Babywearing

This week Scout is the size of a peach. A soft fuzzy peach- and it’s definitely official- my upcoming fatherhood- proved today by the fact that I got lost in the world wide web- but not to the usual cocktail culture I am used to losing myself to- but lost to the world of baby carriers. I’m talking wraps, ring slings, pouches, packs and all sorts of things. There’s a world of international close cradle out there that I knew not existed.

My research of pouches and slings started a couple weeks ago when one of the general baby books laying on our table suggested I read another more specified book if I had a further interest in slings and things- which I did since the general baby book revealed some benefits associated with babywearing. I know, babywearing? Such a stupid name. It makes me wonder if there will be a moment in the future when I’m going to be like, “Ah, I don’t have a bowtie to match this baby- guess I won’t wear the baby tonight.”

In all seriousness however, there seems to be many benefits to wearing your baby (I’m just going to use this term as ridiculous as it sounds). Also, as idealistic as this all sounds, I am not promoting or advocating for babywearing, as I have never personally done it, and I have only known about it as a thing for a couple of weeks. I will say though, if it’s cool enough for a couple of The Beatles to have done it with their babies, then it’s cool enough for me…

babywearing-beatles

The book I ended up getting is called Babywearing: The Benefits and Beauty of This Ancient Tradition. I know, I’m a nerd. But it sounded like it could provide me with some insight- and it’s written by an M.D., not just some woman stuck in the seventies with a drug induced idea- even if that’s what the cover looks like…

The act of wearing your baby has been around forever, blah, blah, and blah. Every culture has used a piece of fabric or backpack type thing to carry babies for years and years. Even here in America, Native Americans carried their babies in papooses for thousands of years- in fact, Sacagawea is carrying her baby on her back on her featured dollar coin. The tradition of babywearing came out of necessity most likely- with your newborn on your body it leaves both your hands free, allowing you to work. Not only is it beneficial to you, studies have also shown it is one of the best things you can do for your baby…

  • The baby feels safe and secure with skin to skin contact- it is close to your heartbeat and can feel your breathing, your movements, and your body temperature- just like when they were in utero- it’s a familiar place for them and they stay calm and happy- which means they cry less! Up to forty three percent less some studies show.
  • Since they are not crying so much they are developing at a faster rate and learning more- just from hanging around you. When they are awake they are seeing everything you do. They watch your facial gestures when you communicate with friends and are more a part of what’s happening rather than being held in a carrier at waist level with nothing to look at but crotches and crotches.
  • They sleep better- I didn’t really get the facts down for this claim but you can imagine, right?
  • Digestion is better- the constant motion helps stimulate good digestion and babies spit up less.
  • Speaking of spitting up, babies who are worn by their mother more often nurse better and gain more weight than babies that are not.
  • The constant movement and stimulation is supposed to help babies develop better too. They develop a better balance and musculature because they are always shifting and responding to the movements of the carrier’s body. They are also at much lower risk for developing plagiocephaly (that’s when they get a flat head because they are constantly laying down with the back of their soft head against a surface).

Basically, what I learned, is that a sling baby = a happy baby. And I do understand that this is all theoretical for me right now, as I have no experience and reading things in a book is way different than real life experience. A year from now I will be able to tell you with experience- we might find out that the whole idea ended up being farfetched and stupid. Or we might find out that I loved every aspect of it until Scout fell right out and bonked his/her head because I forgot to tie it or something. But until then, I am excited to give this whole thing a try.

The most daunting thing about doing this, however, is picking a carrier to try out. There are so many different types and brands… There are wraps, ring slings, pouch slings, back packs, soft packs, meh dais, buckle carriers, Graco, Freedom Slings, Chicco (BabyGo), Hold Me Baby Slings, Nojo The Original Baby Sling, Boba Wrap, Baby Bjorn, Eddie Bauer, Evenflo, Seven Slings, Baby K’tan, Moby Wrap, Infantino, Lenny Lamb, iAngel, Ergobaby, LILLEbaby, Tula, Beachfront Baby Wrap, Maya, Oscha Slings, Sakura Bloom, Kali Sling, Beco, New Native, Caboo, Amawrap, Mamaway, and Vlokup.

I didn’t actually look all those up, I just found a list… but Whew! That’s a lot. Or, I also found that I can just use a bed sheet or piece of fabric and make my own. Where does one even start? That was a rhetorical question, but let me answer it for you… babywearinginternational.org. It’s a good spot to get started with some general information and it helps you navigate the underworlds of babywearing.

I know I have an overzealous outlook on this but I can just see myself not missing a beat at work. I see a full bar with a line of drinks I have to make. The music is loud and the lights are dim. Drink orders coming from every which direction. I’m shaking a drink with one hand, stirring another drink with the other hand. Through all this, I look down at Scout, who is sleeping peacefully in his/her sling that perfectly matches my bowtie.

