Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Launch!

Having pretty much completed the website before our big day yesterday, and also having kept up with entries to our giveaway in a separate spreadsheet I started the day in a pretty relaxed state...After all, my day from hell had turned out pretty good hadn't it?

Our router had died on Friday...good timing I know! But the Geek  had managed to get the local computer guy to meet us after the Show so we could buy another one and we had the wireless "dongle" from the shop which we had been using in the mean time so I wasn't really worried.

After snuggling with the kids for a bit and then making a cup of tea I settled in on my lap top to spam a few facebook walls and just let people know that they only had about 4 hours left to get their entries in and maybe rustle up a few more likers. 

All good...until about 5 min after I sat down my internet dropped out.  I couldn't work out what the problem was and with the Geek still in bed there wasn't much I could do about it do I went and hung the nappies and did a few other bits and pieces.  When I came back in again my internet was working so I settled back in again.  This time it lasted maybe half an hour, but it was moving REALLY slow so I still got almost nothing done.

*Sigh*  Had to wait till the Geek got up so he could sort it out!  As it happens, the Geek was up by 7am (fairly early for him on a Sunday) and got straight onto the job.  It turns out that we didn't need a new router after all but instead our ISP had dropped off.  Being with a smaller ISP...well do you think they were open at 7 oclock on a Sunday morning??? And to make matters worse our dongle was not only being slow but was also spending most of the time not getting a signal. the mean time Bear gets up and he is like...well like a bear...with a sore head!

We are talking big...big, big, big meltdown! 

He still wants to go to Gym so I think that is still the trigger but it certainly wouldn't have helped that we were out all day yesterday...or that it was a long weekend, they usually throw him too!

Meltdown pretty much went full on all morning, except for a slight reprieve when my mum arrived with chocolate biscuits.

So the Geek was madly chasing amnet around (once they opened) with this kid screaming his absolute nog off in the background!

In between all of this going on we also discovered that there were some entries into our giveaway that were awaiting I hadn't put them on my spreadsheet!  So now I had to go through all 176 entries and make sure they were all there and in the right order and that none had doubled up! All before we drew the prizes at 10am! WITH no internet!!!  Grrrr

I was starting to panic relaxed day had completely gone out the window!

Fortunately after 2 or 3 phone calls and much time on hold the Geek got the internet working again so we were able to do the give aways, only about 45 minutes late...with a kid screaming his absolute nog off in the background.

And because we hadn't had enough go wrong today, when we were adjusting the inventory after our sales at the show yesterday we discovered that there were a couple of the totals that were out and that the Geek had added 1 extra of each of those items to the website so now he had to go through the whole list and check the totals! 

At least we now had internet!

I left him to it and after trying everything that I could think of to calm Bear down...because by now he had been screaming for over nearly 4 hours...I eventually got him to settle a bit by moving the trampoline away from the clothes line and letting him loose on it with the hose...

What can I say, he's an odd kid!!!

He has had minor crankies over the course of the afternoon but that was at least the end of the really big one.

The Geek, awesome man that he is, got everything sorted just in the nick of time and we launched our website at 12 noon WST planned. 

And what's more, it works...we've had orders!!!

And now all of the younger members of the zoo train are in bed (aside from Grub who is passed out on my lap ATM) and we are enjoying a well earned cup of decaf and some gorgeous dark chocolate and I'm sitting here thinking "Was it really all that bad?"

Damn straight it was!!!

The Show!

Yesterday we took the shop to the Katanning Show.

I was expecting to have a hellish kind of day.  I was expecting baby to have had it by lunch time and I wasn't really sure that we would have a huge amount of interest...after all at the Tambellup Show we ended up packing up early because of the lack of interest in the afternoon....Only yesterday we knew we weren't allowed to pack up until 6.30pm and since we had to leave at 7am to get set up in time that was a HUGE day for a 10 month old baby.

So we braced ourselves for our hellish day and set off in the morning.  We were running about 15 min later than planned as Bear had gotten up shortly before we left and I thought that the inlaws would have a much more manageable day if I got most of the morning routine out of the way before we left but we still managed to get ourselves there and set up with 10 min to spare.


The morning was a bit slow.  That was to be expected but we were in the pavilion with the entertainment so once that started up more people started coming in.

