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Happy International Babywearing Week!

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babywearing week

Last year, we marked International Babywearing Week by visiting the nearby village of Sling with our son in a sling. A year on, we’re still carrying our now 18 month old son in a variety of different sorts of slings and we now live several miles closer to the village of Sling after a recent house move.

I’ve found myself blogging about babywearing several times over the last year, which reflects the fact that slings have come to be a lot more than simply a sort of ‘hands-free kit’ for carrying our son. As I’ve said here before, they have really helped me to bond with my son and helped to me to comfort him and get him to sleep on several occasions.

Here’s a look back at my own babywearing highlights of the last year:

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An obvious place to start is our visit to the village of Sling to mark last year’s International Babywearing Week. To add an international dimension, I also discussed babywearing around the world thanks to the input of a great range of parent bloggers who are part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs group.

Looking back a year on, I cannot believe how much our son has grown since the photo on the left was taken. We still carry him in slings from time to time, but this now officially counts as weight training.

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One of the places where I’ve often taken our son in a sling is our local supermarket and I wrote about this in a post earlier this year called Shopping with our son in a sling. It may seem like a mundane weekly activity, but it has also become a semi-regular weekend father and son bonding activity which allows my wife to take a break while we head out on a little expedition. I’m not sure if my parents took me shopping in a sling when I was a baby – the photo on the left seems to suggest that they tried to dress me in handknitted clothes that went with the shopping trolley.

2014-07-19 19.04.40Over the last year, I’ve also enjoyed sharing experiences of babywearing with fellow members of Sling Dads UK, a group that promotes babywearing among fathers.They also organized a Sling Dads Family Camp this summer, which led to me writing a post about Camping with a toddler. This post is the most popular one that I’ve written on this blog so far.

Over the last year, babywearing has really developed from being a way of getting out and about with our baby son to one which has provided a great form of bonding with him as he grows older and more aware of the world around him. Slings are a crucial tool when it comes to getting him to sleep in the evening when my wife is out. Finally figuring out how to get our sleeping son out of a sling and into his bed without waking him was one of my proud parenting moments. Most people probably manage to this before their child is over a year old, but I certainly wasn’t one of them.

I have at times wondered where my love of babywearing has come from. In some ways, it’s definitely due to my wife being very keen on slings. However, a photo that I discovered at my parents’ house when preparing a blog post entitled Like father like son suggests that the true answer may be that it’s genetic. As the photo below shows, my dad also carried me in a baby carrier back in the late 70s and early 80s. As I’m fast asleep in the picture, it looks like I quite enjoyed it!

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What do you think of babywearing and is it popular where you live? Have you ever carried your children in a sling and did your parents use baby carriers when you were young? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

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Like father, like son

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Like father, like son

I was recently looking through some pictures of myself as a baby and was struck by some of the similar things that I did as a baby and that our son has done in his first fifteen months. Here are a few examples…

I’ve talked about slings in some posts on this blog, partly because we live near a village called Sling and partly because going round the supermarket with my son in a sling has become an unexpected father and son bonding activity. As it happens, I was a baby who was carried around in a baby carrier by my dad over thirty years ago…

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Another thing that I seem to have copied from my dad is wearing matching father and son stripey t-shirts. The one on the left was taken in Scotland in the early 1980s and the one on the right in Wales last year…

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Our son also seems to be following in my footsteps by developing an early interest in reading, or at least pulling books off bookshelves…

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…and he seems also to have developed my love of sand and sandpits.

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As I mentioned in a recent post, our son has tried to water our chickens while walking around our back garden with a watering can. Judging by the picture below on the left, it looks like my parents took steps to make sure I didn’t get too close to chickens whether or not I was carrying a watering can!

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Finally, it seems like my son and I also share a love of swings. Here’s a photo of baby, daddy and granny in a play park…

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What did you think of this blog post? Do your kids do things that you used to like doing when you were younger? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

Shopping with our son in a sling

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Shopping with our son in a sling

Going to the supermarket with our son in a sling has almost become part of our weekend routine and has become an unlikely father and son bonding activity. I normally drive there (with our son in his car seat rather than a sling!) while my wife has an opportunity to have a rest or get on with things that wouldn’t be so easy with our son around. I’ve also grown to love carrying our son in a sling as I can see him and he seems to enjoy being able to look around and people watch.

