Okay, okay… thanks to some gentle prodding from another SAHM mother of 5, blogger, and oh- my cousin, over at The REAL Adventures of a SoCal Mom, I am going to try and break back into this whole writing situation. You know… also, because *oh yeah*, it’s what makes me happy. Duh! Sometimes, us new parents -even ones that have had a baby (or three) before- need some gentle nudging to see the forest for the trees. Thanks, Rose! ❤
I suppose it goes without mention that I did, indeed, finally give birth. Huzzah! He was 4 days overdue, but little Patrick James was born Dec 4th at 12:54pm, 7 pounds, 13 oz. 20.5 inches long. Hey- I still remember, even! See? Being a parent doesn’t ENTIRELY consume your brain! Oh wait… it took three months to post that- nevermind. Yes it does. I’ll write some version of his birth story down at some point- I was only in labor a couple of hours anyhow, true to the timing in my two prior lightning-fast labors: I had Aiden in two hours (who is now 8, see his birth story in my blog from another life here: The Anatomy of Labor) and Annika in one! I think the last three labors combined total something like 5 hours and 5 pushes/minutes of pushing? Something like that. (Ouch! Don’t worry, I can still feel you punch me through the computer- and, rest assured, those few hours are completely filled with the transition stage. It still really hurts, trust me.)
Another thing that happens after the birth of a child, even for an experienced parent, is that it takes time to develop a routine, especially at nighttime. Patrick is still working out his sleep schedule, I am still working out (the lack of) mine. Sleep deprivation, joy! At least he’s not my first child, so I know that as my Grammy always says, “This too, shall pass.” I am sitting here, reveling in my coffee right now, I can tell you that much! Sweet, sweet nectar of the Goddesses. (I’m pretty sure the first thing Zeus’ wife does before he starts running the cosmos is start the coffeemaker. Are we kidding, thinking he keeps track of all that without a caffeinated cohort?)
One thing that has helped tremendously in my adaptations is babywearing.When faced with astonished inquisitors when responding that no, this isn’t my first child, but actually my fifth, (counting my stepdaughter, who lives with us full time) I developed the response, “No big deal, we like our kids. You just pop ’em out, strap ’em on and get back to it!” …which has pretty much been the case since I discovered babywearing when Aiden (my second in line) was born & I found myself trying to work in a newborn with my 2 year old. I found a non-adjustable, simple sling from Earth Child that he and I both loved- especially since he had colic and it was one of the only things that actually soothed him and allowed me to move on with my life.
|Aww, cuddly skull knee!
| Even my strapping, Irish-tempered, skateboarding, surfing, anti-hippie, tattooed ex-punker-partner has a carrier he likes for wearing our new edition. (It’s the Target-brand rip-off of the Ergo Baby carrier- both great babywearing options.) They are both especially great for menfolk, as they looks as much like a backpack as possible. (Okay, he’s been looking for a Thrasher Skate Goat patch big enough to cover it since its initial purchase & we lovingly refer to it as “The Grey Thing”, but still. A rose by any other name, right?)
|Me sporting “The Grey Thing” with Danny
& “The A Team” (Annika & Aiden) at Pier 39
My personal preference is the Moby Wrap. It’s so comfortable! It’s made from cotton that feels like a T-shirt, it’s adjustable without any flappy, itchy, abrasive tags (save the tiny one used to keep your place in the middle) and there are plenty of different holds, too: You can have your baby facing toward or away from you on either your front or back, plus the newborn & hug holds, which I’ve had AMAZING luck combating colic with! (Calming a colicky baby is priceless- this needs so further explanation.)
I know… I know… It looks confusing. It’s long. It’s HELLA long. It’s Rapunzel in cotton form. If you’re not in the mood, learning to Moby (look, it’s a verb!) can be crazymaking and tear-inducing, much like learning to ride a bicycle, play the violin, learn algebra or master any other new skill. Yes, using a Moby is a skill– one that should be listable on our Mommy resumes, along with the ability to be stirring oats on the stove/bouncing a baby/directing the readying for school crowd (“No, you may not have marshmallows for breakfast. Your teeth are NOT brushed, nice try. Yes, I saw your drawing. Go find your other shoe! Hurry up! The bus! THE BUS!!“) while maintaining a (mostly) coherent conversation with Danny about the newest Epic Meal Time or what I just found on Pinterest & wondering in the back of my head whether or not I forgot to lock the car doors after the early morning oh-my-GOD-there’s-no-coffee run… withOUT burning the baby or messing up the cadence. (The fact that I’m a music nerd helps out a bit on that last part- sometimes I find myself patting triplets to my bounces) I’m pretty sure in moments like those, we’re supposed to receive a crown, Imperial Margarine style, but I digress. Instead, we earn our stripes and move on. You know, like I’m supposed to be doing right now.
|My little sister & niece,
Moby-ed up for a parade!
One thing babywearing makes MUCH easier is shopping. Every time I go out, the Moby always draws comments. Most them are of the, “Wow! Did you do that yourself? It looks so complicated!” or “Aww, your baby looks SO cozy! I’ve seen those, but always been afraid to try it.” variety. I’ve even walked a mother to where the Mobys are sold in Target last week. ($44! They used to be like $100) Almost every time, I find myself admitting, hands-in-the-air that no, I am not a creative genius and yes, I’ve had to study the instructions, watch instructional videos via their YouTube channel AND have my sister help me. But I always immediately follow with how much I love it- and moreover, how much Patrick loves it. Seriously, that Moby tag is like a snooze button! He’s calm, quiet & even sleeping within 5 minutes every single time, as soon as I pull that sucker into position- and I might go as far as to say he’s even kinda of a fussy baby. (Sorry, Patrick. I love you, but your gas is an obstacle for both of us to reckon with- if I could make it die a slow, crampy, stinky death, I would.)