As we have found at our market stalls before Grandmothers are awesome.  Many of them believe cloth is the way to go and think it's fantastic that we are doing something to bring cloth use back.  They often take a magnet and some info and head off to convert their daughters/daughters in law...and even if they don't it's always encouraging to hear praise for your work.

Our first sale of the day was to a grandmother who wanted to take a little bit more than info and after that there were a few lulls but over all we were kept quite busy until close to 5pm.  We didn't make a lot of sales really (one doesn't go to the local show to impulse buy nappies) but we gave away most of our itti bitti product guides and a tonne of magnets. 

Grub helped out too by managing the cash tin!

One of the most encouraging things that was said to us all day was from a grandmother who said that she had looked for us at the last markets (which we missed for the Tambellup show)  and another grandmother said that she had come in because she knew we were going to be there.

There were also HEAPS of comments on our business name!  Hopefully we will soon be a household name :D

Grub coped incredibly well...incredibly well!  I was so proud of him!  God is good is all I can say because Grub didn't really get cranky at all until it was time to go home.  When we put him in the car he really stacked it!

By around 5 pm I was starting to feel the effects of the long day...probably because I slowed down for a few minutes...and the last hour and a half dragged a bit again but all in all it was a fantastic day. 

At least somebody had the presence of mind to park us right across the way from a lovely older couple who were sugar roasting peanuts and almonds, so while we may have gone home with a slightly lighter cargo I'm pretty sure I, myself, went home weighing about 3 tonne more...they were delicious!!!

Just A Little Thank You!

Well we are about to launch our website and there are just so many people that I just don't think we could have done it without that I want to say a little thank you to you all.

Firstly to the Lord Jesus, who has pulled me through all of those times when I asked myself what the heck I'd gotten myself in to and gave me the strength to keep on keeping on.  Also to our parents who have supported us all the way through.  (and no doubt will continue to do so!)

Thanks to my fantastic children who have put up with a grumbly, sleep deprived and stressed out Mummy, and to my awesome husband for coming along for the ride...even with a grumbly, sleep deprived and stressed out wife. :D

To our gorgeous WAHMs; Leah from Fluff E Stuff, who's comment in a buy and sell group has completely changed the direction of Rascal Rumps.  To Alex from Bear Bottoms, Cath from Tumblemonkey Handmade and Jess from Onesie Bummsies.  
Thanks to Sue and Wendy and the awesome team at itti bitti, Hollie from Bum Cheeks and Farharna from Booroi. To Melissa from Australian Wholesale Amber and Michelle from Sustainable Hemp Products.  Also to Christina and Emily from Rockin Green Australia and Caroline from Soap in a Nutshell.  To all of the suppliers that we still have in the works and hope to have on line soon.
You all have been awesome to work with and there is no way we could have done it without you.

Huge thanks to Peter from Great Southern Web Design...We love our website and we hope you all do to!

Vicki and the team from Great Southern Small Business Centre...we owe you big time!  Also Trevor from the Tambellup Business Centre.

Extra special thanks go to Jodi from MCN Lovers R Us! You do us and everyone else in this industry a huge huge service and I, for one, greatly appreciate it.  Also Jade from Australian WAHM shoutouts.  Thanks also to my wonderful "cloth lovin' neighbor" Erryn who has been my sounding board all the way through :D

A huge thanks to Marita from Stuff With Thing, Lori from RRSAHM and Trae from Where's My Glow for the shout outs!

And of course where would we be without our fantastic customers, you have all been lovely to deal with and we look forward to hearing your feedback about our website and our service.  We are always striving to bring you the best and appreciate your ideas!

And one last one...Thanks to all the grandmothers who come to the markets/shows and take all the info away to share with their daughter/daughters in law.  Grandmothers are awesome :D

Big thanks to you all

Friday, 28 October 2011

Special Saturday - How does having a child with additional needs affect your family?

The short answer?  In EVERY way!!!

Firstly the obvious ones...
Routine...EVERY day starts and finishes with routine!  Once Bear is up, every thing is done the same way.  No matter what stage the other kids are at in their getting ready they all fall in with his routine.  His end of the table gets cleared so he can have his breakfast.  Once he has eaten, whoever is in the shower gets out and whoever was hoping to hop in next waits until he has finished (or misses out completely)  The Geek is NOT allowed into the kitchen...unless we want another hole in the wall! 

