Tag Archives: babywearing

He is the very model of a modern multitasking man

The Man works from home on Wednesdays, a fact both I and Vulva Baby adore (he’s pretty happy about it most weeks, too). Here he is giving my back a break, bonding with his baby, keeping Vulva Baby happy (and vestibularly stimulated), participating in a group interview for a new potential hire, and chatting in the back channels about said interview:

He wears a baby now. Babies are cool.

This picture brings many thoughts to mind, none of which I have time to explore fully (because she’s back on my chest now):

  • I know not everyone has jobs that can be done from home, but so many do who aren’t being allowed to (even The Man is only able to once a week). This is a part of the strict separation of “work” and “life” in most current societies — a ridiculous division which fails both at honoring and valuing home-work and at acknowledging that most of us want to work1 and want to have it be part of our lives.
  • Similarly, though many people don’t have work that is baby-friendly, many of us do who aren’t being allowed to. Even The Man’s work-from-home guidelines include a ban on performing any form of child care during paid work hours. It is true that having sole care of an infant while working would be exceedingly difficult for most2, but again, the expectation that any parent have sole care is a result of the work-life separation mentioned above. There could be so many creative approaches that make far more sense, if we were willing to consider them.
  • This is life in a “social media” world: communicating in multiple channels at once, often with the same people. Pundits who deride the “current generation” (usually teens or young 20s) for their “technology addiction” are utterly missing the point that communication technology3, is changing how we work and live. But the fundament remains the same: humans communicating and connecting, as we always have and will. Only the particulars differ.
  • I have a damn adorable baby.4

Your thoughts?

  1. That is, to engage in activity that is meaningful, part of something more-than-us, and connects us with others, whether our family or our tribe. Sometimes, in capitalism, we are paid for this work, and sometimes we do not, but we nearly all seek it in one form or another.
  2. It is not coincidence that the days I have been able to write have been when The Man is also working from home, and we are able to trade off.
  3. As it always has and will, from the start of spoken language through writing, printing presses, telegraphs and telephones, and whatever is developed in the future.
  4. C’mon, like that wasn’t one of your first thoughts looking at this picture!

Shamelessly showing off picture post

It ain’t that I don’t have things to say, it’s that no way do I have time to sit and type them. I may have to start vlogging. But no one wants that.

Anyway. TO THE PICTURES!

The first three were taken by the amazing Amy Lynne Watson (the grinning goddess checking out my baby’s back, below), when the Girlchick1 was less than two days old:

I wasn't sure about this whole "getting my picture taken without showering or dressing or aught" thing, and then I saw this. Yeah. Amy made it work.

The artist and healer herself.

And now back to shitty iPhone pictures…

With the move, there's not been enough of this, but The Man got baby snuggles in when he could.

One week old:

Why yes, I do have the most beautiful baby in the world.

And just last night:

Babywearing: maximizing quiet alert periods since Homo became Sapiens.

And there you have it: cuteness galore.

Next up3, a guest post on a topic all too familiar to yours truly: postpartum OCD.

  1. One day, I will blog about gender, genitals, pronouns, provisional assignments, and imperfect compromises. One day.
  2. Geek points galore for those who get which famous line this is filking.
  3. If all goes as planned. Cue laughter from those in the know.

Quick hit: on housekeeping, messy houses, babywearing, and second children

Pregnant + school + sick = series of short posts. Drop me a line if there’s a topic you want covered.

Today’s post dedicated to JoyfulAbode, who said “I’m always interested in how other people keep up their homes – cleaning schedules or routines or whatnot.” So blame her. And this cold. But mostly her.

I had a clean house once. There was this brief, shining period in my life, perhaps two years long, where, while perhaps describable as “cluttered”, I went to bed every night with a clear and mostly clean floor, with dirty dishes in the dishwasher if anywhere, with laundry folded and put away or neatly awaiting washing in a not-overflowing hamper. There was a time when I’d thought I’d gotten a handle on this housekeeping thing, more or less — certainly “more” than in the household I grew up in, and little enough less than perfection for me to be perfectly happy.

It was not, you may be surprised to learn, pre-Boychick, excepting the first couple months of this near-mythical time.1 Nor was it in spite of the newly introduced concentrated chaos in our life, nor even particularly out of some noble inspiration from his angelic presence. It was, rather, because of babywearing.

