Monday, December 17, 2007

Contraption parenting

I remember reading some attachment parenting books by Dr. Sears before Will was born and envisioning myself deftly maneuvering through the house, Will in sling, while I cooked and cleaned and did various household chores. As it turned out, Will and Owen were neither huge fans of the sling (although Owen loves a front pack ride). And no matter how I tote a baby it’s usually a matter of minutes before I simply need two totally unemcumbered arms and hands to get that next thing done. I also have a little sciatic nerve that starts complaining after too much baby-lugging.

So rather than becoming a full-fledged attachment mama, I’m more like a contraption mama. I cart Owen around the house and set him in various cloth and plastic devices for a handful of minutes, providing him with toys and/or talking to him while I work, until he starts to squeal for a change of scene or I need to do the next thing – at which point we find a new contraption and a new mama task to carry out. (Since Owen has recently begun flipping himself immediately from back to tummy -- where he stays for only a minute or two before the neck strain is too much for him and the fussing begins – laying him on a quilt or play mat is a short-lived solution).
It makes for a ridiculously cluttered house and a rather inelegant way of making it through the day with a baby – slings have a lovely aura of simplicity by comparison – but it’s how we survive the day, both of us relatively happy and functional.

A couple weeks ago, Owen graduated from his contraption of choice for the prior couple months, a consignment sale bouncy seat, when he started leaning forward like so (he was attempting some precarious toe-touching too).

And just when I thought I’d clear an extra few square feet of clutter out of the house, I wound up borrowing this slightly larger rocker-recliner thing from a friend to replace it.

Oh contraptions – I just can’t give them up.

Here are some of ours, almost all inherited from friends, and eagerly awaiting the day when I pass them along to another home with a new baby:
An exersaucer:
A high chair for toys and for sitting up tall like the rest of the family at dinnertime and during carol singing by the tree. (We won't actually start feeding Owen in the thing until we've officially reached the 6-month mark a few weeks from now.):

Owen’s new favorite, and the least obnoxious by far, is a simple boppy pillow for sitting support.

And an unphotographed swing that doesn't get too much use anyway, and which Owen has recently learned to "pump" sans battery power.

What are your favorite contraptions?

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