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jkpenney

Babywearing Educator, Parent, Advocate

Month

April 2016

Driving in Hampton Roads

Everyone always complains about the varied driving practices of the many drivers from many states in the area. So now I have my own story. 

Today on the HRBT, a goose decided to cross the road. It did not get across unscathed. A truck ran it over and the duck limped away. A highway worker was at the other side of the road appearing to want to help it. The person ahead of us braked sharply. We braked just in time. The person behind us did not. At least she was moving slowly, damage was minimal, and everyone in the three car accident is fine. 

We are quite grateful for how well things turned out. And now I have an interesting story about a goose causing a multi car accident. It was an interesting day. 

Kokoskaa Daydream Summer Nights

From quite awhile ago. Summer nights now lives here permanently. It’s broken in wonderfully. 

Size 6, 100% Cotton

I’ve been using this carrier exclusively for 2 weeks now. That’s a rarity around here. Yet somehow I never got bored of this pretty. It glows in the sunlight and the colors are neutral enough that it goes well with most of my wardrobe while still standing out. 

Little sister to the original daydream pattern, the wrapping qualities are similar yet still different. The grip is still a prominent feature. It’s not difficult to wrap with yet it will lock in place once set. There is just enough stretch to get a neat chest pass. It is a dense, tight weave, but the smaller daydream cotton blend feels thinner in hand than the larger one. There is no need to baby this wrap. It offers solid support and did not dig even when tandeming 50 lbs of child in a Ruck Tied Tibetan. A torso carry with a 20 lb 8 m old stayed locked in place throughout a park excursion. No matter which carry I tried with this wrap, from a FWCC to a simple ruck and plenty in between, I was always comfortable and pleased. 

This is really a perfect summer wrap. It can take you to the park or beach without needing to treat it delicately. It can handle the 30lb toddler and the bowling ball baby with ease. Give it a shot, you’ll be happy you did. 


TL;DR – grip, dense, thin in hand, good beater, rock solid, no dig, locks in place without being difficult to tighten. 

Toto Wraps Kikoy Tigoni

Publishing past reviews. This was completed around Christmas 2014:


The past couple of weeks I got to try out a Toto wrap, a brand Marsupial Mamas recently started carrying. I primarily wrap a 12 lb, 2 month old, but my 27 lb, 2 year old also enjoys going up. We used this wrap in a FWCC, FCC, FDH, Kangaroo, Ruck, and DH. 
As for wrapping qualities, passes glide easily. It is on the thinner side of medium-thin, light weave that isn’t dense nor too loose and very smooth without being slick. It’s the kind of wrap you can beat up without concern, easy to wash and capable of being casually tossed around. It softens up quickly with wear. 

With the newborn the wrap was solid, supportive, and easy on the shoulders. Wrapping was an ease with the smooth gliding. The rails would dig a bit in a ruck after an hour or two, folding the ruck straps would help with that. 

The toddler also went up a few times. It was surprisingly more supportive than expected. In a FWCC she stayed put. In a DH, she was supported well and the chest pass helped displace any pressure points on the shoulders. It is very easy to get a tight, spread chest pass with this wrap. In a ruck, it got a bit diggy but that was helped with folding the straps over gathering. That said, I wouldn’t suggest it as a long trip ruck wrap as she would start to sag a small amount (not a worrisome amount just enough to be uncomfortable). However, this wrap would be best in longer sizes with that age so rucking probably won’t be the top choice for long term carries anyway. 

 This is a great budget option. It makes a sturdy beater and can be used from newborns to older children, especially if the wrap is longer. I wouldn’t suggest single layered carries with heavier babies. Overall I was quite impressed. 


TL;DR

Passes glide, smooth texture, medium-thin, supportive, can be diggy when shoulder passes are bunched, easy to wrap with, budget friendly, quality beater. 

Wrap sold via Marsupial Mamas

Kokoskaa Daydream Pyrope

This wrap has lived here since winter 2014 and is still a favorite of the household. The daydream pattern is a sunflower, as that is frequently asked about.  

100% Cotton

Size: 4, 3.98 m

Prewash: 288 gsm

Post wash 315 gsm

prewash, post wash, post iron

At the thicker end of the weight spectrum, you’d expect it to be beastly in hand. Oddly, it feels rather medium. The pattern gives good texture and grip while still being smooth so pulls aren’t a major concern. Passes don’t glide like a knife through butter, but it doesn’t require too much effort. 

I primarily wrap a 2.5 month old who is easy to wrap. We did a FTFR, FWCC Tub, and Kangaroo on various occasions. After some breaking in, it’s easy to get the passes tight and the grip keeps them that way. There is a good amount of stretch. Not as much as the hemp blend nexus or fully broken in Royal quill, but much more than the cotton nexus. The stretch reminds me of Pavo Granite zebra although it’s been awhile since that’s been here. Overall, it kept baby put and lends itself to a close carry. 