Babywearing, for us, was not just about saving our arms, nor calming a fussy baby, nor avoiding oodles of plastic infant conveyances — though it is also all those things. But it’s also, and more importantly, about closeness, and paradoxically about distance. It’s about leading our life with our baby quite literally along for the ride, not the center of our attention but at the center of the action, learning the bounce and sway and rhythm of humanity, learning the rate of our hearts and our breath, the sound of our voices, the pace of our walk, and the work of our life.

…which means having work other than this, other than sitting sedentary staring at a screen, mind active but body dormant. So every day, usually twice for me and once for The Man, we’d spend at least half an hour up and moving and doing: the dishes, the laundry, the sweeping, even, if none of that was left, the dusting. Things got done.

Now? Not so much. Now it’s a whirlwind almost-four-year-old2 who protests or, worse, wishes to assist every act of cleaning up, it’s exhaustion and lethargy and decades-old habits, it’s “for the love of the gods, child, I’m glad you learned to walk and run and jump now will you please sit down!”

And it’s “maybe if we have another…”

What? There’ve been worse reasons to procreate.

  1. The fact that from about 6 months pre-conception until most of the way through the first trimester we did not, as such, have any of our stuff, and doing the dishes involved washing one of the two cups we then had in our possession, probably helped get us off to a decent start.
  2. !!!!

5 would-have-been-useless “must-have” baby items I avoided buying thanks to infertility and poverty

Not having the fertility you expect nor the money you require for little things like buying groceries and avoiding debt that will take decades to dig yourself out of sucks donkey dong, no question. But it’s not all bad. Oh no: some good things can come out of that curiously cruel combination — or rather, some not-so-great things, though much desired at one time, might be avoided. Ah, the virtue of “simplicity” through forced inability to purchase anything!

Without further snark (who am I kidding: with much further snark), here are five “must have” baby things I did not waste money on, not having the funds to do so before figuring out I wouldn’t need it thanks to countless hours spent researching online because computers at least did what I told them as opposed to ovaries which persistently and cruelly ignored my pleas to work properly.

Ahem.

5 Would-Have-Been-Useless Things I Avoided Buying Thanks to Infertility and Poverty

1. A crib. Bed sharing? Not only far safer than many “public safety” organizations (often crib-lobby-backed) would have you believe, but also actually the biological default for humanity. Sure, it doesn’t work for every baby nor every family, but me? I’d slept with my partner every night for half a decade, I’d shared my bed with a long line of cats and dogs, I curled up every night around a baby-sized stuffed bear nearly as old and rather rattier than I, I was used to the obnoxious nighttime noises of my kidney-damaged geriatric poodle: I could cosleep. That quarter-circle-shaped utterly impractical if frankly gorgeous $2000 crib? We could pass.

2. A stroller. Living in the Pacific Northwest meant there was no weather reason to need a stroller even in the worst of summer, as some of my Texan friends did. Being more or less sound of body meant the 8lb/3.6kg (or, as it turned out, nearly 10.5lb/4.7kg) weight of a properly worn newborn would be no strain at all, and if at some point down the line the kid or our bodies decided we needed a conveyance on wheels, well, we’d get something then. And in the meantime, practicing carries with my long-suffering stuffed bear served to sate slightly my inner baby-obsessing-beast.

3. Crotch-dangling carriers and over-padded closed-tail slings. In the way-back olden days of five years ago, the over-engineered be-buckled devices known none-too-affectionately as crotch-danglers were The Must Have strapping-baby-to-body device, and the alternative was a sling available in a wide range of pastel-with-ducks color schemes and an unfortunate name reminiscent of slang for a brassier. (Nowadays the significantly better if still imperfect and overpriced ERGObaby carrier is nudging the crotch-danglers out of the Must Have lists — if not yet the lion’s share of the market outside Hippiedom Central otherwise known as Portland — and there are a number of lovely, sophisticated, dare-I-say-sexy slings in national distribution.)

I, however, when faced with those two options, dug deeper and found the frankly-a-little-frightening world of babywearing, and learned how to safely and securely make a carrier better than anything available on the mass market for less than $10, or in a pinch wear an infant in a large beach towel, a pair of sweatpants, or — I am not making this up — a pillowcase and a length of duck-tape. But that didn’t stop me for asking my mom for a $130 organic wrap.

