The first challenge of the Sakura Bloom Triathlon is answering the following three questions:
1. What first interested you in babywearing? I was home on maternity leave with my first newborn baby who would have no part of being put down, ever, anywhere, for anything. Maybe if I was lucky she’d hang out in the swing for a few minutes (lights, noise, and vacuum underneath her). So I was carrying her around everywhere in my arms, holding and nursing her one-armed. She was the smallest of my babies, 6 lbs 11 oz at birth full term, so it was easier, but it also meant she was too little for the Baby Bjorn everyone had told me about. I was also drawn to the ideas of attachment parenting and knew I felt better and she seemed much happier when we were joined at the hip (and elsewhere!) so I looked for something else to carry and hold her in. I never tried a ring sling then as I was afraid it wouldn’t be safe enough or it would be too hard to learn to use quickly. Instead, I chose the New Native one-piece fabric sling and tried that. It was OK, but not a great fit for me height-wise (which is the story of my life). When my second daughter was born I bought and tried the infant pillow insert in there, but again, it just was never quite right for me. I was using it like that again with my third daughter when I saw this contest and decided to give these beautiful-looking ring slings a chance. I am *so* happy I did! It’s wonderful being able to adjust the sling to just the right height and have it adapt to the baby’s changing size while also looking stylish over everything (this does in fact include pajamas).
2. How is your personality reflected in your parenting style? It is no surprise to other lawyers, those who’ve worked extensively with lawyers, or our poor families, that we lawyers tend toward Type A personalities. I am more like a Type A+. Being a natural perfectionist and wanting things orderly and just so is a serious challenge as a parent, especially of irrational, distractable, little mess-makers! I am also a lifelong nerd so, to quote Super Why, when I have a problem I look in a book! For my own sanity as well as my children’s emotional well-being I try to use the methods outlined and explained in The Happiest Toddler on the Block and 1-2-3 Magic. But I’m also very affectionate and love to snuggle with my children. Had I really understood how fleeting the stage is when a baby needs you so completely and wants only to be right on you 24/7, I might have enjoyed it more the first time around. These days, I beg hugs from the big girls and relish the snuggles all day and night with my baby girl. Those snuggles are made easier by having the baby in the sling while I’m snuggling with the big girls reading them bedtime stories.
3. If you could spend a year traveling with your family, where would you go and why? Oh, man do I have the travel bug! I love to travel and it’s been awhile. I am already dreaming and starting to plan when and how we’ll be able to take the girls abroad. With a solid year, I think we might try to do a world tour! I am a total xenophile. I love to learn about other cultures and peoples, try different foods, hear new music, and learn new languges. I speak Spanish and can read and understand some French, Italian, and Portuguese (at least enough to get by). My husband considered me his personal tour guide when we backpacked around Western Europe after law school and the bar exams before we started working. We prefer to go off the beaten path and try to see things as they really are, rather than how they are tidied up for visitors. I can’t wait to expose my children to all those things and talk about it with them to see the world through their eyes. For now, I select books for them set in other cultures, we watch television shows that broaden their awareness (I highly recommend HBO’s Happily Ever After Fairy Tales for Every Child), play games (like eeBoo’s I Never Forget a Face), and I tell them stories about where I’ve been and how we’ll go there someday too.
I believe that travel, done right, provides invaluable perspective, teaches compassion and empathy, and unifies people in a way that nothing else really can. And, estate-planning attorney-mama that I am, I have spelled this all out for the named legal guardians of my children in case tragedy were to strike my family and I were not able to teach my children these important life lessons myself. Have you provided the legally-named guardians of your children explicit guidance about how you would want your children raised according to your beliefs? Have you created something for your children to express your wishes for them that they will be able to read with you (or, hopefully not, in your absence) when they are old enough? That makes a fantastic, lasting, priceless gift.