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Erin Clotfelter

She writes about motherhood and autism.

Rock the Cradle but Leave the Gear at Home

This morning on my drive home from the gym I heard the ad for the Rock the Cradle event put on by The Current and immediately sent some emails and made plans for us to attend.  I had heard of this event back when the boys were still wee and was really excited that they were all at an age where it seemed like it might work for us.  Besides, Free+Music+Kids+The Current sounded like an awesome way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  

Here are the basic details:

What: Rock the Cradle
When: Sunday February 26th
Time: 11-5
Where: Children's Theatre Company and Minneapolis Institute of the Arts

Check here for full listing of performances!

Considering this is an event for kids, I have to question a few of the event guidelines.

There are the basics that you would expect; watch your kids, keep little fingers away from the art etc.  And then there are these gems:

"Refrain from carrying backpacks, large bags and umbrellas. There is limited (but free) coat and bag check available at the museum; please plan accordingly. For safety reasons the museum reserves the right to inspect all items carried into or out of the museum. Small bags and purses are welcome."

So- do you want me to ditch my diaper bag?  Because let me tell you, it's bigger than a purse.  This event is 6 hours long and for kids of all ages...I have three children ages 3 and under.  Where would you like me to keep my sippy cups and cloth diapers?  I have no intention of checking it and you can dig through it if you need to, but I think it's still pretty standard to carry a diaper bag when you have kids, last time I checked.

"Please, no "baby backpacks". Front-facing baby carriers are allowed. Strollers are also allowed, though during busy times and in certain activity areas inside the MIA and CTC, they may be restricted."

So what they are saying is I can bring my tank of a double stroller, but NOT my diaper bag (no LARGE bags!) and I can only use a baby carrier if it's front-facing?  

Here's a tip- there are very few carriers that advertise being safe for "front-facing" because it's bad for little hips and spines (among other things).  Are they trying to subliminally send a message that they do not want you to wear your baby to this event?  Because they seem to be eliminating the majority of baby wearers with this little stipulation.

As for the back carriers, do they not want hard-framed carriers (think hiking and camping)?  If that is the case, say "no framed carriers"- I get it, they are big and bulky and just waiting to take out some poor unsuspecting person who happens to be in the way when you turn around.  Soft Structured carriers and many wraps also do back carries safely without the bulk.

I could see if they were eliminating strollers (which they don't out right do, but it sounds like it's kind of frowned upon), but baby wearing is about as good as it gets for freeing up space and keeping little ones contained.  I wouldn't normally question this but they have some pretty specific rules here with absolutely no reasons to back it up.  I'm not sure I understand why they'd eliminate safe baby wearing in general. 

Complete speculation obviously, but I'm hoping this is just simply a lack of knowledge when it comes to baby gear.  Although that would be surprising considering the hipster crunchy vibe I associate with The Current.  I'm guessing that most parents listening to this station are well acquainted with the difference between an Ergo and a ring-sling and whether or not it's OK for little Pearl to "front-face" in the Moby Wrap (it's not).

I can tell you as a parent to 3 kids ages 3 and under- when we go on Sunday, someone is going to be in a carrier (probably the Boba because it's new and oh so pretty).  It's not front-facing and he'll most likely be in a back carry- he can see better that way.  I hope they don't mind.  It'll keep him contained, it will keep me sane, it will take up less space than a stroller.

So what is the verdict?  Should we assume most people aren't going to look at these rules?  Will I see a sea of strollers and diaper bags when we arrive?  Will it be a baby-wearing fest with people throwing caution to the wind with their little ones in every mannor of wrap and sling?  Will I be escorted out by the event police for practicing safe baby-wearing?

We'll see...




Hitting my Wall

"Enjoy this!  And when you can't enjoy- ENDURE!"
-sage advice from a fellow Mom of Multiples

I have to be honest- it's been a lot of enduring around here lately.  We've been in a bit of a tailspin since our trip out East for Christmas where there was an obvious shift in routine and a total lack of sensory support (totally our fault) which has been bringing out some pretty intense behaviors in the boys.  Tantrums, sleep issues, etc.

We are in the storm right now.  Looking for the calm on the horizon and not really seeing it.

It got to the point that last week, my darling husband took the day off just so *I* could take the day off and get away from everything.  I must have been particularly panicked because he didn't even ask if I wanted a little R&R- he just told me I was getting a "Me Day".

I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  Mom's Day Out was totally on!  But what was I to do?  Go out to lunch?  Hit the gym?  Get my hair done?  Go shopping?

After making my escape and driving aimlessly around Edina and SW Minneapolis for an hour I settled on drinking the largest mocha I could get my hands on and reading a book in my mini-van next to Lake Harriet just blocks from our house.  It was a dreary gray winter day and it was perfect.

It was quiet!  I was alone!  What a luxury.  I alternated between reading in complete silence, people watching and listening to FM107 while I warmed up the van.  I think I was there for 4 hours before I finally drove home.

I felt refreshed.  I felt relaxed.

Of course as soon as I walked into the house Wyatt had a full on melt-down after the episode of Super Why he was watching was finished and the Kindle was put away. The kind of melt-down that has the neighbor wandering over to make sure everyone is OK. (True story- autism is awesome.)

Back to reality.

It's tough to be a stay at home mom sometimes.  Don't get me wrong, I love it and wouldn't have it any other way at this point.  But contrary to what my Pinterest boards would like you to think, it's HARD!  The routine is tedious and it can be really isolating- especially with special needs kids. 

Logistically at this age- there is just no way I'm taking all three of them out by myself.  It would be a safety issue and frankly, I don't feel comfortable dealing with tantrums in public- it's hard enough to deal with them in private.  So we stay home and venture out when I have an extra set of hands.

All my errands are run on the weekends or in the evenings.  I'll try and sneak out with the youngest while the twins are at school in the mornings but other than that, our big outings during the week consist of packing the boys up to go to therapy.  I joke with the other parents in the waiting room that that hour is the only quiet hour I get to myself all week- it's a well understood sentiment.

I know I'm not the only parent who's feeling a little isolated, a little worn down.  Who's days, although certainly fulfilling in many ways, can be tiresome and endless.

How do you get through the tough parenting days?