And so far, I suck at it.
I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted a new baby-wearing tool. I LOVE LOVE LOVE our Sleepy Wrap baby carriers and I use them a LOT. Every day. So does my Husband.
However, with Mac’s increasing size and squirminess, I was discovering the Sleepy Wrap had some limitations. . .
For one thing, he is smack on my chest and stomach – front and center. This isn’t necessarily a problem when we are in a level, climate controlled environ strolling around while he naps. It is a problem when he’s wide awake and I’m trying to actually do something. Or when we are hiking.
The Sleepy Wrap is also, well a wrap. So there are several layers of heavy-duty cotton knit jersey type material wrapped around you. That means in addition to having the kid right up against you, you have a lot of extra layers on. Kinda’ uncomfortable in hot weather.
As best as I could tell the Sleepy Wrap didn’t have a way to place the kid on your back. And the heavier Mac becomes, the more keen I am on shifting his weight to my back (or even hip).
I knew we needed a new baby carrier to address these new concerns as Mac was getting older and I had heard over and over and over again how much folks loved their Ergo. A lady even unsolicited suggested one to my Husband the last time he was out and about with Mac in the Sleepy Wrap.
So last week, armed with an REI gift card, we headed to REI to purchase a Sleepy Wrap. We also stopped at McDonald’s and used a coupon for a free frozen coffee-type drink which I nearly immediately spilled on a shelf at REI because apparently, I’m subconsciously driven to create a mess anywhere I go. However, despite my best efforts, no carpet or merchandise was harmed during the spill.
I opted for the Ergo not only because I had heard only rave reviews but also because I knew you could wear the baby in a variety of ways (front, hip, back). I also liked the idea that it was still a completely “soft carrier” with no metal supports or hard frame and the baby didn’t sit up too high near the adult’s head when worn in the “back” position.
Coffee disaster remedied, we left REI with a $120 “standard” Ergo baby carrier, color black and camel. I opened up the box and started to read the manual on the way home.
It looked pretty daunting.
But I was keeping an open mind because I recall feeling slightly intimidated by the Sleepy Wrap until I used it for a few days.
When we got home, I put all my reservations aside about its resemblance to a Kevlar vest better suited for military action than dragging a baby around the house, and I tried wedging Mac in it.
I put him in the “front” position because it looked the least intimidating to master. However, I quickly realized I either have way short tyrannosaurus rex type arms, or I’m lacking the gymnastic ability necessary to get the final strap and buckle secure. (It goes across the back near the shoulder blades.) Chris clicked me in and I was feeling optimistic about our prospects.
The following day I did a little more reading while Mac was eating his lunch. That’s when I realized, the manufacturer didn’t recommend routine machine washing. No machine washing!? For something a toddler uses regularly?! In a house with so many pets?! I knew that black carrier was going to look like it had been to hell and back after 3 days in this house.
However, I really really wanted this to work so I promised myself to try not to feed Mac anything messy while he was in it. And I promised myself I wouldn’t just throw it down any old place in the house. I’d ALWAYS put it away properly in its original packaging in the closet in an effort to thwart the pet hair problems.
Later that day, Mac was being a little needy while I was getting dinner ready. I saw my first opportunity to put this sucker to the test. While he was napping, I had studied up on the mechanics of clicking all the buckles, etc to wear baby on the hip. I figured I’d put him on my hip and whip up a salad and some fish for dinner. . .
Except it was uncomfortable as hell.
In order to wear the a baby at your hip, one of the two main support straps comes across the front of your chest and neck similar to a seatbelt. Maybe I didn’t have something adjusted properly but the entire time I was wearing it, I felt as if the strap was sliding away from my shoulder and cutting into my neck.
This is not a good feeling for freaks like me who have a fear of suffocation and are claustrophobic as hell.
I managed thwart a panic attack until my Husband arrived home so he could see the thing in action, hoping he would confirm I wasn’t just being nuts.
He didn’t say much but he at least pretended to listen to my concerns.
Later that evening when the house was quiet I pulled out the instruction manual again and I practiced the hip wearing manuevers a few more times. It still felt off.
Then of course, I began to wonder if it was me. Was it my excessive sweater meat that was a problem? Was it my height? Maybe I’m too short for the straps – even adjusted – and that’s why they weren’t lying properly across my body?
We left town for the weekend and although we took Ergo with us, the Sleepy Wrap still got all the attention. Ergo sat lonely in its box on my Mom’s dining room floor.
Ergo is currently in time out in a dark closet. That’s how time out works, right? I’m going to give it a second chance later today. However, if we can’t love it out in the next week, Ergo will have to be returned and I’ll be left looking for something that can make me as happy as a Sleepy Wrap. . .
And that’s no small feat.
Anyone have any relationship counseling for Ergo and Me?