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…

Sensitivity

We are fourteen weeks pregnant tomorrow. It’s really happening. Scout is the size of a kiwi, hopefully not as furry. The second trimester began last week so I decided to open up one of the books we have about pregnancy and brush up on what to expect in the next few months. It’s supposed to be a much “easier” trimester than the first- meaning nausea and fatigue should subside and Scout will start looking more like a little bump in the belly.

I was flipping around in the book and I ended up in the section for expectant fathers. It’s basically a section written for “dads to be” who are idiots and morons and lack common sense or compassion. I’ve looked at a few similar sections in different books and they all seem to assume that the typical male is a gleaming example of incompetence when it comes to relationships and pregnancy. I can’t say I disagree with that.

One paragraph really stuck out to me though. It was in the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book. There is a small section that let’s the father know what he can do after the delivery of the baby…

Once your partner is allowed to eat and drink normally, bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop. It’ll make her feel special.

Are you fucking serious? It’ll make her feel special. Are there men out there who would not think of doing something nice for the woman that just gave birth to their child? Do they really need a prompt? The fact that the Mayo Clinic had to write an explanation of why one would bring her something from her favorite bakery or shop is what astounds me. My anger is not even towards the Mayo Clinic for writing this, but at the fact that there are so many men out there who need this written out for them!

Funny though, reading that made me look at myself in the sensitivity mirror… I’m guilty too. I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about what is okay and not okay to say. I actually had to learn it- super simple stuff too, but important…

  1. The little bump that is starting to form in the belly is called a bump- not a pooch. Don’t call it a pooch. Write that down.
  2. Just because Kylie is eating for two doesn’t mean it’s okay to point it out if she is. We made tacos the other night and I mentioned how she never built a taco so high before. We don’t talk about big tacos in this family anymore.
  3. If Kylie gets emotional about something it’s not okay to point it out, or laugh because it’s cute, or outwardly blame the pregnancy for it. Just empathize with the emotion at hand.
  4. If Kylie says she feels and looks bloated, she is not looking for someone to agree with her.
  5. It’s not okay to have Kylie help me lift a heavy truck topper off my truck anymore.
  6. Don’t comment on how hangry she may be. Just… don’t. Not even with a sparkling smile.
  7. Whenever I say or do something insensitive, go to Kylie’s favorite bakery or shop and buy her something… It will make her feel special.

 

 

Cliché

Scout!

What’s going on in there little thing? You are eleven weeks, three days today. Congratulations, you are the size of a fig. Your great grand-nana loved figs. She had a tree in her back yard in Chula Vista. I used to watch her pick them off the tree and eat them- I thought it was disgusting- I think I just don’t like seedy things. Anyhoo, she died over a year ago. I would have loved for you to meet her- mostly because I would have loved to watch her scare the shit out of you. She was an absolutely loving grandmother, but she also like to yell at us as kids. “IF YOU KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO ME I’M GOING TO BEAT YOUR BRAINS IN!!” On occasion she followed it up with, “IF YOU HAVE ANY!”  We, as children, would scream, scatter, and run away. The adults in the room would laugh out loud. As an adult, I got to watch her yell at my younger cousins- I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Her husband, on the other hand, your great grandpa, was the polar opposite. He would sit quietly in his chair and just observe everything. Every once in a while he’d quip a joke out and everyone would laugh. He died about six years ago while your mama and I were living in a shitty apartment in Flagstaff.

You have one great grandparent left right now- Red. Red is your grandpa Jared’s dad who lives in New York. You’d like him- I had the pleasure of meeting him this year in June. He’s quite the character with stories galore. He reminded me a lot of your late great grandpa Harvey from West Virginia. In fact, both of them had messed up a couple of their own fingers by the time I came around. Your great grandpa Red mangled a couple of his with a chainsaw (they are still there though). Your great grandpa Harvey lost one at the knuckle while working at a sawmill. He used to draw a face on it and move it around to entertain us.

But let’s stop talking about your late Greats. Let’s talk about your balls! Or your vagina! That’s right, I went there. By now you are forming one or the other- and quite honestly, I don’t care which! As long as you are healthy- I know, how cliché of me. But it’s true. I will let you know right now, if you are a girl I’m going to try like hell to raise you like a tomboy- and if you are a boy I’m going to try like hell to raise you into the most sensitive and caring man I can. And if you end up being gay, I’ll be absolutely happy and supportive with that too.

If you can help it though, please don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, or a bully, or a football player, or in a fraternity or sorority… This will be a longer and more defined list some day, but this is all I can come up with right now on the fly. Actually, if you follow this list of don’ts then you should have a good foundation for being a good person.

