Monday, 17 June 2013

My Stash Monday: Veronique's Stash

by Veronique Bergeron

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don't really like "stash shots". They make me squirm because of my brief but intense experience with "stalking", the practice of watching Internet sellers and online boards for an elusive carrier. Trades are made and negotiated, and countless hours are spent online watching that once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity. Maybe I just forget what it's like to have one or two young children – I have 8 children to keep me busy -- but the amount of time spent online rather than mothering (unless of course you are nursing at the keyboard the entire time!) is a little unsettling.

But when Tami posted her stash shot on this blog it was a stash story. And I realized that stash shots don't have to be brag stories. When we are committed to babywearing and we believe that it doesn't only make happy children, it makes better parents; the stash shot is not about bragging but about showing the tools of our trade. It's about telling people "Here's how I do it with 8 children including toddler twins and my sanity mostly intact. Here's how I look after my family of 10. Here's how I can manage my household and keep people happy and healthy."

My first sling was given to me by a friend who was a home-based reseller. It was a padded Heart-to-Heart sling and while I never got the hang of it with an infant, my husband used it extensively with our toddlers. I used it again recently: it's a work horse and I could fill an entire post of pictures of my children in it since 2000. I no longer use it but I can't part with it. I lend it away regularly.

 I have an old Sleepy Wrap that I found at a consignment store for $15. I never liked it myself but my oldest daughter is proficient. I only have pictures of her using the Sleepy Wrap: here she is with her 5-pounder youngest sister, only a few weeks old. Those girls are my bookends: the oldest of 8 wearing the youngest of 8.

My first SSC was the Ergo. I bought it second hand 7 years ago and I loved it immediately. We were traveling that summer and my now-7-year-old son spent most of our holidays in it. It was love at first piggy back. That summer, I also purchased a second hand jersey pouch by Maman Kangourou. It is incredibly convenient to use in a purse as an emergency carrier. But after carrying some heavy toddlers, it is showing its age! The Ergo is now cuddling my friend's daughter and I am very proud to be sharing the babywearing love. I find it hard to part with carriers because they rarely sit idle for any length of time. The best way to convince someone that babywearing will make them happier parents is to let them try a good, comfortable, carrier and let it do the talking!

 My twins are now 20 months old and my next daughter is 4 years-old. To be honest, the 4 year-old is no longer worn for any length of time. Not only is she heavy but she is a high-energy child who needs every opportunity to walk and run her juice off. However, the realities or raising a large family means that my spirited preschooler often has to follow us in places where people don't usually bring spirited preschoolers. This month, she had to come with me to end-year music recitals, talent shows and other late-evening happenings. Between my ring slings and a borrowed Tula Toddler, I had no meltdown to manage, no soggy mess of a daughter in the middle of her sister's music exam.

The carrier I reach for most often lately is my Wrap Conversion Ring Sling. It is made of Natibaby Grey/Graphite Gears and is a well-broken-in, amazingly soft and supportive, linen/cotton blend. Heaven would be to find the same ring sling in a medium (this is a small) but until I do, this one is staying. Here is my 4 year-old passed out in the Gears at the end of our high school band show:

Since ring slings are all the rage here, I am converting two wraps into ring slings. The first wrap to be converted is my Oscha Alto Bluebell 2. Since I started wrapping, I've been dreaming about Alto Bluebell. I love clouds, skies and linen, it was a match made in heaven. I love this light and airy wrap. The second wrap to be turned into a ring sling will be my Mystic Fish by Dydimos. With 3 children using ring slings, I don't think that having 4 ring slings is excessive. Do you? As with all my carriers, my ring slings are lent out and used as teaching aids liberally.

I keep two size 6 wraps, one by choice and one because it’s not selling. My Dydimos Black Hemp Pfau is my little black dress. You can dress it up or dress it down; it is floppy enough for a newborn yet supportive enough for a preschooler. And size 6 is my go-to size. This one will be lent out, borrowed and snuggling my grandchildren: it is the wrapper's wrap. You can even use it as a baby gate!

My second size 6 wrap is a Diva Milano Reticella Notte d'Oro. This luxurious "grande dame" landed
in my stash in a trade for a Girasol double rainbow. It is as amazing as Black Hemp Pfau for its wrapping quality but it is not quite as sturdy. This is a "haute couture" wrap with a haute couture price tag. I may have another baby just to wear her in this baroque beauty. Unless someone wants to buy it.....

I also have a size 7 Girasol Snow Rainbow on pre-order from Pinkletink Baby. This wrap will be used for tandem wrapping and teaching tandem wrapping. The clearly identifiable rails make it ideally suited as a teaching wrap. And cheery rainbows will light-up any day, don’t you think?

Our family also makes extensive use of Soft-Structured Carriers. The best carrier on the market currently, both in terms of versatility and craftsmanship, is the Manduca. I also have a Tula Toddler Folk Art and a Boba 3G.

Et voilĂ , my stash, although I prefer calling them my tools! Babywearing for us is about much more than carrying. Our children have a high need for physical touch and are very inquisitive. Babywearing, even around the house, allows us to keep them physically close and under supervision. We reduced the amount of meltdowns and catastrophes significantly since we replaced our stroller with baby carriers. When parents approach me with questions about toddler discipline or misbehaviour, my first line of advice is always: “Get yourselves a good carrier…”


You can read more about Veronique's fabulous family on her own blog.

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