Reevaluating, cherishing. 

It’s easy enough to judge each other, but lately I’ve been feeling the need to take a closer look at myself. I started this parenting journey before I got pregnant, as we went to many fertility appointments, as I lay back on a table with two embryos freshly returned to my womb, as my belly grew tight and stretched over many months.

I started with a set of ideals. Some have slipped away, some haven’t. Some I don’t mind losing.

Sure, I wanted a life of only wooden toys, of minimalism. Can I live with, and even thrive, in our world of chaos, clutter, and toys of every conceivable variety? Sure. Gladly. Other things I thought were so instinctual, but they slipped away almost without me noticing. And for those things, those important things, I’m having conversations with friends, reading books, journalling (a lot!), and thinking.

It’s good to reevaluate.

Children are resilient, thank god. I find they are more resilient  than my own sense of well being, of guilt relating to choices I make (or don’t), of my ability to forgive myself and live in the moment. I’ve lost patience and peacefulness a lot – still nothing drastic, but much more than I wanted to, or expected to.

I remember when I was pregnant. I envisioned being huge and happy, frolicking through fields. The reality is that I was huge and happy – once the endless vomiting stopped and I became hydrated enough to remember I had a bladder. And for frolicking? I frolicking in a mofo wheeelchair, unable to walk, unable to stand while holding a baby…or two. Pregnancy was not what I expected, and that was difficult. But that being said, I couldn’t change pregnancy. It was what it was.

Parenting, now, that I have some control over.

In the last year we’ve met a group of people who have reminded me what I wanted to be, what I was. Standing around a campfire, I’ve had the honour of making friends with people who are who I want to be. More thoughtful, more deliberate, more considerate.

So many times I’ve found myself embarrassed, imagining that I am being judged for the tiny moments my children act like normal children. I’ve worried more about what people think than what my children feel – not always, but enough.

When the reality is that I’m so, so proud of my children for being exactly who they are. I cherish them.

And so, I enter a new season of remembering that my children are individuals, are kind, are funny. That they have freedom and choices, and it’s my job to respect that. All the things that came naturally to me when they were younger have silently begun to erode, and that doesn’t feel right.

Recently we walked on and among endless sand dunes. Some parts were sand, but they were largely supported and enriched by the stout, small grasses and plants that held the sand in place. We wandered in the sun and rain, not entirely sure which path to take but knowing the general direction we wanted to head in. We stopped when we needed, to eat or rest or examine flowers.

As I walk forward in this life, as myself and as a tremendously lucky mother of two amazing children, I gather stout grasses around me. People I trust, a well worn and loved notebook, the ideas and practices of those who have come before me. I have flowers and dandelion clocks and some well worn paths leading surprising places. I may not always know which is the right path to take in any given moment, but I remember the general direction I want to head.

 

Why babywearing?

So… what’s the big deal with babywearing, anyway?

Babywearing is a beautiful thing. Picture it: you or your partner have just birthed a gorgeous baby. Pop that baby in a sling, and it’s like you have your bump back! But cuter.

Babies want to be close to their mothers. Most mothers want to be close to their babies. Most also want to be able to pee, eat, and walk. Babywearing allows you to have all the snuggles you both (or all, in the case of multiples) desire, while still letting you move around. I’d say all other benefits aside, it is a total necessity for parents of twins or higher order multiples.

Once I discovered it, it revolutionized life.

When I was pregnant and on bedrest, I did a lot of reading about life with twins. And pretty much every single thing I read talked about the horribleness of two babies crying – you had to pick just one to take care of, you had to somehow cope with the other baby screaming its heart out. And you know, that’s just not true. Of course you can’t escape babyhood without crying – especially when you have two or more babies to consider – but crying is important; it’s one way a baby communicates. But it isn’t something you have to just grin and bear.

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One of mine needed a nappy change and the other didn’t want to be put down? Pop that baby on your back, scoop up the poop covered baby and away you go.

One want to sleep and the other is wide awake? Pop the sleepy baby in a wrap and play with the awake baby.

My babies were often instantly comforted by getting cosy in a wrap, and it saved them (and me!) a lot of tears in the early months. This was especially true when teething or illness was involved, not to mention a few hospital stays for one of the babies. Ever tried getting a toddler to sleep in the hospital with bright lights and screaming kids everywhere? Walk with halls with him in a wrap, problem blessedly solved. Not to mention how much easier it made life outside of the flat even on the best of days. You want to go in a public bathroom without wrestling with a giant double pushchair and then figuring out how to pee without a locked door between you and a baby? Wear them.

That was the answer to many of life’s queries – I wanted to go for a walk, but needed crutches and was unable to push a pushchair. BAM. We wanted to walk in a muddy area, a root filled area, a narrow path. BAM. Wanted to go into a busy cafe but there was no room for a pushchair, double buggies (even the awesome we had) weren’t convenient for stores, both kids were sobbing at the witching hour and there was no way to comfort both effectively. Have to go to the dentist but there’s just a narrow stairway with no lift. Bam, bam, bam. Bammity bam.

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Add this to the fact that sometimes both babies need a cuddle, and it can be tricky to hold two heavier-every-day babies who happen to win wiggling championships regularly.

You can see how parents of twins or triplets – or more! – can benefit from babywearing. But what about the babies?

Babywearing promotes bonding. When done correctly, it is comfortable and safe for both the adult and the baby (more posts to follow on this subject!). Many mums who breastfeed do it while babywearing, which allows them to stay on the move if they didn’t have a comfy place to sit or time to hang out. It allows your baby to be on a level with you – easier for you both to communicate with each other. It allows your baby a secure way to explore the world around – they are exposed to more conversation and have a better view. Best of all, when they would normally get overstimulated, all they have to do is snuggle into your chest (or back) and focus on you, providing a great way to help them self-regulate and maintain a calmer state.

And babies being calm often makes for a calmer parent, which makes for calmer babies…you get the drift. It’s a lovely cycle that allows you to enjoy each other more, gives you a bit more freedom, has huge practical benefits, and places a real value on the relationship between parent and child. What’s not to like?

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Babywearing twins, take two!

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I used to have a blog specifically on how to babywear twins. It features plenty of awkward videos of a sleep deprived, house bound me attempting to show you how we did things.

It’s been awhile since I tandem wore the kids, but various sites on the internet still track me down to ask questions. So I thought I would migrate some posts here! Some new content, too, but also a lot of just bring the old posts straight over here.

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Earlier this week while at gymnastics, a woman walked in with a baby on her front and a toddler on her back. And using wraps! I was so excited I ended up approaching her and telling her how great it was to see someone tandem wearing their kids. She said it was her first ever time doing it, and she’d been nervous, and I told her she looked awesome. And her kids looked so happy.

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It feels nice to help other people feel good.

Thought I’d share some babywearing pics to get you in the mood….will try to put up a babywearing post once a week. If you have any specific requests or questions, do let me know. Who knows. Maybe I’ll even film some new videos and show you how to babywear four and a half year olds!