Saturday, March 13, 2010

Carry On

Can I rant just a little?

This week the CPSC issued a warning about infant slings and wraps. (Mom, you can click on the word warning in the previous sentence to read the news coverage about it.) The article writes that the concern comes after 14 (or 12 or 13, depending on which news channel you choose to believe) infants died in accidents related to infant slings or wraps. What it does not tell you is that those deaths are spread out over a TWENTY year period. TWENTY. You can verify that here.

Now, go here. That's a link directly to the CPSC's website and an article about stroller deaths. There were 22 stroller-related deaths in a 10-year period. Do you see where I'm going with this??

I'm reading a book that a friend loaned me called Free Range Kids. I'm not finished with it yet, so I'll save my review for later, but I'm enjoying it so far. As with any parenting book, take the advice within with a grain of salt. Anyway the author (Lenore Skenazy) suggests that parents are too overprotective these days. Compare your childhood to the one you're allowing your child to live, and you'll come up with a dozen examples on your own. And she says that parents SAY the reason this is true is because times are so much more dangerous. But she argues that that's simply not the case--the real reason is because we watch too much Law & Order and read too many newspapers. Terror sells.

I linked to the CBS article first so that you could see how this is true. The CBS Early Show didn't give parents all the information that they needed to make an educated decision. A much more honest way to present the information would be something like this:

The CPSC has issued a warning about the use of infant slings and wraps. Used IMPROPERLY, they can pose a small risk of death by suffocation or injury from falls. Over the course of the last twenty years, about 14 infants have died. Most of these infants suffered from other health problems or were premature infants, and most of them were not using the slings according to the manufacturer's instructions. These statistics are no higher than the rate of infant deaths related to improper stroller usage. Parents who use infant slings are urged to review the wearing instructions carefully and make sure that their babies' faces are not covered and that their chins are not curled into their chests.

But that just wouldn't make headlines, now would it?

The fact is that women (and men, and even children) have been wearing babies for hundreds of years--safely. It's good for babies. Check out this article by Dr. Sears. You trust Dr. Sears, right? He points out all the benefits of babywearing. It's good for baby and for mom. And, unlike the CPSC, which is urging parents to wait until babies are 4 months old to start babywearing, he encourages parents (moms AND dads) to start right away. He says, "The womb lasts 18 months: 9 months inside, and 9 months outside."

I'm not encouraging you to ignore warnings about your baby's safety, but I am urging you to do your research and know the facts before you panic. And once you're satisfied that carrying your baby in a sling is not a death sentence for your tot, carry on. I am, and Nolan thanks me for it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dear Aaron

Dear Aaron,

You turned 2 on Saturday. I can't wrap my mind around it. It seems like you went to bed a baby and woke up a little boy.

Sweet Aaron, I remember so clearly looking at your tiny squash-colored body and worrying that you were jaundiced. I remember sitting in the doctor's office as they pricked your heel and tried not to worry me. I remember getting the phone call that afternoon to go immediately to the hospital. I remember crying as they took you from me and pricked you again and put an IV in your foot. I remember sitting by your side counting the minutes until I could pick you up for those precious few moments every two hours--for days. And, Aaron, I remember exactly how it felt to hold you for the first time after all this, without cords tethering you to medical equipment. It was just you and me again. It felt beautiful and terrifying all at the same time.

I don't think I put you down for a month after all that. I held you while I ate my lunch. I held you when you napped. I held you even at night. I rubbed your tiny feet every day so that you wouldn't develop a fear of being touched on the foot after all the pricks. I wanted you to feel how much I loved you.
And you cried, little Aaron. You cried and cried and cried. You cried for hours every day no matter what I did. I was so frustrated. And I was disappointed because I wanted so much for things to be perfect. I wanted to be the perfect mom this time around, and I just couldn't pull it off. On a whim, I ordered a sling. I put you in and--insert chorus of angels--you stopped crying. You fell asleep on my chest all snuggled in your sling. I could smell your powdery goodness and kiss the top of your fuzzy head as you dozed. And you know what? Things were perfect...well, almost perfect.

Aaron, when you laugh, your entire body laughs. You kiss your baby brother and try to share your toys with him. You adore your big brothers and mimic every move they make. You charm the socks off of everyone you meet. Your eyes are the most beautiful almond shape. You talk on the phone in a whispery voice that melts me. You're perfect...well, almost perfect. You find trouble. And when I redirect you to something else, you find trouble again. And again. And again. You STAY in trouble. Oh, but your sweet mischievous smile. You find trouble, and I scold you, and you give me that smile, and I forget how mad I was. And we repeat. Over and over and over.
Little Aaron, we joke that you're our future football player. We kid that all your roughness will pay off someday when you sign the contract to be a linebacker. And if that makes you happy, I'm right behind you. But, Aaron, if you want to be a teacher, or a scientist, or even a garbage man, Buddy, I want you to go for it. Love God and your family (in that order) and do whatever you decide to do with enthusiasm. And you'll be amazing. You ARE amazing.
I love you. I love you. I love you.