So this post comes a little early, on Sunday rather than the usual Monday, because today is rather special – our first Mothering Sunday.
Now Elphie might still be a little small to be cooking me up some scrambled eggs and serving them to me in bed (thinking about it now, I think my Mum only got such Hallmark-worthy treatment a couple of times); and she’s a bit young to associate me with the word “Mother” or even “Mama”, so this Mother’s Day is more about the symbolic transition into motherhood that has been made than the sacrifice on the altar of my maternal wonder that will be Elphie’s honour in years to come.
Photo credit: Dumpaday.com
I do rather wonder if there will ever come time when I don’t step back and wonder where this child came from, whether this really was my life or some weird dream and how on earth I became old enough to be a mother and a relatively old mother at that (average mothers being 29)!
One of Pip’s little girlfriends, who is a actually a few weeks younger than him, is walking already (with a push along walker, but still!) While Pip himself hasn’t shown much interest in moving around yet, this has brought home the imminent prospect of crawling, or at least some bottom shuffling. Babies’ development at this age seems so rapid: it only feels like a minute ago that Pip mastered sitting, and so many seasoned parents have informed me that I will “miss” these days of immobility that I’ve started to think there might be something challenging on its way that will need thought and preparation devoted to it before it hits us.
Enter the concept of “baby-proofing” or “child-proofing”: essentially preparing your house so that it is a safe zone for your baby to roam, by way of nifty inventions such as plug socket covers and stair gates.
One of the first questions people tend to ask you when you have a baby under the age of one is “Is she a good sleeper?” or “Is she sleeping through?” or, more simply, “Getting much sleep?”. I don’t mind these questions, don’t get me wrong, I will more often than not ask them myself as to talk about babies and not mention sleep is like talking about Gordon Brown and never mentioning his little Tony problem. So is Elphie a good sleeper? Well it’s pretty hard to say.
Picture credit: Anne Geddes
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this post about buggies. I stated I didn’t want a black three wheeler one (which is a pretty accurate description of my sporty buggy, see below). As our friends predicted, we DID end up wanting a lighter one and we DID end up buying not one but three more – well, I say “we”, but really mean “I”. As expected, I picked up a couple of secondhand ones as well as another Baby Show bargain.
I also really like slings, and have three of those, but I use a buggy every day without fail. The fact they can be combined as shopping trolleys is fantastic for me as I have a persistent habit of finding myself in shops, and somehow end up buying something that needs to be carried… or not, if you can stash it in the shopping basket or hook it over a handlebar. For us another major advantage of using a buggy is that Pip usually naps in it. When I need to get him to sleep I take him out in the buggy, wait until he has dropped off, then come home, park the buggy and get on with housewife duty. He also sleeps in the sling but would wake as soon as I tried to offload him, and he’s a bit too heavy these days to wear around the house as well as outside! Although not as ideal as the ability to be put down awake into a cot and fall asleep there, I’m grateful that at least we do have the buggy option for napping – and pounding the streets (and shops) is certainly one way to shed the baby weight.
Unsurprisingly, I have been roundly mocked for possessing four buggies, so would like to present my case for the defence and explain my reasoning behind each purchase.
The starter buggy
The babywearing obsession rather came about by accident – I had always intended to use a carrier with Elphie and had purchased the ubiquitous BabyBjörn (more about which later) and had marvelled so much at Alex’s tricks with a piece of cloth with Evan that she had promised me my very own woven wrap almost identical to hers in every way (I couldn’t help it – she had chosen the best wrap designs) and I fully intended to watch youtube videos and occasionally use it. My theory was that slings and wraps would be very useful for long walks and travelling when lugging around a buggy would be too much hassle and while Elphie was too small for an umbrella stroller. For everyday I reckoned I would mix it up and use the buggy as much if not more than the carriers.
When Elphie arrived rather unexpectedly our plans fell into disarray – we had the Björn but she couldn’t use it because it was only suitable from 8lbs; the woven wrap was on its way but only in time for the expected due date not a month beforehand; and as for the buggy – I was still making my final decision, so that was not an option either (buggy choices not being top of my priority list when faced rather early with a newborn baby). So Fred was sent out on a mission to our local high street to find any sling that Elphie was allowed to use so that we could actually leave the house with her in something other than the carseat. And back he came with a Caboo (I will explain what this is later) and the slippery slope to babywearing fanatics had begun.