There are routines throughout the day which mean that Bear often is allowed to have things that the other kids are not allowed to have...just to keep up the routine!  It means they often don't get to choose where they are going to sit or what they are going to watch on TV.  It means they can't always go across the road and ride their scooters on the shiny new bitumised path because Bear will follow them out and stand in the street.

The other kids are usually in bed before we go through the evening routine so it doesn't affect them quite so much.

For us it means we have to do things for our 11 year old that we no longer have to do for our 4 year old.  We have to wipe his bottom, (and believe me I'm grateful that that is all we have to do these days) and make all his meals...even if it's just toast or a sandwich, we have to supervise him almost constantly and ALWAYS be aware of where he is and what he is doing.

Holidays...Having a child with Autism affects Where we holiday, When we holiday, How we holiday and How long we holiday for.

It affects EVERY major decision we make, in fact the decision to start our own business was largely due to the fact that we need the flexibility to manage Bear.

Even decisions like whether or not to take out private health insurance are affected by Bear.  If we don't have private health insurance then when one of us needs surgery we have NO options, and we quickly discovered when Tiger needed his tonsils out that we NEED options, we NEED to be able to be involved in the decision making process with everything that might affect Bear.

I could go on and on...but I think you get the idea...having a child with additional needs affects our lives in EVERY conceivable way.

But it's not all bad!

Bear has TAUGHT us a good many things too.

He has taught all of us patience and compassion, patience, tolerance, patience, acceptance and did I mention patience?

Because not everything is fair all of the time, the kids have learned resilience...I could go right into why we believe that this is important, and perhaps one day I will but you can read a little bit about it here!

He has taught us that life doesn't always go the way we plan and we have all learned to roll with the punches!  And to function with a LOT of background noise!

I have learned to smile and nod when other people give their opinions...for the most part.

I've also learned to pick my battles.

If given a choice, if someone said to me, "You can have another baby but he/she is going to be autistic" I think I would probably run for the hills but I am 100% sure that EVERYONE living in The Zoo Train is a better person because we have shared our lives with Bear...perhaps with the exception of Grub...give him time :D

It's a process for all of us though.

I, for one, am still a work in progress!!!

It's Not Her Baby!

It's been a BUSY week and yesterday Grub was CRANKY!  It got to about 9.30 last night and I thought "I've just gotta get some sleep" and then I thought of all of the things I DIDN'T get done during the day.

I didn't have any paper or a pen on me so I asked the Geek to email me with a list of the things I had to do today. 

When I complained that there was too much to get done the Geek commented that Chicken would be home as it is a public holiday and she could look after the baby.

 I originally dubbed her Chicken, not because she is a scaredy cat (though she is a little bit), but because she is a real mother hen.  She loves her baby brother...and in fact all babies, and often plays with him and entertains him because she chooses too.

So should we take advantage of that?  Should we take it for granted that she will want to spend her public holiday looking after Grub?

I don't think so.  She is 8 years old and it's not her baby!  We were the ones who chose to have another baby and we were the ones who chose to start a business.  These were our choices...not hers. 

That's not to say she should NEVER have to help out.  I believe that being part of a family is a wonderful thing but it does come with responsibility.  Being part of a LARGE family means that there is always someone to play with and it means that your life is just CHOCK FULL of amazing people who love you, there is always someone to go to if you have a problem.  But it means EVERYBODY has to pitch in!

And that's a good thing.  Kids need to learn that everything is not going to be given to them on a plate, and that living with other people requires sacrifice.

But I don't think we should take our kids for granted just because they have learned a sense of responsibility.

As it turns out, the 10 year old girl next door (also a mother hen) came over and absconded with Grub for a while so that we could get some cleaning done...and Geek helped out too so we are half way through the days task (at a little after 10am) but my point still stands.  I think we need to be aware of the line between teaching our kids responsibility and using them...and it's a very fine line!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Yay for NEIS!!!

It didn't quite fit in with the birthday post cause it's a whole different kind of birth but I wanted to mention it anyway...


We can officially open our business and (hopefully) start growing it a little bit!

I have to say I am extremely grateful for this fantastic opportunity and the great head start it is going to give us :D

God is good!

Mostly Good

Some months ago the Geek helped an elderly lady with her computer.  She couldn't really afford to pay him...which was okay...but she felt guilty so she gave us STUFF instead.

Now most of this STUFF was just junk, most of it has ended up or will end up in the bin.  We have too much STUFF already.

