A new approach to consumption
I started searching for 1st birthday ideas for Aida at the start of the year. It takes me forever to choose things for her, much to the frustration of my family and friends who are desperate to spoil her rotten. It was after my first year in Tunisia that my approach to buying things completely changed. Saving for things with the potential to literally last a lifetime like a beautiful handmade margoum (rug) or an antique silver broach brought me far more pleasure than the money I’d squandered on fast fashion at home. I also witnessed first hand (and admittedly bought a Burberry Blouse & vintage Levis) the volume of second hand clothing that travels from Europe to be piled high on tables at markets all over Tunisia. I’d go hunting for a bargain with friends and find designer clothing or items with the tags still on! I decided to consume less and buy more ethically and I think I do *okay*. Then along came Aida.
A baby shaped carbon footprint
I’ve been buying second hand clothing and furniture for a number of years now, occasionally treating myself to something new but mostly feeling guilty when I do. When I found out I was pregnant I was determined to keep costs low, buy as much second hand as possible and avoid plastic. How could I bring Aida into a world at risk and fill it with more junk? But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I sometimes felt and feel the pressure to have a sparkly new nursery or crave the thrill of buying her a trendy wee outfit. The most expensive thing we bought for Aida was her mattress which was recommended by the Lullaby Trust (hello anxiety, yes its me again). I use reusable wipes and a mixture of disposable and cloth nappies. I always say yes to a hand-me-down and I’d rather she had a closet full of books than bows and dresses. Then I started looking for 1st birthday inspiration ideas on Instagram and true to form started doubting all of my ideals and wondering where I could place a 6ft balloon archway in my tiny 2 bedroom flat. It is amazing how social media can make you feel bad for not having things you don’t actually want. I don’t want pink princess dresses for Aida and I REALLY hope she Disney (get it!?) ever want tutus and tiaras.
That said, I of course want her 1st birthday to be special and to mark our wonderful year together as Mum and daughter. So though there won’t be balloons, there will be decorations made by her Mum from some paint and whatever is in our recycling bag! There will be gifts, but I won’t be putting anything on a credit card. Her ‘big’ present is a wooden sensory table made by a lovely man in Stirling that will be filled with jelly & sand and painted by me (I should probably get on with that). I’ve also bought her two books from my favourite shop in Edinburgh and I’m making her a scrapbook of my favourite pictures from her first year. I’m sure Grandparents and Aunties and Uncles will do things differently, and that is okay. I’m so grateful for their love for her – even if it means she gets sugar after me spending hours baking a questionable healthy smash cake.