Monday, August 30, 2010

Practice for my future role as a Soccer Mom

My brother came down to visit the family and to also attend at swing dance event happening in town this past weekend. The dance and classes were being held at a local university about 20 minutes away from my house. I figured I could drive him back and forth to the university to help him out so he didn't have to rent a car or take public transportation. My sister, who is our live in Nanny, also had some things going on this weekend. She doesn't drive my car yet because she is still unfamiliar with the city and doesn't really do parallel parking. And I had errands to run and some of my own things going on.

I'm sure this is not the case, but I certainly feel like I spent most of my weekend in the car. I definitely have the route to this university memorized even though I'll probably never go back. There was one day where I had to get one person to one thing very early so the other could be on-time and then pick someone up late so the other person could be picked up at the right time. I felt like I needed some sort of colored coded spreadsheet. Is this what a soccer mom feels like?

When Baby Em gets older and starts all her activities I may need to take a class in Scheduling or Time Management or something. Luckily the idea of carpooling has been around forever so I'm sure that will help out. But until then I think I did pretty well on my trial run as Soccer Mom extraordinaire.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I need a vacation after this vacation...

Remember when vacation meant sleeping in late, relaxing, and was stress free. Well add a baby to the mix and you can forget all those things--at least in my case. Earlier this month Baby Em and I traveled to Minnesota to visit family. This trip was just the girls. Dad stayed home.

I figured I could handle it all by myself because I would have tons of family support. And I did but to a certain degree. Everyone wanted to hold Baby Em when she was in a good mood and everyone wanted to play with her when she was smiling. However, when it came to fussy times or changing time or sleeping time it was all me. Just me. No Dad to help out. It was tiring! Super props to all the single Moms who do this everyday. I was having trouble with just a week--not sure how you ladies do it.

Baby Em did pretty well on the trip. She was very flexible with all the traveling, all the attention, and different sleeping arrangements (of course until we got back home but I'll save that for another post). We discovered her new love for water. I took her swimming and she just thought it was the greatest thing. The pool would just calm her down in an instant.

It was also great to see her with all the family, especially my grandmother. Baby Em's middle name is her great-grandmother's first name so they have a very special connection. All the cousins were so fascinated by her but were all a little hesitant to hold her. They warmed up quickly though.

Despite not being very restful, the vacation was a lot of fun. It's these moments that make working during the week not so horrible. We want Baby Em to have the opportunity to meet and know her family, take adventures, and have family fun. I hope I'm helping make that possible for her.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This baby wearing Mommy and the FAA do not see eye to eye

Two weeks ago Baby Em and I (+ Aunt M) flew to Minnesota to visit our family. It was my grandmother's 75th birthday and she really wanted Baby Em to be in attendance.

I'll have more on the vacation in a later post but first, I need to start out by saying Thank Goodness!!! for Southwest and their two bags fly free because packing for a week long trip with a baby requires a lot of stuff. Baby Em's stuff was packed into the large suitcase while I took the smaller one. There was also a car seat, a stroller and a diaper bag. Forget about my personal carry on--it was all about Baby Em. Luckily, Grandma was able to borrow a Pack-N-Play so ours didn't have to make the trip.

Baby Em has proven to be a very good traveler, whether in the car or on a plane (haven't done a train yet). I think she takes after her Dad in that respect. As soon as we get on the plane Baby Em falls asleep. Her Dad does the same thing. He can sleep anywhere. To help keep her asleep on each leg of the trip, I wrapped Baby Em in the Moby (cradle hold). She wanted to come out on the leg to MN so I spent the whole flight just holding her in my arms. On the way home she was sound asleep by the time we got on the plane and stayed that way while everyone was boarding. Right before take off I was told by a flight attendant that this carrier wasn't a FAA approved safety device and I needed to take Baby Em out. I think I gave her a look of disgust because she said "Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just following regulations." I told her that hopefully regulations require her to rock Baby Em back to sleep after she wakes up--sort of--Isaid it under my breath but I was very annoyed.

