Yesterday I went to Walmart with my brother to get a sleeping bag for his camping trip, and knowing I was bringing along a crabby, nap avoiding toddler, I grabbed up my ring sling to bring with us.
We got to Walmart, got out of the car, and immediately - "Mama, it's too hot. I no walk. You wear me?" Of course. I don't think I've ever told this kid no to wearing him, aside from when I was on what was basically light bedrest. So I picked him up and wrapped him up on his back and we went into the store. Good thing, too, because he hates sitting in shopping carts and it was packed. He easily could have been picked up or gotten lost in the crowd because there were so many people. Up on my back, he can see everything and everyone and he can talk to me without me having to stop and bend down every few seconds to hear him over everything else.
Anyway, I guess baby-wearing is less popular in this part of NY than in my part of CT because I didn't see one other baby-wearing mama there - no Baby Bjorns, no Infantinos, no ring slings, no wraps, nothing!
I don't know how some mamas get by without baby-wearing. It's a lifesaver for me!
So, back to what I was saying. I got a lot of confused and curious looks, and I thought it would stay just that - looks, maybe a few hushed comments as people walked by like I'm used to. It's a strange sight where I live in CT to see a mama wearing her baby, it's all about strollers there. Surprisingly, though many people here aren't used to seeing it, many people were interested in how it worked and where they could get one. So I got to tell everyone about my ring sling and where I got it, and how it's saved me in many situations. It was really nice!
There was one lady who stopped me while I was walking out of the restroom and told me how great it was to see a mama so caring toward her child, and who kept her child so close and how happy he was in "that cool thing". Then she told me a story about a baby in an infant seat on a shopping cart - I thought she was going to tell me how the seat fell off the cart, like I hear all too often, but it was actually far worse. I guess she was in a store once and saw a mama shopping with her baby in his infant seat on the cart, and while she was grabbing something off the shelf, someone came up behind her and snatched the seat off of the cart and ran with it. Unfortunately she never found out if the baby was okay or if he ever got back to his mama. It was such a heart breaking story, I can't even imagine something like that happening to me. It did make me that much more grateful for my sling though, and for the fact that I love me some research and learned long ago that it's not safe to keep an infant seat on a shopping cart.
After that, she smiled and told me I'm a great mama with a happy baby, and it made my day. As I left the restroom I was stopped again outside by an older woman who wanted to know all about my ring sling. "How old is he? How much will that hold? He sure looks happy. Did you make it? Where did you buy it? I love that pocket on it! Do you get much use out of it? Are they expensive? It's such a beautiful material. Does it get hot? Is it comfortable? He looks comfortable, but are you?"
I answered her questions and she was smiling from ear to ear. I think she likes friendly people as much as I do! She told me how she wished she'd had one when her kids were little and couldn't stop telling me how happy my bubs looked. He loves this thing more than I do!
It was a great trip to Walmart, though. No more cranky toddler, this sling makes him go from cranky to the happiest kid in the world in about two minutes flat! And I even got to tell people what it was, how it worked, where I got it - and some of the people I talked to now want to buy them to wear their own babies!
I love baby-wearing :)
Here's a bonus picture of what my Bug and his auntie Kassidy drew on my belly when we got home:
They're great little artists, aren't they? Asher loved it, well, maybe he hated it, it's hard to decipher what kicks mean what. He kicked away through the whole drawing! The kids were super happy to have a canvas to draw on ;)