From the monthly archives:

April 2010

How extreme are we?

by Milton on Fri, Apr 9th, 2010

in Week 35

I think this blog has been properly named, even though at the time it was intended to be sort of humorously self-deprecatory.  I mean, we started interviewing doctors and buying all the books right away, and a home birth was far from our thoughts, but here we are.

And today we started looking into the whole world of what they call “elimination communication,” which we’ve run into a few times before but as I joked in our birthing class last week, we thought it might be too extreme for us.  But then we looked into it a bit more, read a bit from about it from another great new parent who’s trying it out, and it’s starting to seem a little more reasonable on this slippery slope into complete hippydom.  It is, in the extreme, an attempt to be diaper-free, and instead pay such close attention to your baby that you know when he/she needs to go and you hold him/her over a toilet.  In its less-extreme forms, you can still use a diaper, but still try to get the communication going about when he/she needs to go. Of course, in the pre-diaper world, it was the only way to be.

Once you get on this train of trying to get back to the core of what parenting is… from natural births to breast-feeding to attachment parenting to elimination communication… it just never seems to end.  There’s a luxury implied in some of these methods… who has time to pay this much attention to an infant, clearly only the rich and bored.  But these things don’t have to be polarizing philosophies.  They’re all presented (if not by the media and by strongly opinionated bloggers) as a spectrum of possibilities.  Adapt what you can, discard what proves to be impossible.  The same goes for everything else in life.  It’s not about choosing your loyalties and author/doctor heroes, but rather finding the resonant bits of methods that have been used and tested and finding out what kind of parent I want to be.

But yeah, from zero to baby.  Esther’s due date is coming right up in 29 days, and our list of things that we need to do before then is getting perilously small.  Then it’s the fast track for toddlerhood, adolescence, teen years, and adulthood for our little Axelrod.  While we run around trying to catch falling chickens and put out forest fires.  That’s my expectation, at least, I could be wrong.

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I love how Baby Center tells me what I should be afraid about.

Here are the seven deadly fears:

  1. Will I be able to provide for my family?
  2. Will I be able to “perform” during Esther’s labor?
  3. Am I really the baby daddy?
  4. Does this mean that my life is over?
  5. Will Esther and Axelrod be okay?
  6. Will Esther love Axelrod more than me?
  7. Should I be afraid of hospitals in general?

I guess the point of listing all of these fears is to help people who are afraid feel like they’re “normal”.  But I can’t help but feel that they also serve to reinforce stereotypes that are about weakness, insecurity, and irrationality and offering them as ways to be.  Even if you weren’t necessarily afraid of these things before reading the list, someone might read the list and think, yeah, maybe I SHOULD be worried about the paternity of my baby.

It could be simply because, as I ease into a new role, I’m hyper aware of the pressures that attempt to mold me, inform me of my new role, give subtle clues, social cues, etc to help me along the way.  But where are the articles from Baby Center that talk about the strong stereotypes, the new fathers that feel secure in their ability to provide, have no squeamishness of blood and tears, know they’re the father, that life is not over, that everyone will be okay, that there will be more than enough love to go around, and that are either avoiding hospitals or are confident in their abilities?  Why does everything have to be about fears?

Even though Baby Center is by far the most popular, and in many ways the most informative, website for expecting new parents, it’s articles like this that make me realize that they sort of suck.

[Seven fears expectant fathers face]

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Perambulation!

by Esther on Fri, Apr 2nd, 2010

in Challenges,Design,Pregnancy by week,Week 34

Researching baby gear was by far one of the more frustrating experiences of pregnancy preparation.  There is so much information out there, so many reviews to read, and so many people who believe they’ve got it just right who want to offer you every bit of advice they have.  I didn’t know where to start when it came to diapering, sleeping, strolling, or feeding.

Luckily, pregnancy is long.  I’ve dedicated myself to hours of baby homework in a way that I wish I had once poured myself into academic study.  Probably like a lot of parents-to-be, we have become a wealth of information spouting, carefully planned and hopefully prepared moms and pops.  In our minds during a good moment, anyhow…

One of my biggest concerns was the early sleeping arrangements.  We believe in co-sleeping to an extent, but I definitely wanted the baby to have a space of his own in which to snooze.  I wanted something that would easily rock him to sleep, and something that would leave me to my own bed when I needed a break.  I just can’t imagine myself doing the full-on attachment parenting thing, (but that’s another post).  Finding a bassinet was easy if I could have my pick of anything off of any design site.  Unfortunately, the bassinets that I found myself drawn to were on often out dated European design blogs entries.  Beautiful, located thousands of miles away, and massively expensive if they were even in production to begin with.  There was very little for me to fall in love with state side, and certainly nothing in the plastic filled baby superstores where 75% of Americans happen to register for baby goods.

As we don’t really know what kind of baby this Axelrod will be, we don’t want to buy a crib just yet.  We want to let him tell us what he needs as time passes, and possibly figure out how to use the Montessori Sleep Method in our loft.  Also, I have to admit that I’m not a huge crib fan.  This could be a result of our living in a very open space-  I don’t want to see bars anywhere in the loft!  It’ll break up the space and, hey, I gotta have the right energy flow.  I’m sure that most parents out there will poo-poo my musing about design, but I’m also pretty sure that most parents out there don’t live in a loft that they’d ultimately like to sell to another design oriented downtown individual.

Eventually, while reading one of my very favorite pregnancy/baby blogs, I came across a most spectacular idea!  And… I’ll admit!  I ran with that idea, obsessed.  The folks over at Dear Baby got their gorgeous baby girl a sweet vintage pram.  I saw the post about it and just fell in love.  I immediately (and obsessively) started combing antique stores, craigslist, and ebay for a pram of our own.

This wasn’t an easy feat!  A brand new pram costs thousands of dollars.  A well-kept vintage pram could cost you a good grand.  Out here on the west coast, we don’t see to many vintage prams.  They are only manufactured in Europe, and rarely seem to make it to the east coast of the states, much less all the way across the Rockies and the Cascades.  And, of course, we don’t need a pram.  They’re big!  You can only use them for basinet purposes for maybe 8 months, and that’s if your baby is not so bouncy!  They’re no where to be found for a cost-conscious price!  I didn’t care.  We have an open space with a sweet mixture of modern (from my husband) and antique (from me) fixins, and I could totally see the right pram fitting into the shape of things very nicely.

I bid on a pram in Florida and was outbid.  I bid on it again.  I got caught up in a bidding war!  My husband raised his eyebrows when I told him how the war had gotten to $350 and the sellers reserve had STILL not been met (thanks for being patient with that, Milton) I lost the war and was heart-broken.  I found other prams on ebay that were too kitschy for our aesthetic.  I found prams that didn’t match our colors.  I found a pram that my husband declared was “too dirty 70s”, prams that were too victorian, prams that were ugly.  I thought I’d never find the perfect one at the right price in time…

Until!  Suddenly one day I changed my usual ebay search words and came up with a sweet, very well kept, pram that was exactly like the one I had lost in my  exorbitant bidding war!  This pram was located about 20 minutes from my hometown, right down the street from family!  The price?  Well.  It still wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t ridiculous.  I won the pram for $180 (which was the starting bid) and sent my awesome mom to pick it up!  Unfortunately, the East Coast had been so pummeled with snow that the pram took weeks and weeks to procure.  Then, my parents had the heady duty of figuring out how to ship this huge crazy beast all the way to Seattle.  My dad built 2 boxes and they lovingly wrapped the whole shebang in plastic bubbles, which we received yesterday!  Yay!!!

Behold!  Our mobile bassinet!!

Panda Perambulation!

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