Friday, October 10, 2014

IBW 2014: Sharing the Adventure After Wearing Days are Over

So I've talked a lot about how my babywearing journey began but I think I'm finally ready to talk about how it's finally over...

I think this is truly the last time Carmen and I wore out of necessity. We were in the grocery store and she went on and on. Whining, mini melt downs and we just couldn't figure out how to keep her happy, so I threw her up in the Kinderpack and that was that. No second thoughts about it but it was also the last time that I truly found the Kinderpack as a solution for that kind of behavior.

Suddenly, I found myself aching every time we wore. Being an educator for 2+ years has taught me every trick in the book to make yourself comfortable while wearing. I had tried most of it and had
asked for more suggestions and then you just finally realized that maybe it's because she's about two thirds your height and nearly a third of your weight. Even though the Kinderpack was comfortable, there wasn't really much I could do to keep my feet from aching, my legs getting sore and from waddling when I'd wear her. She is almost 4 years old after all. She's independent, doesn't really run off, holds hands well and even though she happily rode in the Kinderpack, she would also happily walk next to me. That's when Carmen and I made the very difficult decision to call it quits.

I think it's really important that that last sentence be the main focus of this post. "Carmen and I." WE chose to quit wearing. It was decision that we decided TOGETHER. I got down on her level with the Kinderpack in hand and we talked about it. I asked her how she felt about it. "Good," she said.

"And are you ready to walk with me and hold my hand from now on?"
"How would you feel if we gave the Kinderpack a new home?"
"So no more Kinderpack rides, is that okay?"
"Yes, okay."

Even though I had the opportunity to talk about this with Carmen, I knew that I could have made this decision on my own. It was like an unspoken agreement between her and I but I think I needed to hear it from her so we could move on. So I could move on. And it brings me back to all the times that I may have had sour judgements about others and how ashamed I am which is really what provoked me to write this. This wasn't an easy decision! How could I have judged someone for making this one on their own terms just like Carmen and I had done! When it physically pains you to wear and your child is happy on the ground, you don't have to explain that to anyone else.

Dad got to experience the last KP nap.
I know there are times when you have to make that decision just for you and maybe it's not an agreement between you and your child. Carmen went through a very violent kicking phase when she was angry and I had to end wearing sessions. If she didn't show interest after that, I alone could have easily ended our wearing days right there and no one could have told me that it wasn't for the better! Judgement is inevitable while parenting and I strongly think it's just in our human nature but we judge less when we are educated. When we get insights to others' stories and when we understand fellow parents, we judge less.

So you'll still see me at meetings, I may not have a child attached to me, I'm not pregnant and I may not have plans for more but this community has brought me so much joy and I'm here to stay for as long as I can. Babywearing is a parenting tool I feel should be available to everyone and just because we are done, it's still my duty as a fellow mother to teach you to wear your baby safely and comfortably. Traditionally, it'd be your aunt, your sister, your mother, your grandmother but times have changed and we're here for you through all stages. Educating you while still pregnant to when you decide to call it quits.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

IBW 2014: Emergency Babywearing Workshop Recap

Please read our disclaimer before making or using any of these make-shift carriers. These are for emergency purposes only. 

So a little while ago, Jade held this awesome emergency babywearing workshop. After her and a few other of our educators attended the Babywearing Conference, they learned some really neat tricks to wear your baby in an event of an emergency such as a natural disaster. Here's a list of some of the stuff she used:

  • Belt
  • Scarf
  • Duct Tape
  • 3 Cotton Knit Tshirts
  • Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Bed Sheet
  •  Beach Towel

First Jade started out by demonstrating carries with a scarf. It made for quite a versatile carrier but with it being so thin and short, it may work best for smaller infants and short trips. She also reminded us that the make shift carriers might be excellent for other purposes. If you had a lot of stuff to carry, it would be easy to load them into the carrier and attach them to you. A more skilled wearer may be able to fasten the scarf around themselves like a front torso carry as well. Here are some photos of the rebozo she did. Depending on how slippery your scarf is and how much length, you could finish off with the slip knot or square knot.

The beach towel torso carry was probably the most popular carry to try! It's tricky but with practice, it gets easier. We experimented with different ways to tuck and finish off the rails of the wrap but the group agreed that twisted the ends and then rolling them into the sides of the towel was the most helpful. This carry actually comes in handy for the beach or pool but it is difficult to get used to baby being so low and feeling like it's secure enough.  

Jilliane and Eliana were quite comfortable in this make-shift K'tan carry! Jade cut two cotton knit shirts at the armpits and created essentially pouches out of the shirts. When you put them over your shoulders like a sling, they create two passes for you to situate your baby into. Then the scarf comes into play by acting as a horizontal pass to protect the cross passes from sliding down baby's back. Flipping the shoulders like Jilliane did in the photo made for a better fit for Jilliane's petite frame. 

The strap carry is probably the most unusual looking carry we tried out of the bunch. It looks unsafe but it's quite secure and comfortable. It's essentially a ruck with no seat but baby is kept arms out. Carmen (4 years old) used to love her arms in so this was a tough carry for her but she could tell that the pass was keeping her up as well. There are different ways to finish this off but this is generally done with a bed sheet which doesn't always offer a lot of length so tying it under baby's bottom is what's most commonly done.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

IBW 2014: Share the Camping Adventure

There are only a few things in life that I enjoy more than camping.  It just so happens that camping affords me the opportunity to enjoy many things in life at the same time:  adventure, time with family, and grilling.

Dana and I were camping well before children but there we never a doubt that we would continue our camping escapades after having them.  As most of you with children know, kids need lots of attention.  This can make is a challenge when trying to set up the campsite.  This is where babywearing comes in.  From Klaw's first camping trip several years ago to Scream's latest camping trip several weeks ago, I almost always put on one of the kids while I get everything set up.  This lets the kid see what I'm doing and it allows me to be hands free to set up.

Even after set up, I am a babywearing machine.  I will wear one of the kids when I take the dogs out to pee or for a walk.  I will wear one of the kids when we go walking on the beach.  I have even worn one of the kids at a college football game where we happened to be camping.  Babywearing is almost a requirement for me when we go camping.

I want my children to grow up and look back at pictures and videos and see the great times we had camping as a family, exploring our beautiful country.  I want them to see me wearing them and see the excitement on my face as I involve them in the camping experience.  Life truly is an adventure and I want my children to have the greatest adventure, either on my back or by my side.