Apparently, according to the flight attendant, carrying Baby Em in that matter would inflict more harm on the baby than just having her in my lap during an on-flight incident--like having to stop suddenly or strong turbulence. I still didn't understand her explanation because my thinking is that having Baby Em close to me would provide more security than just holding her on the lap. What if the turbulence caused me to let go or the deceleration threw her against the seat in front of us and me against her. I wouldn't be able to stop because my hands would be around her. However, annoyed as I was, I did take her out and just held her for the rest of the flight.

I've done some research into this issue because I was still wondering what the FAA regulation said. What I was able to find was that, first, it seems this regulation is very antiquated. It was set for situations a long time ago when seat belts were different and airlines were trying to prevent parents from buckling their lap baby in with them. Second, the regulation only requires that during take-offs, landings and taxing that the baby not be restrained by the seat belt or by any type of carrier (unless FAA approved). However, during the remaining portion(s) of the flight it is OK. So, what I should do is wrap the baby to get on the plane, unwrap the baby for take-off, wrap the baby back up, and then unwrap again for landing. Yeah, right. Never gonna happen.

I wonder if Baby Em had not wanted to get out on the flight to MN if that flight attendant would have said the same thing to me. It seems, from reading similar posts, that some attendants will say something and some will not. Either because they don't fully understand the regulation themselves or maybe they just don't notice.

I think the people making these regulations need to better understand baby wearing and the carriers we use. I still plan on carrying Baby Em in a carrier next time we fly. So far it's been the best thing for both us. She can get to sleep and I can read a book. We'll just leave it to the luck of the draw and hopefully our next flight attendant won't say or notice anything.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Baby and I go on tour with a new kind of (w)rap

So I mentioned in a previous post that my little family was planning on attending a baby wearing workshop. We did go. It was informative but we didn't try on any of the carriers. Baby Em was a perfect little angel through information portion of the workshop. She even let one of the speakers use her as a model without any fuss. But as soon as Daddy and I tried to wear her in the different carriers she started screaming. She didn't want to feed or sleep. Baby Em just could not be comforted. So we left.

I was disappointed because I thought that being able to wear the different types of carriers would help with my decision of which one to buy. Each carrier costs just enough that I'm not in a position to buy one, try it for awhile, and then buy something different if I don't like it. So I had to do some more research and then hope for the best (the plus side of having to pump in my office is I can use this time to do all my "baby stuff" research).

I already own the Moby and it's been working great. It's been very helpful when I've needed to be hands free and Baby Em wanted to be held. However, as she gets heavier the material starts to sag and she doesn't seem as comfortable in the cradle hold, which I use a lot because it allows her to fall asleep when we are out and about. Baby Em also loves to face out when being carried so she can see everything. However, the only carriers I have found that allow you to do that, like the Baby Bjorn or the Snugli, hurt my back every time I wear them. So I needed something with more support. I've heard great things about the Ergo and the Beco and know many people using them. They don't have a forward facing option (yet) but these were still the carriers that I was leaning towards.

During my research I've discovered that the Beco has a new version of their carrier that has yet to be released. This newer version will allow you to carry your baby forward facing and is a carrier that, if you like it, you can use with your baby through their toddler years. I'm hoping that it will be released just in time for me to get an awesome Christmas gift (Mom, hopefully you're reading this).

Until then, I started watching Craigslist for anyone selling a Mei Tai carrier, which is a cheaper option (not by much) to the Beco or the Ergo. I thought it would be a good replacement for the Moby when it stopped doing its job. The Mei Tai carrier provides better material base to prevent Baby Em from sagging and it sort of works like a swaddle blanket in that it doesn't allow her limbs don't move around much which is helpful in getting her to take a nap in the carrier when we're out doing errands. I eventually found a woman who was selling her carrier--brand was Mei Tai Baby--she couldn't use it (or didn't want to use it) because it was a girly pattern and she had a boy. It's worked great so far and it packs up so nicely in the diaper bag. So far it's been worth the expense and has already paid for itself.

Our next adventure will be wearing her on my back with the Mei Tai and seeing if she enjoys being carried that way. Or maybe we'll even convince Daddy to use the Mei Tai.

Until then, look for Mommy and Baby Em (w)rapping in a city near you.

Peace out!!