Tuesday, August 21, 2012

babywearing - 5 years, 3 kids, 3 carriers

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I've been convinced that baby wearing is an excellent choice for many families since before Elizabeth was born. Practice in our house has proven this to be true, but what I thought I'd be doing and using 5 years later is not quite what I'd anticipated.  I'm offering a bit of my experience for those of you thinking about adding baby wearing as a tool in your parenting toolbox.

I have three types of carriers:

Stretchy Wrap - Mine is a Moby, my first carrier, and the one I used more frequently with Elizabeth.
Asian Style carrier/ Mei Tei - Babyhawk brand - I got this somewhere around the time Nathanael was born. I really don't remember if it was before or 5 months after. I used this more than the Moby, once I had it, and he was a bigger baby.
Ring Sling  - a beautiful yard sale find, apparently homemade - I found this when N was about 18 months. It is my most frequently used carrier with Adelle.

Here's how I use my carriers:

Rarely in the house. I'm just not someone who wants my baby strapped to my body all the time in the house.  Most of the time, the baby is sleeping, or playing on the floor, or simply being held in arms.  I wore E much more when she was a newborn around the house, but she didn't mind playing on the floor or in a swing while I did housework. None of my kids fuss much, and haven't been colicky babies, so I haven't needed to use a carrier to help me out in that way.

As Adelle has gotten older, I find I use the BabyHawk in a back carry, so she can get a nap, and I can get something done around the house.

Mostly out and about.  I can hardly imagine shopping for groceries or running errands without some kind of baby carrier. The few times I've hauled the baby seat in to the store it's been a pain, but I will do this when I have just one or two things to get/do in a particular store, and the baby is sleeping. It's so much easier to have the baby in a carrier than trying to figure out how to put my groceries in a cart around the baby, while corralling the other two kids!

During camping/retreats/large gatherings.  I directed youth camps and attended family camps when E and N were infants/toddlers. My baby carriers were indispensable.  I kept baby on me most of the time, especially since these events mean lots of outdoor walking to and from cabins, bathhouse, classrooms, and the lodge/eating area.  I've attended conferences and baby wearing has enabled me to keep baby happy while allowing me to participate.  Although, you'd still often find me at the back or edge, swaying or bouncing baby to sleep.

My thoughts on the carriers I have:

Moby - I love it for the newborn stage.  I secures the baby's head, and keeps baby nice and snug against me.  I used a Moby with E until she was more than a year old. I love that it's stretchy, but that's also the ting I don't like when baby gets heavier.  I love that it's easy to get the baby in and out of the wrap, which is especially useful when getting in and out of the car for errands.

Babyhawk- I got it because I was curious, and I found it on sale for $35.  I like it especially for back carries, once a baby is a little older - starting about 6-7 months.  It's okay for the newborn stage in a front carry), but there's an awkward stage where baby doesn't want feet tucked in froggie style, but baby isn't quite big enough to straddle the carrier and have legs out.  It's a good carrier, and I expect I will be using it more in the future.  Of my three carriers, this one is the most challenging to put baby in and out frequently (as one might do while running errands), but all things considered, it's still pretty easy to use.

Noname Ring Sling - I've been surprised at how much I've used my ring sling.  The thing that draws me back to it again and again is how easy it is to take on and off. Very easy to get baby in and out. It's harder for me to get the snug fit I want, I think because the rings are a little small for the amount of material. I do end up using my hands to support the baby more often than I do when I'm using the moby or the babyhawk, but it's generally not a problem. I've not tried a back carry with this sling, and the hip carry is not comfortable for me, but as a general go to carrier, I like this one a lot.

Breastfeeding while baby wearing has never been something with which I've been comfortable. The babies never seemed to like nursing in the moby, and I felt like the babyhawk left me too exposed, while the ring sling didn't feel secure enough to walk and nurse.  Perhaps there are more skilled mamas than I out there, but for me breastfeeding is something I have to do with the carrier off my body.

I would love to try out an Ergo or similar carrier.  I've heard great things about them, and maybe, just maybe, Jude would be more willing to carry the baby (if I got a non-girly one, unlike my babyhawk and ring sling.)

What are your favorite carriers? Why do you like them?  Have you tried any that haven't worked for you?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

1/3 of August

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Here it is, the first third of August done.

I've kind of disappeared from the face of my blog, but it's not because I don't love you.  No, it's because I've been more wrapped up in things around going on outside the interwebs. This is good, because it's given me time to work on other stuff.

We're "officially" starting homeschooling this year, since Elizabeth is age-eligible for kindergarten.  I've been working on what our curriculum will be.  In a lot of ways, I'm still not settled on the exact path we shall take.  I'm draw to an out-of-the-box curriculum, since it is all planned out. I have a bunch (read: a 3 foot stack) of lesson, theme, activity, and workbooks for k-1, that I've picked up over the last few years. So it's not that I don't have the materials for the year.  I just lack a cohesive plan for proceeding through the materials.

I have been reassured that I need to relax a little for kindergarten, and stick with the basics. Explore with them. Read with them. Play with them.  I'm confident that this year will be a great year for us.  Elizabeth is a quick and enthusiastic learner.  My job? To encourage that, and not dampen it.

At the 1/3 of August mark, it's time for me to be putting round 2 of my container garden in to play.
What, you say?  I didn't post about my garden to start with?  Well.  Here's the short of it:

May - Garden shop. Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, Sugar snap peas, Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Carrot seeds. Already had 2 pots of strawberries and chives. Tomatoes and carrot seeds in a 3.5'x3.5' square. Rest in pots.
June - Seeds died, tomatoes thrived. Cilantro died.
July - Cucumbers did well till we left on vacation, then 1 plant died, the other is hanging on. Peppers had blossom end rot, but I got some calcium and watered more evenly, and they appear to be doing better. Everything else is fine. Peas are done and pulled out.

So now that we're caught up to August, I'm planning to take some of my now-empty pots, and plant lettuce and spinach. I'd read that I might get some carrots to grow even at this point, so I'll probably give that shot in one of my deep pots.

1/3 of August.

That means we've been living in the Chicago area for almost 6 months. That means I'm really hoping that we don't have to move again in 6 months when our lease is up.  It also means that if we did have to move in 6 months, I'm totally not prepared to do that again. Too Much Stuff.

Last 2/3rds of August.  Plus September.

We still have some summer left in us.  I made a summer bucket list for the family back in June.  What?  Another thing I didn't get around to posting on the ol' blog? Oh well.

Train Store
Beach at the lakefront
Bike ride
Make ice cream
Complete summer reading program
Go to an art festival
Go to a concert in the park
Go to a movie

Train ride
Make our own bubble mix
Go to Toys R Us (totally E's idea)
Starved Rock State Park

Good thing we have plenty of summer left!

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