Björn Again

June_2006_B00065XWV8.01.LZZZZZZZA few weeks ago, as I was waiting to meet a stranger on a streetcorner to buy a BabyBjörn (thanks, Craigslist!), I got to thinking about the strangeness of the prenatal phase in men. Consider this a pre-Father’s Day post.

Somewhere between the Jumperoo, the Björn (our second one), the sleepsacks and the Hanna Andersson clothes, I have become completely screwed up. Somewhere in my mind are other, more tantalizing things to buy and do: Nintendo, home theater, running, barbecues, MAN stuff. Yet these priorities are suddenly taking a backseat to miniature socks and “jumpers” (what the hell is a jumper, anyways?). I feel like a new part of my life has suddenly revealed itself, like a door at the end of the hall that I’ve never opened but always knew was there. I don’t mean this in a positive or surprising sense, mind you — it’s more like one day, I realized that I was going to be a father of twins, and I just started thinking that way.

At the same time, there are all sorts of new moral imperatives and weird quasi-doctrines running hrough my mind. I picture in my mind my children-to-be staring down at me from Heaven and giving either their prayers on my behalf, or, more likely, simply giving a play-by-play. The thought gives me comfort and at the same time it completely weirds me out. It’s pseudo-doctrine of the worst kind, like My Turn On Earth, which I hate, and yet I find comfort in it. Sigh.

Even worse, I’m worried that I’ll start giving a tinker’s cuss about abortion. I find myself interested in the notions of when spirit enters body, and I fear that soon I will begin to care about issues of late-term abortion, a woman’s right to choose, leche leaguers and so on. This vortex of cultural debate cliche looms in front of me like a black hole. Is there any hope??

Some people I know talk about how the prospect of becoming a father has softened them, chastened them and made them anew. Many of you have no doubt witnessed this change in me already. Joking aside, I do see a new life coming for me, and I’m not sure what it means. But I’m looking forward to it.

Comments

  1. P.S. I know that the Leche League is not an abortion group. But they’re militant enough to pass for one!

  2. I have a good friend that runs several La Leche League groups. I call her the colonel.

    This is fun Steve. I think there is one very important lesson that I learned when I became a parent…that as soon as the kid came all questions of metaphysics subordinated themselves to a sleep deprived induced insanity that is just barely wearing off 5 years later. And you get double! See you in half a decade :)

  3. Wow – he’s having twins, _and_ they’re going to be part of an ABBA tribute band. I take back everything bad I ever said about you, Steve — you really _are_ cool.

    In all seriousness, congratulations on very good news. And, um, good luck with the Bjorn. Those things are harder and more complicated to put on (and take off) than a rappelling harness. I recommend that you make the transition to a baby-backpack as soon as possible.

  4. By the way, the active Björn I bought has been recalled. Huzzah.

  5. Julie M. Smith says:

    Sling. You want a sling. Or: two slings. Because Kaimi is right. Plus, you can torment your wife by slinging the sling around David and Goliath style (NOT WITH A BABY IN IT!).

  6. I’d worry the most that you’re starting to give a tinker’s cuss about abortion.

    sheesh.

  7. Steve, with your fine-motored Nintendo skills, you can learn to put on and take off a Baby Bjorn in a matter of seconds. WAY easier than a sling (IMHO). But the reason I like you so much is because you tuned into the Hanna Andersson thing and can even spell it right.

  8. Kiskilili says:

    Wow, twins! Congratulations! If you haven’t selected names yet, might I suggest Gog and Magog? They have a nice ring. ;)

  9. Steve Evans says:

    Gog and Magog are on the list. So are Laman and Lemuel and just referring to them as Boanerges.

  10. In our household Baby Bjorn and it’s cousin the Snugli turned into cuss words as in…

    What the Baby Bjorn is that smell?

    And

    Let’s get the Snugli out of here.

  11. Bryce I says:

    Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of overaccessorizing your children as a means of compensating for the loss of all of the other things you used to spend time and money on. To me, that’s even more pathetic than seeing the balding 50-year old with a gut tooling around in his new Porsche.

