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jkpenney

Babywearing Educator, Parent, Advocate

Month

May 2016

Discovering New Talents

Casey gave me an iPad Pro for Mother’s Day. Yes, it’s not really an appropriate gift. We more used the holiday to justify the new toy. I’ve been following the iPad Pro since its first introduction. I’ve always loved a stylus tablet combo, but 3rd party stylus always felt bulky and didn’t allow for much in the way of detail. The Apple Pencil is a game changer. It’s completely optimized for the iPad so the pair works seamlessly. Honestly it makes my handwriting look neater than pen and paper. Basically it’s magic.

Moving on from the sales pitch, I love to doodle. On paper it usually ends up as messy blobs as erasing continually wears at the paper, I can’t draw a straight line without a straight edge, and well the sound of traditional pencils on paper creeps me out. The iPad solves all those problems and leaves me with crystal clear  drawings and allow for plenty of detail. I’ve also used a stylus/computer combo. This also made things nicer but lacked the familiarity of drawing directly down onto the work space. This lead to awkward transitions and a not quite as authentic experience. But the Wacom tablet did introduce me to the possibilities in computer drawings.

I have found a new passion, and I’m pretty good at it in my opinion. It is so amazing to see my imagination come to life how I pictured it and to not be disappointed at my lack of artistic aptitude. Now excuse me as I go draw more coloring pages and portraits.

Image of two sketches by Jade. The left print is of two stuffed dogs. The parent dog is wearing a baby bear while reading to the toddler stuffed dog. It is a coloring page. The right printout is a family portrait drawn from behind of the four Penney family members.
Print outs of digital sketches by Jade

 

Self Expression 

One of the most amazing things about E using an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device is how much her personality has grown since she could express herself without limitation. Most people don’t put much thought into how they communicate with others. For me, I was the same. I never thought about how difficult it is to navigate social situation if you don’t have verbal words to interact with others. E has shown me a new way of living and taught me a new depth of empathy for others differences. Before her it was something I heard about but never encountered so never gave it much consideration.
Back on point, AAC fostered an explosion in E’s communication skills. She can now greet friends by name that are listed in her device and confidently say hi to those who aren’t. She can request each item she wants for breakfast, show sympathy, read along with books, and express her emotions in an understandable way. As a bonus, her verbal skills continue to go exponentially as she repeats after her device with each selection. Proloquo2go has been an absolute game changer.

One of my favorite changes I’ve seen since implementing AAC is the growth of E’s individuality. One thing she adores is putting on makeup. Lipstick makes her ecstatic. This morning I came into the room to her pressing the “lips” icon on her device. She then led me by the hand to point out my makeup case and back to the iPad to say “lips” again.

Makeup in hand, E proceeded to prepare her face for the day, complimenting her twirly dress and hair clips she also picked out. (And loves to pick out the same dress and clips each day.) It is amazing to watch her personality grow every day. I’m excited to see how she continues and which directions she’ll take.

Kokoskaa Royal Quill Maple

Royal Quill Maple was among the first tencel blend royal quills released by Kokoskaa. It predates royal quill Jade. This review is from summer 2015.

Blend: 55% Cotton, 45% Tencel

This past week I’ve had this pretty tester hanging around. This is a new budget blend from Kokoskaa. I’m very happy with the way this blend wraps so far.

I’m wrapping a 4 month 15lber and a 2.5 yr old 30 lber. And I used a fwcc, ruck, tandem ruck, and a double hammock.

This wrap rocks in a FWCC. It is also very supportive in a ruck and easy to wrap in a DH. The passes slide smoothly into place. You would think think the pattern would add a ton of texture and grip but it is actually quite subtle. It’s supportive and comfortable on the shoulders. There is some stretch which helps to get a tight wrap job without adjusting for days. Once baby is wrapped, she stays in place without sagging.

By feel and looks, you can tell its a different fiber blend. The tencel has a kind of cool matte sheen, if that makes any sense. Overall it seems like a solid budget option. You’ll get the looks and great wrapping qualities in a light mid-weight wrap.

This will be a great option for those getting into wearing as it’s easy to wrap with. It provides strength and comfort while still being soft to touch. I also think it will be a good breathable summer time option.
TL;DR smooth glide, supportive, solid, some stretch, easy to wrap with.

