Friday, April 30, 2010

A Carrier's Secret Life

Disclaimer: My husband when told of this post said, "you're not writing a blog post, that's a kid's book, next thing you're going to tell me is that a cat with some headgear came and made the carriers mess up the car when mom wasn't looking and then the cat took the goldfish for a walk using the mei tai." So, if this is terrible, um, sorry, maybe it will inspire those who owe me articles to turn them in.

The Secret Life of Carriers:
Mabel Mei Tai: Hey, guys, wake up! Wonder which of us will get used today?

Grumpy Gus Woven Wrap: Ugh, I hope not me, I just got dunked in that awful washing machine because I was spit up on AND had a diaper leak on me the other day, that thing makes me sea sick, I want a break... she can come back to me when the kid gets a little bigger and doesn't spit up so much!

Scarlett SSC: Oh, come on Gus, you know you love the attention!

Silky Sue Woven Wrap: I'm so jealous, they rarely pick me because I require "special care" so she's afraid of diaper leaks. I love getting to snuggle them when they are so little and squishy! Ooo, ooo, here they come! *car door opens*

Mama:  Everyone in the car, busy day today!

Scarlett: YES! Busy day, that means a lot of us might get a chance!

Grumpy Gus:  Mmrph, that means even if I don't get picked I'll have to listen to you lot gush about the baby.

Regina Ring Sling: Oh, come on Gus, you talk a good game, but I know you love it when those sweet little gums gnaw on your rails and baby nods off snuggled up with you, no point in denying it.

Sue: All right, preschool drop off done, now where to?

Gus: Hey, where's Vicky?

Mabel:  Sold, but it's good, she never got to leave the car, her colors didn't suit mama at all; this way maybe she'll get out to see the world and snuggle another baby, I think she was getting a little sad.

Scarlett: Any idea who the new kid is going to be to take her place?

Mabel: Nope, but I did hear Mama talking about a new SSC at the last meeting...

Scarlett: I'm not worried, she loves me, and my fabric is hard to find... YES! The farmer's market! She ALWAYS picks me here!

Gus: You never know, she might pick Sue or Mabel, you shouldn't be so sure!

Scarlett: Nah, she wouldn't want to drag them in the dirt parking lot.

Sue: She's right, "special care." Humph!

Mama: Okay Kids, let me get my carrier on and the baby up and then we can go pick out some goodies!

Scarlett: Yes! See, I told you she'd pick me, I'll tell you about it when we get back!

Gus: Oh good, it's quiet, I can take a nap now!

Regina: The farmer's market always sounds like fun.

Mabel: It IS, I used to get to go when the baby was smaller, but now Scarlett always gets picked. But they have home baked things, and the baby used to snuggle in and sleep after nursing, it was so cuddly and sweet. And people were always cooing over the baby and commenting on how pretty I am... I miss that. I know it sounds vain, but I love hearing about how beautiful I am compared to "regular" carriers.

*door opens*

Scarlett: What did you all do while I was gone? We had fun, they had some new fresh veggies, and there were some really great looking pies. The baby is getting some teeth though, she was really digging into my straps. There were lots of people interested in carriers though, hopefully we'll see some of them at next week's meeting.

Gus: Hey! What are you doing with me? I'm NOT a blanket, lady, why are you putting me up here over this ba... oh, yuck, she's drooling all over me! Stop that kid! So humiliating.

Mabel: Enjoy it Gus, isn't she darling?

Gus: Sure. adorable.

Regina:  Stand aside boys and girls, time for preschool pick-up, this is mine!
*being adjusted*
Ooo, wow. she's getting heavy isn't she? It's so nice to watch them grow.
Regina: That was fun, we demonstrated for one of the moms with a new baby and a new sling; and the big kids had done some really fun art. They even had butterflies they watched grow from caterpillars!

Sue: *pouts* Oh great, the playground, definitely not for me.

Gus: It's nap time, so I think it's going to be me. Yay, more drool, and spit up probably. (sarcastically) Yipee. Yep, here we go.

Gus:  Disgusting, once again, I got leaked on, back to the wash for me. I hate that thing, it makes me so dizzy. Oh, sure, add insult to injury and use me as a changing pad, eww, gross, what are you FEEDING that kid? Blech. Really, Sue, you don't want this.

Sue: Yes I do, I want to feel useful.

Mama: Ok kids, everyone needs to rest this afternoon, we have a nice dinner tonight with your grandparents.

Little Girl: Do we get to dress fancy, like Nancy?

Sue: Did I hear fancy dinner? Oh please, please let me get to go, I'm fancy! I was MADE for this.

Mabel: I've got my straps crossed for you, kiddo.

Sue: Oh, but Mabel, if I go, you don't get to. I wasn't thinking. I'm sorry.

Mabel: I get my turns, besides, daddy still likes me best, so I get a chance every weekend with him. You will enjoy the dinner, I really hope they pick you.

