Category: parenthood

I was recently asked this question via Facebook email:

“Your profile picture reminded me that I’ve been meaning to ask you about baby carriers/wraps. Which ones do you like best and for what stages? Etc. I’m completely uneducated but have been really wanting to learn. Any advice you can give would be great!

Thanks!”

After I typed up my response, I realized it was a pretty good answer and decided to preserve & share it here.

Okay, check out The Baby Wearer — they have forums which are nice (and one is a buy/sell/trade in case you’d want to pick up a used on for cheaper, easier to try out a variety that way!) and good videos and tutorials on putting on each of the different styles. But here’s my 2 cents!

Newborns: LOVE a pouch sling. I have used a microfleece Peanut Shell, a stretch cotton Hotslings (which are available at both Target & Babies’R’Us online) and a reversible normal-cotton Munchkin Jelly Bean (available in-store at Target). I’ve loved all of them; the microfleece had more stretch than I accounted for, so it quickly became too loose as Jonas got bigger and I got smaller post-pregnancy, and I ended up selling it.

Jonas a few weeks old in Microfleece Peanut Shell

Wearing Jonas in the Peanut Shell microfleece pouch, about 6 days old
The Hotslings was perfect for the scrunchy-newborn phase, then didn’t fit so well for a while when Susannah was getting bigger, I hadn’t lost all my baby weight, and she still needed to be carried in the cradle position. It fits again now that I’ve lost the lbs and she is sitting up in the hip-carry position, so I’d say it’s worth the money.
Susannah 12 weeks in Hotslings; our friend Erin with Maddie 12 weeks in microfleece pouch
Wearing Susannah in Hotslings stretch-cotton pouch, about 11-12 weeks old
The munchkin-brand one doesn’t come in as-specific sizing, so it was loose on me at first, then it fit really well when the Hotslings was too tiny, and now it’s still working. Pros to that one: available at your neighborhood Target, no online shopping and/or shipping to deal with.

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A while ago – maybe eight weeks ago now? – I was whining about needing some peace and quiet. The hardest thing so far in the transition to two kids has been that a significant portion of my day is now consumed with one or both little people pulling, tugging, talking, or otherwise NEEDING me. It left me feeling exhausted and empty and going-a-little-crazy!

My Aunt Linda, who is a frequent lurker and occasional commenter here (and who is also no stranger to this dilemma, being the mom of five!), decided to let me know I wasn’t alone. She sent me a copy of Five Minutes’ Peace, by Jill Murphy, in which Mrs. Large (the mama elephant) is being driven to distraction in her search for some peace and quiet. It’s a sweet book, and it totally brightened my day. I have it propped up against my mirror in our room, where each time I catch a glimpse of it I have to grin again.

And today? My no-napper Supa-Crank conked out only half an hour into Jonas’ naptime…. so, dear readers, that means that I have TWO (count em! 2!) children napping. And Chris just called to say he’s on his way home, which means I may, in fact, make it out the door to the library all by myself as I’d hoped. And that? Adds up to WAY MORE than five minutes’ peace. 🙂

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I got a great question the other day about cosleeping. I wish I had saved it, but somehow I lost track of the text — but basically, Lindsay wanted to know more about cosleeping with our babies and how we got them to stop! Because isn’t that always the big worry about cosleeping… when and if they’ll ever stop?

First of all, seriously, I don’t think you’ll regret cosleeping. If you haven’t already, I *highly* recommend reading Dr. William Sears’ The Baby Book, and The Attachment Parenting Book. They are GREAT resources to turn to when what your “mommy gut” tells you to do clashes with a lot of mainstream thinking. It’s wonderful to be able to point to his research as “proof” for what you know & believe to be the best way to care for your little one!!! I won’t bore you, but he has a lot to say about the importance of cosleeping for a breastfeeding relationship, as well as the importance of “nighttime parenting” for building a sense of autonomy and independence in children by first assuring them that their needs will be met.

But anyway, that’s not what you asked! 🙂 Our habit in the early days was to start Jonas out in a bassinet that had a fold-down “co-sleeper” panel, so it was sort of sidecar’d to our bed on my side. On his first waking, I’d bring him into bed to nurse and he’d stay there the rest of the night.