Falling Behind

Time is ever moving. It doesn’t stop when you or I decide to take a break. It’s great that life is always moving forward and that each moment is fleeting I’m sure. But it sure can become overwhelmingly exhausting to catch up when you take a moment to rest.

One household activity I continue to fail miserably at is laundry. It’s endless. By time it’s all washed I just don’t feel up to folding anything, so it piles up into clean unfolded mountains contained by laundry baskets. I’m pretty sure no clothing actually lives in the girls’ dresser. When I finally wrangle the clothes into their proper storage spaces I’ve no desire to do it again the next day, restarting the cycle. Lately, everything on my to do lists feels like a gargantuan pile of unfolded laundry.

I just wrote down all the things I’ve been procrastinating on for my baby wearing chapter. It is a daunting list. Half the time I feel like I’m failing miserably at being a good leader and volunteer along with failing as a homemaker. But I’m not. You’re not failing either.

It’s perfectly okay to not have everything done right this minute. It’s healthy to accept your limits. We can’t do everything alone. It’s admirable to ask for help and delegate. Life isn’t meant to be managed alone. Support systems are the backbone of every capable person.

So take a breath, grab a drink, and enjoy these fleeting moments. The laundry will still be there tomorrow.

 

Kokoskaa Brave

100% cotton

Red, White, and Blue

276 GSM post wash and wear
This tester is the first wrap from Kokoskaa’s newest budget line. All wraps in this line are priced under $100. What is great about this wrap is it provides excellent quality for an economically considerate price.

As for the wrap, I tested a size 7 with my 20 lb 11 month old and my 32 lb 3 year old using standard carries such as a FWCC, Ruck, and a DH.

The first thing to jump out at me is how smooth in hand the wrap feels. When wrapping, that translates to great glide. Yet there is also enough grip that you need not worry about it being slippery. Once in place, Brave is quite solid and supportive.

It’s a flatter weave so isn’t cushy. But it is also a thicker medium wrap and doesn’t wrap flat either. I know, I make perfect sense. It doesn’t seem pull prone and fixing any pulls would be a breeze. That’s a must for me with a beater wrap, which Brave would serve perfectly as.

It comes stiff in the bag and will take some work breaking in. After a couple weeks of mild wear, Brave is already starting to reveal its soft potential. Once softened, and with its easy to wrap with-ness, this wrap will be great with even the small babies.

This wrap is a great option for anyone looking for a one and done wrap or an inexpensive beater/loaner. It will provide excellent support through toddlerhood and not only withstand, but benefit from frequent wear. It’s an easy to care for blend that you can drag through the dirt then throw in the wash without a second thought. Overall, it’s a great investment and more than worth the cost.
TL;DR: strong, smooth, glides, touch of grip, great beater, great for toddlers, needs some breaking in, great price point, classic looks

A Different State of Normal

Today a good friend reminded me of something very important as a special needs parent. As a parent of two neurodiverse children, she and I compliment each other well and sympathize with the different challenges each of us face. We were talking about our days and she pointed out the following:

It wasn’t a hard day. It was a normal day. I just have to quit expecting our day to be like any other parent’s normal day.

This was like a lightbulb. This is OUR normal. Tantrums over challenged communication is not a hard day. Meltdowns and hiding under a table because a neighbor is trimming his hedges is normal. I need to stop expecting neurotypical behavior from my neurodiverse day child. She is exactly who she should be. It’s me who needs to alter her state of mind.

 

 

Kokoskaa Hope

100% Cotton

3 yo (35 lbs) and an 18 m old (21lb)

Carries tried:FWCC, Ruck, Ruck TT, DH, Ring Sling

Hope has been staying here in different forms for a few weeks now. I’ve used it with both children on various occasions, the longest being a 2+ hr shop run with the little in a DH. Hope is fantastic in single or multilayers. It is thinner and glides with ease making multi layered carries beginner friendly. It also still offers the support of the first budget grad release, Brave, without the bulk. This translates well to a ring sling, supportive yet light and easy to adjust through the rings. Its a flat textured standard cotton (neither soapy or dry) that lays on the shoulders without digging. The width is enough with a preschooler without being overwhelming with the baby. It breaks in quickly.

The most defining adjective for this wrap is “easy”, easy to wrap with, easy care, easy to learn with since there are different colored rails, and easy to depend on for various situations.

TLDR: Glide, flat, beginner friendly, thinner, no dig, solid, softens quickly.

This is not for you if you want a cushy, bounce, thick, or textured wrap.

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