Until then, it’s just going to have to be practice, practice, practice…

mazzy-babywearing

UPDATE!!
After my mom read this post she sent me a picture of her wearing my sister. I guess it runs in the family…

Age

I picked up the book To Kill a Mockingbird recently. I figured I should read it since we’ve been calling that little thing inside Kylie’s belly Scout. I can’t say I remembered anything about Scout before I started reading the book a couple days ago- I read it a long long time ago but recently I had heard a reference to her (in the last few months) and I liked the name, so I decided to call our little thing Scout just to call it something and it caught on.

But boy oh boy is that Scout ever the tommiest tomboy and sassiest little girl ever! She’s way to smart for her own britches. She just runs the lot and gets in fights and questions every little thing someone says to her- for the sake of understanding- or proving her own point. It’s kinda what I’m hoping our kid to be like- well, minus the fights.

I read chapter ten last night of To Kill a Mockingbird. It began like this…

“Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty. When Jem and I asked him why he was so old, he said he got started late, which we felt reflected upon his abilities and manliness. He was much older than the parents of our school contemporaries, and there was nothing Jem or I could say about him when our classmates said, “My father—”

Funny, I have been thinking about my age a lot lately- and doing the math- when Scout is… I will be… and when Scout is… I will be… It’s quite daunting and frustrating to think of some ages and realize when my Scout is really getting started with adulthood, my time will be really winding down. My own father was thirty-one when I was born. I can’t say he was ever feeble or low energy when I was growing up- quite the opposite. There’s a photo of me at about eight years old taking a shot on goal. The photo caught the ball midair with my dad as goalie- fully extended, fully in air, about to stop the ball. I wonder if I will be performing any diving saves for Scout when he/she is nine years old… I say yes, but only because Kylie is a physical therapist and will patch me up afterwards.

When Scout is twenty, I’ll be sixty. When Scout is my age, I will be eighty. EIGHTY! I mean, assuming I make it that long. Maybe one good thing that comes out of this is that Scout will have mature parents- well, at least one- I can’t say I have reached a level of maturity that can be labeled “mature”, but Kylie is an adult at least. Maybe we can use the term “experienced” for me.

But maybe age won’t really even be a factor in all this for me. I look at people around town and a lot of the men my age look as though they are already fifty now. They look unhappy, worn out, overweight, and just plain older than they should. I’m a little bit ahead of the curve. Isn’t there a saying that you are only as old as your wife? If that’s true then I’m only… no, I’m not going to go there but let’s just say- nope- I won’t say anything.

I think age is just on my mind a little more today because I woke up and walked around like a decrepit this morning. I’ve had an achilles problem on one foot for a while now that causes me to limp in the morning until it stretches out. Yesterday I topped it off with an inflamed IT band on my other leg from over-running. So both legs wanted to crumble under me this morning. I didn’t crumble, mind you, I just hobbled into the kitchen and Kylie gave me a sympathetic hug and kiss, and offered to make me a cappuccino. As I watched her make the cappuccino I admired her youth, and then I felt young again- well, at least not so old.

 

P.S. Mom, if you know what photo I am talking about and have it around somewhere feel free to email it to me and I’ll include it in this post. Thank you!

 

P.S. UPDATE:  So, my mom found the photo I was referencing and it wasn’t quite as I remembered it, but this is the one I was thinking of- sorry dad- you still look good though… just not as good as me!

1986

 

 

Holes

This little ditty didn’t fit in the last post very well, so it’s its own little thing. As I was getting ready to go to the Obstetrician yesterday I realized my underwear had holes in them. It seemed like a very dad thing. Normally (not that it happens all the time), I would just wear them through the day, then throw them out. But this time I felt very embarrassed- and I’m not sure why. I wasn’t even the one who was going to have to take my pants off but I felt like everyone would know. They would know with their ultrasound and it would display on the large screen in the waiting room for all to see. Things that go through my head.

I’m not talking about a little tear either, I’m talking holes! I don’t know where they came from, or how long they have been around. I mean sure, it probably happened in the last wash, right? Because I would have noticed them before. Or! Or Mazzy has been a little terror lately- I bet she chewed some holes in them and then put them back in my drawer- I wouldn’t put it past her- she’s been opening cabinets lately- we still don’t know how, but she has.

Anyway, Scout, if you are reading this, just know that I didn’t have any holes in my underwear at your first visit to the doctor- I wouldn’t embarrass you like that, or your mother for that matter.

 

 

 

Routine

Mazzy and I have a morning routine. Well, I have one, she kinda goes along with it. I usually wake up, but not get up. I’ll lay in bed fighting against the morning wondering if I can fall asleep again. Usually the morning wins and I resign to it ever so slowly. My step towards getting up is usually some phone screen time with the news (The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet for some quick catchup).

I will then get up, put on whatever clothes that are in the pile at my feet, visit the toilet, then brush my teeth. I did exactly that today. Then I walked down the hallway and opened some window shades as I headed towards coffee. Today, Mazzy stopped me for food before I got to coffee. She did it by encompassing the entire area where her food closet is and stared at me like she was about to maul. Most days she trots out from the bedroom when I am in the middle of making coffee and stares at me with a not so subtle head swing towards her food closet. I feed her, then she goes outside to bomb the yard.

