Babywearing Through Motherhood.

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This is the very first picture I have of using a baby carrier with my Ella (my first born). I know she was worn well before this. In fact, I have a distinct memory of my birth doula coming by a week after her birth and helping me figure out my moby wrap. But this picture, taken when she was seven months old, is the first documentation I have of me wearing her.

What I do have is a lot of pictures like this:

Daddy giving mommy a break

Snoozin' on Daddy

Baby wearing gave Aaron the tools he needed to learn how to be a dad. It helped soothe his colicky, cranky first baby while I struggled with severe postpartum depression. It allowed him to give me the space I needed to pull out of the fog of PPD while still building a bond with our baby.

Then came Miles. My rolly polly, bald baby boy who had a sister who wasn’t quite yet two. Saying I needed both hands is an understatement.

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Eight days after Miles was born. He was lower than recommended because I had just finished nursing him in the wrap.

Being able to pop that squishy baby in my wrap and literally chase after Ella was a life saver. That toddler girl never stopped moving and wearing the baby allowed me to meet both children’s needs. Making sure both their needs were met was a HUGE concern of mine during Miles’ pregnancy. I cried about it during labor. My baby carriers made that worry less of a concern.

omg our day already

Don’t get me wrong, we still had dreadful days (as documented above). Knowing that Ella was melting down because she didn’t have enough snuggle time and the baby crying just because he wanted to snuggle and sleep was a relatively simple fix. Once I managed to get both kids on, I would head to a dark room, turn on the white noise machine and sway back and forth until they both calmed down.

Without Aaron or I really realizing it, wearing our kids (babies and toddlers) became a way of life.

Babywearing, tidying Daddy

Aaron discovered Miles loved the sound of the vacuum and our floors were never cleaner than those few months it worked to calm the baby down.

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And really? Who doesn’t want their bald baby to be happy?

When Miles was about 8 months and Ella was 2.5 years, we began to have regular doctor appointment in Chicago. I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing a stroller. Ella was so tall and Miles was so heavy! Then the vision of us dragging a stroller up flights of stairs to an L platform nearly caused me an coronary and we decided to sling it.

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My 23 pound baby was easily worn the entire day, up and down Chicago, in my favorite mei tai carrier.

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Ella was able to be soothed from the stress of sleep studies by picking her favorite carriers to use on our trips.

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And when my sprained my ankle, Aaron was ready for the task.

Close enough to kiss.

A few years later, another sweet baby joined our family. Keeping Hazel close enough to kiss meant I could still have both hands for my older two

Untitled I foresee many evening practices like this.

I was able to decompress with my piano after stressful days thanks to my wrap.

Hanging laundry. As much as I hate laundering clothes, I love my main level laundry room.

Laundry tackled.

Bus Adventuring

Wearing my almost 3 yr old at the waterfront today.

When Miles began to feel displaced, I was able to wear him in the same wrap I used when he was a baby and tell him stories about his babyhood. It helped him ease into the position of middle child with more grace than I was anticipating.

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Tossing Hazel on my back meant that the kids and I could hike while I let out my internal anger and frustration. Without my carrier, I would have been relegated to the neighborhood with a stroller. While that would have been a bad option, the woods was the best.

I know I would have been a good mom without the tools of baby wearing but with the ability to wear my kids, it has given me the opportunity to be an even better mom. Not only that, but it has given Aaron the ability to bond with all of our kids and settle into the role of Daddy .

I really don’t know how we could have survived 3 kids in 4 years with as much grace as we have without wearing our babies.

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Serenity Now

Escaping to the forest within the city.

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling angry, upset, and helpless. My normal go to is eating something with a ridiculously high sugar content and turning on the television for the kids. That never ends well for me. My energy surges then plummets and I’m left with all the previous emotions PLUS a struggle to control them due to the sugar crash.

So instead, I loaded up the kids after school and took them to the forest preserve that is in a nearby town. I hoped to  find calm and wear out the kids so bedtime would go smoothly.

Mama is feeling a bit bananas.

We started out and I was feeling a bit bananas, as the kids say. Ella was kind enough to document my emotional state.

The kids want me to hike up where?

I nearly gave up when I saw where the kids wanted to hike. They were so eager and excited that I didn’t have the heart to persuade them to try a different trail. With each step up that hill, I pushed my negative emotions out through the soles of my feet and breathed in the forest air.

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I found beauty along the way to nourish my soul.

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And we made it to the top. Everyone intact and no skinned knees. I pushed away my negative emotions and on the way down, tried to embrace replacements of acceptance and trust. I wasn’t completely successful, but that’s okay. I’m still learning. Serenity can be elusive. Besides, don’t we all learn more on the journey than at the destination?

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We made it back to the van, the kids with pockets full of pebbles and acorns and I had a lighter heart.

