Monday, December 5, 2011

How to make a birthday card

One night just before bedtime, my son conveniently made this announcement:
 "Mummy, tomorrow is Teacher Gigi's birthday. We must bring her a present and a card." 
Oh. my. God. It's 9.30 pm and now, he tells me. Dead tired from feeding the kids dinner, brushing their teeth and all other necessities for bedtime, I racked my brains and my kitchen, hall and book cabinets for a present.

Since I have more books at home than anything else, I didn't have much of a present suitable for a kindergarten teacher who is now teaching him how to read using the phonics approach. In short, I was dead meat.

The kids were quite excited to see me ransacking the kitchen drawers because they saw their loot there and my little boy asked,
"Ah, I have an idea, Mummy! Maybe we can give her some candy?"
"Err...I'm sure your teacher likes candy but it's not special enough. We need a special present for her birthday."
(I'm sure she'll like a nice box of chocolates but kiddy candy like Mars bars, Snickers bars and gummies will take a lot for her to get excited about, I'm sure!) 


In the end, I had the following:

  1. A bottle of olive oil 
  2. A couple of new books I'd received for review and 
  3. A tiny bottle (fits into the palm of my hand) of L'Occitane body lotion. 
Since I did not want to appear as a cheapskate by giving her a) free books I'd received for review or b) a miserably tiny bottle of body lotion, I thought the bottle of olive oil was the best way to go.

The next morning...

First, I had to wrap up the present! Looking through a box I'd marked "Art Projects", I was relieved to find a long piece of foam and some sparkly yellow ribbon.

A few years ago, I'd observed how a staff at Isetan wrap a bottle of wine I'd bought for Christmas. I tried my hardest to remember the steps but since you don't see a photo of it here, you can safely say that my wrapping would not get me a job at the Isetan gift corner.

In my defense, it was challenging trying to wrap up the bottle while keeping an eagle eye out for my curious toddler who wanted a piece of the action. She would only be pacified after she'd had a piece of pink ribbon, some wrapping paper and a card. Phew.


The birthday card 
I decided to delegate it to the kid. After all, he is the creative one and it's his teacher we're giving it to. I'm sure she'll appreciate a personal touch. 

He was only too happy to write out the birthday message with me spelling out the more difficult words:

On the cover of the birthday card, he'd drawn all the nice things he thought she would like: a sun, a blue sky and yellow flower. 

Then, he said that we should add some "happy" stickers to make it "even more nicer": 


Finally, we had the birthday card cover to contend with. Since I didn't have any custom-sized envelopes, we'd have to make the envelope ourselves. 

A while ago, I'd bought some scrapbook cardboard because I thought of making a collage on one fine day. 

I asked the boy to choose a nice colour for his teacher and he choose a bright red card. Initially, I planned to make an envelope but all the folding and sticky tape was such risky business. I thought it's best we used double-sided tape to stick the art block to the cardboard and the red cardboard would make a pretty cover by itself. 

Since the red cardboard looked rather plain, I experimented with stickers to form a heart shape but my partner in crime commented diplomatically:

"I think it's a bit ugly!"

Fine. In the end, the light bulb flashed and I made a mad dash for some pink and white foam paper and cut out a pair of hearts:


The birthday card was given the nod of approval:
"Wow, it's so pretty! Good job, Mummy. I think Teacher Gigi will be so happy."

He was proud to take the wrapped present and birthday card to school. Phew! 

After excitedly packing them up in his backpack, he said,

"That was fun, Mummy! I love it!"
Oh, sure, it's fun giving your old Mum a near heart attack, right?  

All the above took this artistically-challenged Mummy a good 60 minutes to complete what with keeping a toddler mutiny under control. Then, I had to run for the shower and get ready for work. 

When all is said and done, here's my final thought:

Necessity is the mother of invention :D

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