*A few hours later*

Sue: Oh everyone, it was fabulous. There were fancy napkins and flowers and the kids were so good, the baby slept almost the whole time, mama got to eat her dinner, and the grandparents were all so proud of her. They did complain that they didn't get to hold the baby, but why would they need to hold her when I was doing such a good job? And I really did a great job, I was perfectly spread, and I had just enough give on the shoulders... I really tried to show her why she should use me more often. And the baby! Her sweet little fingers were running along my rails, and then she fell asleep all snuggled in. So soft and precious and yummy. What a great opportunity.

Others: That's great. Good for you. I'm happy for you. Sounds fun!

Sue: Thanks for being so happy for me guys. But we should rest, I heard talk of a busy day tomorrow, shopping, a short hike, and visiting some friends. Sounds like most of you will have a chance tomorrow as well, better lay down your hoods and get to sleep.

All: Good night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tutorial: Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC)

In this video, Lindsay demonstrates a Front Wrap Cross Carry with a 4.6m woven wrap.  A 4.6m wrap is the length an average sized person needs for this carry.  A very petite mama may prefer a shorter wrap and a fluffier mama or daddy might prefer a longer one.  This is a great beginner carry for newborns through toddlers.  This carry can also be done with a stretchy wrap, it is similar to the Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC - the basic stretchy wrap instruction) but instead of the "X" going inside the cummerbund it is outside.

Posted by Lindsay

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Becoming a Babywearer: A New Wearer's Journey

 My daughter was born on December 23, 2009.  I always thought of myself as being pretty good with children; I babysat A LOT growing up, I hang out regularly with my nearly 2 year old nephew, I have friends with kids.  But none of these things would prepare me for a baby who does. NOT. want. to. be. put. down. EVER.  She wants to be held 24-7 or more, if she could manage it.

We had registered for a Boppy Sling at Babies R Us while I was pregnant, it looked comfy and convenient and we thought we’d give it a try.  But, after Margie was born we tried it twice and she would not tolerate it.  She fussed and wiggled and made the whole experience very uncomfortable.  Also, I didn’t think it looked “right” I found myself lifting her up (still in the Boppy Sling) and cradling her just like I would have if she were not in it.  I had basically resigned myself to the fact that I would no longer have arms and wouldn’t be able to do laundry, dishes, or basically ANYTHING until she grew out of this phase or went to college (whichever came first)!

I was lamenting the loss of my arms in on my Facebook status when Margie was about a month old and a friend from college suggested I attend a “Babywearing Meeting.”   “A babywearing meeting?”, I thought to myself… that sounded kind of hokie and Austin, while I love her, is a bit “crunchier”  than I am.  I really wondered if this was for me.  But, I was willing to try anything at that point.  She provided me with the links to the blog site and the yahoo group.  I read some of the blogs and looked at the pictures.  I immediately noticed how generally happy the children AND parents looked in the photos of babywearers.  And, best of all, they had use of their arms & hands!

My husband and I agreed to meet Austin at the February Babywearing Meeting in Tysons.  It came right after one of the big snow storms.  I brought my “sling” along with us figuring the leaders could give me advice on how to use it.  Well, it turns out that the Boppy sling is just a knock-off of the Infantino bag of death sling.  It was recommended that I take the sling, cut the strap, and never, ever, put a child in it.  My instinct to lift her was right, and I guess Margie also knew it wasn't safe, that's why she fussed.

Because of the snow, not very many folks made it to the meeting and I felt like the demo portion of the meeting was done just for us!  After watching Ann Marie try on carriers and explain the differences, Don and I tried out a Baby Hawk and a Kozy Carrier.  I tried out my first wrap, and also tried a ring sling, which, sad to say, Margie wouldn’t tolerate.

As we were leaving, Don and I agreed that we should get a Mei Tai for both of us and a wrap for me.  We thought that should be enough for us to regain our sanity by having the use of our arms.  We bought those two and, well, a few others, but my addiction to carriers is a topic for another blog…

We still use a stroller on occasion, but most of the time, Margie is worn.  Ever since I got my first carrier, I’ve worn Margie while walking the dog.  I wouldn’t think of going to the grocery store or wholesale club without a carrier.  And in church, I have the best behaved baby!

In March, we went out to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse to celebrate my husband’s birthday with some friends.  I knew they would want to hold her, so we carried her in her car seat.  Once they started cooking on our table, she started getting fussy and all the spare hands suddenly had something else to do.  So, I pulled out my trusty wrap and wrapped her up.  Most people in the restaurant that noticed us were impressed as was my brother-in-law.  My sister did remark, “how many of those things do you have?” but oh well!  As soon as she was snuggled in, Margie was out like a light and I had both hands free to eat my dinner and celebrate.

