"Life's so sweet in the catbird seat!"
In honor of April being The Month of the Military Child, we are sharing this post from Kit Jenkins, co-founder of The Carrying On Project, a non-profit that provides baby carriers to active duty military families to help spouses at home during a deployment or returning service members coming home.
One of the often-touted benefits of babywearing is that your child (or children!) will be in the same social space you are. They see the faces of the people you are talking to, watching their eyes light up or their lips curve into a smile, and they also feel your heartbeat speed up when you get excited and the movements of your body if you talk with your hands or move around a lot. They feel like they are a part of the conversation, and often they are.
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TCOP co-founder Kit Jenkins is a former Marine, and current Army wife. Here she holds Piper in a Woodlands mei tai.[/caption]
Long before that ever crossed my radar though; I was a young first-time mom, across the country from family, with a husband in Iraq and a new daughter who couldn’t be soothed. She had a multitude of food allergies, but those first few weeks of sorting it out were awful. She was so sweet and calm and then all of a sudden the belly monsters would strike and not a power in the universe could soothe her, but being held on my chest helped. It turned out that the heat from my body was easing her digestive distress, but I had laundry to do and food to prepare and errands to run, and the carseat plus the baby was a pain to haul. I looked up the local babywearing group, as mentioned in my Bradley class, and hauled my sleeping baby and her ginormous bucket into some stranger’s house and begged for help.
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Air Force wife Khiri wearing both of her daughters while dad is away, Cairo is on the back in a ABU MT and Isobel on the front in an Ergo.[/caption]
Thankfully, they weren’t strangers for long, and they taught me “the magic.” I tried a ring sling and then borrowed a wrap, and we were suddenly mobile again. Soon we were nursing while grocery shopping, napping while walking the dog, and flying home to the east coast with nothing but a wrap and a backpack. It was so freeing from the usual “chains” of having a new baby. She got bigger, and we moved on to back carries and got a Mei Tai and then later an SSC for my husband when he came home.
Once we sorted out my daughter’s food issues, she was a much more pleasant child, and she LOVED being on my back especially and being involved in conversations. She was so happy that people often approached us to talk about her and the carrier, and she would just smile and chatter away. Her sister, who is exactly two years younger, is the same way. They are now almost four and almost two, and I think about all the things they have seen and learned from being “in the Catbird Seat.”
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Former Navy member and now Navy wife, Lindsy, wears her big kid, Connor, on the back in an SSC and her young baby, James, in the front in a NWU mei tai.[/caption]
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Another TCOP recipient, a dual service family, trying out their new mei tai.[/caption]
After having my second child, my husband deployed again. Not too long after that, while he was gone, I started an organization with a friend called “The Carrying On Project”. We provide carriers to military families that couldn’t otherwise afford them, and Catbird Baby has been a huge supporter of ours since the beginning, supplying us with carriers when they can and even working with us on a custom line with panels of military uniform fabric to help military families and supporters wear their babies and their pride at the same time. Thanks to companies like Catbird Baby, since March of 2013 we’ve given carriers to over 1200 families, giving them not only the chance to have their hands back to accomplish things while spouses are away, but also giving over 1200 babies a chance to be in the catbird seat. Thanks to my Catbird Mei Tai, my children have been able to come to Operation Homefront events with me to help hand out carriers to expectant moms. We’ve worked one-on-one sessions to help spouses, active duty members, and wounded veterans find their own “magic” with carriers. They have seen the smiles of the parents and the children, and felt my body move as I demonstrate carries or packed packages to mail to families. Thanks to babywearing, not only are we helping making a difference in people’s lives, but my children get to be a part of it.
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Raelynn and baby Nicholas were some of the first recipients of the TCOP/CBB Collaboration MT and are wearing an ACU MT to show her support of her husband, who is in the Army.[/caption]
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One of the Carrying On Project recipients, Michelle, loving her new Pikkolo.[/caption]
We are thrilled to support The Carrying On Project's work and love seeing all these families benefitting from babywearing! From now through April 30, we have several ways you can help more military families receive carriers:1. ONE FOR ONE: Put two of the same pikkolo or mei tai carriers in your cart at www.catbirdbaby.com and use the code TCOP1F1; you will only be charged for one carrier, but we will send the other one to The Carrying On Project to donate to a military family in need. 2. BUY A CARRIER FOR TCOP AT A SUPER LOW PRICE: Purchase a mei tai for TCOP for $40 (plus shipping), or a pikkolo for $50 (plus shipping). To do this, put a mei tai or pikkolo in your cart and use your own billing address but TCOP's address as the shipping address. Enter the code TCOPMMF-MT and you will be charged only $40 plus shipping. Enter the code TCOPMMF-pik for a pikkolo carrier and you will be charged only $50 plus shipping. The shipping address for The Carrying On Project is: The Carrying On ProjectKit Jenkins2513 Ross St.
Alexandria, Virginia, 22306 Carriers included in this promotion are: ASTORIA, ANNIKA, GEORGIA MEI TAIS and METROPOLITAN, ZEPHYR, ANNIKA, AND GEORGIA PIKKOLOS. Thanks!--Catbird Baby founder and president, Beth Leistensnider
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