Mary-ed Life

Thoughts on love, marriage, children, and random trivia.

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“Doesn’t That Hurt Your Back?” (Thoughts on Babywearing)

I once heard a tale long ago of the fabled “content baby.” This small, delicate creature will supposedly lie in a baby seat and happily watch you cook dinner or will lounge in a baby swing for an hour or more while you go about your daily tasks. I’ve even heard of “content babies” that will play on their own while their parents watch television. Is it a myth? Does this “content baby” exist? Not in my house!

How can I put this delicately? Ariana is a diva. Since the day she was born, she has wanted to be held constantly. During the first two weeks of her life, my husband Dale and I took turns holding her twenty-four hours a day. It was the only way she would sleep. Gradually, we managed to train her to sleep in her crib and thankfully she has always been an excellent nighttime sleeper. However, the rest of the day is a different story.

Around Ariana’s two week birthday, I finally broke down and tried my first baby carrier, a Moby Wrap. I just couldn’t take the one-handed act another minute. I always knew I wanted to use a baby carrier and I expected that I would from time to time when she was a bit older, but I was honestly deathly afraid of putting her in a carrier when she was still so tiny. With Dale’s encouragement, I gave it a try.

What a relief! I had two working hands for the first time in weeks. As an added bonus, Ariana loved the wrap so much she consistently drifted off to sleep whenever I put her in it. I could cook! I could fold clothes! I could type! Hurray! It was the best decision I could have made.

According to the internet, my new parenting technique is called “babywearing.”

Since that day, I have “worn” Ariana nearly every day. It has made tasks like grocery shopping and attending church possible. It has given me an outlet for making her happy when nothing (and I do mean nothing) else would. I love babywearing and I won’t give it up until Ariana is moving completely under her own power.

I know from my numerous mommy groups that a lot of new mothers want to try babywearing, but don’t know where to start. Like every other parenting concept, there is infinite information out there, but not necessarily useful information. Many more people are just curious in general. I just can’t avoid attracting attention with an adorable baby strapped to my body.

I have lost count of how many times I’ve been asked the following questions:

1. Doesn’t that hurt your back?

2. Isn’t she heavy?

3. How do you tie that thing?

4. Is that comfortable?

5. Where do you get one of those

Well here are the answers:

1. I did get back aches in the beginning. The first few weeks after I started carrying Ariana in the Moby, I would get sore after about half an hour. At the time, she weighed seven pounds. However, my body responded to the stress by getting stronger. Slowly the time extended even as she got bigger. She now weighs eighteen pounds, yet I still carry her. Just a few weeks ago, I took her to a pottery festival and carried her and a backpack full of her essentials for more than two hours before I got tired. That was more than twenty-five pounds total.

2. Yes, she is heavy, but I pick her up anyway. She is a baby after all. When you really think about it, you carry your kids plenty as it is. So why not carry them comfortably?

3. Wrap style carriers do require practice to learn proper tying technique. However, it is not rocket science and anyone can do it. Wraps come with instructions for tying and there are a multitude of YouTube videos if you really need a live demonstration.

4. Yes. It takes a little getting used to, but I hardly notice the carrier anymore.

5. I have a Moby Wrap and an Ergo Baby Carrier. Both can be purchased online.

Please Note:

It is important to research the different kinds of carriers before purchasing, since many carriers are expensive. Also, different carriers are approved for different ages and sizes. You can try borrowing a carrier from a friend or trying a carrier on in a store as well. Personally, I loved my Moby Wrap for my newborn up until she was around nine months old. After that, Ariana became very wiggly and would try to writhe her way out of the wrap. I still use the Moby Wrap for church, since it is the most comfortable, but I use my Ergo Baby Carrier the rest of the time now. It is quicker to get on and off and allows me to carry Ariana on my back (as well as front).

The Ergo is also the less feminine looking of the two, so even Dale will use it from time to time, thus dubbing it the “daddy carrier.” This works well when we have a really long shopping trip or when I need Ariana to “daddy-sit” for me.

No matter what carrier you use, I can guarantee you will appreciate having two free hands. How often you babywear depends on preference (yours and your baby’s). I’ve heard of hardcore babywearers that carry their kids all day long. I personally love it when Ariana plays on her own on the floor and I wish it happened more often. For the moments in between, I have my carrier to save the day.

Ariana at about three weeks in the Moby Wrap.

Taking a break from cleaning to take a picture of Ariana (13 mo.) in the Ergo Baby Carrier.


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On Being a Know-It-All Parent

I have often been referred to as a know-it-all in my life, sometimes in goodhearted jest and sometimes not. I’ve also been called a bookworm and an information junkie. Whichever you choose, the fact remains that they are all completely true.

Hello. My name is Mary and I am a know-it-all-bookworm-information-junkie.

This is not to say that I revel in spouting out facts on various subjects every chance I get or that I research topics to death to make myself appear smarter. I’m not even the  sitcom character that always requires a translator. The fact of the matter is, I’m not all that smart. Sure I’m intelligent, but I’m not the greatest at applying what I know. I don’t think well on my feet, so I find myself compensating by having as much advance knowledge as possible. I figure, the more I learn, the more prepared I am for what life throws my way.

When Al Gore invented the internet, he should have taken people like me into account. While the rest of the world is killing hours on end playing World of Warcraft, I’m reading about the different techniques of tie-dyeing. While everyone else is scoping CNN for the news of the day, I’m surfing the public library database for an in depth article on Amish society. Why? Sheer curiosity (and I read an Amish romance novel the other day.) The internet has become both my saving grace and my worst nightmare. Finally, I can find the answer to any question and commit it to memory for use later. Oh no! I can find answer to any question. Where do I start?

More recently, my research focus has been parenting. After all, I only get one shot at it and I don’t want to mess up too badly. Questions abound in parenting, but definitive answers do not. Terms like “milestone,” “developmentally ready,” “attachment,” “schedule,” “gross motor,”  and “fine motor” have dominated my internal monologue for months and it is quite maddening. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of completely contradictory parenting methods and concepts. Schedule or no schedule? Pick her up? Put her down? Tummy time. Back is best. Ahhhh!

Let’s face it. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I’m just going with the flow and going with what works. Moms-to-be sometimes ask me if they should buy this product or that one. I just look at them and say, “It doesn’t matter what you buy, because you can’t control what your child will like. So buy something you like and hope for the best.” Kids write their own rules, so throw out the manual.

Great advice, right? I’m a total hypocrite. I have read more books on parenting than most people can fathom. I’ve read plenty of blogs and web articles too. Sometimes I’ll sit with friends and say, “I was reading about….” and before I get a chance to say anything else, someone will say “Oh I’m sure.”

Let’s see. What happened to my point? Oh right, here it is. I’m starting this blog as an outlet for all of the information I’ve acquired in the last year or so and as an excuse to find more. My sincere hope is that someone reads what I write and actually finds something useful or helpful. What I would love even more than that is if that same person laughed a little while reading.

So back to my internet meanderings.

Ever wonder what Bastien names the Child-like Empress in The Never Ending Story? Moon Child. I learned that last week.

Did you know? There is a breed of chicken from Chile that lays blue eggs. I learned that yesterday.

Sorry, I didn’t promise relevance.