Just before Easter, we went to Fair Oaks Mall to visit the Bunny.  We decided that we would leave her in her car seat and click it into the stroller.  My thinking was that it would be easier to extricate her from the stroller to see the Bunny than from a carrier.  And while it was easy for that purpose, when we got to shopping, we found the stroller not only cumbersome, but as Margie got tired, she got cranky.  So, up in Gymboree, with other parents and the employees watching, I pulled her out of the stroller and wrapped her up.  I would say that within 5 minutes, she was sound asleep on my chest.  The employees were amazed!  And I again had both hands with which to shop.  I didn’t need to worry about her, I knew exactly where and how she was.  I am beginning to wonder why I even try to mess with the stroller anymore, but then I look at how many shopping bags it holds, maybe we'll keep it after all.

I must admit that while my husband was all gung-ho at his 1st babywearing meeting, apparently, he was only gung-ho for me.  He realized it benefited us, but I had to be the wearer.  I had him pick out the fabric on the Baby Hawk so it was more “his” than mine, but he didn’t find the babywearing love until just the other day.  Since he’s home with Margie 2 days a week while I’m working, I kept suggesting he wear her, but to no avail.  He would always carry her when walking the dog, which scared me.  I feel like it’s too much to juggle the baby, the leash, a 90 lb dog, and pick up poop.  I had ordered a really cool Ergo which I knew he’d love without him knowing.  When it arrived, he couldn’t wait to try it but we needed to get the waist extender.

So, the morning of the very first day he had her alone after we got the extender, he had her in the carrier and ready for the dog walk so they could walk me to the car.  She was smiling and happy riding on daddy!  When I was about ½  way to work, my cell phone rang, “Margie fell asleep in the carrier on our walk” my husband exclaimed.  I had to bite my tongue so as not to say, “I told you so!”  They proceeded to have their best day together, by far.  No screaming, no tantrums, and Margie did well too!  And Don is now a babywearing believer!  HE wore her at our nephew’s birthday at the park over the weekend.

Clearly, we have benefited from the intended consequence of babywearing outside the house: like at the grocery store, the mall, BJ’s and around the house while doing dishes, laundry, and walking the dog, just to name a few!  But, I also found something completely unexpected.  I found a group of fabulous moms and dads who I never would have met had I not started babywearing.  The members of this group are the most generous and kind people I have honestly ever met.  They will literally loan you the carrier off their back to aid a parent in need.  And it’s not just about carriers… they offer the best advice about breastfeeding, high chairs, general parenting, etc and will really go out of their way to help a new mom or dad.  So, not only did I “find” my hands again by babywearing, I also found a whole new group of people I can truly call friend.

I will be eternally grateful to Austin for the invite.  I learned that while I’m not crunchy, I’m not creamy either.  So, does that make me nougetty?

Posted by Mary-Rose

Monday, April 5, 2010

Springtime in the Nation's Capital

Suddenly last week, spring hit with a vengeance and our thoughts turn to exploring some of the great activities we can enjoy living in and around our Nation's Capital.  The first thing we realize is that the easiest way to get downtown, especially when attending popular events, is the Metro.  Babywearing is fantastic on public transportation, no trying to stuff your stroller onto an already crowded train, no losing your toddler in the mad rush for the doors, and no dealing with that terrifying feeling that your toddler is going to decide to run off the platform as the train arrives.  There are a million reasons to appreciate babywearing when using public transportation.

On to the events.  A couple events have already passed us by, the annual White House Easter Egg roll was this morning, and Angelique shows us how useful her wrap was during the chaos and fun of the roll. 

The Cherry Blossom festival is winding down, but you can probably still enjoy the blooms this week.  However, even once the blooms have fallen from the trees, the area of the monuments around the Tidal Basin is a beautiful place to visit.  The FDR Memorial, Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, WWII, and Korean War Memorials are all located in the area between the Tidal Basin and the Washington Monument.  These are a nice walk and an interesting visit for newcomers and DC natives alike.  

Our area also has beautiful and varied parks to enjoy.  You can ride the carousel at Glen Echo, or the mini train at Burke Lake, enjoy the immense playground at Clemyjontri, or take an easy hike followed by a picnic at Great Falls.  Babywearing can make any family outing easier and more fun.  No need to stick to paved paths with your stroller, you can walk the "Exorcist" stairs in Georgetown as easily as you can walk the tow path.  Our area offers an outdoor experience that is perfect no matter what you are in the mood to enjoy.

And of course, there is the perfect spring destination.  Spring brings the babies to the National Zoo.  The baby animals that is.  Children love to see the baby animals, and who are we kidding, so do grownups.  You can visit the zoo and see the animals much more easily with your little one in a carrier, and it's a great workout on those hills!Hint- take the Metro to Cleveland Park instead of the Woodley Park/Zoo stop, it makes the walk from the Metro flat instead of hiking up that big hill.

So, now that we've given you a few activities to try out, we'd love to hear what YOUR favorite springtime outings are inside the Beltway.  Send your babywearing in DC pictures to and you might see them in an upcoming blog.