My son is 21 months old and cannot walk unaided. We have high hopes that he will be taking those first steps before his 2nd birthday in January but there is a possibility (a teeny tiny wee one) that he will never have complete free use of his legs. Right now he only uses his leg braces for PT. My son will never be able to walk long distances. He will always need a backup mode of transportation until he is permanently reliant on a power wheelchair. For now, his backup has been my or my husband's arms or a stroller. One day it will be a walker or a cane, then a scooter before the wheelchair. You can guess how difficult that can be for us when we go places that involve lots of walking around. Usually, we just don't go or keep putting it off.
One such trip we've been delaying is the zoo. Yes, we could just take a stroller, but there are exhibits you cannot take the stroller inside of and I'm not comfortable leaving it unattended outside (thank you, husband's job, for making me paranoid). Then of course, as those of you who know us IRL have seen, Little prefers to be held. He'll make it about 30 minutes in a stroller then completely melt down if someone doesn't hold him. So that would mean carrying my son through the zoo while pushing his stroller that is cradling a diaper bag instead of a child. No thank you. I get enough of that while we're grocery shopping. I end up having to carry him on one hip while pushing the cart with my stomach and pulling items off the shelf with my right hand. Yes, go on and picture it now. Have your little laugh, I don't mind.
Well all that has changed recently. We took our first trip to the zoo this past weekend and it was wonderful! No aching arms or backs from having to hold him, and no anxiety over leaving our stroller unattended outside of the amphibian house. How did we do it, you ask? Did they leave Little at home and selfishly save the zoo trip for themselves? Did they bring a third adult with them and make them carry the child? Nope, read on.
A few months ago, I received a Facebook message from H*, an internet public relations manager with Ergo (a company based out of Hawaii that makes baby carriers).
In her e-mail, she said she was "moved by [our] story" and wanted to know if it was alright to send us one of their gently-used carriers. I was floored! I had been to the website previously and already had it in my head that I wanted to save up for one of the organic carriers but I knew it would take a looooooong time to scrape up enough for one. I messaged back and forth with H* a few times and about 3 weeks later, a beautiful chocolate Organic Ergo showed up on my doorstep!
I quickly tore it open and started reading the manual. I learned how to connect it together for the side position (Little's favorite) and the back position and proceeded to carry Little around the house in it. Good thing my husband was home at the time or it would have been a hot mess of trying to balance my son on my back while bending forward over the bed and scrambling to connect straps and buckles before Tot tumbled off onto the floor. The manual does actually say to practice over a bed, HAHA! Now I can manage the side position on my own, but the back one will have to wait til I grow Go-Go-Gadget arms. Anyway, Little loved it - he didn't even seem to notice that I wasn't actually holding him, instead he was strapped to me. That afternoon, while Tot was wrapped securely on my back, we picked a day to head to the Nashville Zoo.
Hey wait! Come back Brave Little Shakespear! (Any Meerkat Manor fans out there? No? Oh well, never mind then.)
Most of his time there was spent buckled in the Ergo on my side and I never got tired! No aching hips, no strained back, no sore arms from lugging around 23 lbs on my side for 3 hours! I had expected to get all hot and sweaty where the carrier wrapped around me, but that didn't happen either - the materials are so breathable!
Needless to say, I am hooked. It was so comfortable, I had both of my arms free, and Little got what he always wants - to be carried.
I know Gator was sizing him up - he looked like a tasty morsel, didn't he?
I am so grateful to the Ergo Company. They are so generous and so caring. I don't know these people, and they don't know me or Little - but they jumped on an opportunity to ease one of our struggles just because they noticed that they were in a position to help! It is not often that I am the recipient of someone else's generosity. I am usually the one reaching out to help Jane. I am lucky that I have a mother and father who always put others first, and that has rubbed off on me. I am not usually the one saying "thank you", but "you're welcome". I read H*'s message then called my mommy and blubbered like a baby. It just knocks me off my rocker when anyone turns the table on me and takes care of one of my needs.
Ergo, thank you so so much. I hope you got a sense of just how much your gift to us means from reading this blog (and yes, people, the Ergo folks will be reading this.....bc I'm going to Facebook them about it as soon as I'm done writing, heehee). ERGO, ERGO, ERGO! EVERYBODY BUY YOUR BABY CARRIERS FROM ERGO!!!! You can link to it above or from the link on the right hand side of this blog.
He was getting a little tired - so much work to be carried around like a prince all day!
What? We're not supposed to touch the bamboo? But it's so much fun!
**note to all you opportunists out there.....I did NOT share this with you so you can go scrambling your greedy little fingers over to the Ergo website to try to mooch a free carrier. Please do not try to take advantage of their generosity. I did not ask for this, it was an unexpected gift. So back up off their customer service page and quit trying to cyber stalk H*. If you want one, buy one - or wait til Little is too big for his because I will be handing it over to someone else in need then.**