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REALLY LOUD about baby + me!

An image of a page from baby + me, a book for soon to be big brothers and sisters. This page of the book says "Really Loud!"

baby + me, a new and unique book for soon to be big brothers and sisters that helps prepare them for a new baby, has involved a number of “firsts” for Lauren Gardiner, the author of baby + me and creator of me mo books. Lauren talked about these firsts and why she wanted to be “REALLY LOUD” about them (which is not her usual style!) at the VIP Launch Event for baby me.

Above is a spread from the baby + me book.  It is part of a sequence as follows: “I can be quiet to help our baby settle to sleep or feed.  And sometimes I can be … REALLY LOUD!”

Here is an edited extract of what Lauren said at the VIP Launch Event for baby + me at Reunion Cafe on 29 July:

Welcome to the Launch Event for baby + me.

There have been a lot of firsts for me in this project and getting this book to print.

The book in itself is a first.

I made my first website.

I had my first foray into social media (argh). Thanks to Tennille Wong for holding my hand with that!

And I’ve made my first book sale!

Debbie Isaac (consultant OT on the baby + me project) first suggested I needed to have a launch.  Here I was thinking that a writer’s life was reclusive and behind the scenes and I could tap away happily at my keyboard in the comfort of my own home… Well, if I didn’t look aghast when Debbie made this suggestion, that’s definitely how I felt! And Tennille Wong, the publicist for baby + me, was right behind the launch thing too.

I was warming to the idea of a launch (still feeling slightly sick about it, but warming to it).  And then my eldest son (let’s call him “Little Mate” or “LM” for short) had his seventh birthday and received a bright orange bike. He rode it for the first time that day. The whole family was there to encourage him, Damien and I held the bike to steady him the first few times and gave him a few tips and our middle son (let’s call him “Dames”) gave us frequent updates on how many laps he’d done. “Gubby”, our youngest, was right into the clapping – she loves a good clap! And Damien and I felt so proud for days afterwards. In fact all our faces beamed with delight and pride at LM’s achievement!

We’d also had a few other firsts in our family too around that time – Gubby’s first steps and first words and Dames’ first day at school and his first readers.

Looking more closely at these firsts, they all seemed to have a couple of common characteristics:

  • one: how they might never have been possible without the help, support and encouragement of a lot of people.  Team work was involved; and
  • two: how they are so exciting, not just for the person who achieves them, but for everyone connected too.

But when you’re an adult and you’ve ticked the boxes on a lot of firsts, celebrated all the usual milestones (marriage, children etc), you might be inclined to celebrate with a nice quiet dinner, go away for the weekend, drink wine or eat cake.  And perhaps we do the quiet thing because we feel like to do the loud thing is a bit self-indulgent, over the top or a bit “showy”.

But … maybe being quiet about our firsts or other achievements as adults fails to truly acknowledge the nature of a first or an achievement – that they often involve a team effort and that they can bring so much joy to a lot of people around you – your friends and your family.

So the Launch Event is to acknowledge and give thanks to the many people who have helped on the baby + me project (many just out of kindness and a desire to see my project come to life) and to share the celebration and the joy of bringing this little book into the world!

So first, the thank you’s …

My first thank you must go to Grace West, the illustrator and designer of baby + me.  I think everyone would agree that each and every page of the book has been beautifully designed and illustrated. Grace, you have done the most wonderful job of illustrating and designing this book. I think it was incredible that your vision for this book really matched my own. I couldn’t believe how spot on those first draft images and pages were. I am so grateful for all the work that you have put in.  I hope you are as proud of this project as I am.

Secondly, thank you to Debbie Isaac. Debbie has given so much time to me and this project. You’ve become a mentor and a dear friend. In our first meeting you helped me to distil and to simplify the book – which is key for engaging with children (in fact we cut it in half!). Again, I think you had a vision for this book and it really matched my own. The partially completed pages are also a product of what you have taught me – that kids sometimes don’t cope well with a “blank page”.

Next up is Fred Mayer from Adams Print. So … we started with a book with a middle page of stickers and scrapped that.  Then we fiddled with paper stock and considered other sizes for the book. And as we were approaching the finalisation of the design, I threw in a “please can I have a spine?” request.  None of these things were any trouble for Fred. Thanks for all your time, advice and your patience.  And your spine solution is awesome!  I’m so proud to be associated with a fantastic local Geelong-based printing company in Adams Print.

Thanks to Tennille Wong – my publicist extraordinaire. Thank you for believing in this project. I am so incredibly fortunate that you put up your hand to help me with it.  I’ve learnt so much from you and you have been prepared to get deeply involved in all aspects of the marketing and publicity campaign for the book. Thanks for holding my hand on my first Facebook and Instagram posts – argh!  What fun it has been working with you!

Thanks to my close group of friends, particularly mum friends that have reviewed versions of baby + me.  You’ve also been my market research consultants, bounced ideas around with me on things such as business names, potential stockists and avenues for marketing.  In particular, Susannah, Amy, Holly, Felicia, Tennille (again) and Jules.  And through our pep talks in playgrounds and coffee shops you’ve kept me going and reassured me that my time has been well spent.

Thanks to Chris McLeod, for providing me with some great help on the legal side.  With any luck we should have trade mark protection on a couple of aspects of the project in the coming months!

I’ve also got to thank Damien for suggesting that baby + me was worthy of publication and giving me the opportunity and the resources to take this idea forward.  Thanks for staying up late playing with and testing the website e-commerce functionality and invoicing functions. And thanks for just being you!

And of course to LM, Dames and Gubby.  You are my inspiration for this book. I hope that through this book, which is based on our experiences as a family, we can help other families with new babies on the way.

And to Mum, Dad and Rita for believing in me always and your love and support.

And nothing happens in our family without the wonderful support of Jess, the ever caring and loving nanny to our three kids.  Thank you Jess.  I couldn’t have done this without you.

And in terms of the launch here today:

  • Thank you to Emma Cogdon for the lovely baby + me biscuits and making some of my launch documentation look beautiful. You are an absolute star Em!
  • Thank you to the ladies at Reunion Dining – Jan and Leith. You fill our bellies every Saturday morning with yummy brekkie and you’ve done it again today with some yummy nibbles and yummy bubbles for the launch. Thanks too for your support of my book project – baby + me is stocked in Jan and Leith’s Providence Melbourne store.  And thanks for allowing me to offer local pick up for website sales there too!

And thanks also now must go to all the newly minted “baby + me ambassadors” – everyone attending the launch! I’ve already had some great ideas for advertising and selling baby + me and some excellent social media posts and likes and shares! Thank you!

And now for a REALLY LOUD cheers to baby + me!

In the spirit of being “REALLY LOUD” and my new appreciation of firsts, let’s say cheers to baby + me and to all of you!

Lauren x