Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘car seat

We’ve all heard of the saying, less is more, right? Well, just to keep on the cliche bandwagon here, a picture says a thousands words, and it is obvious that less is more really doesn’t apply to my current situation!

Sometimes I feel like I am living in a reality show called: Attack of the Baby Stuff. Simply put our condo has been invaded by what were previously foreign entities to us: an exersaucer, a bouncy chair, teensy-tiny little clothes, a pack-n-play, a Bumbo, and the list could go on and on. I mean if you look at our dining table (which, truth be told, never was that tidy to begin with), it looks like it has become a Mount Vesuvius of sorts but instead of pouring out hot lava, we’ve got the baby version: a Baby Einstein play mat as the peek, and what’s pouring out is a car seat and car seat cover, a Baby Bjorn, a mini snowsuit (with token dangling mittens on a string), baby blankets, Baby Banz, and a diaper bag filled to the brim, not to mention, place mats, a newspaper, reusable grocery bags, unopened mail, my winter coat and scarf, and a bunch of other random items that I just can’t remember or see, due to the growing volcano.

You know when you used to play that birthday game as a kid, where you looked a tray full of random items for 20 seconds and then had to remember what they were? This is how I felt when I checked out my table and tried to remember all the little pieces that had collected on it: an older grown-up version of the game I guess! Fun.

But regardless of being under attack, Borys and I agree, it’s all totally worth it!

“It’s a real process.” These are the words I often find myself saying (or thinking) when I am getting the Niko Man out and about. For example…

1) When Niko and I were in the Halifax airport I was feeling sort of like a packhorse. Envision one mom, two large gym bags (one crisscrossed over each shoulder), and a diaper bag to boot, while one hand pushes the stroller ahead and the other one pulls along my suitcase behind us (thank goodness it had wheels). At one point I stopped to get ready for the flight: took off my scarf and winter coat and squished it into the wheelie suitcase, and unbundled Niko squishing his excess stuff into our two carry ons. A woman and her daughter were curiously looking over at me and smiling, and all I could think to say was: “It’s a real process, that’s for sure”! They smiled and reassured me saying that I made it look easy. I am not sure what looks so easy about being laden down with so many items, but this is just what they said, and it was a small moment of glory for me!

2) The other day when we went skating on the Rideau Canal with Lena and Heather, I ran into another mom in the parking lot who was bringing her daughter skating. Our cars were parked beside each other and it took us a good ten or fifteen minutes to go from simply parking the car to start wheeling toward the canal. As we both bustled about, taking care of baby business, I caught her eye and said, “It’s a real process getting out like this, hey”? And mid parking lot, snowsuit change of her daughter, she looked up at me smiled, laughed and agreed!

So, having a baby and getting him from point A to B can be a challenge and is definitely a process with all the cumbersome extras that come along with our delightful winter outings. But beyond winter, whether it’s bathing him, getting him into the car seat, strapping him into the Baby Bjorn, preparing him for the stroller, readying him for swimming lessons, whatever it is, it seems to take a lot of time, preparation and patience!

On the brighter side of things, I have noticed recently that this process is getting easier! Yippee! And this must be a reflection of my adept parenting skills, right?! 🙂 A few of the shortcuts I have discovered for making the process a bit more smooth are as follows:

1) Get the diaper bag ready while Niko is sleeping: zip it shut and put it by the door.

2) Put my scarf and winter coat on before I bundle him. Niko usually puts up a fuss when I get him ready, so the quicker I can bundle him and get him out the door the better.

3) If Frasier, our dog, is staying in, get him kenneled up (with water and tunes) before I start bundling the baby. (Again a testament to the fact that once the process of bundling the baby begins, it is best to hurry it along as much as possible, in order to avoid the impending fuss.)

4) If going out in the Baby Bjorn, secure it on me before I begin to bundle Baby N.

5) Take a deep breath. Give myself enough time. See the humour in things, and try to enjoy ALL the moments, even the crying ones (that’s the baby crying, not me 🙂 ), because before I know it, I’ll be back at work and he’ll be getting bundled by the babysitter.

Note: The pics are of Niko is his first swimsuit on his way to his second swimming lesson. Also, they illustrate my attempt at smoothing out the process by getting him into his suit before we leave the house (despite the fact that it’s winter). 🙂

Upon having Niko we were lucky to come into many hand-me-downs courtesy of friends and family, and also many wonderful shower gifts as well.  Niko’s cousin John Russell is just about two years older than him, so lots of hand-me-downs came are way via JR. One of the best things we got was a car seat cozy. If you’re not sure what that is, basically it’s a liner for the car seat that goes over the buckles and then zips around the baby like a little cocoon. The one we got from John Russell, had also been passed down to him from his sisters Claire and Audra – so this cozy had been well loved, and we were looking forward to using it too.

