Tuesdays with Ella… or Ellawearing

Recently my dear, sweet husband went back to work. I should amend this to say he went back to work AWAY from home. See, he is a programmer (At least that’s what he says he is, as far as I can tell he just types all day. No I’m kidding. He works…. I think.). Essentially all of his work could be done from the sofa. Nice, right? Nice. Nice for a couple of reasons (here I go with the numbered lists again). 1. I love him and I get to see him all day 2. He cooks (really well. Honey, if you’re reading this can we have chicken chow mein?) and 3. Our DD (that’s short for dumb dog not dear daughter) would probably starve if he was gone everyday.

In any case, while he is home a few days a week (working on the couch, I’m really trying to work on my envy problem), his job necessitates some travel for a couple of days a week (Because otherwise the HUGE Internet Company he works for, I’m not naming names but it’s HUGE. That’s all.) might doubt that he actually exists in human form. So he drives some distance for a couple of days a week to show his face and do some social work (and by social work I mean it’s not unheard of that there might be cake and champagne in the office. I can’t tell you where he works because EVERYONE would want to work at a place that has this much fun). Anyway because Huge Internet Company isn’t in the tiny valley town we live in when he works away from home he is actually AWAY from home. Now, because the children (aside from the one attached to me) are with their father right now (not him, duh.) Ella and I are left to our own devices for those days he is gone. Which gives me loads and loads of time to do… well… not much. This brings me to my point… (it look a long time to get there I acknowledge)

Ellawearing. Known to people with babies of other names as “______(insert your baby’s name here) wearing”. This is not a new or revolutionary concept I realize. Oh sure now we have companies that sell devices for mothers such as myself (you may find my favorites here and here) but I might share with you that this has been done for years. Probably millions of them. My great granny herself told stories of picking cotton with a baby strapped to here ala The Grapes of Wrath or to take it even further back to her Native American ancestors who wrapped their babies tightly and tied them to themselves for the purposes of hunting, gathering and trying to get away from the White Man (I can say this because though I am genetically mostly White (Wo)Men I am also Cherokee and Creek Indian). Moving on, what surprises me most about Ellawearing is not the loads of things I can get done but rather the number of people who look at me like I’m an enigma. It may be partly where I live. There aren’t many hippies (or liberals) here. Homebirth is insane. People that tandem nurse are crazy. Families that ride their bikes instead of using their cars are weird. Mom’s that babywear are rarely seen and therefore must be a. co-dependant b. a hippy c. insane or d. a liberal (not that we’d recognize one). We should probably move. Oh well anyway, another blog for another day. So it’s partly where I live but I think it’s mostly just that I kind of am an enigma. I told the cashier in Panera that I had my baby at home and she replied “Like, on purpose?” Yes. Indeed. Anyway.

Ella is 5 weeks old Sunday. We have been to 1. Panera Bread. 2. Whole Foods. 3. Trader Joe’s. 4. Walmart (more than I’d care to admit) 5. Target 6. Out to dinner to various restaurants etc etc etc and I’m proud to say Ella’s infant carrier carseat has never, not once even, left the car. Her stroller (I’m pretty sure we have one) is somewhere in the carhole (I didn’t make that up, my husband says that’s French for garage). I have worn Ella to eat, shop, vacuum, fold laundry, make the bed, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, clean, tidy, chase other children, attend back to school night and even go to the bathroom (that last one may be taking it a little far I realize but hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do to facilitate use of the facility). Anyway, this is nothing new to me, I was a fan of Dr. Sears before I even knew Dr. Sears existed, before the internet and before there was a book that said you were… wait for it… supposed to wear your baby. I can’t say when the concept of Attachement Parenting was first so aptly named but I can say I did it before I knew there were books to tell you how. Because it just seemed like what you were supposed to do.

Back to granny. She was born in 1908. She weighed 12 pounds and didn’t get a name until she was 3 months old. My granny wasn’t a touchy feely lady at all. She chewed tobacco and drank wine from a box (white zinfandel no less, she wouldn’t have recognized a good Cabernet if it hit her int he face). She wore pants and used a circular saw. She pulled weeds until she lost her fingernails. She actually cooked food on a stove that used FIRE. Fire I tell you. She read the bible and she believed firmly in the use of a fly swatter for discipline if she couldn’t get to you with her bare hand (see: Spare the Rod Spoil the Child) but she knew how to attachment parent. No one told her how. She nursed cause she had to, who else was going to feed them kids. She wore her babies because, hey that cotton wasn’t picking itself. She responded to their needs because, well crying was kind of annoying. She was born at home and gave birth at home because it just “didn’t make no sense” to go to the hospital, plus if she left who was going to behead and fry the chicken. Period.

It seems simple to me. You make a baby. You nurture it in your body. You do what you can to give him or her the best start. You birth it safely (you know at home [I’ll admit I’m partial to that option] or the hospital or wherever you see fit). Then you love it. How do you love it? Well you keep it close to you. You co-sleep or adopt the family bed policy. You breastfeed. You respond to cries and needs, you know like changing diapers and stuff that moms and dads do (ok mostly moms I guess). So if you want to do all that, because you want your baby to have the best start, it seems pretty logical that you’d just put your baby on you.

So why do people look at me like I just stepped off the crazy train? Well I suspect because they don’t know why I’m keeping my baby so close. So I tell them. And usually they say “Wow. That’s neat. Where did you get that thing?” Or something like that. Hm. Neat. I like it. Granny would be proud. Except that I buy my chicken at the store. That would just tick her off.

This is Ella @ 2 weeks of age. Where she belongs :)

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Comments
5 Responses to “Tuesdays with Ella… or Ellawearing”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Granny sure did believe in the fly swater! I think people might be jealous, more than anything. So many moms just stay to busy to care properly for their kids or maybe they really just don't know. But I think what your doing is great! Jen Shugert

  2. Anonymous says:

    Joni, Beautifully written! We had Ellawearing at our house as well…people would look at us in public as some strange object. Even had a couple people ask what kind of surgery we had completed to be wearing bandages ;)Loving your writing and seeing your beautiful family…Deb Govero Cox

  3. RamosFamilyBlog says:

    Goodness, it's like you are me! Your stories remind me so much of my life!! I "tristanwore", my little man since he was a wee little one. We started out with the Maya, then when he got too heavy for the ring sling…we switched to the ergo. People used to ask me ALL the time where I got such a contraption and if I was worried about dropping him.
    I mean…REALLY people?!

  4. T Grellman says:

    Very well written, indeed. I am an Abbywearing, but did take some breaks with the car seat at dinner (and for wine) with the husband at Ella's age! Abby has and still does (I'm a stay at home mom/wife) goes everywhere with me, and we still use the bjorn/urgo. I still breastfeed once a day, and we still co-sleep (gosh she is a busy body though, and at 2 years, no more, for her to be independent). It is so important to be that person, the role-model, the stabilizer, the MOM. Only a certain amount of ladies have that "motherly instinct", it is truly a gift. I am truly blessed. My Husband and daughter are my life, and no matter what anyone says (People with less experience have the most opinions), I am the luckiest lady in the world. Your article said so much, thank you for sharing.

    T Grellman

    This link is amazing:

    http://badmommymoments.com/2008/11/16/why-dont-friends-with-kids-have-time/

  5. Anonymous says:

    Joni,

    Its true where we live people look at us weird, even more so when my hubby was the one wearing the babies. I'm glad to have stumbled upon your blog.

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