Friday, August 1, 2008
Yes, I Like My Sling
Most of you who see me often, often see me with a sling around one shoulder holding my smallest child. She loves the sling, and honestly, it makes life with three kiddos possible. Someone recently asked if I liked it and this got me thinking, which in a perfect world for me would always lead to me writing. These days thinking rarely comes to that fruition, but here I am today with a God-granted hour and I find myself wanting to use it to explain what a wonder the sling is.
Point number 1: Going shopping with three children is a little bit scary in that you could cause some kind of small (or large) store-wide disaster just by your very presence. But, because of the sling, shopping for me is possible on a regular basis. (Oh, and I don’t mean the kind of shopping where you come home with something to wear or even something for your kids to wear. I mean the weekly necessary food-in-the-pantry kind of shopping.) When we get to the store I grab the sling, throw it over my head, encourage the older two to “stay very close to the car” as they exit, unbuckle Bethany and slip her in. It’s that easy and then I have two hands (and as many yells as it takes) to round up the hoodlums and get them into the store. I also have the mind-space to wait on Jacob as he stomps in every puddle he can and to be responsive to Naomi’s constant commentary on the color of the cars in the parking lot or the letters in the spelling of the name of the store, or the little girl two rows over who has a crown on her head, or...well, you get the picture. Then Bethany falls asleep cuddled up next to me as we get to the buggy, load up, pass out the entertainment (i.e. snack) and buy all the fun stuff—like toothpaste or milk or diapers or whatever is on our list (which I can also hold because now I have one hand for the buggy and the other for the list).
Point number 2: Going to the park with three children is even more scary than going grocery shopping. Why would any sane mother with a 4-year old, a 2-year old, and an infant put herself through this? Many times, it’s way more fun than staying cooped up at home, and who said I was sane anyway? Beyond the constant threat that Jacob will get interested in the bug that is just out of my line of sight or Naomi will go around the world to get Jacob (who is just out of my sight, mind you) back, there is always the threat that I will leave the mountain of supplies that it takes to cart us all around where it is impossible to retrieve them without losing the older two completely. Enter the sling: I put it on, slip Bethany in, throw my humongous bag over my shoulder, and I still have those two hands for the two older children. Wonderful! Bethany happily goes to sleep (again) and Naomi and Jacob can climb, swing, slide, play in the fountain, ride the carousel, or whatever activity that particular park (and we know a lot of them) is offering that particular day.
Point number 3: Besides the ease, or should I say, possibility, of getting out and getting things done, there is the wonderful way that people respond to the sling. I’ve noticed the “shining eyes” usually comes without comment from the moms-to-be or the moms who have passed the infant stage completely. Then there are the jealous comments—these can be anything from “Man, I had to use a towel or a sheet when I was raising mine,” or “Why couldn’t they have made something so wonderful when mine were little?” The older generation usually has to take a look—I’m not sure whether it’s to see Bethany’s cute little face or to make sure she’s still breathing (how can those young moms with three be the least bit responsible? It’s all God!). My favorite response, though, is the “double take.” This comes from someone who has passed me (and my crew) a few times and the second or third time backs up for a better look at my front side. Usually comments follow like “I didn’t even know there was a baby in there!” or “Look, little Sue, she has a baby in there!” The funniest comment, though, was “Look, Jill, what that girl has in her shirt!”
So, yes, I love my sling. It only hurts my back when I wear it for a really long time and Bethany doesn’t like it for really long stretches anyway. It makes regular life possible and it reminds me of that “more than conquerors” verse about Him who loves me. In spite of—no, maybe because of—my inability to raise three children, it is happening. And we even get to do things like go to the next, newest park, and go out to buy ground beef when we need it. I am so thankful!
Oh, and a bit of advertisement: this particular sling is an adjustable one from kangarookorner.com