The cozy is a nice gender neutral red on the outside, but the inside is white and decorated with dozens of dancing ballerina bears! Niko’s Aunt Marion commented to me that one day when John Russell was out and about in his car seat, a woman stopped her and said something like: “What a beautiful baby! What’s her name”? HER NAME?! Marion, went on to tell the lady that it was her son not her daughter, and it was also at that moment that she clued in to the decor on the lining of the cozy – ballerina bears! No wonder that woman thought John Russell was a girl – but up until then, and not until her third child did Marion notice the ballerinas and the fact that perhaps this car seat cozy wasn’t as gender neutral as she had previously thought.

When I got it, I went ahead and used it too, but seeing as I was aware of the tutu clad bears, I have always wondered if people think Niko is a little girl due the dancers. Well, it turns out that the ballerina cozy didn’t exactly fit Niko’s car seat, so I ended up cutting it up the back with scissors and duct taping it back together to modify for Niko’s particular car seat (after which I actually realized that it could have fit without being cut – but that’s the beauty of hindsight I guess, and a little duct tape never did anyone any harm, right?!).

Anyway, today I was going through some of the hand-me-downs that await Niko for the future, and I discovered that another friend had also given us a car seat cozy – also gender neutral red, but sans ballerinas, and sans duct tape – who am I kidding, duct tape on a cozy only serves to give it a certain ghetto sheik. Ghetto sheik? Who am I kidding again, duct tape serves only to make it look ghetto! So, I transferred the new-to-us cozy (thanks Danielle) to the car seat, and now Niko can sit comfortably not being surrounded by those menacing bears! Although really, I don’t think they ever did bother him too much!

Note: If you look closely at the attached pictures, you can see the tutu bears for yourself.

So today Andrew headed off to start his month long stay with Ola and Bruce in Florida, and Niko and I happily volunteered to be his chauffeur to the airport.  Happily volunteered to drive him, but not so happy to be navigating the streets at 8:30 am and trying to get through the morning rush of cars. I had sort of forgotten about (or maybe blocked out?) morning rush hour seeing as I have been enjoying slow starts to my mornings for the past four months. I mean my mornings usually go something like this: hear Niko cry, feed him, change his diaper, drink coffee, check email, hang out with Niko, drink more coffee, blog, lie Niko down for a nap, check email, blog, etc. This morning our morning went more like this: hear Niko cry, feed him, change his diaper, hear alarm go off, get up for good, drink coffee, deck Niko out in winter gear and strap him in the car seat, hit the roads, pass cars, signal left, signal right, brake for the yellow?, YES! etc.

As I was making my way through the morning rush, I couldn’t help but think that this is what it will be like next September when I go back to work, except for instead of returning home after being out the streets I will be dropping my one year old off at someone’s house (whose? I still don’t know, but that is another story) and heading off to make some moula. Then to turn around and do the exact same thing the following day, and so on…geesh. As I think about this, I still wonder where my “million dollar idea” is and just hope I think of it before September comes… 🙂

You often see those little yellow signs on cars, suctioned to the inside of the back window and reading Baby or Board!. My question is: do these signs really work? When a driver sees them, are they more cautious? Do they actually process the sign and think about the little babe that may be traveling in the car in front of them? In talking with friends and family, most of them seem to think that the whole Baby on Board! thing is bunk.  But I suppose the scientific jury is still out, and a proper study would need to be done to know if these signs help make the roads safer or only serve as a distraction to other drivers.

One thing’s for certain: I have become a safer driver since the birth of little Niko, and not because I have a Baby on Board! sign, because I don’t have one. I suppose the increase in safety measures is mainly due to the fact that I am carting around precious cargo, but I also chalk it up to the calming effects driving seems to have on my little guy. Quite often when we are getting ready to go somewhere Niko becomes overly dramatic and starts in with the tears.  This could partially be a result of the fact that it is winter, and by the time I get him adequately bundled for the frigid temperatures and buckled into his car seat, he is probably a touch overheated! But, regardless of his temperature once I get the crying babe into the car, the car turned on, and we hit the streets, it doesn’t take long for him to calm down.  And it’s not like he goes to sleep (although sometimes he does), it just seems that the movement of the car has a calming effect.

This is where the me becoming a safer driver part comes in.  While the movement of the car calms him, coming to a complete stop has the reverse effect. So now, whenever I come up to a stop light I brake from a further (and safer) distance, just so I can extend the length of time that the car remains in motion, in an attempt to maintain that calm state. My ultimate goal being that once I get to lights it will have changed to green and I can just roll on through never actually having to cease movement (although that seems to be a rare occurrence). So while my baby is chilling in the backseat, I have to say the roads have become just a little bit safer.

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