Going round the supermarket with our sun in a sling is an activity that can be broken into a series of challenges. I’ve talked before about what parenting and game shows have in common, and our shopping trip can be a bit like a cross between Supermarket Sweep and the Crystal Maze. In fact, it can be broken down into five main challenges:

Carrying our son around the supermarket in a sling is great, but it'd be a lot easier for me to take a photo of him if I just put him in the trolley.

Carrying our son around the supermarket in a sling is great, but maybe it’d be easier to take a photo of him if I put him in the trolley.

1. Strapping son into the sling. I normally carry our son in something that is a bit of a cross between a sling and a baby carrier. Putting him in the sling is normally fairly easy, but fastening him in and tightening up the straps on the side can be a bit of a challenge. I think that I’ve got more used to this since the start of our regular shopping trips.

2. Keeping our son happy while we’re going round the supermarket. Normally this isn’t too much of a problem as he seems to enjoy looking around at all the items on the shelves and the other shoppers. On one trip, I remember him trying to grab the shopping list a few times and letting him hold it while I filled up a paper bag with mushrooms. By the time I had done so, he’d torn the corner off the shopping list and seemed like he was about to see what it tasted like. Thankfully I noticed just in time. 

Last month, I wanted to try out a few tablet computers in the supermarket and this turned out to be a bit of a challenge as our son wasn’t all that keen at remaining in the same place for too long. He also seemed keen to try out a few himself as he reached out from a sling. When I told my wife about this, she made a very good point about this being a good test of potential tablets for a new dad like myself. I now have a tablet and have managed to prevent our son getting his hands on it so far. Like I thought would be the case, it isn’t as good for using to play peek-a-boo as my laptop but I still like it.

3. Not making an idiot of yourself by talking in a child-like manner. I do chat away to our son quite a lot while we’re going round the supermarket and do feel slightly self-conscious about this sometimes. That said, I do think that becoming a parent has lowered my inhibitions somewhat. Only a few weeks ago, I found myself singing along to ‘What does the fox say’ while going round the supermarket.

4. Remembering that our son is not riding in the trolley. On at least one occasion, I have gently pushed the shopping trolley backwards and forwards in the supermarket while looking at products on the shelf. This sort of thing might help to soothe a child but our son’s still not sat in a shopping trolley yet. I think that this behaviour is an extension of the phenomenon of still swaying from side-to-side after you’ve stop holding your child and handed him/her to someone else.

5. Keeping son asleep. After a while, our son normally does to sleep in the sling while we’re going round the supermarket. I don’t blame him as it’s perhaps not the most exciting excursion in the local area. Keeping him asleep is normally fairly easy but gets more difficult when it comes to unloading the trolley at the checkout, then packing the shopping into bags and putting it back into the trolley. I felt that I excelled myself recently when I managed to avoid waking up our son during this process a few weeks ago, especially as I managed to get some cherry ice cream out from the back of a freezer without him so much as doing a little wriggle.

Despite realising how difficult it was to take a picture of my son while carrying him in the sling, I still gave it another go...

Despite realising how difficult it was to take a picture of my son while carrying him in the sling, I still gave it another go…

Despite living near a village called Sling and being a big fan of baby wearing, I have to confess that we bought a buggy (a.k.a. stroller) a few months ago. It felt a bit weird when I first took my son round a shop in it. I felt like I was doing something wrong, it was like I had decided not to get out of the car and drive it round the store. If you’re from the local store in question, please don’t worry; I reckon I’d struggle to get our not particularly big Skoda through your front doors and I definitely couldn’t drive it round the the aisles.

My wife and I waited until our son was about six months old before getting a buggy, and I think that this surprised some people. We didn’t feel the need of a buggy at the time and now generally use the buggy once or twice a week. I had thought that maybe I’ll send up doing a post ‘shopping with our son in a stroller’ a few months down the line, but I generally prefer the word ‘buggy’ to stroller and think that ‘shopping with our son in a sling’ sounds a bit more punchy.

