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Dress for Success

12 Nov

How do you dress to take a kid out in a Cliff Mass worthy storm (or even just an average November afternoon)?  Here’s what we’ve found works well, but I’m curious how others manage.

Layers: a young baby needs to wear at least 1 layer more than you. She’s not walking or hauling another person around.

Minimize: toddlers and older children should have the maximum warmth/waterproofing with the minimum possible number of items. Carry extra clothes and expect to lose socks, hats, rain pants, boots, and other items that you don’t expect to but will somehow lose. Better yet, invest in a small sturdy backpack and have them carry these items (along with snacks, toys, etc–another post).

Focus on top and bottom: both the head and feet leak heat and both are easy for baby to uncover. I always stash a hat in my pocket and dress the kid in a jacket with a hood. If she loses two hats, at least we have some protection. Same with socks: a pair on the feet, a pair in my pocket, and footie outerwear. (Our fuzzy pants have puppy faces…aww!)

Use your pockets: you might not even need a diaper bag if you have enough pockets. Inside jacket, vest, raincoat–more than enough space for everything we need. I carry a small collapsible shopping bag for bringing home any purchases.

Product mentions: the Ergo Baby carrier has great pockets and a built in rain hood. You can also buy additional items that attach to the carrier–a diaper bag & a carry pouch.  The Moby is easier to wear when you don’t plan to take the carrier off for a while and it adds a layer of warmth. I found a vest and poncho on Suze’s Kinder , a site that specializes in outerwear for baby wearing. So far, I like the poncho. The vest has arm holes and can be used when carrying baby on the front or back. I like it, but I’m concerned that the zippers might not last long.


Parties, potlucks, and play dates

8 Nov

Stay in touch with your friends.

Invite people over–even when your house is a mess and you have no food. You can always order in. True friends will understand if you ask them to pick up take out or grab a bottle of wine on the way over.   When people ask you to bring the baby over, take them up on it. Always say yes to invitations and don’t worry about being a little late, not having a hostess gift or perhaps having not showered. Friends understand.

People with kids seem like a logical choice for spending time around your little one, but don’t forget those in your life who don’t have kids in the house. Your life has changed, and maybe it seems all you talk/think about is your child, but spending social time with other adults helps you connect with other parts of your identity.

Babies are great ice breakers.

We live in Beacon Hill, an incredibly diverse neighborhood currently experiencing a baby boom. There are 3 babies under one year on our block and at least 20 kids under 5 in a half-mile radius. Since the baby was born, we’ve  met lots of new friends and had the opportunity to pass around baby clothes and gear. We’ve also met baby sitters and learned survival tips from seasoned parenting veterans. When you see someone with a small child in tow, smile and introduce yourself.

It’s not cheating to order online

Would you like to host a play date or holiday party but you’re overwhelmed by the idea of shopping? Place an order with Amazon Fresh while the menu is fresh on your mind (or monitor) and it will be delivered to your door on the day of your choice.  If you plan to be home during the delivery, you can even order beer or wine.  I’ve pre-ordered my Thanksgiving items to be delivered the Monday before Thanksgiving, giving me plenty of time to realize what I’ve forgotten.

Regular scheduled deliveries have been a life saver for essentials like coffee, baby wipes, and other items we can’t go without. Every Wednesday morning, grocery essentials appear like magic on the porch. For the critters, we have a monthly delivery from Smiley Dog , a friendly local business that delivers high quality pet supplies–never run out of cat litter again!

Thinking of holiday gifts? Gift certificates for deliveries make great gifts for new parents and busy people in general.

Highchair Happy Hour

28 Oct

Happy hour is my favorite time to dine out. It’s cheaper and often less crowded than the usual dinner hour. Small plates mean I get to try more items on the menu and dinner at 4pm fits our schedule well (I usually eat another small meal around 8pm). Before baby, we frequently ate an early happy hour dinner downtown.

Where can you take a baby for happy hour? Hotel bars/restaurants are perfect! The women’s restrooms are usually large and comfortable, perfect for changing a wiggly baby and/or nursing in privacy. Spacious lobbies offer a place to walk around with the baby or let your little crawler stretch.

Our favorite hotel happy hour is at  Sazerac in the Hotel Monaco.  Located across the street from the fantastic Central Library, Sazerac serves strong cocktails, thin-crust pizzas, and an amazing selection of small plates. The acoustics are poor, which makes it a little loud for intimate conversation–perfect for those of us with a vocal baby! Sazerac extends the happy hour menu into the regular dining room, and will seat you in a cozy booth if you get there early.

Looking for something smaller in your neighborhood?

Tidbit Bistro on Capitol Hill (corner of Broadway & Union) also has a great happy hour and incredibly tasty food. The owners are friendly and welcoming to babies, too.

Tasha’s Bistro has happy hour Thurs-Sat. Great wines and really tasty food in a family-friendly environment.

Baja Bistro has happy hour specials from 3-7pm.

Island Soul Caribbean Cuisine features fantastic food at a range of spice levels and outstanding cocktails. The bright decor and welcoming smiles make baby and mama stay long enough to enjoy a slice of coconut cake.

Calamity Jane’s in Georgetown has food and drink specials at happy hour. Kids allowed in main dining area.

Not all restaurants extend happy hour into the main dining area. When in doubt, check before you go.

Beer makes us better parents

19 Oct

We live just about a mile from Jefferson Park. Baby fell asleep walking over there yesterday, en route, so we stopped off at Victrola for coffee–yum! When we arrived at the park, she was still asleep, so we strolled around the park and watched the big kids tumble down the slide. Still asleep…what to do?

