18 articles Articles posted in Babywearing

Down Syndrome At 13 Months

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Our baby is starting to look so much like a boy. He has so much personality, he is so funny, and lovey, and he is just absolutely enthralled with his brother. He is getting pretty good at rolling around to get where he wants, and he’s even army crawled a foot or two once or twice, though he doesn’t do it often because it takes a lot of effort and really wears him out.

He loves blowing raspberries, he has mastered one sign (more), eats everything in sight but likes beans the best. He can sit with help, and enjoys it but can’t get up and down by himself yet.

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We live happily in our family bubble, we don’t notice Down syndrome; we focus on ability not disability. It’s easy to do in the bubble.

Last weekend I went outside my bubble. I went to Tempe and met my friends and their darling babies too, many of them who are Cop’s age and they are standing, walking, starting to talk. On day one I felt this little pang, this pinch of what life “should” be like.

Should. What a stupid word.

On day two the pang was gone. An ache for my boy replaced it. I missed him. I missed carrying him around because he can’t get around himself, I missed holding him up so he could see, I missed the weight of him on my back, and the pressure of his head on my shoulder when he rests. I’m embarrassed that I still get the pang, sometimes, the bit of jealousy about what life “should” be like, because if our life was different, if Copley weren’t I’d be devastated. He is perfectly him, and perfectly ours.

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On day three something funny happened. I went to a conference session the topic of which was Babywearing and  SPD/ASD- it was the first special needs session of the weekend. I listened, and I learned, and I also felt. I felt the undercurrent of shared struggle that parents of special needs children bear, even if we don’t think of it as a burden. It’s not fear of disability, it’s not fear of hard work or annoyance at the complicated ballet of scheduling our family has to pull off to accommodate two kids and four therapists, life isn’t hard, we aren’t angry or sad.

But we’re tired. Exhausted. Fearful about the future that holds so many unknowns.  Alone and isolated and afraid to drop one of the many balls we have in the air. Worried about friendships and community and love- not for us, but for our children as they grow and integrate into our communities. Normally I push my fears to the back of my brain and smother them because there are too many things that require my attention right now, and to linger on fear prevents me from living presently. But as I sat and listened, my eyes grew wet, and tears started to fall. And I wasn’t sad, they weren’t tears of grief, I’ve spent those tears, they were just so many overwhelmed feelings bubbling out.

To hear women who’ve come before me say yes, it’s exhausting, yes, it will become even more exhausting in the future, and yes, you can cope, you can manage, you can thrive. This is my village, this is why I’m here.

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Waiting for my flight home I sat at a lunch counter at the airport and picked at some french fries. I chatted with some men returning from a bachelor party, and the bartender who was egging them on, angling for a big tip. It was fun, a fun way to kill time when all I wanted was for time to fly so I could get home to my babies.

One of the men on the trip said he was an agent for YouTube stars which turned the conversation towards funny viral videos. I handed the bartender my credit card and was about to sign the tip when he made a comment about how “fucking retarded” people are. My hand froze, and I looked at this man, a man who works for tips.

It used to be hard to speak up, to chastise people and ask them to be better, especially when the mood was jovial and the crowd was laughing, but it isn’t hard now.

I looked him in the eye and said “the funny thing about a job like this, is you never know who is sitting at your counter, about to give you a big tip. My son has Down syndrome, he’s just a baby, and when you say things like “fucking retarded” you are being hurtful and extremely offensive, not just in the abstract, but specifically about my beautiful one year old. There are so many other words you can choose, please choose better, be better, and not only because you never know who you are talking to, but because you never know who might overhear you, and because it’s just time to let that word go.”

I didn’t feel that punch in the gut feeling, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t really even angry. I think I got through to him, at the very least I don’t think he’ll ever say that word at work again. I tipped him 20%  and got on my plane. When my family picked me up at the airport my beautiful boy wouldn’t let go of me.  And I couldn’t let go of him.

Friends And Fun In The Sun

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Tempe was a trip! It went about as expected (except for a nasty bout of food poisoning I got on day three that pretty much killed the trip for me) lots of friends, a little drama, tons of pretty wraps.

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I took a few classes, though not as many as I’d planned (see; food poisoning) and the classes were great, I came home with more tools in my tool box for BWI South Chicagoland and 321 Carry.

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The best part, hands down, was getting to spend time with friends.

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And playing with wraps.

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We locals were laughing that it took us traveling 1745 miles to sit down and have a beer together!

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I think we really need to make a little more of an effort to get together, more often than once every 2 years.

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And the babies! I love my friend’s babies like I love my own babies!

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IBC Countdown Is On!

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Just a few more days until I leave for the 2014 International Babywearing Conference in Tempe!

The weather should be terrible, but the AC in the hotel will be cranking out on high! I’m meeting most of my friends at the conference and believe it or not… I’m traveling without my kids for 4 whole days!

IMG_5944[1]I know it sounds a little crazy that I’ll be traveling to a babywearing conference without my baby, but I am attending class sessions as an educator the entire trip, have dinners and nights out planned with friends, and plan to do lots of networking for BWI South Chicagoland and 321 Carry, so josh and I decided that the best way I can make the most of my trip is by flying solo.

SOLO! I’m so excited! I fly out on Wednesday night! Now to just get through the next three days of work…focus focus focus…

Babywearing And Down Syndrome

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I guess now is as good a time as ever to tell you guys I’m now an official Volunteer Babywearing Educator with Babywearing International.  I took and passed my test last weekend, and I’m working with the BWI Chicagoland group.