In fact, I think that ‘shopping with our song in a sling’ sounds like it could be a line from some sort of parenthood-inspired rap. I just need to come up with more than one line now. Rapping may not be something that’s particularly associated with rural North Wales or my native Scotland, but I’m aware of several Welsh language rappers and rap groups that have come from very near to where we live. In addition, I recently watched a documentary about a Scottish rap duo called The Great Hip-hop Hoax in which two Scottish rappers respond to being ridiculed from rapping and sounding Scottish by pretending to be American in order to get a record deal. I wonder if I could get signed up by a major label if I put on an American accent and penned a few more lyrics about going shopping with our son in a sling…

You may not be able to tell from this photo, but our son was smiling just as much as the crocodile on the cereal box in the trolley.

You may not be able to tell from this photo, but our son was smiling just as much as the crocodile on the cereal box in the trolley.

If you were to do a rap about being a parent, what would it’s title be? Have you discovered any unexpected activities that have allowed you to bond with your children? 

Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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It’s International Babywearing Week, so we went to Sling with our son in a sling

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2013 – a year in review

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I was flattered to be mentioned in the ‘2013 – a year in review’ post by John Adams of DadBlogUK. It’s always flattering to receive this sort of compliment from a fellow blogger, especially one has so much to contribute to debates about what it means to be a dad and parent today.

Another reason that I was pleased to have been mentioned in John’s post is that it helped me to decide what  would blog about this week. This is what I am supposed to do as I have decided to participate in this ‘2013 – a year in review series’ (…if I’ve tagged you in this post, please feel free to follow suit or not as you see fit, I appreciate that you may have a whole series of other posts lined up for the next while):

1. In your post, be sure to link back and thank the blogger that previously tagged you

2. Answer the questions below and tag at least 5 other bloggers

3. Include the badge in your post

Right, here are my answers to the questions that the other bloggers who have participated in this chain of post have answered:

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1. Your top 5 new favourite blogs to read in 2013

 As I only started blogging in June of last year, I’ve gone for five blogs that were new to me even though they may have been up and running for a while:

– Stephen Greene’s Head of the Heard. Stephen is from England but lives in Brazil with his wife and son. His blog is full of fascinating insights on Brazillian life and culture as well as humour and reflections about bringing up their child bilingually. As a fellow bilingualparent, I find this last topic particularly interesting.

– Olga Mecking’s European Mama. Olga is another parent blogger who has moved from one country to another, being originally from Poland and now living in the Netherlands. On her blog, she discusses topics such as multilingualism, traditions and cultures around the world and also general issues to do with parenting.

– Dean Beaumont’s DaddyNatal. Dean is the founder of DaddyNatal, whose tag line is ‘practical, memorable and enjoyable antenatal education for men, by men’. He is also the first professional male antenatal educator in the UK. I first heard about him and his organisation after my mum mentioned that she heard him take part in a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. I love his upbeat focus on what it means to be a man and a dad, and this really struck a chord with me around the time when I was about to become a dad.

– Tom Briggs’s Diary of the Dad. Tom has a real knack when it comes to writing humorous posts about all sorts of things with which a lot of parents will identify. The anecdotes that he recounts about being a dad often have me chuckling away in front of my computer. He has also discussed various topical issues to do with parenting, children and families.

– Leanna Guillen Mora’s All Done Monkey. In addition to running a lively and fun blog where she discusses bilingual and bicultural parenting, Leanna is also one of the main people behind Multicultural Kid Blogs, a group of bloggers who are interesting in topics such as raising kids to be aware of a variety of different cultures and languages. This group is always coming up with fun projects to do with parenting such as online book clubs and is also full of articles about all sorts of different traditions and cultures around the world.

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2. List your 5 most read blog posts of 2013

1. Being a Bilingual Parent. In this post, I talked about why my wife and I have decided to bring up our son bilingually using Welsh and English. We live in Wales and have found this to be quite a fun challenge as neither of us grew up speaking Welsh but we have both learnt the language since moving here.

2. It’s International Baby Wearing Week, so we went to Sling. My wife and I both enjoy carrying our sun about in a variety of different sorts of slings. We also live only a few miles from a small village called Sling. It only seemed right to go there to mark International Baby Wearing Week and take some photos of us with our son in a sling next to the Sling road sign. As well as this random silliness, this post contains some really interesting input from bloggers in different countries about attitudes to babywearing around the world.