4. Baby monitors. I know we’re the only parents in a 500 mile radius who don’t use them (even Her Crunchy Highness Hathor the Cowgoddess has a set), but when one’s plan includes cosleeping at night and babywearing the rest of the time, and one doesn’t really have house enough or older children enough for the noise of a gritchy baby to get lost in, what’s the point? Other than to pick up arguments and intrigue and hot sex noises from others’ monitors, and that’s what we have bad TV shows for.

5. Moses basket. There was a time, and no I could not tell you why, that the thought of a hooded basket with handles in which a serenely sleeping baby could be carried around the house and set next to wherever one was, it was understood, sewing or spinning or plucking a died-of-joyful-self-sacrifice goose sent me in to sepia-colored swoons for hours at a time. I am sure there are situations in which they’re a godsend1, but if I’d had the money to indulge at the time of my obsession, I would now be the less-than-proud owner of a sweet and sentimental hooded and handled laundry basket. Or cat carrier.

That’s my list of the big-ticket items we successfully dodged due to utterly-depressing (if thankfully incomplete) infertility and soul-crushing (if thankfully temporary) poverty. If we were to start over now, we’d still avoid each of those (though we might succumb to a few more triple-digit-dollar baby carriers), but if I’d have the budget and the lack of research time pre-permission-to-buy-baby-things-by-virtue-of-gestating-assiduously, each one would have found their way into our home.

I won’t say I’m glad for sub-par fertility or a long period of poverty, but though it sucked donkey dong at the time, at least I’m not stuck with a herd of hay-chewing fertilizer-producers from buying every pony my heart fleetingly desired.

Your turn: what “must-haves” did you do fine without? What money wasters are gathering dust in your spare room? Or, what big-ticket purchase were you surprised to find useful? What unaffordable object would you have given, or would still give, at least a small piece of your soul for?

  1. Geddit? Moses basket? Godsend? Yes, that’s the quality of material you can find around casa RMB 24/7.

Interesting weekend

So here’s something I’ve discovered I won’t blog about: when it’s not my story to tell. When telling of my experience would reveal more than others are ready to share.

That was my weekend. This is the first time I’ve been at my computer for more than 5 minutes since Wednesday night.

Dear Record Number of Commenters: I’m not ignoring you, I just haven’t had time yet  to properly reply to all of you. Or even pretend to properly reply to any of you.

And now I have time, but I am spent. What I’ve spent my energy on would be a bargain at ten times the price, and I’d do it all over again right now if called to do so, and again after that. But I’d be drawing on credit, the credit of spoons which has steeper interest rates than any financial company — and I’d do that for what and for whom I did this weekend, in a heartbeat, but for not much else; not even for this, my beloved blog.

So to tide you over until my deficit is replenished and we resume the regular irregular schedule of kyriarchy blame 1, here’s some fabulous reading from elsewhere, in no particular order:

  • half the population can’t be a niche market in which Shiny so clearly lays out how silencing works (primarily looking at women, but acknowledging it works that way for other axes of oppression as well).
  • The Inconvenient Truth About Raising Kids “In raising kids, I don’t think any parenting book will get by the fact that most of us need to work on ourselves first to be better parents. Parenting does not get easier by getting better at “managing” our kids. The best parenting advice I’ve ever heard is work on letting go.”
  • Ranting bfp on John Mayer and racist double standards in criticizing sexist cock heads
  • What is bisexuality FAQ The best FAQ on bisexuality I’ve seen.2 (Though as Reclusive Paradox points out, it is not true that “bisexual” is not binary-reifying or cissexist, only that it is no more so than “homosexual” or “heterosexual”.)
  • Pretty and not sporty – worries about gendering our children Dad Who Writes isn’t making the same choices The Man and I are, but he’s facing the same problems and thinking smartly about them.
  • The Ninth Carnival of Feminist Parenting is up, and as usual has more good reading than I can get to in a month, but I’m going to try.

And, finally, not an article but an announcement for a new blog: existere has started babywearing times two for twin (& other tandem) babywearing. Although I pray I never need to use it, I’m glad she’s creating this resource. Read, learn, contribute. Babywearing is so where it’s at.

  1. There’s another installment of Naked Pictures of Faceless People on the way, and inspired by the most recent fat-people-flying debacle I’m finally going to write about taking the train last December and whether I’m heading to BlogHer ’10 in New York City in August — which would, in the practical world, require taking commercial flight
  2. On a related note, if anyone wants to buy me one of these — or pretty much any of their Ts — I’d be ever so grateful. And I’d post pics.