When he was about 5 months old, Chris started residency and we found that he was SUCH a heavy sleeper especially when post-call that it was a bit of a safety concern. So we set up his crib in his room, and put the bassinet panel up and moved the bassinet to the side wall of our room. I started putting him down for naps in the crib, fully anticipating that it would be hard for him to sleep — but he seemed to love the space! 😛 They really keep you guessing! After a few days of naps in the crib, and nights in the bassinet a little further from me than before, I tried laying him down in the crib at night, and then bringing him to our bed at first waking.

That only lasted about a week, and I had a LOT of trouble sleeping those nights. I kept thinking I heard Jonas crying, and at one point I even went out to sleep in the hallway because I was sure I was hearing him cry. At the end of that week, I was rocking him just before bed one night when the smoke alarms went off in our building. Our downstairs-across-the-hall neighbor’s apartment was on fire. (You can read the rest of that story here.) We lived in a hotel for about ten days, during which time Jonas really wouldn’t accept sleeping in a borrowed pack & play — he wanted to be in bed with us, and

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Upon the request of a friend, I’m working on a review-slash-tutorial on cloth diapering. I know it’s not going to grab the interest of many of my blog readers, so I apologize if you’re just looking for Jonas stories :p – look for a few of those soon.

There are so many options available in cloth diapering these days. If you’re not familiar with it, the DiaperPin is a great place to start your research. This is not your mama’s cloth! Gone are the plastic pants, pins, and soaking in the toilet. There are all-in-one diapers; prefold (old-fashioned) diapers with covers, fitted diapers with covers – which can be a laminated waterproof fabric, wool, or other materials; and pocket diapers.

Why do you cloth diaper?
Cloth diapers are better for the environment, according to quite a bit of research I found. Even though this wasn’t my primary reason for starting CDs, it’s a reason that has grown on me. As a result of making this switch, I started looking at many of the things around us in different ways, and we’ve made quite a few other positive, environmentally responsible choices since then.

When I found information about the study that showed an elevated testicular temperature in baby boys who wore disposable diapers, I was swayed a little further toward the side of cloth. Since his father is a testicular cancer survivor, I’d like to think that eliminating disposable diapering from his list of risk factors will have a positive effect on Jonas’s long-term health, including his future fertility.

When I first started considering cloth diapering, the big appeal was the financial savings. I got to try pocket diapers before I took the plunge and made my own purchase, thanks to a generous friend who boxed up a few FuzziBunz and all the accessories I’d need. After a week of part-time cloth, I was sure it was for us – but I decided to run the numbers for comparison’s sake. A little basic math revealed that I was spending a LOT of money on disposable diapers. (Granted, over the last year and half the sizes & prices have changed, but this gave me a general idea.)

126-ct Huggies Supreme size 2’s $46.95 => $0.37 per diaper
Huggies Supreme wipes => $5.00 (2 boxes lasts about a month) => $0.37 per diaper
9 dipes per day => $3.33 per day

$103.24 each month for diapers + wipes

TOTAL COST for sposies, birth to potty training around 2.5 years: $3,097.20

My figures below are for my startup stash of small diapers. I wanted to do a 2-day wash cycle, and I was diapering a 5-month old, so I planned for 10-12 diapers a day.

20 diapers @ 13.50* each (diaper with insert included) = $270
6 pack of cloth wipes = $6.95
Wipe Solution (“Baby Bits”) $9.95
Hanging diaper “pail” $17.50
Small wetbag for diaper bag $9.95
TOTAL COST for startup stash: $314.35
(will “pay for itself” in 3 months, as compared to disposables)

Of course, these figures were

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Let’s talk toys. The recent epidemic of toy recalls has generated a lot of conversation at our dinner table, at my mommy&me playgroups, and (I’m sure) in millions of other homes. The question that comes up for me is, “What am I going to do about it?”

