Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wearing a Walker

When first home with a newborn, wearing your child might be the way you manage to see to their need to be held while also making sure you have clean clothes and dishes.  But as your child ages, you may find you do less wearing in the house, and much of your wearing becomes about your convenience or saving your toddler from himself.

This past weekend, my family attended a family reunion.  One of the relatives commented that this was the first year in a long time she could remember me not having a child in "a papoose."  It's true, my 3yr old was very needy and she was worn for 2 reunions in a row, then my youngest was a baby last year.  But this year she is an outgoing 19mo old and she was off to play with her cousins.  But when evening came, we were going to make s'mores on the beach.  An adventurous walker and fire really don't mix, so I put her on my back.  She got to be part of the s'mores fun, she got to taste a little roasted marshmallow, but I didn't have to worry that when I was distracted by an older child she would find herself falling face first into an open fire.

Travel is another time that wearing a walker can be a help to you and them.  Airports, train and subway stations are all very crowded, there are people pulling carts right at toddler level, often there are employees zipping around on golf carts, it is a disaster in the making with a toddler on the loose.  You usually have your hands full with your carry-on bag full of activities for the trip, and probably a carseat as well, so holding hands isn't practical.  Cynthia found wearing her toddler made the trip easier for her and gave her toddler a better vantage point for her adventure than the legs and rolling suitcases that are at her height.

When you are near water or on a long walk can be another time when wearing a toddler may be the best choice.  We went for a walk near a local lake.  My toddler LOVES water.  She has no fear of it and will happily march into any body of water from pool to lake to ocean.  I am often saving her from herself.  Since we intended to go playing after our walk, a wet toddler wasn't on the agenda.  So, I put her on my back while we enjoyed our walk (and we weren't forced to amble at 19mo old pace), the kids got to look for fish in the water and I didn't have to be concerned about an impromptu dip.  Wearing can also be a great way to keep your dolls safe from falls.

A final time you may find yourself wearing a walker might be when they get very tired at the end of a long day, or if they manage to injure themselves, or like our recent adventure, they leave their shoes at home.  I took my kids to see a show at Wolf Trap's Theatre in the Woods.  These are special shows for kids, and they are a lot of fun.  When we parked my 3yr old announced that she had no shoes.  I hadn't noticed when we were leaving the house (A similar thing happened when my oldest was 4 and got blisters from her shoes when we were starting a day downtown).  I put my 3 and 1yr olds on and proceeded to walk into the theatre.  Now, if you've been to Wolf Trap, you know the children's theatre is up a big hill and then down an even bigger one.  By the time we got to the top of the first hill, I remembered that I haven't been keeping up with my exercise.  Hauling an extra 70lbs up that hill was really a challenge.  I don't recommend it be the plan when you start out on your adventure, but in a pinch, it can be done.

Wearing a walker is about making them safe and comfortable and about making your trip run as smoothly as possible.  Yes, they CAN walk, but not every situation is ideal to allow them to walk.  Enjoy those toddler snuggles, all too soon they'll insist on being on their own two feet!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fun in the Sun and Spray!

In May we found out about the new sprayground that was  opening at Lee District Recreation Center. On a whim, we decided  to go. My family includes my husband Jermaine; two-year-old AJ; three-month-old Callie; my sister-in-law Sha-Nae; my four-year-old niece Kyaria, and their grandparents.

When we first got the the sprayground, Callie was asleep so I let her sit with her grandparents under the tent in the shade. Once she woke up (5 minutes later, of course), we didn’t want Callie to miss out on the fun. We’ve always been the family that likes to do everything together so I never want one of us to miss out on something just because of the baby. I knew that it would be an awesome time to have a water sling, but I hadn’t ordered one yet. At first my husband Jermaine just held her and put her feet in the sprinklers. She hated it. So then I just decided to go ahead and wrap her so that she would feel nice and snuggly and close to  Mommy and wouldn’t be so scared of the water. I decided to use my Easycare woven wrap because it’s so thin in the heat and not that long (~3.7m) so it would be easy to wrap out in public. I put Callie in a kangaroo (front) carry because so that it would be easy to cuddle and nurse her and ease her fears. It turned out to be awesome. Callie jumped and was a little scared the first time that the water hit her in the wrap, but being so close to me made her calm down pretty quickly.

My next task was getting AJ to have some fun. He *hates* water so he was literally hanging on my leg
at first. I had to act excited and jump through some fountains to get him to warm up. Eventually, he
started having fun as you can see in the pictures. He really liked the water table and the steering wheel
on the boat.

I also had my niece to chase around. She likes the water much more than my kids so it took all of us working together to keep up with her. Having Callie wrapped made entertaining and keeping up with the older kids so much easier.

When I needed to nurse Callie, it was pretty easy although I did make the mistake of wearing a shirt that wasn’t the best for nursing (Sean Taylor jersey – go Redskins!). I slid her down in the carry and sat in the shade for a few minutes and nursed. By the time that we finished nursing, the kids were tired and it was time to go. The carrier also helped make herding everyone and everything back to to the car a lot easier.