I also carried my 30 lb wiggly toddler on two occasions. Once on a 3 mile hike using a knotless DRS2S and once on a 45 min shopping trip in a simple ruck. During the hiking trip, the first wrap job was sloppy and loose. I rewrapped after 20 mins. But in that time the toddler was well supported. It was my first major active outing at 2.5 m postpartum so I certainly noticed her. Especially since it was a carry where all weight is on the shoulders. Also this carry tends to dig where the knots are on the chest with thicker wraps. So this wasn’t a favorite carry with this wrap. After I rewrapped, the carry was definitely more comfortable. It also withstood a 10 min tantrum on my back. The texture of the wrap was a definite win with the wiggly toddler. On the shopping trip we put the wrap to the test with a ruck. It was very supportive and nice on the shoulders. It was 30 mins before I felt any discomfort. After the toddler quit bouncing around and settled back in, the discomfort went away. It wasn’t the tightest of rucks as E loves to be arms out and lean back. Yet the carry was perfectly comfortable. And I could even forget about the 30 lb on my back for awhile. I usually only get that with beastly thick wraps like pavo Etini or Bebe Sachi khadi. Overall, it was excellent with the toddler. Easy enough to wrap with and comfortable in a quick ruck which is exactly what I need with my always busy toddler. 

I am quite impressed with this wrap. It’s comfortable, nicely textured, and offers a good amount of stretch. It can support a 30 lb toddler with ease in a single layered carry without causing discomfort. Knots at the chest may cause discomfort due to the thickness so it may be better to avoid those carries. 

Best of all is the looks. The darker warp makes it an easy wrap to drag around in the woods or parking lot. The contrasting red weft is just striking. Yep, appearances wise, it was love at first “oh!”


TL;DR

Heavy weight but medium thickness, textured but smooth weave, solid, grip, supportive, good stretch, rocks a ruck with a toddler. Great for all age ranges, suggested for intermediate and up wrappers. And rather gorgeous. 

Parental Milestone Unlocked

A has been becoming progressively more independent. She’s a very capable 18 month old. A also watches her strong willed and adventurous sister. The pair sure know how to test limits. 

Last night, A decided I didn’t get dinner to the table fast enough so she grabbed her bowl off the stovetop. The stew was freshly done so I planned to let it cool before moving dinner to the table. A failed to get the bowl down upright and covered herself on scolding stew. Poor girl burned her chest and her hand. It was not a good night. 

After hours of waiting and bouncing around hospital staff, we are finally home with a clean dressing, pain medication, and directions for a follow up. A did wonderfully. A good friend also came out to wait with me. It’s a good thing she did because she helped ask questioned and made sure we got everything done that I needed to. She’s really amazing. 

Visiting the Emergency Department is something I had yet to do at 3y and 7m into parenting. It was an overwhelming occurance. I’m honestly surprised I’ve made it so long without a visit considering how adventurous both girls are. It was an exhausting experience, especially with the long waits. But we managed and got through it. Hopefully the rest of A’s recovery goes okay. Burns are quite the uncomfortable thing.   

   

A New Road Along An Old Journey

Today I started the three part process to officially determine whether I am on the autism spectrum or if I just have autistic tendencies that cumulated into something more in my offspring. 

There is much support for the idea that autism has genetic origins. I never really thought about defining my quirky behaviors much before starting this journey with E. I was voicing my obstacles to my friend, the same friend who always points out E’s progress. And she asked me if I ever considered the fact that I might be autistic as well. That was a lightbulb moment. That question sent a new line of thought in motion. It made so much sense. Then again, I don’t struggle too terribly. I’ve adapted and can copy societal behavioral expectations. It’s probably nothing. So I put off delving further down this road for months. 

The more I read, the more I considered my friend’s question. It would definitely make sense if I am on the spectrum. Enough procrastinating. I am going to find out definitively what the answer is. So today I met with a psychologist. It will be another month until the too many hours long assessment. I considered waiting to mention it after I found out the results, if the results were positive. But I feel that isn’t really in the spirit of autism acceptance, to hide this journey. 

Hello, I am Jade and I might be autistic.  

 

Review: Joy and Joe Fluffy Shades of Feathers

  
A friend was traveling this Joy and Joe ring sling around locally for testing ages ago. I am finally remembering to write the review I promised.
I’m not big on feathers, so it was quite surprising how impressive the pattern was in person. The weave is dimensional rather than flat. This gives the wrap a defined texture. You can feel where each feather starts by just touch. For me, texture is a must in a good ring sling. It prevents slippage through the rings when A is less than compliant. It’s a looser weave that could possibly be prone to pulls. But the airy weave is backed by a medium thickness, providing plenty of support and softness. I only tried this ring sling with A when she was about 14 months and 20 lbs. E was in an anti-uppies kick. It was very comfortable with A. The thickness results in a padded-like shoulder. This along with the weave results in a comfortable and supportive ring sling that is still breathable. This would be a great option for the new baby to two year old range. 