For starters, I’ve never been a big fan of a lot of the types of toys that are being recalled. Susan Linn, a psychologist who has studied media & marketing’s influence on children, says in her book CONSUMING KIDS: THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER OF CHILDHOOD:

“Play requires physical and/or mental activity. The impetus for play comes from
within children. It is their way of learning about the world. It is inherently
satisfying in and of itself and requires no goal. Once a goal is more important
than the activity, that activity is no longer play. In competitive sports, for
instance, once winning becomes more important than the process of playing, the
games or matches cease to be play. The ability to play and be playful is a sign
of health.

Once we acknowledge the importance of play, it makes sense that
toys—the things children play with[sic]—are also of critical importance. There’s
some unintentional irony in the face that so many toys today are labeled
‘educational’. The best toys are inherently educational in that they serve as
tools for helping children actively explore, understand, and/or gain mastery
over the world. Even if they have multiple parts, they are simple enough to be
put to many different uses, and to become different things in a child’s
imagination.

The recent proliferation of computer chips that enable toys to
move or make sounds on their own renders children passive observers rather than
active participants in play. Because children are attracted to glitz and because
these are the toys being marketed to them, they may desperately want stuffed
animals or dolls or action figures that walk and talk independently, or toys
that whiz, bang, whistle, and hoot at the press of a button. However, because
they discourage active, imaginative play, toys that do only one thing soon
become boring; children use them a few times and then are ready for a new toy
that does something else.”

I’ve written about this before. When we flood our kids’ playrooms with toys that do all the playing, all the exploring, all the thinking for them, we are taking away the most precious task of childhood. We’re not doing our kids any favors when we buy the plastic crap that sings and dances and shimmies and laughs. That’s not what kids are wired to need, anyway – they need real, live, caring adults to sing with them, dance with them, do some silly shimmies, and laugh and cry with them. But now I’m getting off track. When it comes to toys, kids have legitimate needs, too.

For kids in Jonas’ age group, the needs for play are in a few basic categories:
–sensory/exploratory play
–dramatic/pretend play
–social/interactive play

Sensory and exploratory play is how toddlers learn about the

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Thank you to EVERYONE who voted and commented. You guys have some excellent advice. It’s a little funny to me that those without kids ALL said “just drop him off every week!” and those with their own kids mostly said “drop him off” but a few of you had other ideas. Everything is more black-and-white, sure and certain, before you have your own kids. (I know. I swore up and down that I would do things that now I’ll never do…. and that I’d never do things I now do, or at least am considering. Ha, ha!)

So here we go. Sarah (for my dear readers, she is a friend from my hometown who was in the same grade as my brother) had a great idea to not try to leave him for that full hour block of time right away. Brilliant! I guess I was so locked in to the idea of “either leave him in the nursery or take him into the service with me” that it never occurred to me. Your idea about doing a Bible study or ladies’ group or choir that meets during the week is a great idea too – for one thing, I think all mamas need some “me” time that is spiritually and emotionally refreshing – and for another thing, it would give us another way to introduce Jonas to the physical space of the nursery and the nursery workers themselves. I wish I could jump through this screen and give you a hug.

Kari (dear readers, one of my college roommates; she now lives in France with her osteopath-student hubby; their blog is in my sidebar!), you make a great point about community child raising. I think that’s the downfall of attachment parenting – we strive for this holistic, attached, nurturing way of interacting with our children, in an emulation of so many societies around the world that do this naturally. But in the US, we don’t always have that community of family and neighbors who help us in the journey. And you CAN’T be attached to your babe 24/7 without a break, without help. So there is a very real need for those grandmother figures, the aunt figures, the cousin figures, who are capable and loving and who step in to bounce a baby on their knee, make silly faces at a toddler, and sympathize with a worn-out mama.

…oh, and about being the mom in the back of the classroom? No worries. I don’t plan to send Jonas into a first-grade classroom at all. ;-P

Cronomorph (d.r., my brother Jason), I remember Sharon mentioning that when y’all were here. Our nursery doesn’t do quite that procedure with the note and knocking on the door, so I’d have to tweak it a bit. Last time we went to the nursery, Jonas was walking beside us and holding Chris’ hand. However, he’s an AWESOME passive resistance protestor – as soon as he realized we were approaching the nursery, he sat down and went limp.

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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