Okay, I am about finished with my cappuccino, so I will bid you adieu. I hope you are warm and well inside your mama’s belly. I might put a stethoscope to your world tonight even though the internet says that it is pointless this early in the pregnancy. I wish I could come in and hang out with you for a bit but you’d probably freak me the fuck out with your creepy underdevelopedness at this stage- so I am perfectly happy to wait till June. Hugs and kisses little one.

Flutterbug

Is there a force in the universe that makes a man tell dad jokes as soon as he is an expectant father? I swear there is and I cannot escape it. I used to be a funny guy- well, to me. But recently I find myself shaking my head at myself when I attempt a joke. Really guy, did you just say that? I should slap you upside the head. 

Take yesterday for example, we were just wrapping up our first visit with the OB

GYN. We all had a great conversation, well, I mostly sat there and listened to her ask Kylie questions and Kylie ask her questions. Really I just felt I was a bit of an inconvenience as the nurse had to go find a chair for me to sit on. But then when she asked us if we had any more questions at the end of the session I decided to display my wit, “I’ve been suffering from Couvade syndrome and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me.” Kylie laughed. Our Obstetrician nervously laughed, probably only because we were both laughing and she didn’t want to be left out. Then she asked, “What’s, what is that?” As with any other joke that becomes unfunny when you have explain it, this one unraveled quickly. I explained what it was and she said she didn’t know there was a name for that condition. Awkward!

We also had our first ultrasound done yesterday and it’s absolutely true- we saw it with our own eyes- Kylie has a little mexican inside her! And that thing was moving around like a jumping bean! And we saw the heart beat holy shit! It was a little flutter bug! We got to see it in 3-d, which quite frankly looks a little freaky to me but Ky thinks it is cute. I’d post a picture but it looks pretty much like the one I drew in the last post. They were also able to give us a more refined due date- June 8th!

They gave us tons of pamphlets and magazines and options for chromosomal blood testing and a big book that had some way too graphic pictures of childbirth. Seriously, it was a photo of a guy holding up his squatted partner by the armpits, then you gaze down and there is head sticking out of her vajay- it didn’t look like either of them were having any fun. Anyway, it’s a lot sift through. It’s a lot to talk about also- there are certain windows when some tests are better, some can’t be done for a while, and they are all optional. It seems to me that all these tests should just be included, but we have to decide whether or not to get them done. And even if we do they are not one hundred percent conclusive- there is a risk of false positives and false negative that then get confirmed with more tests that could still be false positive/false negative. I don’t know what we will decide to do, but you won’t hear about anymore of that here. I am just surprised by all the little but huge decisions we have to make before Scout even scoots its way out.

So that was our visit- a very positive one. So far, so good, and that was the only news we wanted to hear.

Pregnant

We looked at it together- at the same time. “I think you’re pregnant,” I said. “I think. I mean look at those lines- that one goes that way- but that one is faint- is that a plus? Is that line supposed to be that color? I don’t know what the hell is going on here- let’s read the directions again.”

We were excited, a bit dumbfounded, and the slightest bit unsure that our test was broken- so off I went to the store to get another pee stick. I went for one thing, just a pee stick. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t browse the aisles looking at chips. I stopped in the “Mexican” section to see if they had my favorite salsa- still no. I continued walking and turned onto the aisle I have managed to mostly avoid my entire life. Shuffling down the aisle I passed diapers and nipples, bottles and creams, Kotex and condoms. Well, I didn’t really pass the condoms- they live right next to the pregnancy tests. I stood there for an hour and contemplated the varying attributes of pee sticks. To others it looked like I was having a real hard time picking out a favorite condom that was unique and tailored just for me.

I picked the more expensive digital one- no lines or dots on this one- I didn’t want to try to read analog hieroglyphics this time.

As I walked through the store making my way to the check-out I began trying to figure out how to make the cashier feel uncomfortable- just for fun. It was a young kid with pimples- a high-schooler still learning the ropes of adolescence. I watched him ring up my chips. When he got to the pregnancy test I intentionally made a false laugh and nervously said, “Oh, that? That’s not for me, it’s for a friend”. He didn’t even flinch- not a smirk, not an eye crinkle. Wasted humor.

When I got home and walked in the door Kylie asked me what sort of awkward joke I made with the cashier. “What?!” I said, “I would never use our probable pregnancy to make cheap jokes with a stranger. You don’t even know me”.

“Oh yeah? What kind of chips did you get”?

So I ate some chips, Kylie drank some water, I ate some more chips, and Kylie peed on a fancy new stick…

EPT Mazzy