And then there are the other comments. Comments from well-meaning, but well- what’s the opposite of progressive?- people. (See also: Sanctimommies) The Thesaurus lists “small-minded” as an antonym for progressive, let’s go with that. Then, there are the comments from small minded folks.
Like last week, when I snuggled Patrick into the Moby and gathered the older children (an 8y/o boy and 2 & 4 year old girls) for a spelunk around the neighborhood for some sunshine and energy expelling. We then paraded over to the local drugstore where there is a Redbox I planned to use to facilitate winding down after our excursion. We march around, we pick up & talk about leaves an bugs and talk about the girls’ upcoming birthday party. As the steps start to shorten & slow, I make the executive decision to bring our adventure in for a close and we plod into the store on our last reserves.As we enter, I am instantly wary: it is FULL of Eastery-pastel-kid-crack. Amazingly enough, all of my children are maintaining control, despite being tired AND hungry. This is a momentary reprieve from The Universe not to be taken lightly. Better make this quick. We beeline to the movies & begin perusing. Patrick is peacefully passed out, everyone’s getting along, looking at which movie to choose, the clouds parted, angels were singing… okay, maybe not that last part, but sometimes, it seriously feels like it when they are all calm and quiet.Then… The Lady. The small minded Lady comes up and announces matter-of-factly, “Your baby is… uncomfortable. Can he breathe?” (Um, what?) I already kind of want to slap her for her blatant display of public stupidity. (NO, b*tch. He can’t. I’m quietly trying to kill my newborn… I just spent 9 straight months vomiting profusely for FUN. Oh, these other kids? Yes, they’re lucky to have survived me this long.) Sensing I may have been a little tired (Who, a mother of a newborn? Nooo...) & defensive- (being that this is CLEARLY not my first rodeo, as a friend so aptly put it) I finish choking her in my mind, come back to reality, smile and say, “He’s fine, thank you.”, managing to even maintain a grain of sincerity for her actually caring about my sleeping sweetheart, though it is NONE of her flipping business. I even go as far as show her his angelic, unobstructed face sleeping against my chest. (See? He’s adorable AND breathing. Now shush.)
But, not to be dissuaded by logic and obvious ignorance on the subject, The Lady pushes on, quite certain it is I who am the ignorant one, despite my surrounding children, who are still exhibiting stellar behavior, but slowly diverting their attention to her as she continues. “Do you have anything for his head?” All I can muster is a blank stare. (Uhh… does she realize it’s near summer weather out? … and that keeping bodies close together is how you survive if you get stuck in the Arctic?) “You know, like… a diaper?” The blank stare is only broken by my uncontrollable skyrocketing eyebrows. (WHAT?! A diaper? For his HEAD? WTF? Is she trying to be resourceful for me?) I’m so irritated & befuddled by her sheer nerve and the ludicricity of her words that all I can muster is literally, “Huh? Uh, no…” and turn my body, baby & attentions back to the other three children I’ve somehow managed not to ruin with my parenting style and try to move on with our movie selection.
Then? You guessed it! The Lady continues again! She proceeds to explain (passive-aggressively to the Reese’s eggs) “It’s just not good for them…” I meet my 8 year old’s questioning stare, roll my eyes and keep scrolling through the movies, despite wanting to give her a good helping of Humble Pie. Seeing that I have chosen to move on and completely ignore her, she follows suit and moves on, talking to my bulging eyed, barely-controlling-the-urge-to-hold-every-single-thing-in-the-aisle 4 year old daughter (and the rest of the corn syrup confections, which I’m sure were very supportive) how I am harming the baby, how he’s going to get sick and smothered, etc. This sends my mommy alarms near fever pitch, “Danger… DAAANGER!” flash the signs in my head as I feel my fists and throat tighten.
This Lady is no longer dancing on the line, she is charging right through to the other side, oblivious that it even exists! All of my children are behaving & minding their own business, Patrick is sleeping soundly… I am FUMING. I want to punch her in the ovaries. In my head, I hear my Grammy (bless her!) say, “If you don’t have something nice to say…” and I decide I’ll leave the verbal smackdown for another time- it’s hard to tell your kids to choose their battles & not argue all the time if I choose to give my energy to a total stranger. Instead, I take a deep breath give her the “We are DONE here. Speak again and I miiiiight accidentally murder you.” stare, usually reserved for challenging children or misinformed husbands, (ahem) and proceed to guide my wide-eyed girls back toward the movies. We check out Puss in Boots (which, as a sidenote, was great!) and get THE HELL out of there- away from The evil, sniping, vulture Lady & her trite, sanctimomious blather and home, to the soothing sounds of Antonio Banderas as a cartoon cat. Ahhh.
So really, The Moby (and babywearing in general) ensures the comfort of yourself & your baby- just not the comfort of self righteous, ignorant (or maybe just amazed & confused) folks that you may come into contact with. Sometimes babywearing in public (just like breastfeeding in public, which is another post altogether) feels like the safest, most comfortable, soothing, bonding experience possible between parent & baby. Other times, it can feel like arming up for battle. (Behold, my Moby of truth! Revere my bountiful boobs of justice!) Either way, keeping the little sprout (literally) close to our hearts is the best choice for our family, and something I will happily justify to naysayers. If having five children has taught me anything, it’s that they grow up fast. Those sweet moments breathing in the top of Patrick’s sleepy head are the currency of motherhood and I’ll take as much as I can get before they’re gone… no matter what anyone else thinks.
Do you and/or your partner wear your baby? Which style do you & your munchkin prefer? Do you ever get sanctimommied? How do you deal with it?
Not sure which carrier is best or where to get them?
Here are some links I’ve found helpful:
The Baby Wearer