But amongst this STUFF there was a brand new, in the box Lord Of The Rings Uruk-Hai Bow 'n' Arrow.  Basically a plastic crossbow which fires projectiles!

At the time I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of a plastic crossbow which fires projectiles but it was too good to throw out so it got put away in the spare room...hopefully never to be seen again :D

No such luck!!!

Starting up a business is an expensive exercise...a LOT more expensive than we first thought, and with birthdays in October, November, January and February...and of course Christmas in December, we got to October 27 (Tigers birthday) and presents were a little too scarce for my liking. 

What to do?

Well of course we decided to give Tiger the bow and arrow. 

Naturally he loved it and spent as much of the day as possible shooting whatever he could! 

And we haven't had any injuries...YET!

I managed to make and ice a bunch of cupcakes in time for him to take them to school for his class.

He chose a bought mudcake for his birthday cake...too easy :D

And being a public holiday tomorrow he is having a friend sleep over and they are all having a movie night!

So all in all I think he has had a pretty good day!  Or in his words...Mostly good!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Spinning Top

Global nuclear meltdown today!!!

We think we have it figured though. 

School started up for the term last week but because Gymnastics is in the same venue as the Katanning show (on Saturday) it's not on until they've decided not to have it until after they've had the show and had a chance to clean up.  Week 4 of term!

Now Bear doesn't understand about days of the week and only has a limited understanding of the concept of time but he can usually tell if it's been too long.

Pretty sure he's just come to the realization that he's been back at school for more than a week but there's been no's been too long!

We are pretty used to global nuclear meltdowns but that doesn't mean that we enjoy them, and I can tell you, we are usually pretty keen to get them to stop.

Most of the time our attempts are pretty futile!

But today the Geek came up with something that worked (at least for now). 

He made a spinning top!


The Chicken And The Toothbrush!

On Monday when I went shopping I found some toothbrushes going out for 89c each.  They were not top of the range toothbrushes but they were Oral B and we've used them before so I know they're not cheap nasty ones either.  Plus they were bright shiny colours (I'm a bit of a sucker for bright shiny colours)

My first thought (it being late October) was "Stocking Fillers!!!" so I proceeded to throw one of each colour into my trolley.

Now Monday was a busy day, in fact this whole week has been flat out, so with one thing and another the toothbrushes ended up being left on the bench in the kitchen instead of being hidden away.

So of course when the kids (who are also suckers for bright shiny colours) came home from school they wanted their new toothbrushes.

Oh well, I can't use them as stocking fillers now, none of the kids are young enough that they will forget about them within 2 months, so I gave them their new tooth brushes.  After all we are not so broke yet that I can't afford to spend 89c on each of my children.

And that was that!
Or was it?

Now you have to understand that coming up to bed time Grub is really cranky so I usually send the kids in to brush their teeth and go to the toilet by themselves.  They usually do a pretty good job and none of them has ever needed a filling but when I go into the bathroom afterwards I ALWAYS find it painted in toothpaste.  Top to bottom!  And since we had the wisdom to put in a black vanity top when we renovated...and toothpaste dries looks filthy ALL THE TIME!!!

Until Monday!

Since Monday I go into the bathroom after bed time and the toothpaste is all wiped up, and the toothbrushes all washed properly and lined up neatly!

Chicken is so excited about her bright shiny new toothbrush that she wants it to live in a nice clean bathroom!

Best 89c I ever spent!

(PS I do actually buy my kids things...they are not really so deprived that a new toothbrush is the event of the year...I promise!!!)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Little Reminder

Did you know that I whinge a fair bit?

No you probably don't hear me, most of the time I don't say it aloud, or on paper or even into cyber space!

Most of the time I just mutter under my breath, and a lot of the time it has something to do with Grub!

Why do I have to get up at 5am with him every morning?  Why is he on me all the time? Why won't he let me get anything done? Why does he want to breastfeed half the night?  Why is my house always trashed?????

You get the point!

But this morning I got to thinking...

It took us 9 months to fall pregnant with him!
And then at 8 weeks I had a little amniotic leak...I should have lost him and I believe it was only through much much prayer that I didn't.  I had to spend a good portion of my pregnancy resting (which is something I don't do well).

At 22 weeks there was more bleeding...and more rest.

