Tuesday, March 31, 2009

au revoir, retail

Two days ago The Wife and I closed down our baby store.

We started it nearly two years ago, after realizing there was a good market for baby slings and cloth diapers in this area. Unfortunately, the market wasn't quite good enough and it never made much money. And when I got a real job The Wife had to deal not only with it but The Boy and other issues so it became more of a hassle than a labor of love. The economy nailed the coffin shut, but there were plenty of other factors that helped dig the grave. And embalm the corpse. And perform Last Rites. And declare time of death. (Death metaphors are fun!)

It's a pity it didn't work out but I'm not sad to see it go, to be honest. I had some good times there introducing people to the joys of attachment parenting but in the end it just turned out to be something that ate up my weekends. I'll still berate people for destroying the planet with disposable diapers, and I'll keep glaring at zombie-inducing baby strollers, but now instead of doing it as a professional I'll just be a crazy person.

The thing I'll miss most, though, is being a shopkeeper. I never noticed it before but there's a clique in each town of store owners who can relate to each other's circumstances. Between greedy landlords and bad pedestrian traffic and surplus Christmas inventory there is always plenty to kvetch about, and now I'm out of the club.

On the bright side, now I don't have to talk to that guy who sells dead rats from his van. That's carrying the "retail clique" thing a little too far.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

rice is nice

One of The Boy's favorite pastimes is playing with rice. We put a tarp on the floor, give him a big bowl of rice and various kitchen implements (bowls, measuring cups, spoons, etc.) and he goes to town. It's usually a good way to kill an hour or so. He loves pouring stuff from one container to another, and this is a good substitute for water.

Unfortunately it often ends in tears, either his or mine. He'll eventually decide that the tarp is too constraining and start flinging the rice all over the room. Or he'll start to shove the not-terribly-clean rice into his mouth. So then there's yelling and wrestling and a timeout on the couch while daddy vacuums the entire floor. But it's worth it for that sweet, sweet hour of freedom.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Third fiddle

I don't mind playing second fiddle to The Wife when it comes to my child's affection. But I draw the line when, if we're alone and he scrapes his knee, rather than turn to me he'll insist on going next door so that the five year old neighbor can kiss it and make it better.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Da bears

I found it odd that The Boy never really cared about stuffed animals, or really anything soft and cuddly. I'd like to say that it's because he takes after his manly father, but I do confess I had three stuffed rabbits when I was a tyke. (That is, until I cut them open and took out most of the stuffing so I could use them as puppets.)

I always assumed that it was because he was always being carried around. Why settle for some piece of fabric when you're strapped to a soft, warm human all the time? Even after he mostly walked on his own he still got plenty of cuddle time. But lately he's taken a shine to a bear, a rabbit, and a dog and will often juggle the three of them in his arms while trying to go to bed, especially if I'm the one putting him down for the night.

This coincided, not surprisingly, with when The Wife started to ween him. So now I'm obsessed with how often he'll cling to the stuffed critters and will monitor him at night trying to gauge whether or not he's feeling deprived of affection. He's completely off the boob now, but it was interesting to note that his clingy behavior didn't increase. It makes me feel better about our anticipation of his developmental stage.

Don't get me wrong, if the house was on fire he'd probably still choose to save that stupid bear over me, but I've gotten used to being low on the totem pole.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Don't be a dick

Working in a natural parenting store has exposed me to many husbands over the last couple of years, and they all fall under three general categories:

The first is the one resigned to just do what the wife tells him. He may believe in baby carrying and cloth diapers or not, but he's willing to bow to his partner's more extensive knowledge on these topics and just does what he is told. It's somewhat sad, and I try to draw him out a bit and give him sage advice like how a baby in a sling is a great chick magnet, but on the whole he is still trying to figure out what happened to his life.

The second is the rare over enthused husband who has done even more research than his wife and is more often than not dragging her along. These guys are actually a bit scary to me, but god bless 'em.

The third, alas, is the dick. He's a guy who is activally opposed to the freaky hippy natural parenting lifestyle, whether it's because of the expense or the imagined slight to the way his mother raised him or the fear that his drinkin' buddies will laugh at him, he'll spend the entire time in my store finding fault with everything. I've had women on the verge of tears because they're desperately trying to master a baby sling while their husbands stand to one side and point out everything she's doing wrong and not-so-subtly hinting that maybe it's not worth the effort.

Now, I admit that when it comes to marriage I'm pretty well whipped, but it baffles me that any woman would put up with that kind of crap. Are these guys saints the rest of the time? As soon as they walk out my door do they suddenly offer to carry all the bags and suggest that they go jewelry shopping? I know it's not a perfect world, but really, was marrying this guy really a good idea?

Doing what's best for your kid is often not the easiest route. It takes practice to master a baby sling or mei tai, but the baby becomes much more attached and emotionally secure. Cloth diapers require a bit more work but are much better for the environment and are actually cheaper in the long run. Co-sleeping means having to fight for bed space but makes for a more secure baby and actually gives you more sleep. Breastfeeding is often tricky to start but is the only food that nature intended your newborn to have.

So you may not agree with everything your wife wants to do, but try to show a little support. At the very least, don't be a dick.