Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Long Goodbye

Remember this furry cutie?

She's still with us, though perhaps not for much longer. After long debate followed by a panic-induced paralysis of will (which led to a seemingly-endless period of procrastination), it seems that a possible new home for her may just have fallen into my lap.

However, a clear stipulation of the trial run offered me was that I ensure that Gracie is healthy, particularly since she's recently adopted a new and terrible habit of urinating in inappropriate places. Truth be told, I should have taken her to the vet long ago as a matter of course, and certainly once the peeing started, but I just have not been able to get my head on straight enough to do it. As it turned out, the tangible possibility of giving her a better life (and us a better-smelling home) managed to be just enough motivation for me to find a vet, make an appointment, and get my long-suffering "furbaby" there by Thursday of this past week.

As I pulled Gracie out of her carrier in the vet's office, I felt her shivering and held her tightly to me. The rare stretch of close contact between us two served as a painful reminder of how neglectful I've been. I could feel it in the pinch of her overlong claws and the lumpiness of the mats that riddled her fur. I recognized it most readily in the unfamiliarity of the simple act in which I was now engaging: cradling her in my arms for longer than it took to move her from one place to another or hold her down for a bit of maintenance.

With just her and me in a room alone, I felt long-buried emotions come into play. I began to grasp again at near-forgotten maternal inclinations towards her, which brought up memories of when she was my only. After only a short time, Gracie was ready to leave the safety of my embrace and explore her surroundings. I marveled at her tenacity, even as I kneeled on the floor to make myself accessible to her while she crept around. I stayed there for long after I realized that she didn't really need my close supervision anymore, silently willing an extension of our brief connection. But she was perfectly content to wander the room alone.

Perhaps she thought that we were moving again (after tagging along with me to four locations in five years, and a sixth within seven, moving is old hat to her) and was rushing to get her adaptation on. Perhaps she was reveling in a brand-new kid-free zone. Whatever was going through her tiny head, I could see that while I might be struggling with the changes on her horizon, she was likely going to be just fine.

As it turned out, she has a urinary tract infection, which I've taken as a mixed blessing. The good news in all of that is that hopefully her questionable behavior will cease for her new owner once the infection is gone. The bad news is that she's ill, and will need time to recover. We're on day two of antibiotics now, which we've been able to hide in her food with no issue, and which she seems to be handling just fine.

That's at least nine more days, then, for me to prepare my long goodbye.


After yesterday's beautiful respite, we were back in the depths of teething again, but I managed to get my experimentation on before things really took a downward turn. So, I tried out not one, but two new carries.

The first that I attempted was the Front Cross Carry. This one was- by far- the easiest to execute because it can be prepped before the baby is slipped in. All that needs doing after the passes are laid out is a bit of tightening and adjustment. In essence, it's exactly the same as my go-to carry in the K'Tan, but with a bit more support due to the non-stretchiness of the fabric.

Sadly, one of the reasons I stopped using the K'Tan was that Mia didn't much like the feel of it anymore. I tried a couple of other carries with it, but- big as she was by that time- they just never felt as secure to me as the "Hug," which she tired of once she developed an interest in looking around. As you can see, she was already getting a bit irritated with me as I took these pictures, desperately searching for a good vantage point from which to see out beyond the wrap in a position that was comfortable for her.

Needless to say, I didn't wear her that way for long. I elected to try a new back carry, instead, and pulled up a video for a Reinforced Ruck, tied Tibetan.

Despite the fact that Double Hammock was recommended to me as the easiest back carry to start with, I found the Reinforced Ruck much easier to do. I'm not sure how much of that had to do with the fact that I tried the Double Hammock first, but my first try with this carry went infinitely more smoothly than my repeat attempts at the Double Hammock.

This was how we got through lunch:

Later, after an insufficient span of naptime, I put her back up in the same carry to tag along on Tom's stroller-walk with the elder two and his visiting brother, James. My shoulders got pretty tired pretty quickly, but I know that I'm likely to feel that fatigue with any extended use until I build up some babywearing muscles. I also felt like Mia slipped a bit as I walked, not to the point where she felt that she was coming out of the wrap, but enough that it became less comfortable for me (and likely for her). I'm quite sure, however, that my technique could use some work, and that once I get better at tightening up at each step, the slipping will be less of an issue.

I guess the only way to find out is to just keep trying.