Archive for September, 2006

Product Reviews: The Best of the First Six Months

September 4, 2006

Ruby celebrated her six-month birthday yesterday.  With all those months behind us, it’s time to look back and see what products Kate and I found most useful.

Bob Revolution 2006 baby jogger (read my original review): The jogger gave Ruby and I something to do together and got us out of the house every day.  Without this exercise outlet, I would have turned into a bowl of jello.

Radio Shack 3-unit intercom: For the same price as a “baby” monitor (see my review), you get a two-way radio with three base stations and infinitely better sound quality.  There’s no battery-powered portable monitor, but with two strategically placed receivers and the volume on full, you’ll hear her throughout the house.

24-pack of cheap white face cloths: Kate’s Mom bought these for us, and I must admit I was skeptical at first.  Now, they are a mainstay of our daily existence.  After every load of laundry we grab a clean stack of a dozen place one in each place where we might be with the baby: the living room, bedroom, playroom, office, nursing chair, etc., etc.  When Ruby presents you with some baby cheese, relief is never more than a few feet away.

Fuzzi Bunz Diapers (from Cotton Babies): We started Ruby on disposable diapers.  These worked fine but are a waste of money and the planet’s resources.  When she was a few months old we tried a diaper service for a month.  The plain cotton diapers required changing much too frequently — any bit of wetness and Ruby was unhappy.

We ended up using Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers.  These are convenient, comfortable for Ruby, and washing them every three days isn’t too much of a pain.  We have 24: 12 that we bought new, and 12 that we bought second-hand from Kate’s brother.  We put the new ones on the top of the pile, and as soon as we get down to the used ones that’s the sign to do a load of diaper laundry.

Soothies: Kate says, “I don’t think I would have gotten through my nipple pain without them.”

A Soother: Kate and I were anti-pacifier for the first 3 weeks.  But Ruby seemed to love sucking and after a particularly challenging day we gave our fingers a rest and popped one in.  Her whole personality seemed to brighten overnight, and it’s now permanently attached to her clothing.

Slings: Jogging stroller notwithstanding, Kate and I hate strollers.  We’d much rather carry Ruby around.  To that end, we each have our favorite sling: hers is a Sidecar Designs model, which is probably the most comfortable one we’ve seen (aside from a mobi-wrap, which is more lifestyle than baby-carrier) as it distributes the weight fully across a shoulder and upper arm.  These slings aren’t adjustable, so I can’t use Kate’s sling.

Mine is a Premaxx Baby Bag, and I get approving comments everywhere we go.  I’ve modified mine slightly by adding a shoulder pad (rescued from an old laptop bag) to help distribute the weight.

When we’re out together all day and carrying two slings isn’t feasible, we use a BabyBjorn carrier.  Not as comfortable (or cool-looking) as the sling, but it fits us both.

Changing table tops: Instead of investing in a new diaper station for Ruby, we bought a u-shaped padded top to put on some existing furniture.  This especially made sense for us since Ruby’s bedroom is upstairs, where we don’t hang out much, and it’s more convenient for us to have the changing station in the middle of the house.

Kate’s Mom also bought one but it didn’t see much use, so we put this extra one in her crib.  She sleeps in it at night and the sloping sides keep her from flailing about too much.

 

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A Man and His Baby

September 1, 2006

An unnamed poster had this to say on the parentingideas.org blog:

Somehow some basic human instinct suggests that ‘man’ is neither capable nor fit to look after a baby! This instinct immediately raises the hairs on the backs of people’s necks, images of disaster loom in their minds and unseen forces push them forwards to offer help. They do not see a happy and carefree father pushing his laughing baby along in the pram, they see a harried father who is at his wits end and who is desperate for help. They see a tormented and unwilling baby, screaming and kicking in desperation, a father who is pulling his hair out and desperately looking around for somebody to just show him what to do.

He goes on to relate his experience at the grocery store and the department store.  The general message is that people assume he doesn’t know what he’s doing, step in without any knowledge of what his baby really wants, and make things worse.

I’m happy to say that I haven’t experienced much of what this guy refers to.  Perhaps it’s a cultural thing; he’s in the UK, where I believe stereotypes and class are much more influential than out here in hippy-dippy Seattle.  In fact, my experiences are generally the opposite.  When Ruby was about a month old I had one woman at the deli ask if I was “filling in for Mom today”, and that’s about all I can recall.

In fact, I think I’ve received the most friction from the people who are closest to me (not Kate, but others among my family and friends who will go unnamed).  They make little jokes and asides about how something I’ve done has made the baby cry, or I’m not playing with her in the right way, or there’s some developmental milestone that she hasn’t reached yet and I’m clearly not pushing her hard enough towards it.  The comments aren’t severe or malicious and so don’t warrant a direct response, but taken together they do lead me to fume in private.  And I have a suspicion that I get more of these comments — especially the first two kinds — because I’m a man.