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When the family unit expands, most soon-to-be parents prep themselves for a whole host of changes to their lifestyles but, perhaps less commonly considered is the transformation of language. Martin Bruckner, creator of Spaghetti Toes, first realised this change when his then two-year-old daughter, Harper, started talking.
“I started to notice that she was saying some really funny things. I also noticed that my wife and I were saying even funnier things back to her, things that adults just don't normally say.
The night that it really hit me, we were all sitting down to dinner. It was spaghetti – again. After about 20 minutes of playing with her noodles my wife said, ‘Please don't put spaghetti between your toes’.
“I looked at her and said ‘Did you really just say those words?’ and we had a nice laugh,” he said.
That same evening, after a bath-time session prompted a mind-boggling “Did you drop your cheese in the tub again?” from Martin, he began taking note of the funny phrases being said around the home.
“I decided to do quick drawings acting out these quotes and I gave them to my wife for a Mother's Day gift,” he said.
“I did 4 of them along with a cover page and wrapped them up like an unfinished manuscript and she loved them.”
“After I had done a handful of these and started to put them up on Facebook, I noticed a lot of my friends and family members who had children really connected with these and could totally relate,” he said.
Today, customers can request their own custom designs to immortalise their children’s most incredible quotes or purchase Spaghetti Toes original prints at the Harp and Squirrel Etsy store, with some orders even coming in from customers in Australia. As international interest has grown, Spaghetti Toes now offers a digital print option.
While Martin produces the artwork, Spaghetti Toes is the result of the combined skills and effort of himself and his wife Michelle. “She takes care of all of our custom orders. She packs and ships every order. She contacts every single person that purchases custom artwork from us. She does all of the business end.
“On top of that, she always helps me when I'm stuck on an idea. A good portion of the artwork you see is a combined effort of me and Michelle brainstorming for an hour on how to make the print as funny and perfect as it can be. In short, Spaghetti Toes wouldn't exist without my lovely Michelle.”
Harper and parenthood have been hugely impactful in his professional life but it’s in Martin’s personal life that it has had the greatest effect.
As well as watching the ups and downs of her first serious relationship (Harper is constantly in the throes of an on-again, off-again relationship with her Spiderman plush toy), the talented designer has been overjoyed by the experience of watching Harper grow.
“We get compliments everywhere we go by random people saying how sweet and polite she is. Every time we leave a restaurant she walks right up to our waiter, or the manager, or whomever, and says, ‘Thank you, it was great’. We get free meals because of this child!"
“You can't imagine how much you can love a child. How your heart aches for them to have an amazing life. When they cry, you want to cry and you'd do anything under the sun just to make them smile. It's a true gift and I cherish every moment. And I can tell you that the biggest cliché of them all is the most true - it goes way too fast."
If you’re wondering which quotes are most meaningful to this talented Dad, his choices speak from the heart.
“I'm still a sucker for ‘I love you Princess Daddy’ and ‘You're the best world, Dad’ and ‘My tummy feels like bad guys’. I have a list of over 100 more quotes from her to work on, but I have a feeling that those three quotes will always be up there.”
Interested in purchasing a print of your own? Take a look at their Etsy store here!