Ditching our crib and buying something else for Nat to sleep in was not as hard as it might have been, because the crib we bought originally, was this mini crib and it was fairly economical. The cost of the crib and the hammock together still came to less than what lots of people pay for a regular crib. We still like the mini crib a lot. It's pretty and very apartment friendly in its size. Nat seems to be happy with the mattress (which is far thinner than a regular crib mattress) after sleeping in the hammock, on pallets on floors or play yards (when we are visiting others). Its only big drawback is the lack of a drop-down side, so that I have to reach down into it and pull Nat out which is not so easy on the back. I think the drawbacks are worth the space and price savings, but you be the judge. It wouldn't be one of the things I insist everyone would love (unlike the hammock!).
Next Up: Carriers
The lovely and talented Dawn handed down her favorite sling to us when Nat came home. It was our favorite sling too. It was snuggly purple fleece with adjustable shoulder snaps so any adult could wear it comportably. Nat lived in it for at least a month and half lived in it for another two, until it got too hot for fleece and Nat got too big for me to strain only one shoulder with a sling. Here she is sleeping away happy as a baby clam. (I pulled it open, aimed the camera at my tummy and snapped.)
Once Nat outgrew the sling, I asked dawn for her next recommendation. She suggested the Ellaroo Wrap. And boy, oh boy, was she right!
The great thing about this one is that you can tie it a zillion ways--I might've wrapped it sling-style (and did, briefly) from the get-go, but with Nat bigger and heavier, we found the front-cross-carry to be ideal (these instructions are a little different from ours--we add a final step of pulling the horizontal "sash" piece up over the baby's butt for a sense of even more security and a bit more bottom support to take pressure off her legs).
This method of tying the wrap distributes nearly equal weight in not just two (shoulders) places, but three (adding lower back). It was super comfortable for a long time. I have a bad back and this was the next best thing to carrying my own body weight, because the baby is snugged so tightly and the weight is distributed so evenly. Nat loved it too. I tried the fancy, over-priced carrier sported by movie stars (they don't need my advertising, you know who I mean) and it just didn't distribute the weight as well, because it isn't nearly as personally adjustable to the body of the wearer. It also smooshed Nat's face uncomfortably, whereas again, the wrap could be pulled and tugged and loosened to fit the baby just so.
We could still use the wrap, and do occasionally on planes and stuff, but now Nat loves her stroller (she hated it before she developed some object-permanence and couldn't see where we were), and she's heavier, so we use it less. I think it's pretty, too, and never felt frumpy wearing it. It costs a bit, when you buy it from this company, but once I accidentally forgot it on a trip to visit my parents, so my mother and I went out and bought some fabric and she ran a seam so I could use that, and it cost about the same as a new wrap from Ellaroo, because it's a lot of fabric. You could buy cheaper fabric and run your seam and probably save some money, but I thought the fabric was worth it. We bought the large size, I believe (can't quite remember) because I wanted to be sure I had plenty of fabric to tie any way I liked. I could have gotten away with a medium because I always had a long tail left over, but I'm really skinny and Nat (though growing) is small (for her age), so that's just us.
I have heard that some babies don't like wraps and slings, but Nat loved them. For a long time, we could take her anywhere, because at nap or bed time, I could just wrap her up and she'd sleep on me sound as in her bed. We even went to a couple of adult movies, trusting she'd sleep quietly in the wrap (and she mostly did, especially if we sat on the aisle, so I could stand and bounce a little when she stirred).
So if your baby hates these things, I'm sorry. But if you don't have a baby yet--give it every chance, because it made life a bazillion times easier for us. A BA-zillion!
Bloodwork shows no mono, but does show borderline anemia--a problem I've had on and off in the past--which explains why I'm so tired and so slow to make it back to 100% after my illness last month.
At least it has an easy fix--I'm off to purchase iron supplements.
If I paid 30% the attention to my own diet that I pay to Nat's I'd be healthy as a horse (like her). I guess I need to start making sure I eat my own oatmeal every morning, drizzled with blackstrap molasses, eh?