Side note: the packaging is lovely. 

  

  

To The New Special Needs Parent

Welcome! I’ve been a member for probably all of a minute in the Internet world. I’m no where near a veteran of this fight, but this is what I recall feeling from the start to now. 

1. Take a breath. 

The moment E’s speech therapist mentioned having her evaluated for autism, my mind went into hyperdrive. There were so many steps to accomplish, so much to research. Where do I start?! Those words were just the start of a very long road with many months long wait lists to see specialists. I hurried to get things done to sit around for months waiting for the next step. There’s time. Breath. 

2. Confusion is normal. 

When the Developmental Psychologist confirmed the diagnosis months later, I just sort of hit pause for the day. People would ask, “how do you feel about it?” And I didn’t have a response. It was a relief to finally get to the end of this leg of the journey. It was worrying to consider the future. I still have a hard time imagining E’s life past kindergarten.  It was numbing to acknowledge that this is real, this is our normal. Not speaking, sensory adversions, sensory seeking, meltdowns, it’s not just a stage she’ll grow out of. Maybe, or maybe she will. Nothing is guaranteed. 

3. Accept help. Ask for help. 

It’s easy to feel isolated from your friends. They aren’t living your day to day. Some may not get it. But I promise many will try to. Open up to them. Talk about those emotions you can’t define, voice your concerns. They are here for you. Don’t distance yourself. Accept when they offer to take the kids for the day. Meet them for those play dates. You don’t need to be an island. Take the hand they are holding out. 

4. The Internet is a double edge sword. 

There are so many resources and support groups. I find the special needs parenting groups on Facebook to be helpful communities for bonding, venting, and information. There is also the other side of the coin. Some communities are not helpful. Internet trolls are vicious. Inaccurate, but vemenately assured of themselves articles make you feel like a failure or that the future is hopeless. The Internet takes weeding out to find the good. But once you find it, you’ve found your new home away from reality. It’s worth wading into. 

5. Remember to enjoy life. 

When we first started E in therapies we were in and out of doctors offices and seeing one therapist or another four times a week. Even when we cut down to two hour long sessions a week and an inclusion preschool, it was still exhausting to maintain with all the other planned activities. At one point, I had to stop. We reduced the therapies and stopped the scheduled activities. I was exhausted. E and A spent far too much time participating in structured play. I forgot how to just enjoy sitting still. It had probably been eight months since I’d last read a book for entertainment purposes only. 

Now that we’re keeping a more realistic schedule, everyone is happier. Better still, E has been developing into her own person and growing her linguistic skills at the same time. Every time she acts out a movie scene my heart soars. Who ever said tv doesn’t teach you anything has never experienced a limited verbal child yell “go!” along with Frozen

6. It gets better. 

Sometimes I would wonder what will happen. I can’t predict the future, which is frustrating as I prefer to plan everything. Each time a friend of mine sees E after a month or two of not, she always comments on how amazingly far E has gotten. “She just said hi!”, “she’s playing with the other kids!”, “she is doing so great!” 

I am with E every day. It’s difficult to celebrate the small growths as sometimes I just don’t notice them until someone else points them out. When I stop and actually look back at life before we started this journey to now, I can’t help but feel joy. Absolute joy at the resilience and determination of my little girl. She’s already come far and she’s just going to go further. 

So welcome, welcome to this wonderful and unique world. Remember to enjoy the view. 

Growing Up

Last night the kids spent the first night ever away from me. Well excluding the 2 days E spent with Casey while I was at the hospital after having A. It was a weird experience, for me anyway. The kids did great, had fun, and E slept all night, something she hardly ever does. Then when we picked them up 1.5 hrs after they woke they didn’t break down. Both girls even managed going out for breakfast on a Sunday, where the wait was 50 minutes long. They did remarkably well. 

For me, I still woke in the middle of the night when E generally shows up wanting to cuddle. And I still started the day at the same time I’m generally woken up at. Falling asleep was difficult. They spent the night with their close friends and adults we spend many hours with. I knew they were in good hands. Yet it was still hard. Spending the night away is another step towards independence. It’s a milestone in every kid’s life. But TV tells you they will be home crying by 2am. The girls weren’t. 

It’s a freeing experience. The kids no longer need me every second of every day. It’s also a bit sad. They’re getting older. And for the first time ever, I can actually picture these early years ending. These wonderful and awful years that seem to drag by at a snail’s pace will eventually end. I can concretely imagine a future outside of 24/7 child care. I can make plans for all the things I want to do when they’re both old enough to not need a stay at home parent. The fact that they will grow up has never felt more real, nor closer. I’m excited for the future, yet simultaneously sad that the now is slowly passing. 

I’ll just have to snuggle them a bit closer while I can.  

   

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