living in a wrapper’s paradise

Part of why I love wearing my Pie in the wrap is that people (at least in the suburb I currently live in) always seem surprised to see it.

 (photo from pieceofcloth.com. this wrap is actually called “wrapper’s paradise. i guess I'm not as clever as i thought. dammit)

I love that.

I actually don’t really like the attention, but I like it when people check out the baby in the wrap.

And it never ceased to amaze me how people are so interested in a baby being worn in a wrap!

People ask me about it, and i get to talk to them about babywearing, the need for touch, the benefits and ease of using a carrier instead of lugging around a car seat or stroller. And people who don’t wear their babes or who aren’t sure about it or would never have thought about not using a car seat carrier want to talk about it.

i just realized that they have the same name – a wrap and a car seat pop-out have the same name! And they are so, so different.

Last week I had to go to babies r us to get some gear for my pump. I had never been in a babies r us, and in fact never planned on going. There aren’t really independent baby supply shops near me, and I only wanted to make one stop – no tracking things down, popping in and out of stores for this mama.

I am usually watched while I take the Pie out of her car seat and put her in the wrap. People haven’t seen them, they wonder how it works, if it’s safe. But i really didn’t expect to get so many stares at babies r us. You’d think these mamas had seen a wrap before.

I pulled into a parking space, and the people in the car opposite me were loading their kids in the car. I got out of the car, pulled the Pie out of her seat, and as the big white SUV across from me was pulling out, I started getting her into the wrap. To my surprise, I noticed that the SUV slammed on its brakes, the mom in the passenger seat was pointing at me. She had told her husband to stop the car. She jumped out of the car and started asking me about the wrap. At babies r us. She watched me put the Pie in the wrap, and said she wished she’d had one, and got back in her car and left.

As I walked around the store, Pie in the wrap, I noticed that every other mom there was toting her babe around in a car seat. And the car seats were all in the cart, because they’re too heavy to carry. All the babies being pushed around the store in a car seat in a cart. That’s pretty far away from mama.

I’ve done that- don’t get me wrong. if the Pie is sacked out asleep in her car seat, i won’t dare disturb her by untangling her from the straps. But in general we use the wrap. If i know that it will take me more time to get her in the wrap than my errand will take, I leave her in the seat and carry the seat in. However the seat is so heavy and it slows me down so much (banging against my leg, blocking my way in and out of doorways) – that it’s often not worth it. Usually I just don’t run an errand or go into a store unless I need at least 3 things.

I’ve worn the Pie in the wrap in the military grocery stores, where I was shopping with my mom. Moms with screaming babies in car seats in carts always look at me a little funny when i cruise past them with a sleeping or gurgling baby in the wrap.

And the older international Army wives  like to stop me and tell me about their baby carriers when they were having kids, and how no one on post used carriers so they succumbed to trend and assimilation and bought a stroller.

I love the wrap. it gives me the opportunity to talk about something i care about with strangers who are curious and interested in listening. i can walk into high-end stores without getting dirty looks like i would if i had my pie in a car seat or stroller (so, so much less stuff to maneuver around the stores!). i can navigate the narrowest of clearance racks with ease, and i can (usually) calm the Pie before she gets upset, because I can feel her body stiffening in protest before she every starts fussing.

My Pie is inching toward 20 pounds, and it’s still wonderful for running errands and shopping, but it’s getting harder with her size to get stuff done around the house with the wrap. we’ve been sitting her on the floor or putting her in her “office/command center” while i zoom around the house trying to get some chores done. but i really miss the days when she was 10 pounds, hanging out in the wrap all day long, napping and snuggling and checking things out. I bought an Ergo, and we’ll see how that works for chores. I still love the close swaddled feel of the wrap, and how easy it is for her to lay her head down and go to sleep. The Ergo is a new experiment in practicality, and if it doesn’t work, then at least the mountain man has a manly-yet-comfortable baby carrier.

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