Just some weeks ago, I went around the house collecting items to donate that Jai could no longer fit or could use. The tidbits included receiving blankets and bibs from a drawer I had forgotten existed; size 12-month summer clothing; and toys and electronics fit to entertain a younger baby. She is almost 18 months, but definitely quite the toddler.
It was a riveting experience.
I am honestly relieved that the “baby baby” stage for our second (and last) child has passed. This is not to say that I won’t commiserate how calmly she relaxed under the heat lamp just hours after being born and the first time we noticed dimples and heard her laugh and the many funny “uh ohs” she alleges daily. I’m just pretty confident that my baby-carrying days are done: the nausea, the fatigue, the stretching, the labor…none will be particularly missed.
I’m sure that, as the kids age, I will feel some random twinge of sadness, some more or less longing for a baby.
I’ll just buy a puppy.
One element of parenting a baby that I will miss, however, are the essential gadgets and the tiny clothing. Jrue and Jai had pretty cool infant equipment at their respective times; many of the products purchased or gifted, while with the best intentions, made our existences a bit more tedious (you, Diaper Genie), but there were some things I would place at the top of a most-recommended list for having made life with children much easier, even if temporarily.
The Bumbo floor seat. Jrue’s was red; Jai had a green one. They were both presents we received that were not listed on our registries. The Bumbo, and its similar cousins on the market, was first introduced to Jrue at around the time he was three months. The hubs and I would laugh because Jrue could not sit up unassisted, yet, we could position him on the floor in front of us in the Bumbo and that little head would bob around. He would be so…confused, which made it funny for sleep-deprived mom and dad.
Jai was much more amenable to her Bumbo; she sought it out whenever she wanted to watch TV, so we stored it in her bedroom. Jai physically outgrew her Bumbo sooner than later…those thighs would no longer slide into the slots. However, we have been lucky enough to replace it with a little wooden chair.
My precious Medela In Style pump. I would have used my breast pump until the motor no longer ran. The pump and I were inseparable (but, technically, had to be). Jai latched onto the idea of breastfeeding right after birth. She had zero issues being fed until I began to frequently dry up and began supplementing. Prior to this, I had tons o’ trouble teaching Jrue how to latch—for the most part, I attributed our frustrations to nipple confusion, as he had a pacifier and a bottle before being breastfed since I had to be hooked up to magnesium after labor.
I was determined to get mommy’s milk to the baby, though, so to exclusive pumping I ran, turning on that machine stored in a backpack every 2 hours and placing those bottles and baggies in our freezer by the dozens. The lessons I encountered with Jrue made me more confident the second go ’round with Jai–I studied my body’s milk production and the milk expulsion by watching how the pump worked with my son, so that assertiveness helped with my daughter.
Those Gerber side-snap shirts. It was so nerve-wrecking for me with both kids to lift up those little fragile heads, ones that had gotten smushed silly while exiting mommy, just to pull a t-shirt over. So, the hubs found the side-snap shirts to be exactly what we needed for both Jrue and Jai, sort of like part of an official, inexpensive uniform: a shirt, a diaper, a swaddle that they both learned to break out of. Those white shirts matched or complemented any outfit.
They were a wardrobe by themselves.
We had to graduate from the snap shirts to regular white t-shirts, as they become more difficult to find in our area after a certain size, but I have great memories of the smug pride I’d feel once working a stain out of one of those valuable shirts.
It was like a commercial.
A Sit to Stand Learning Walker. We bought a magical contraption one summer evening to encourage Jrue to walk on his own since he was refusing to step by his first birthday. The stormy night the hubs put it together and stood Jrue up to push and walk was super comical—Jrue moved down the hallway quickly right away and we lamented that we hadn’t thought of it sooner. One month later, he was walking. We credit the walker, to some degree, with instilling that last bit of self-assurance Jrue needed. We purchased one for Jai early. She took to the toy nearly immediately while still cruising the furniture; at 11 months, she was fleeing around the house happily.
Our Summer Infant Video Monitor. Disclaimer: the hubs and I have never owned FaceTime technology. We just haven’t found the price point to work for our budget, but the interest is there. Of course, with a new baby and all of our family living away in separate states, we had to be creative in making Jrue available for them to see.
Enter our baby monitor that allowed us to set up an account over the Internet where our family members could log in and see the baby live. To this day, I can hear my great-grandmother’s laughter (my babies’ now-95-year-old great-great grandma) when she “met” Jrue for the first time over the monitor. I recall holding the camera up above him at different angles as she cooed over the phone. It’s a moment I will not easily forget.
The Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym. I believe that any interactive type of gym is great for a baby’s sensory development and for some parental time-out. Instead of tummy-time with Jrue on a plain blanket, when he would fuss and try to push the blanket into his mouth, we’d do tummy-time on the softness of the gym padding as the hanging pull-downs and squeeze toys waited patiently for his attention.
Once he learned they were there for tasting, he’d roll from side to side, limbs up in the air, reaching and kicking as mommy made bottles or did laundry or laid on the sofa for 4.3 minutes. Jai merely ate her gym. Her version contained a piano at the bottom for sounds while kicking, but she nearly always had her face down on that end while attempting to push the buttons into her waiting mouth. The idea, though, is that the floor gyms kept them distracted when I needed a second.
The bouncer did its job.
The hubs and I were a bit leery of a swing for Jai because Jrue became fussy over time in his swing. We were glad that it had been a gift because we don’t believe he received full usage out of it; we would place him, stuff the sides to hold him up, and start the gentle sway. He was not a fan. Thankfully, Jai was quite the opposite with her bouncer. It was automated with two speeds and vibration, so we would strap her in and let it ride…she would be asleep in minutes. It was all I could do to sprawl out on the couch, the sleeping baby in the bouncer turned towards me on the floor, and take a dead-tired cat nap before she stirred for feeding. That mamaRoo egg chair still looks amazing.
I wish they made them for, ahem, adults…
Products and Works Cited
Bumbo Floor Seat. http://www.bumbousa.com/bumbo-floor-seat.html.
Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gym. http://fisher-price.mattel.com/shop/en-us/fp/everything-baby-toys/kick-play-piano-gym-blue-bmh49
Gerber Side-Snap Shirts. http://www.gerberchildrenswear.com/w3-ss-snap-side-white.html
mamaRoo bounceRoo. https://www.4moms.com/mamaroo
Medela Pump In Style Advanced. http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/573/pump-in-style-advanced.
Paula Y. “Exclusive Pumping.” KellyMom, n.d., https://kellymom.com/mother2mother/exclusive-pumping/. Accessed Oct. 4, 2017.
Summer Infant Video Monitor. https://www.summerinfant.com/monitors/video-monitors?page=1
V-Tech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker. https://www.vtechkids.com/product/detail/479/Sit_to_Stand_Learning_Walker