Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peekaru: Marie Claire Does Not Know Babywearing!

Marie Claire rated the Peekaru babywearing vest as one of their "41 Gifts We Don't Want" but I'd guess that writer hasn't ever worn a baby. I concede that I, despite being a babywearing fanatic, also thought the Peekaru was probably not that useful... until my sister got it for me last month and I was in its cozy heaven of cuteness!!!

If you've babyworn, you know how much easier it is to navigate a crowded place without a stroller. Packed tourist destinations, escalators, stairs, no problem. It's also safer to have them higher up. Last month I had the kid in the stroller in the city- and someone ASHED ON HIS HEAD!!! I promptly put him right into our ERGObaby carrier (which I never leave home without) and wore him for the rest of the night, navigating Times Square and Toys R Us without fear of some idiot dropping a cigarette on him or knocking him in the face with shopping bags.

My city-dwelling sister ordered me the Peekaru the next day, and I wore it the next time I went to see her in the city. We got stared at admiringly all day. I'm serious. No one could resist our adorableness.

Even without a Peekaru, babywearing in winter is awesome. With the kid against you, you don't have to worry about if he/she is warm or not. You just know, because they're the same temp you are, so you adjust your layers around the kid accordingly. This is me babywearing last year, before the Peekaru. I look like a hobo with a large sweatshirt closed over the kid, my winter maternity coat over that, and a scarf around my neck. (No offense, hobos.)

Now, instead of mismatched clothes, I'm the epitome of chic.

Just before this photo was taken, a man said, "That's a beautiful baby!" Do you think he would have even noticed my kid if he was in a stroller? No! See how the Peekaru brings out the beauty in life?

Here's another pre-Peekaru photo, from the day he got ashed on. That was pre-Peekaru. (I cropped out my husband since he's a little antisocial.) You can see how the bulky winter coat gets all up in the kid's face.

The one downside of the Peekaru is that if the kid wants to get down, you have to unzip the Peekaru, but that's no biggie.

When it's really, really cold, you have to protect your baby. The Peekaru is one good option. The other option is to put them in a stroller bundle thingy, a winter jacket, then cover them in plastic (see photo to left), but then you really don't know if they are too hot or still cold. On this day, probably almost a year ago, my hips were bothering me, so I shrink wrapped him in the stroller. You can see how silly the kid looks, and that's why I wear him if I can. Instead of closing them up like a package, why not snuggle them close? They're only wearable for so long, so I get my cuddles whenever I can.

Don't even get me started on how handy it is to babywear in an airport, and while hauling all of your crap onto an airplane.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cliche: Parenting Changes You

I found it so annoying when people would say, when I was pregnant, "Having a kid changes your whole life." I smiled politely while thinking, DUH!!!! Of course having a kid changes your whole life. I know that. I'm ready for that. You telling me that is insulting to my intelligence.

As I've been a parent over the past 20 months, this little statement has come true in ways I could have easily predicted- you have stronger emotions, less time for yourself, completely different priorities for spending money and time, and new skills relating to patience and empathy. (Hiking in the woods in the photo to the right? Something I did only because I feel like my kid needs to see more nature.)

It's the empathy thing that's interesting to me, because I didn't think people meant that- I didn't think they meant that being a parent changes how you view every other person you come into contact with.

That 20-something lady I stop my car for at the crosswalk at the busiest shopping center in town? Someone's baby.
That 50 something guy driving like an absolute idiot in the same parking lot? Someone's baby!
My student who is being absolutely stubborn about filling out the graphic organizer, who I'm getting really frustrated with because I don't have time to repeat it for the third time? Someone's baby.

That's a lot of pressure! To have to treat other people like they are a former baby? To give them the same respect you hope a stranger or teacher will give YOUR baby, whether they're 11 or 25 or 50? That's a lot of responsibility, but I'm happy to have a refreshed awareness of others. It's easy to be self-centered when you're busy and stressed out about your own life, but awareness of others can give badly needed perspective. That perspective can help you be kind to others when you'd otherwise be impatient.

Of course you can have that patience and perspective if you're NOT a parent- you can try to treat others like you wish your siblings or parents would be treated- but I find the extreme attachment and protectiveness I feel for my own kid is a more powerful motivator. It's so obvious to me how helpless he is, and that makes it easy for me to see how helpless even teenagers and adults are.

It can be a bit depressing to see how some people's babies turn out. I don't mean that in a mean way. I just mean, some of these former babies have difficult lives, and I know their parents probably hoped for something different for them.

Anyway, the cliche came true. Parenting has changed my whole life. Although I'm the same person, I spend my time really differently and I see things in my daily life differently. I do not say, though, to people who are about to have children, "Being a parent changes your whole life!" I get that out of my system by blogging. More people should blog. That way, I won't have to listen to them tell me things I already know, or will discover on my own soon enough even if they DIDN'T tell me about it.
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