Finally we got to 39 weeks and the doctor was ready to induce me and on new years day I finally gave birth to a perfect baby boy! 

I had some trouble expelling the placenta so it was a minute or two before the midwives realized there was a knot in the cord...a true tight knot!  They were astounded!  They couldn't get it undone and they couldn't get any blood out of it! This being my 5th natural birth I had a fairly quick delivery but the midwives assured me that if it had taken much longer, if I had been pushing for longer, I would most likely have been holding a blue baby!

Grub is a very strong willed, mischievous little ratbag...but when I remember how many times we could have lost him I realize that he is a strong willed mischievous little ratbag that I am very very grateful to have!

Sometimes I just need a little reminder :D

And he IS a very cute, strong willed mischievous little ratbag after all!!!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Four Empty Wash Baskets!!!

I'm pretty sure some people think I'm a little bit anal about my washing!  In fact the Geek mocks me openly for being a little bit anal about my washing! And I'm sure my friends on Facebook just shake their heads at me when I post as my status "Four Empty Wash Baskets!!!"

Can you imagine a world where the washing is never done?  My goodness we might all have to go around naked....and if you have ever seen the Geek naked you will know that that is NOT a good thing!!!

And I know that in my house at least you wouldn't be able to see the floor with in a week!

Washing the clothes is an extremely important part of daily life...we need to do the washing so that we can live, breathe and grow, so that we can live in a better world, have a brighter future and a better tomorrow!

Okay so now I'm taking the mick...just a little bit :D

But you get my drift!

So I will continue to celebrate my four empty wash baskets...
as often as they may choose to bless me with their presence :D

(and yes I know there are only 3 baskets in the picture...DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO HAVE 4 EMPTY WASH BASKETS WITH THIS MANY PEOPLE LIVING IN THE HOUSE?????)

The Bomb

It has probably been around 4 years since I have had a child living in this house who was a COMPLETE destroyer and it seems I must have forgotten it because this time it has taken me completely by surprise.

I have said to a number of people recently that Grub is definitely worse than any of the other fact it seems to me that he is worse that all of them put together but that could just be my memory playing tricks on me.  Or perhaps the fact that we've been so busy this year that I haven't really had a chance to have a good sort through and get rid of some junk.  After all, by mid October I have usually finished my spring clean and this year I have barely started.

Either way it's like a nuclear bomb drops every time I turn my back!

Actually it's like that even if I don't turn my back!!!

The other thing I've noticed it that even though he's not 10 months old yet, he's capable of being a little bit naughty!

I was watching him tonight while the Chicken was doing her homework.  He would sneak up while she was reading, grab her spelling list and turn around, look at her and wait for a reaction!!!

Oh yes, I think I am going to have my hands full with this one...

But on the up side at least he is entertaining himself now!!!


Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Lizzie McGuire Dilemma

We have 3 Lizzie McGuire DVDs.  They were given to the Penguin (with piercings) when she was 10 or 11 and she watched them to death before she outgrew them, and they have been sitting on the shelf pretty much ever since.

The Chicken and her almost 10 year old friend from next door asked yesterday if they could watch these DVDs and I thought "yeah why not, they're a bit silly but fairly harmless"  After all, they are getting to that age and they are not going to want to watch  The Wiggles for the rest of their's appropriate don't you think?  The boys...being my boys, who will watch anything as long as it's on a screen, happily settled in to watch too.

This morning the rain had set in and they couldn't play outside and along with the fact that I had a giveaway to launch I just let them watch it again!

Somewhere during the program Chicken pipes up and says..."they're pretty rude to their parents aren't they?" so I sat and actually watched for a bit...and yes, they are pretty rude to their parents!

So the next question?  Are they really that harmless after all?  We've had a significant increase in bad attitude and whinging from the menagerie this weekend and it's really hard to tell how much of it is from what they are watching on TV and how much of it is just from it being the end of the first week of school and the kids being tired and getting settled back into the routine of it all.

And now for the dilemma!  We are probably going to find that there is some undesirable element in all programs aimed at preteen girls, so do we then stop them watching them? 