Conversations: At Target

Yes, I know my hands are full. Why do you think we all have Starbucks?

Yes, I do know my hands are full. That is why we all have Starbucks. 

The other day, I was on a mission at Target. I had the big kids in the triple cart (whoever created that is a genius and I am so thankful!) and Hazel strapped on my back. I was fueled by caffeine and the kids were quiet thanks to dairy and caffeine free “happy-chinos” (as Miles calls them). Armed with my list, I had 30 minutes to get everything I needed and back in the car.

I was almost done with my list and preparing to make the mad dash for the check out lines when a grandma aged woman stopped me. Cringing inwardly, I politely smiled and sent up a quick prayer that she wouldn’t be rude. Ever since Hazel was born, I’ve had complete strangers actually track me down in stores to glibly inform me that my hands were full. I braced myself to put on a smile and respond with, “Hands full is a good life” or something like that.

Instead, she smiled at me and said I was doing good. She raised three children and shopping with them had been her most dreaded chore. Other moments were good, but shopping was never one of them. She even confessed to refusing to shop with her own grandkids! Then, she waved at the kids, encouraged them to be kind, and went on her way.

Thank you, kind grandma, for your encouragement. Hearing that was exactly what I needed.

 

 

Linking up with The Parent ‘Hood this morning.

Insta Week

Insta Week

A highlight reel of my week, via Instagram.

(1) Amazing gluten free muffin that I will be posting about next week!

(2) Best after school snack EVER. (ps she loves those huge bows)

(3) Epic popcorn fail involving coconut sugar. The kids still ate it, though…

(4) Miles mimicking a cartoon character frantically searching for something. All while I was in the bathroom for 30 seconds, max.

(5) Miles say the phrase, “I love you” to the tune of Jingle Bells. I joined in and we both felt loved.

(6) Out of the world food came from that Brazilian grill. YUM.

On Turning Three

Look what Daddy brought home from work!!!!

Dear Miles,

You turned three today, buddy boy. You love balls, loud noises and smashing towers. Shoes that stomp make you giggle, as does hugging your baby sister. You shout, “I no eat it!” as you frantically throw my dark chocolate wrapper behind you with sticky sweetness smeared over your face. You’re a pretty good natured guy who is too curious for his own good. Your ability to go from zero to epic disaster is a bit legendary and I can only pray you outgrow your curiosity based destruction asap.

The adoration for your new baby sister radiates from your very being. I often get frustrated with your manhandling and constantly talking loud in her face, but I do my best to remember to show you appropriate expressions of love instead of simply shouting, “Don’t touch the baby!”

Some days, I despair of you ever getting along with your big sister. Then, I see you valiantly defending her to a child three times your size on the playground. While I explain to you that we must use our words and not our body, I inwardly cheer you on.

This year has seen some big changes for you. We went gluten free (no more beloved crackers or sandwiches!), moved to a new house and your baby sister was born in our living room. You’ve taken all of these changes in stride, your mischievous grin never fading.

I’m fairly convinced you will be the child to cause me to prematurely gray. You constantly keep me on toes and I know you’ll give me a run for my money this year. From the playground, I’ve learned I have to just sit back. More often than not, you succeed at what I think you won’t be able to accomplish. You are constantly climbing to new heights, making friends and giving me heart failure. If I don’t interfere, you meet your goal and I am amazed. By now, you’d think I would have become accustomed to your success but it never grows old. More often than not, it blows me away.

Happy birthday, my sweet boy. May you always be able to eat cake ‘n’ eggs for breakfast, cake ‘n’ hotdogs for lunch and chicken ‘n’ cake for dinner on your birthday.

Much love,

Mama

Happy birthday, buddy boy! Cake 'n' hotdogs! He loves the birthday singing, too. ❤

Cake with dinner! Last, but not least, chicken 'n' cake!

And because I’m terribly nostalgic, here is a link to his birth pictures.

Instaweek

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Some highlights from my week, via Instagram. Follow me @Candiedginger. ❤

{1} Ella’s eye dilation experience.
{2} Broke the cardinal rule of motherhood and woke a sleeping baby.
{3} Spider children.
{4} Dancing in the rain. Finally!
{5} After a 4 month hiatus, I’m picking up knitting again. It feels so good.
{6} Cooking is community.

InstaWeek

Moments from the past week, via Instagram. Feel free to follow me @CandiedGinger.

That spot in the middle is for me.    The current love of my life

stalagmite ice cube. It's a mystery.    For you.

Treasures found.    Etch-A-Sketch : Life Skills

Decompressing with a ridiculous book and a (finally) sleeping sad baby.

{1} I get the middle. {2} My current love.
{3} Mysterious stalagmite ice cube. {4} For you, Mama.
{5} Treasures. {6} Life skills, via Etch-A-Sketch
{7} Decompressing after a week of a Man Cold.

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