Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to Wear a Baby

As a special and unique present, (something they excel at) my older brother and his wife procured for me a baby sling. Actually, my older brother did the direct procuring, and came back with one of those funny cultural stories about how varied our huge nation is. Evidently you can mildly insult a shop clerk in Eugene, Oregon by implying they sell synthetic, non-organic and plastic baby accessories. THEY, it appears, do not deal in the typical nylon enforced, chain store baby pouches. I can't even get diaper service in this part of Michigan, and his environmental hippie shop owners seem to think it weird that I can't find an old fashioned sling.

With my first child, I had a walmart purchase baby pouch that I got as a baby gift. It worked wonderfully until it got peed and puked on. when I tried to wash it and put it away because my child had outgrown it (at 9 months) It came out of the dryer still damp, with melted nylon straps. I couldn't even prove to my husband I had actually read and followed the directions for cleaning it, because the ink on the laundry tag had been removed. Thats when I started searching for the "real" thing. Do you have any idea how hard it was to find an old fashioned, two ring, washable cloth sling? No stores around here sold that sort of thing. My only choices were to order it online from some specialty store which I always worry about credit card safety when doing, or find a relative who lived near one... like my older brother.

Today, the much anticipated and desired gift arrived via pleasant Fed Ex. I pulled it out of the box, slipped it over my shoulder and into position. I slipped the baby in, cradle hold wise, and Nyobi immediately started screaming. Cora began to pull on the material. I quickly lifted the infant out, and made certain no legs or arms were crushed or in uncomfortable positions. Nyobi continued to scream. Cora started her usually redundant refrain "baby crying. Baby crying Momma." She started pulling on the material to save her sister.

This, obviously was NOT how to wear a baby. Geeze, I thought for an instant, all I wanted was a way to keep the baby happy and play with the two year old, or type, or do dishes, or actually have two hands. Instead, I've sent people on a quest to find a torture device for my infant. I put the sling down, and did a systems check. What I mean by that, is that I changed the diapers, gave them stuff to eat and drink, and distracted the two year old with Lilo and Stitch. Now I was ready to do this the right way, by reading the instructions for one of the oldest baby care devices on the planet. It would figure that I would need instructions for something like that. Fortunately, the site i found ( also gave me some moral support that I was not traumatizing either child.

Wearing your baby (of which the sling is one of many different devices), is better for their development, language skills, physical well being, and is supposed to reduce post partum depression in new Moms. It also helps Moms with toddlers to make extra time for the older child without listening to the "baby crying" Cora and I can't stand.

The second attempt to sling on Nyobi resulted in her much happier. Now I get a little cry when she is hungery, but no screams of wierdness or pain. I can type (this blog post) eat lunch, read a story to Cora and take the two year old out in the back yard for her five minute blackberry bush raiding sojourns. I have freedom! I have self!

I have to go put the tricycle in, before it gets wet!