When I picked Katja up from nursery last week there was a little slip of paper waiting for me. It announced that on the 31st they would like it if kids could turn up in a costume.
Now a 16 month old child going to nursery during a bitterly cold day in Edinburgh is going to need to be warm, so that’s my first requirement. The next is no attachments – it’s hard enough keeping a bib on her, a hat is impossible and wings/extra legs would be a nightmare.
No problem, I thought, with all the supermarkets here that sell quite decent kids clothes it should be a simple matter of pop down and pick up something cute.
Well, more fool me – it turns out that as soon as a child grows out of the very first pumpkin sleep suit it’s on to adult style costumes. Here’s a few of the boys’ costumes:
They’re all practical, they’re all ghoulish as you’d expect from halloween.
Now, let’s take a look at the selection offered for girls:
With any of these, MissK will be freezing! Plus hats and wings, not going to stay on so a waste of effort. They all look remarkably like the “sexy ___” variety of costumes that you find for adults and quite frankly I’m underwhelmed.
So, I did some searching online and came up with a few options – ladybird was a good one, as was cat or skeleton, but they all require black suits and black is a lot harder to get for toddler girls than insipid pink. I also found a post that showed little girls dressed as female scientists (sorry can’t locate the links now but if I do I’ll add them in the comments). Trouble with that is that noone of Katja’s generation is going to understand who Ada Lovelace was and there’s no way I could get her hair like that yet.
And then it hit me – Nina and the Neurons!
This is a TV show on CBeebies fronted by Nina, an outgoing, cheery neuroscientist who works at the Glasgow Science Centre. She loves experimenting and finding the answer to everyday questions with the help of her five animated neurons. Katja seems to like the show and the songs and Nina is dressed so practically. And so I set about making up a quick and dirty Nina and the Neurons costume and this is how I did it:
First things first, I bought a sleep suit in plain white for 6 months older than Katja is now, I was after deliberately too big for her.
Next, I cut the suit just above the crotch buttons and hemmed using a zig zag stitch. No need to be too fabulous, this is not likely to be worn beyond one day and there’s no prizes for best finished costume. I also cut off one of the feet to make a little pocket and cut off the ends of the sleeves.
I had some brightly coloured fabric from previous projects, so I cut some strips of that to make a pocket top and cuffs. To be honest it would have been a much neater job if I’d managed to find the right ribbon. Another alternative would have been to draw decorations on the top to match Nina’s.
I coloured in the buttons with various permanent markers to hand (again, doesn’t have to last) and I was done.
This morning all I had to do was dress her in her usual skinny jeans, tights and a brightly coloured tshirt then put on the “lab coat” and put her hair in bunches (that was the hardest part!) and we were done.
Naturally madam was far too busy to stop and pose for photographs, there’s a lab to get cleaned up you know! I’m quite chuffed with the result.