As most of you know, Daniel and I just relocated back to Newport Beach after spending a loooong, hot year in Phoenix. As fantastic as it is to be back in the fabulous weather, I am reminded that living here is somewhat difficult for a “normal” person. I say “normal” because the people who live here are not normal. Where I come from, a Mazda Protege (our mode of transportation) is a nice car. Here, it is a total hooptie. A “normal” Newport Beach car is something of the Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari variety. Also, everyone is in such a hurry. Don’t dare drive the speed limit, or a Newport Beacher will stare holes into you because, damn it, they have places to go, they are important…HOW DARE YOU DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT?! I digress…
In route to Target this morning, I was thinking about how difficult it was for me to get there (it was only 3 miles from my house). Between dodging land yachts going mach 3 and trying to find a parking space (why are there so many cars at Target at 10am?), I took a moment to reflect on things that actually make my life a little easier. Since I have a baby, most of my activities revolve around May, so here are a few items in my life that allow me to maintain a shred of sanity while still being a good, attentive and fun mom.
1. Britax B-Agile Stroller
Like all excited parents-to-be, Daniel and I went and registered for everything under the sun, not really giving much thought to the minutiae of each item. We bought a Cynthia Rowley stroller, which was extremely cute, extremely light, and extremely cheap (and I’m not talking about price). It was all good until I got the poor child in it for her inaugural stroll. The shoulder pads were so poorly placed that they ended up around her ears. She looked like a navy blue dumbo. Absurd. Even more absurd was trying to read the manual to figure out how to remove the straps. Being STRAPPED on time as a new mom, it was time consuming and frustrating. I hadn’t even had May in it for a day and I was already fed up with it. We persevered with it for a few months, but after a while, it became clear that May was straight up not having it. Poor girl would arch her back and act like someone was pinching her every time I put her in this stroller. It became a real problem since literally the only thing to do in Phoenix during the summer was to stroll her around the mall. So, upon arrival in California, I pretty much bullied Daniel into getting May a new stroller. At first he wasn’t super on board with the idea since he never really saw much of the stroller shenanigans, but being the sweet husband that he is, he relented and we got a FABULOUS Britax B-Agile stroller. Yes, that bad boy was 250 bucks, but seriously, it was worth every penny. May be rollin’ in the Bentley of strollers now. Her last stroller was a total beater…actually, I can’t even make a car comparison. It was like a rickshaw…bumpy ride and all.
The Britax is totally light, very streamlined and very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Of course I now know that the aesthetics are totally unimportant when it comes to things like strollers. It could say “Ed Hardy” all over it and I still wouldn’t care. I’d stroll my little May buggy in it anyway!
2. Sophie La Giraffe
I have to preface this with a disclaimer. I did NOT understand what the big deal about Sophie was when we were gifted one. Our super hip and smart friend Jocelyn sent us a Sophie as a baby gift when I was pregnant, and told us that Sophie was “the hottest baby toy around.” The thought rolling through my head was “okay…it’s a giraffe, it’s rubber, it’s wearing too much blush,” something like that. Didn’t get it. Well, I’m here to tell you, Sophie La Giraffe is THE BUSINESS. Made from 100% rubber, this little teether (I guess it’s a teether, although May has the official Sophie teether too. More on that later) is super soft and has a multitude of options to chew on. Some days May wants to chomp on one of Sophie’s four hooves (are they considered “hooves” on a giraffe?), some days May wants to chomp on Sophie’s head. Some days it’s both. Some days it’s none of the above, because she ALSO has the grossly-overpriced Sophie teether. A scaled-down version of regular Sophie, another super smart friend of ours who is well-versed in Sophie (Kathryn) aptly described this as, “mutant Sophie with an elephant trunk growing out of her head.” Well put. That’s about what it looks like. Anyway, Sophie didn’t really require a manifesto this long, but in short, May loves her and will occupy herself with it for 10 minutes (an eternity in baby time) and that is why Sophie is a hero in the Shean household.
3. Baby Bjorn (sorry I don’t know how to make the umlaut over the “o”)
Although hauling 20lbs. worth of baby on my chest is taking its toll on my back (big shout out to Dr. Suzuki who adjusts me), I couldn’t get anything outside of the house done without this nifty thing. It allows me to grocery shop, target shop, and occasionally, when May is replaced by a character we like to call “Cranky Franky” , it allows me to silence her when she’s in the throes of the woes. There are tons of baby carriers on the market, and they all have their merit. On the whole, wearing your baby is helpful if you’re trying to do anything non-baby related.
I also have a Maya wrap, which I really loved..until my mega baby hit the 15lb. mark. From there, it was just too much weight to shoulder on one shoulder. I still love it though. It makes me feel very earth-mothery.
4. Gerber terry cloth wash cloths
I have to thank my mother for turning me on to these glorious little wash cloths. So versatile and so cheap. I think a pack of six is like, three bucks at Target. Why are these cloths so great? One word…FOLDS! Babies have tons of folds, and these thin little cloths can get even the deepest nuggets of oatmeal cereal out of chin #2. They also make great burp clothes, face wipes, hiney wipes, chew toys, etc. I keep them everywhere in the house. So useful.
Oh my, let me count the ways he makes my life easier. The previous four items are easily purchased, however, my husband is not for sale. This man, after working a 14 hour day, will come home by May’s bedtime, read her a story, feed her, rock her and put her to sleep. He will then get up with her at 4 in the morning, feed her, rock her, put her to sleep, JUST so I can catch a few more glorious minutes of sleep. Now I know there are TONS of fantastic fathers who do this, but for me, it is especially helpful since May and I are joined at the hip all day long. He also makes me laugh, indulges my ridiculous tv choices and continues to be my best friend after I don’t know how many years. Just the fact that he is breathing makes my life easier, and a total joy.