So, I have decided to start a blog. I wait patiently for the fanfare of the less than a dozen people who will read this; and then only because I pestered them to on Facebook. I decided to write a blog after the third or fourth time in the last month my wife has asked me “have you ever considered writing a blog?” in the last month. I honestly never had; I enjoy writing, I have opinions, I have written notes on Facebook on more than one occasion and had fun doing it so, I decided to give it a go. Now the hard part, what to write on my first blog?
So I decided to explain the name: Crunchy Dad, it comes from a subculture of parents that do “strange” things with their children that a hundred years ago in North America were completely normal and still are in most countries. In my case we wear our daughter, we cloth diaper her, we sleep with her, and we let her feed herself. I did not start out to be a crunchy dad, my daughter decided that for me. When I went in to parenting I had a very mainstream, commercial view of how I would be doing it: Strollers, disposable diapers, her own room, and spoonfeeding baby foodstuffs to her. I got the wrong daughter for that. We learned quickly that she was claustrophobic and did not care for sleeping alone one bit; the amount of effort we had to go through to calm her down was ridiculous. The solution to this problem was to sidecar her crib to our bed, Life got immeasurably better henceforth.
Next, she was allergic to disposable diapers, she got a rash so bad that she actually had bleeding ulcers (poor girl). Whatever we tried did not work, we even had a prescription cream that barely even slowed the rash down. Finally, we tried the one thing I was not excited to try: cloth! “Babes in Arms”, a local Calgary retailer that specializes in “crunchy parent” (or as I would prefer to put it: traditional parent) solutions had a trial pack where we could try many types of diaper (yes, there are lots of different kinds) for three weeks and if we weren’t satisfied we could return them all and get all but $25 dollars back. I’m good enough at math to know that that was a good deal but there was one big problem, we couldn’t use barrier creams with cloth diapers! I settled in for what I thought would be the fastest failure in diaper trial history figuring that if the creams were barely keeping her rash at bay then the lack of them would make her little bum into hamburger. Then the weirdest thing happened, her rash cleared up. When I say her rash cleared up, I don’t mean it slowly went away, I mean it cleared up in a mater of three days! No creams, no special treatment, no anything but cloth diapers. The change was so dramatic I could’ve kissed them except for the fact that they were still glorified poop-catchers. I am now the biggest fan of cloth diapers. Oh, and in case you were wondering we tried disposables on occasion after that just to see if it was a fluke and found that wearing them for any more than two hours made her rash start back up.
The most common question I get from people is some permutation of “you put poop in your washing machine?”; yes, but what most people don’t realize is, so does every parent. You see, one advantage of cloth diapers is that hey have elastics to keep the poop inside the diaper, disposables not so much! In fact, before using cloth I called the back of the diaper the poop funnel because of a delightful design flaw in disposable diapers that results in any poop that is runny and forceful enough (which is pretty much half of them for the first few months) to go straight up the back of the diaper and onto the baby’s clothes; there was a few times where I was actually wiping poop out from between my daughter’s shoulder blades, YUCK!!
The whole baby wearing idea was the one decision that was, at least, mutual. The choice of wearing our daughter or pushing a stroller around was pretty easy to make. Baby carriers are light, easy to use, compact and they can go anywhere we go: no brainer! Every once in a while I see some parent pushing a particularly fashionable stroller and I look with some emotion akin to jealousy and a little regret for not using a stroller myself; then I watch the poor sucker fold his stroller down to the size of an ottoman and jam it into his trunk and I’m suddenly so over it! She loves the closeness and the security baby-wearing gives her and I love it for basically the same reason. Bliss! I really can’t recommend it enough (provided you have a proper carrier, I have an Ergo, a Didymos, a BabyHawk, and a Moby. A fair amount of research should go into the decision).
To learn more about and purchase my carrier I ended up again at Babes in Arms (is there anything they can’t do). Baby-wearing is the best thing ever for a dad like me, wearing my little Amelia is such a great bonding experience and not enough fathers do it. Time and again I recommend to women to get a carrier their husband would be comfortable with as well only to be informed that their husband would never wear one. NEVER? What is wrong with these men? apparently baby-wearing is seen by some men as the fatherhood equivalent of holding their girlfriend’s purse. To these men I say: GET OVER IT YOU SISSY (actually I use different words but I’m trying to keep this entry PG) Your kid doesn’t care about your rep and whether the other adults think you’re “cool”, and besides which why would their opinion matter more than your child’s does? You know what makes your kid think that you are awesome? Being close with them for some great quality time, you’ll be the coolest dad ever!
Lastly, the baby-led weaning or as it is often called, baby-led solids. This has two aspects: extended breast-feeding and no “baby specific” food. Amelia eats what we eat and she eats it with her own hands. The upside: she gets to experience food, she can touch it, look at it, smell it and eat it; she gets to try what she chooses and pick what she wants. The downside: the mess! Mia often wears more food than she eats and she is quite generous doling out food to the dogs (by dropping it on the floor). Again, this was Mia’s decision. She wouldn’t let us put a spoon in her mouth, she had to hold it herself. My little girl has a way of getting her way, she reminds me a lot of her mom. As for the extended breast feeding, well, I think you can figure that one out: fourteen months old and going strong, booyah.
So that’s it. That is why I chose the name “Crunchy Dad”. I hope you like it. I didn’t choose the crunchy lifestyle for myself, my little girl demanded a different approach, insisted that her old dad needed to stretch his boundaries.
Thanks Mia, I owe you one!