3. Parenting clubs shouldn’t just be for mums. I wrote this piece due to my frustration at how the parenting clubs run by some big chains of shops in the UK seem to devote very little focus on the fact that dads are parents too and can play a positive role in the raising a family. I called for dads to be more visible in materials the ‘parenting’ materials produced by some such parenting clubs that focus almost exclusively on mums.

4. Baby ‘essentials’ – things that you’re told you need but could probably do without. In September of last year, a Saturday newspaper in the UK ran a feature entitled ‘The 50 best baby essentials’. I saw a lot of the items on the list as expensive luxury items that it is fairly easy to live without, so I wrote this post in response (…after counting to ten, sitting down and waiting for steam to stop coming out of my ears).

5. 6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent. In this post, I took stock of what I had learned about parenting in the half year following the birth of our son. After writing this post, I really enjoyed hearing other parents let me know what they had quickly learned about parenting after their arrival of their children. I’m constantly learning all sorts of things about parenting as our son grows up and now do a post each month in which I reflect on the lighter side of being a parent. The most recent one is entitled 9 thoughts from my 9th as a parent.

3. Name one blog you wish you had found sooner

Scott Behson’s blog Fathers, Work and Family is one that I always love reading due to the way in which it combines being thought provoking, practical and highly engaging. Scott describes his blog as one that ‘is dedicated to supporting work-family balance for fathers’. So much of what he says strikes a real chord with me as I continue to try to do my best to balance work and family life. If you’ve read any of the posts that I’ve written on here about paternity leave, you’ll probably realise that this something that I see as a really important issue.

4. Your favourite blog post of 2013

If this means my favourite post from 2013 of those that I wrote here, I’d probably have to say that it’s one entitled What parenting and game shows have in common. It was quite a fun post to write, especially as the writing process involved watching YouTube clips of some of game shows such as Catchphrase, Going for Gold and Takeshi’s Castle that I used to love watching.

If I had to nominate the blog post that I most enjoyed reading as opposed to writing in 2013, it would have to be one entitled Dad, are we poor? from Aaron Gouveia’s blog Daddy Files. It provided a really poignant focus on striking a balance between earning money to support one’s family and spending time with one’s family.

5. What would you like to improve (if anything) on your blog next year?

I keep wanting to improve the layout and visual aspect of this blog. I think it’s improved a bit since I added the pictures under the title. I’m also trying to become a bit more focused when it comes to the types of posts I do. Each month, I plan to do a post about languages and cultures, one about what I’ve learned about parenting that month, a topical post and one or two others on whatever takes my fancy.

6. Name one blog you have a blog crush on

Hmm. Having a crush on a blog seems a bit of an odd notion to me, especially as I am now in my mid-thirties. I don’t think that there were anywhere near as many blogs around when I was of an age to have crushes.

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7. How often do you post?

When I started this blog in June 2013, I was planning to post twice a week but this swiftly became once a week so as I had more time to read other parent blogs and also make sure that I was being a parent in addition to blogging about it.

8. Share your first post of 2013

Despite being just under 9 months old at the time, our son was kind enough to write a guest post entitled Baby’s first Christmas in which he gave his perspective on what December 25th 2013 was like. I am hoping that he will do occasional guest posts on my blog during 2014 and will be bribing him with blueberries and apple rings.

9. Name one thing you would be doing if you weren’t typing this post right now

I’d probably be reading a newspaper.

 

10. What have you loved the most about blogging this year?

I was really flattered to learn in the last few days of 2013 that I’d made it onto the shortlist for the Best Newcomer prize of the Love All Dads blog awards. As the result was annouced earlier this week, I can’t really tell you about it was revealed during 2014. Here’s a link if you want to find out though.

However, I don’t see blogging as being just an individual thing. I really loved being part of groups such as the Dad Bloggers Facebook group, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Kid Bloggers Network, DadzClub and LoveAllDads. It’s great that they exist and provide a supportive environment for parents and parent bloggers. There are so many great blogs out there and I am delighted to have discovered so many over the course of the last year.

What do you think of this post and what were your highlights of 2013? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it 

 

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