I know you're sick of me bragging on Uncle David, but this is what he did today:
After I woke up from my 2-hour nap, I pulled up a chair and joined everyone else at the table.
Here are my folks enjoying dinner.
And here is Uncle Sasha with her new better half, the very most welcome to town and to the family, Brooke (mommy of "Cuz Kalib" from the baptism album).
Nat now thinks that Thanksgiving is the day Mama Shannon lets you eat three non-organic, white-flour butter crackers instead of just one. Score!
But the really remarkable thing is that after all that, my kitchen is cleaner than it was this morning before David arrived, and all I did was throw the dish towels in the wash. Really. This is how Thanksgiving should always be.
Saturday, Uncle David heads to his blood clan in Indiana to do it all again for even more people.
Tonight is Nat's third night of sleeping in her crib in her own room. If we were less than committed to moving her out of the hammock at the foot of our bed, well, Uncle David fixed us good by disassembling the hammock and putting it away.
But all three of us have loved the hammock lo these nine months. Nat just hit 18 pounds and I think she might've safely and happily stayed in the hammock until her first birthday, but we were ready to shift her to her room. When she first got here, we had placed the crib at the foot of our bed and after three nights of misery, and having to just give up and bring her to bed with us (something we did once in a while in her teeny infancy but didn't want to commit to long-term), we broke down and ordered the hammock.
It's a very nifty thing and though it's a bit pricey, I would buy it again for twice as much. (My in-laws actually paid for ours as a gift, but I'd buy it again myself in a heartbeat.) It's beautiful and cozy and recommended for preventing sleep dangers like SIDS, smothering or just simple reflux. She loved it right away. Since she was born small, she needed little round pillows by her hips to keep her in place for weeks. We never worried about her rolling over or later, crawling out. The hammock rocks and bounces gently whenever the baby moves and it just lulled her back to sleep.
So if I were making a list of things all new parents should have, I'd put this at the top of the list. Even if you co-sleep, it's nice for naps etc. And it supposedly can be easily packed for travel, though we never did that.
I've been thinking lately about all the products we have found to be truly valuable this year and how I should make a list, because before Nat came, I was desperate for such a list, myself from an actual parent I trusted, rather than the pre-fab lists they give you at stores. Therefore, note the new category of "Baby Stuff We Love" and if you're shopping, may we humbly submit our suggestions? (No one is giving us a dime, we just want to share.)
So says the PA who works under my doctor (who was full-up today and couldn't squeeze me in when Cole called to make an appointment).
Cole makes me go to the doctor whenever I'm ill. I never want to go. I spent years underinsured and learned that most of the time the doctor will just say, "yeah, you're ill, go to bed and drink lots of fluids." And I can cut out the middle man and go to bed myself. But now I have insurance via Cole and I can get antibiotics and codiene and blood work all for the low-low copay of $15.
So today I went in due to swollen, painful tonsils and tiredness that just hasn't subsided since my sinus infection of weeks ago. I had mono in college like everybody else, but the PA agreed with Cole and speculated that I might have had it largely in one gland only and now it's in the other (Brits: "Mono"=Glandular Fever, if you haven't caught on at this point).
So here I sit while my blood spins in a lab somewhere. They said tomorrow or the next day they'd call with the results. And you know what? I hope it is mono. Because at least then I'd know that "go to bed and drink lots of fluids" is the best and only thing I can do and I could just do it and stop trying to get up and be my normal super mom self while functioning at only aout 75% capacity of energy and enthusiasm. Otherwise I don't know what it is and I'll feel like I have no excuse to slack off.
Having a baby means not having time to recuperate and not having energy to spare on functioning while ill. Talk about a Catch 22.
I am applying for a job that requires two writing samples. I'd like to use blog posts for the samples. That's where you, my loyal and indulgent readers come in.
Please tell me what your favorite post is. It could be here, at Peter's Cross Station, or at the pre-adoption site, Waiting for Nat. If you can, leave a link below, but if you can't find it, just recall it as best you can, and I'll go find it.
I'd be ever so grateful for your input on this. You are also pretty much the target audience for the job I'd be doing (fingers crossed!), so your thoughts are extra valuable.