I find my routine quite boring most days, but it also has a comforting quality that I like- it also allows me not to have to think too much before my mind actually wakes up. As I finally got to making my coffee today, my mind began to wander into the future on what sort of routine, or lack of routine I may be in for. As I poured hot water over the grounds I realized that coffee might not necessarily be one of the first things I do. I most likely will already have been up for two hours- or three or four. I may have to begin using pre-ground coffee as not to wake Scout if he/she is napping.

I believe we will have a routine, and I will learn it. It won’t be my routine, it will be me adapting to Scout’s routine. And it will gradually change week by week I’m sure. I can only imagine what it may may be like. I realize at first I’ll be up for diaper changes and feedings. That will evolve into face time and reading. Then real time watching because Scout will be rolling and crawling. Then I’ll be getting up to chase Scout around. Soon enough I’ll be getting Scout ready for school. So weird to think about considering my immediate situation.

I’m sitting here in a pair of ratty sweats, a soft orange sweater that I bought at Target for $3, and a cozy pair of slippers on my feet. I still have a half cup of warm coffee sitting at my left hand and the last thing I feel like doing is going outside into the cool autumn morning and doing some yard work.

I say that because as I’ve been writing this post I’ve been looking up and taking occasional glances out the window. The whole time, my neighbor has been mowing and blowing fallen leaves. He’s a dad. He has two or three kids (I’m really not sure) around the ages from five to eleven (+-6 years). It just makes me wonder, am I going to have that “dad drive” to take care of things outside before it gets warm? Will being a dad automatically trigger a switch in me that makes me hate fallen leaves and long grass so much that I don’t mind going outside early to take care of it? I can see it being something I have to do for lack of time- but his kids already went off to school for the day. He could be having some coffee and writing in his blog right now too- at least he wouldn’t be making me feel bad for doing it.

Damn, he’s really getting after it too. He went from mower, to blower, and now back to mower. Go Peter.

I glance from his yard to mine. I wouldn’t say my grass is long, but it’s not tight- I’m hoping I mowed for the last time this season. There is a light amount of leaves strewn about- it’s good for the grass I say. The hammock stand is still up even though it hasn’t been used in weeks. I see a couple Mazzy bombs out there waiting for my attention. There is a flamingo that got knocked over by the wind as well as a billion marble-sized crab apples. And then there’s Mervyn, the lawn merkin. That will be a fun one to explain to Scout.

And he still mows. I swear he’s mowed over the yard four times now.

Judging by Peter’s “dad drive” I feel pretty confident that I will not have it- at least not about my yard. I do think I will have it for other things. What? I don’t know yet- hopefully playing with my child, doing laundry, and vacuuming. Kylie would love it if my “dad drive” included picking up my piles of clothes and a lost interest in collecting weird stuff. I assume my “dad drive” is within me somewhere just waiting to be triggered. When will it be triggered, I don’t know. Will it be early when Kylie starts showing? Will it be when I first meet Scout? Will it just happen when I just have to have it happen? Or maybe it will evolve, just like my routine will, when it has to.

 

Dinner

A couple of days ago Kylie and I went for a trail run. The trail is a short out and back that meanders up and down along Rattlesnake Creek. We like it because it’s beautiful (especially in autumn) and there is water for Mazzy (our dog) to drink and soak in. Also, it’s not too taxing on the lungs and we can talk about our past week and our week ahead and usually what we want for dinner.

This was our first run together since we found out about about the little Scout. *From here on out I will refer to the growing thing taking refuge inside Kylie’s body as Scout- not for any particular reason, I just need to call it something- and since everyone (about two people) made fun of me about this name idea, I will use it. It’s going to grow on all you haters!

Let me start that paragraph over- This was our first run together since we found out about Scout. We jogged and talked about our future and before we knew it we were at our turnaround point. We had been so focused on our conversation that we were already halfway finished with a run we felt we had barely started.

We talked about our work schedules and how we could move them around and adapt. We talked about painting a room with characters on the wall. We talked about getting the carpet cleaned in that room. We talked about how spring runs we enjoy on this exact trail will next year be spring walks, and then summer walks with one of those bicycle wheeled stroller thingies (I’m real new to this jargon obviously). We talked about the fact that there would be no riding our bikes up the Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park next year. We talked about how Scout will be six monthsish next winter and it will be a perfect age just to cozy up for the season. Following that, when Scout is one year old, it will be summer again- perfect time for Scout to start exploring the world. We talked about what we wanted to be called. We placed bets on which grandparents were going to move to Missoula. We talked about the cloth diaper service I found that washes and delivers. We talked about how Kylie was afraid to use a safety pin with a cloth diaper so close to a baby’s new soft skin. We talked about hospitals and delivery options. We talked about how to tell people. We talked about how protective Mazzy is going to be that she probably won’t let me near Scout.

We talked about a lot of stuff. And then we asked the question to ourselves, “What did we used to talk about before we didn’t have this to talk about?”  Dinner. We talked a lot about our next meal- and where we should go to get a post run beer or cider. And dinner,  we talked a lot about dinner.