When I was pregnant, avid babywearing mama and woven wrap collector I am, I was busy dreaming and planning to wrap a newborn again.  Babywearing is a big part of my life as a mama, for both utilitarian and hobbyist reasons. One of my first questions, after, you know, asking the BIG questions, was how am I going to need to adapt babywearing to meet our needs?

Of course there is no way to predict or plan or know ahead of time which characteristics or challenges your baby might have, but on the whole, there isn’t too much extra to worry about wearing a baby with Down syndrome. The biggest challenge for us was hypotonia, low muscle tone that makes Cop a little weaker and floppier than his brother was.  This means you have to keep a better eye on positioning when wearing.

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As far as what KIND of carrier is the best choice for you, the answer to that question deoends on what kind of carrier you like! But I will add that in my experience I’ve found the more adjustable the better.

I prefer a ring sling to a pouch

 

I prefer a woven wrap to a stretchy wrap

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I prefer a mei tai to a SSC or buckled carrier.  Now that’s not to say that you can’t use a pouch, a stretchy wrap or a soft structured carrier, but you’ll have to be extra careful about fit, and make sure you use inserts or bolsters to keep baby in the proper position.

Double Hammock Tips & Tricks

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I’ve been toying with the idea of making some babywearing videos and sharing some of the tips and tricks that make certain carries successful for me. I’ve been reluctant because there are already PLENTY of tutorials on YouTube and I don’t want anyone doing something stupid and then suing me. But, I made this video for a few friends, and decided to share it anyway.

Disclaimer: I’m not in any way liable for any fool thing you do after watching this video. If you decide to wrap your baby practice and acquaint yourself with a good foundation in safe practices first.

 

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Thebabywearer.com is an amazing resource where you can find video and picture tutorials, mentors, and plenty of babywearers active in the community who are more than willing to answer questions and make recommendations.

 

Daddy Wearing

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Babywearing daddies are the best aren’t they?

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I don’t think Josh ever saw himself as a wrapper. A babywearer sure, when we found out we were going to have a second child I asked him if he wanted a stroller, and he replied by looking at me like I had three heads “what on earth would I use a stroller for? I have my Ergo and my Kinderpack.”

Well ok then! But he hasn’t reached for his Ergo once, instead he’s morphed into a wrapper. Cop’s a snugglebug you see, and he likes to be as close and tight as possible. And right now it’s mighty cold out. And wrapping is mighty cozy.

Babywearing Love

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And I mean, big love.

How gorgeous is this wrap?! My friend Jamie of Vandeloo Woven made it, her gorgeous handwoven wraps will be distributed by Pavo Textiles.

I may have to try my luck at stalking and see if I can snag this beauty upon release.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the pending release; handwoven wraps made by a small business owner, distributed by another small business. And this gorgeous photograph? Taken by another incredibly talented small business owner.

Pilar at Mimi Momenti Photography. He work is incredible! She makes us look so great. She shot our newborn photos which… come to think of it… I never shared! I’ll make sure I do that sometime this week because newborn Cop? The most adorable baby. And I’m not just saying that!

My First Woven Wrap

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A few months ago I aquired a rickety old, homemade, antique loom. A good frined of mine found it on craigslist and passed it on to me for a hell of a deal. I experimented with placemats as my first project, but I was itching to weave my own woven baby wrap.

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As soon as I finished my placemats, I started measuring my warp, I’d planned to spend the two weeks of leave I was taking before Cop’s due date warping my loom and weaving, but surprise! Cop came 2 weeks early and I had to figure out how to recover and take care of two kids before I could even think about my loom.

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Eventually I got it warped and started weaving, and I knew that it was meant to be a thank you gift for my friend who made weaving possible for me by finding me this little loom. It’s not perfect, in fact, it’s so much uglier than my second wrap turned out it’s not even funny. Wonky selvedges, skipped threads… it’s kind of a mess.

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But I’m so proud of it, because imperfect as it is, it’s beautiful, and comfortable, and it looks lovely on my friend. And maybe she’ll let me make her a nice one one day too.

FWCC and PWCC

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Carin asked me to share a couple of carries that can be done with a moby or stretchy wrap. The carries I’ve showed in the last two Babywearing series aren’t suitable because they are for short wraps.

Stretchy wraps and woven wraps have a couple of key differences. The first being that stretchy wraps are very, very long, the second, obviously, is that the stretchy wrap is stretchy and the woven wrap does not stretch. You’d think that goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway because as a result of this very obvious difference you must never use a stretchy wrap to back carry, only a woven wrap.

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Both of the carries this week can be done with either a long woven wrap or a stretchy wrap. The carry on the left is front wrap cross carry (FWCC) and the carry on the right is a pocket wrap cross carry (PWCC).

Tutorial here http://youtu.be/AdQY6nptkVE

Semi FWCC vs FRTR

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The carry on the left is Semi FWCC and the carry on the right is FRRT

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I’m using a 3 and I’ve tied both with a slip knot, I could do the same carry with a 2 if I tied with a square knot or a 4 for longer tails.

I thought FRTR would be a good follow up to semi FWCC because they are really similar, but with one main difference, and that difference can teach us about terminology.

A note on terminology, both these carries have one horizontal pass (a pass that goes under one of your arms, across the baby tucked under baby’s bum for a seat and then under the your other arm). however, Semi FWCC has one cross pass (over your shoulder, diagonally across the baby, under/between the baby’s leg, and then under your other arm) where FRTR has a rebozo pass (over your shoulder, diagonally across the baby and then under your other arm). A rebozo pass does not go under the baby’s leg, instead it forms a sort of hammock that baby sits in.

Tutorial links here: http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/showthread.php?427946-8th-COTW-Front-Wrap-Cross-Carry-Pocket-Wrap-Cross-Carry-and-Variations-Come-join%21

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