    Also consider: your children will wear their 0-3 month outfits an average of 0.5 times before they outgrow them.

    My recommendation if you want to spend money on your kids: Buy four or five inexpensive digital cameras and/or digital camcorders, and leave them charged and ready at various places around the house/in the car/in the diaper bag. Twins seem to never get nearly as many pictures taken of them as they should.

    I was skeptical of the Bjorn’s myself, but my wife swears ours saved her back.

    If you don’t have a swing yet, borrow before you buy. Some kids love them, some hate them. Ours all hated them.

  12. Allison says:

    I love the Bjorn. Even the Bjorn knock-offs from Target are superior to almost any other sling/carrier out there. The Snugli we had with our first two babies was particularly treacherous — not only was it uncomfortable for me, but we had two bad baby-falling-out incidents (one with each child) that were due to bad engineering.

    Bryce is definitely right about the over-baby-accessorizing. There are a lot of things that are just unnecessary. Swings and carriers are very good to have, though, because you won’t be able to hold them always.

    …it’s a sign of how completely right the point of your post is that all the parents here can gab on about baby gear ad infinitum with no irony whatsoever.

  13. D. Fletcher says:

    For the girl, Faucet. For the boy, Gadget.

  14. cchrissyy says:

    but the bjorn only lasts you a 1 month or two, while a sling will take you birth to age 2, and a good soft backpack will last you from 6 months to 2 without hurting your shoulders.

    I use and love the bjorn… from about 6-12 weeks, then it gets too heavy and breaks my back. the others were much more valuable for their price. Oh, but my husband won’t use the sling (flowy=feminine). so, the bjorn for the begining, the backpack afertwards.

  15. The weight limit for the Bjorn is something like 30 pounds and I carried both my kids until they were 20+ (only when necessary in those final days!!). But truly, we used the Baby Bjorn until they were well over a year. It was indispensible!

  16. My two cents:

    1) Do not get a sling. Most men I know don’t have the shape to make them work — they don’t hit the hip right, you swing baby heads all over the place, too close to corners and major appliances, etc. Plus, I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t secure enough in my masculinity to pull it off. Thought I would be, but there it is.

    2) Get the Bjorn Sport, with the back support. It lasts a lot longer, and so will you. We forgot ours when we went up to see the folks over the Holidays. Borrowed the non-sport version from a neighbor and I can see why some folks are telling you to buy the sling. The regular Bjorn destroys your spine after a baby is a certain height/weight. Last but not least, you automatically feel more manly in anything that has the word “sport” in the title.

    3) Think of it this way: you’re not losing man stuff like Nintendo and barbeques; you’re gaining a whole new category of guy gear like jogging strollers with cup holders and safety gates with a remote control.

  17. Rosalynde says:

    Ah! Well then I add my official public congratulations to the official public announcement!

    Sling. An unpadded ring sling in an unoffensive, light-colored solid fabric (mine is undyed cotton weave). Completely adjustable to any size or body shape, holds the baby in any conceivable position and size, has no weight limit, can be doubled-up for twins. Has a short learning curve, but so, so, so pays it back. The Bjorn is great too, though, as is the Snugli brand soft backpack (doubles as a reversible forward-or-backward facing frontpack, works for even very small infants), mei tai carriers, and padded ring slings. I have one of each, but the unpadded ring sling carries the day.

    On the philosophical question, I think Bryce is on to something. I’ve often observed the ways in which modern parenting is becoming more than anything an exercise in advanced consumerism, but it’s just occurred to me that this has happened during precisely the same period that fathers have become more involved in parenting babies and small children. The DaddyTypes blog is a perfect specimen of the conjunction. I think the involvement of dads is a good development, probably, but I think the consumerization of parenting is a really insidious ill. Are the two connected? Probably, maybe in the way Bryve suggests (ownership being used to fortify assailed masculinity).

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