I recently took Chicken to a birthday party for a girl in her class.  All the girls there were 7 or 8 years old and yet it wasn't really a little kids party.  Chicken is a very responsible, grown up girl and if I'm honest, I don't think I could cope without her.  She helps me out every single day, often without being asked and for the most part when life is not really all that fair it just rolls off her back.  And yet at this party she stuck out like a sore thumb.  She is taller than the other girls in her class, but she seemed younger.
When the other girls were all singing and dancing to popular music she joined in but it was obvious, to me at least, that she didn't know any of the songs.  Also the fact that she was dressed in kids clothed, not a smaller version of what you might see on a teenager.
Now the latter may not be such a bad thing, but it really broke my heart to think that she may end up not fitting in amongst her peers, especially if it is due to something I have done.

So what to do???

 For the time being, Lizzie McGuire is here to stay (albeit with some time restrictions perhaps) but it's the kind of dilemma I foresee myself facing many many times over the coming years.

And I will probably second guess my self every single time!!!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Special Saturday...What is your child's special needs?

Okay now that's a tough one...where do I start?

I could just say Autism, but really that would tell you nothing!

So I'll try this...I have 6 kids, and when all of them (or at least the younger 5) are all talking to me...or at me...all at once it gets pretty overwhelming.  That's what it's like inside the Bears head all the time.

Now when all of my kids are talking at me all at once, I yell pretty quickly, and guess what?  It stops! (usually)

Now I'm not going to tell you that Bear doesn't yell, oh my goodness does he yell...and kick...and punch...and scream.  The difference is that when he yells it doesn't stop...ever!

So how can we make it easier for him?
Routine, routine, routine!

Now routine doesn't miraculously make it all go away, but it does give him the ability to predict what's going to happen next which seems to lessen the noise in his head.

Some routines are more important than others.  For example the morning and night routine.  We can go on holidays or do something a little bit different during the day as long as we keep those vital routines up...and don't throw him off too often!

Now sometimes you can do something completely different with him and he will seem to cope, he might even have fun if it is something that grabs his interest but over the years it has become us at least...that he doesn't actually cope at all.  There is ALWAYS payback, and payback's a bitch!!!  Sometimes it's worth it but sometimes it's just soooo not!

Now while I'm on this topic I just have to have a little rant!  I just can't help myself :D

I was recently told that I shouldn't revolve my life around these routines, that he is not always going to be able to have what he wants so I shouldn't give into him.  That he needs to learn to fit in with the world!

Now at the time I was pretty upset and just said something like "Yeah but when you haven't slept in 8 years and you are constantly running on empty you just do what is easiest" and burst into tears.

I'm fairy sure that if he was in a wheelchair no one would say..."Well, there's not always going to be a ramp so he should just learn to use the stairs"

People need to accept that he is different...and that he's not like he is because he is naughty or because he is manipulative...he's like he is because that's how he has to be to cope.

And it is very unlikely that he will EVER just fit into the world!  Not easily at least.

And that is okay! (everyone else just needs to realise that)

No Sleep In Again

You know you are tired when you start dreaming about curling up on the shelves in Woolworths for a little catnap, none the less the sleep in has eluded me yet again. The grub has decided that he can't get through the morning without me and since he is always up at 5am so am I.

To his credit, the Geek did get up with him and tried to get him to settle but to no avail and with the Katanning Show next weekend I know it is going to be a couple of weeks before I can attempt to nab the elusive sleep in again.

I was starting to despair when at 6.30 "ding" I have a text message. Oh God, who wants what now?

"Hope I don't wake you, I just wanted you to know I love you"  from the Penguin with Piercings :D

My day is complete!!!

After all....who needs sleep anyway?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Just One More Thing!

Oh, and I am a foster carer!  One of our gorgeous 6 is a foster child.
DCP rules say I can't say which one and to be honest, said child has been with us since they were a wee takker so they are well and truly part of the part of the furniture around here.  I don't think of them any differently to my other kids but I always feel just a touch dishonest when I talk about my family and don't mention now I have :D

The Highchair!

We have an Ikea high chair, and I love it!

When the Grub was little we added a newborn insert and it supported him well long before he could sit on his own.  It is easy to clean and compact enough to fit neatly in the corner of the kitchen. 

We originally bought it to live on the veranda to give me somewhere to put Grub when I wanted to hang some washing or pull some weeds but we loved it so much that it got moved inside and our big clunky steelcraft one got relegated to the veranda instead!

Grub has recently decided that he likes it too...because he can climb out of it!  No sooner do I turn my back and he is sitting on the tray on his hands and knees...strapped in or not strapped in, it makes no difference :(