After a brief debate about why we’ve never gone there, we decided to check out the Jefferson Park Golf Course snack bar. Cue celestial singing–they have NFL Sunday Ticket! And beer! And fried things! Children are allowed! This is exactly what this Beacon Hill family needs. Baby gets to enjoy the park, mom and dad get to unwind with a frosty cold one.

Becoming a parent shouldn’t mean giving up the things you love. I love football and beer. Baby loves happy parents.

  • Location & hours of operation: (206) 763-6412 4101 Beacon Ave S Seattle, WA 98108;
  • Transit access and/or parking: parking available, walking distance from the Light Rail Station or take the #36 bus
  • Accessibility for strollers & little legs: no stairs
  • Cost: reasonable (less than $10)
  • Activities & safety issues: walking distance to Jefferson Park, golf & mini golf on-site, televisions
  • Food/drink (for kids and adults): Beer, wine, cocktails & snack food (cheeseburgers, fries, etc)
  • Restrooms and changing table: table in women’s room, not technically a changing table but it works
  • Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: very family friendly

Child-rearing advice from snarky hipsters

12 Oct

Here’s a Slog poll about babies making noise in public; let the child/parent-bashing begin.

For the record, I voted that you shouldn’t have kids unless you can deal with this circumstance before it ends up on Slog. Off-the cuff snarkery, just like they want to see.

Here are some choices I wish would have been included in the poll:

  • Pack lots of little toys the baby hasn’t seen/hasn’t seen in a while
  • Take frequent strolls around the place
  • Keep baby occupied with bites of pho
  • Ask for the food to go after the first glass of wine
  • Arrive when the restaurant isn’t very busy
  • Make eye contact with the snarky hipsters plotting their blog post about your happy baby, smile, and ask if they’d like to hold the baby while you finish your drink
  • Make eye contact with the most visibly disturbed person, smile, and send a drink to her table

Get out there!

9 Oct

I started this blog because I want to share ideas for moms (and dads!) to get out with baby.  Many new parents stay home, alone, because they are afraid. Afraid the baby will cry in a public place. Afraid the baby will need to be fed, or changed. Afraid they will be judged as parents, or other people will dislike their infant.

The bad news: all of the above (and worse) is going to happen to every family. Your baby is going to cry on the bus, in the cafe, and in line at the bank. You’re going to have to change a blowout on the (cold/dirty) floor of a restaurant. People will stare, judge, and maybe even say unkind things. (many more people will be sympathetic and even helpful.)

The good news: it will be okay.  Being embarrassed or frustrated is worth NOT being isolated, bored, or hungry. We all have our shining moments–our good hair days, when everything comes together. We also all have Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days. Babies are little people, and will sometimes be difficult to deal with. It’s okay.

You are a good parent. You’re doing it right. You and your child deserve to be seen and heard.

The best news: the more you get out, the more confident you’ll feel. You’ll see other families and get ideas about what pieces of baby gear work and pick up techniques for entertaining or soothing. You’ll notice what kind of environment your baby enjoys and places that don’t work as well. Your baby will learn how to interact with people in different environments. Hopefully this blog will help you find places that welcome you & baby and avoid those who don’t.

In case breastfeeding is holding you back: 50 Reasons for Breastfeeding Anytime, Anywhere

My favorite: #27 “So that mothers continue to be good consumers, spending their money in stores, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, airlines, resorts, sporting events, and more all while nursing their child (instead of staying at home).”

Transit with baby

28 Sep

Why take mass transit with a baby? Why not? Seattle’s transit system isn’t perfect, but with the addition of Light Rail in 2009 it’s a whole lot easier to get around.

Two major transit agencies in Seattle: King County Metro and Sound Transit Link Light Rail. Metro Trip Planner is here. and Sound Transit information is here.

We haven’t taken the baby on a Seattle bus yet, because we live only a few blocks away from the Beacon Hill Light Rail station. She rides the train less she’s in a car. The baby enjoys walking to and from the station and watching people on the train–especially when they talk to her. I love not having to circle (or pay) for parking.

I find it easier to carry the baby in a sling, wrap, or carrier than to lug a heavy car seat or navigate a stroller. The Moby Wrap is fantastic, especially for very young babies and ling naps. The Ergo is super comfortable and has storage pockets. There are dozens of baby carriers and, like buying jeans, you really need to try them on to see what fits. Birth and Beyond has a great selection–they even host a workshop to help practice different techniques!

Bus Chick is the best resource out there for the hows and whys of taking mass transit with kids. If you’re not following her blog, you should check it out.

Some starter tips:
  • Get an Orca card and register it online. Get two, so there’s an extra if you have guests or lose one. Depending on how frequently you ride transit, you’ll either want a monthly pass or an E-Purse.
  • Travel lightly. Carry a minimum number of diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, etc.
  • Consider a backpack versus a shoulder strap diaper bag. Shoulder straps slide and can be cumbersome when you’re wearing a baby. Use your pockets for wallet, cash, keys, etc. I use a clip-on key ring and attach it to my belt loops or the inside of the diaper bag.
  • Give yourself lots of time. If you’re trying to make it to a workshop that starts at 10 and the trip planner estimates you’ll arrive at 9:55, take the earlier trip. Metro buses don’t run as frequently as light rail, so be sure to get to your stop with a few minutes to spare. Also keep in mind that you probably don’t walk as fast with a baby as you do without, so plan for longer walking time from the station.