We had a blast on our first trip to the Lee Rec Sprayground. I was able to help my husband chase the kids, and Callie was able to be a part of everything. At the end of the day, I just hung my wrap up to dry, and it was fine in the morning. I still decided that I would get a water sling for our next trip to the sprayground so that it would dry fast, and because my Easycare is my car wrap, and I always like to have it ready to go.  We've been back a few times this summer, and the water sling has definitely come in handy.

Posted by Raagen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Todays meeting in Burke has been cancelled due to a variety of problems.  We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 7/23 at the Thomas Jefferson library in Falls Church.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Tie a Slip Knot for Rebozo Carries

In the last post on Emergency Babywearing for the Non-Emergency, Ellen asked in the comments how to tie a slip knot for a rebozo carry.  Heather has kindly made us this illustrative video using 2 wraps so as to show clearly where each pass is going.

Now, a little practice and you'll be able to rebozo with any cloth you come across. Thanks for the tutorial, Heather!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Emergency Babywearing for the Non-Emergency

A couple months ago following the tragedy of the Japanese tsunami, we discussed emergency babywearing in a true emergency situation: natural disaster, fire, injury.  In this post we follow up with emergency babywearing in a non-emergency situation.  These are those occasions where your babywearing skills come in handy even though it isn't a true emergency.  Babywearing is a skill, not a carrier.  Once you have the skill, almost anything can carry your baby. And sometimes those baby carriers can stand in for other things needed in your non-emergency.

Situation #1:
 You've gone to the library with your kids.  You thought both were ready to look at books peacefully, so you didn't bring in a carrier, but your toddler begins grabbing books from the shelves and you need to get her away from them.  Your lovely scarf can come to the rescue:

This same solution can come to the rescue at an outdoor market where you can pick up a pashmina, selendang, or sarong.  Or at Target (or other store) where you can find a scarf or table cloth from the clearance bin that will work well. I've also pressed a pashmina into service when I couldn't find a carrier to go with an outfit for a dress occasion (ignore the terrible knot positioning, this was early in my wrapping carrier).

Situation #2
Your family has headed to the beach.  You only had a short walk, a few blocks at most from the house/hotel/car, and you knew your preschooler would have no trouble with the walk.  But at the end of a long day of beach fun, your preschooler is wiped out and doesn't have enough juice to make it home.  What now?  You still have to carry the beach stuff back, so you can't carry them in arms.  Your towel to the rescue!
I actually had this that same day with my toddler.  I carried her in arms from the car (not sure why, I was excited about our day at the beach and wasn't thinking clearly), then at the end of the day, I was too tired to carry her back and get the stuff to the car...
Ariel towel to the rescue!

Situation #3
Sometimes you have an emergency of an entirely different sort.  We've all had the experience when a baby has a diaper leak, or pours out a cup of juice, but when it occurs when you are wearing them, you get wet too.  Most moms carry extra clothes for baby, but what about you?  Do you get to stay icky and wet?  Now, how to get home?  A double hammock carry with your wrap will provide the coverage of your top without having to put the dirty shirt back on.  Once you've made it home, or at least to the relative safety of the car, you can usually find a longer term solution.  Perhaps you won't be the height of fashion, but you will be dry and covered.

It seems whenever I'm around my kids, they find ways to make me a mess.  During my older daughter's swim class a few weeks ago, my toddler was determined to get in the pool.  I spent the class chasing her and trying to keep her from falling in.  I was wearing a long skirt, and squatting by the pool edge I got the skirt all wet.  I had a long drive ahead of me, and wearing a wet skirt to drive didn't sound comfortable at all.  A short wrap to the rescue.  A wrap can stand in for a skirt in many situations.

Situation #4
Finally, sometimes you brought a carrier, you remembered extra clothes (or managed to stay clean), you remembered to pack sandwiches, snacks and drinks, what you forgot was a place to PUT the lunch down.  That carrier can come in handy here as a table cloth or picnic blanket:

A tangent to this one is when you arrive where you are going to eat and discover that there are no high chairs.  Sometimes leaving baby in the carrier will work fine with a small baby, but an older baby or toddler may want to join in the meal, so once again, carriers to the rescue:

So remember that knowing how to babywear is about more than knowing how to use a carrier in its intended fashion correctly.  It's using a skill and fabric devices to make your life better.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!

I have a post planned for tomorrow or the next day, but this evening I had a special experience I wanted to share.  We took the girls to see the fireworks.  I put T on my back as we were just standing by the car watching them.  She was so excited.  Because she was on my back, I could hear her soft, "ooo!"  She was pointing them out to me.  She was so excited about them at first.  However, after a while, she became a little overwhelmed.  Because she was on my back, instead of crying or fussing, she just turned her face into my back to settle, and then when she was ready she'd look back.  It was a really special moment.  I was glad that babywearing and the Declaration of Independence made it possible. Thanks also to all of the members of the military who preserve for us the chance for watching fireworks every July.