recyclables: you basically have to be Indiana Jones to negotiate the traps and pitfalls of passing through the kitchen. We quickly realised we needed some kind of baby gate to keep her safe and at bay. Fortunately some very kind friends offered us their baby gate. They had decided to replace it because it doesn’t have an opening; you have to step over it.
The gate way to deliciousness.
This didn’t seem like a bad compromise at first. Poppa and I are both exceptionally tall, so stepping over a minor hurdle to get into and out of the kitchen seemed…well, minor. It turns out it is pretty annoying, especially if you’re carrying a baby toddler and a cup of coffee. Although it’s not perfect, it was a perfect BNN solution. I’m beginning to see its upsides, too. I think that probably just by the act of entering and exiting the kitchen I am working new and perhaps previously atrophied muscles. I could even call it a daily work out. Little Fearse loves to stand at the gate and chat with me as I cook. She has recently started throwing things over the gate, just to see if I’ll throw them back. Sometimes I do.
Other compromises are much uglier and involve multitudes of cardboard boxes or alternative uses for clothes horses. Gaffer tape features prominently. Meh. If it works, it works. It’s fortunate that we were not going for any awards in our interior design. Things are looking decidedly BNN around here.
Planning for Little Fearse’s first birthday is well under way. Our theme is ENTIRELY ORIGINAL, NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. I hesitate to even mention it on here in case someone steals our idea. It is based on a little known … Continue reading →
I was speaking to a friend toady about our BNN project and she commented that it had been pointed out to her by a third party that she and I were like ‘polar opposites’ in the way we consume. She is someone who loves shopping and loves higher end, quality brands. She buys most of her things new, but has no aversion to Ebay, choice hand-me-downs from friends or the odd opp shop surprise. She will happily spend money on clothing or items that are good quality but pricey. I’m much cheaper. I have only recently learnt to weigh up cost versus value (on the way to learning this I purchased a lot of crappy goods that didn’t last and stayed in lots of very cheap, flea bitten, filthy accommodation…I also subjected BP to this). I buy second-hand whenever possible. This is because I really enjoy the thrill of the chase and also feel better about it ecologically and economically.
What my friend pointed out was that if she hadn’t purchased all the things she did when her daughter was born, I wouldn’t have benefited from being able to borrow all those things when my daughter was born. And that, I believe, is a very important point.
Buy Nothing New works for us because we have a supportive community behind us. We have friends who are happy to hand things down, lend us things they’re not using and ask around for us. Yesterday, after a call out for help with plastic wear on FB, we were gifted a beautiful pile of vintage Tupperwear from a friend’s Grandma’s cupboard. So gorgeous.
Without this community we may still be able to complete a year of BNN, but it would be harder and a lot lonelier. I think that it would be rare for such plans and schemes (as BP likes to call them) to succeed without that communal support.
On the birth of Little Fearse my brother and his partner handed down so many, many things they had used with our nephews and no longer needed. Many of our wonderful friends offered us boxes and bags full of clothes their children had out grown. We were loaned Jolly Jumpers and Exersourcers and Bouncinettes and many other gadgets with cute names that babies enjoy. We have even been gifted two prams in the 8 months since Little Fearse was born.
We consider ourselves fortunate to be surrounded by a very generous and kind hearted group of people. This is a little shout out from the beginning of our travels through 2013 to say that we recognise how blessed we are to have you, gifters and loaners – community, behind us with our quest. We hope we’ll learn something worthwhile this year, something we can share with you in return.
I’ll end with this quote, not because it is spectacularly relevant, but because it will really annoy BP:
“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”
― Ani DiFranco
I have a little mini list of things that I am hunting for second hand at the moment. I’m delighted to say that rather than growing, it’s actually shrinking.
I have had many kind offers of only slightly used hair brushes. Thank you one and all. I found an unused, but donated (so second hand, or second ownership, right?) hair brush at our local Savers.* I was stoked.
Then it was like the domino effect (not like communism…but then…isn’t that weird? I digress). I found a double mattress protector for our spare bed in near new condition. In a trip to our local Salvos I found two insulated lunch boxes for transporting breast milk to child care and from work when I need to express.
I stumbled upon an array of plastic containers for freezing all the meals I’m making before going back to work next week. (Ok, that one isn’t that unusual.) And then I had some real luck. I’ve been sorting Little Fearse’s clothes into space saver bags and shoving them under the bed when she goes up a size. I’ve got a huge stack of clothes ready to be space saved…but no bag. I had it on my list, thinking maybe they’d show up on Ebay or the like. Well…$2.99 got me a large space saver bag still in its box at the local oppie. How’s that for all kinds of awesome?
Everything feels a lot more possible suddenly. I wonder how long that will last?
*Savers is not technically an op shop. They have some vague support of the Diabetes Foundation, but it’s worth remembering that they’re a second hand clothing business, which is why I will buy things from them, but not donate to them.