well, i got my tattoo.
it’s not finished yet. we still need to fill in the roses. but this all took three or four hours, & the tattoo guy pretty much freehanded the detail on charlotte’s face, & my arm was starting to get pretty sore & swollen, so we called it a day. we’re going to let it heal for a few weeks & then i’m going back next month to finish it.
the tattoo dude had easels set up all over the tattoo room with photos of charlotte taped to them, so he could look up & see her coloring & her markings. some of them were daubed with ink so he could get the mix right. add to this the tattoo chair wrapped in plastic wrap & it was all a little bit “dexter”-y. he was also struggling with figuring out how to cover the armband tattoo i already had. he wrote charlotte’s name in ornate script & kept placing it over the armband, trying to figure out how on earth to get letters to cover stupid hats. finally i said, “maybe we could do flowers? because the hats are red, we could do red flowers? i don’t know.” i must confess, i am ridiculously non-visual. i can’t draw, i can’t envision color gradations or shading or anything. anything awesome about this tattoo was all the tattoo guy. when i suggested flowers, he opened his cabinet & pulled out a book called “the big book of roses”. he picked one he liked & used it to draw a little cluster, & then he turned the hat detail that wasn’t covered with a flower into a leaf. pretty brilliant. i love the way it’s turning out. one of my friends said, “that’s the fanciest cat memorial tattoo i have ever seen…for the fanciest cat.”
the next day, i received the babyhawk mei tai i had custom-made. i decided to try a mai tai carrier after a mama friend suggested that i look into finding a carrier that will allow me to back carry ramona before she has super-good head control. you’re not supposed to back carry with a moby at all (too stretchy) & it’s not recommended to back carry with an ergo until baby can sit unsupported. ramona isn’t even rolling over yet. we are still several months away from unsupported sitting. but this mama friend said that a woven wrap-style carrier without stretch could enable me to carry ramona high on my back before she develops total head control.
i asked around & other mamas recommended the mei tai. i ordered a freehand mei tai at first because it had good reviews & was like half the cost of a babyhawk (which seemed to be widely regarded as THE ULTIMATE in mei tai carriers). but i didn’t care for it. the straps weren’t long enough for me to get a tight, secure fit, & the body of the carrier wasn’t quite big enough for me to feel like ramona was being held securely. in fact, i struggled so much with getting a tight fit that ramona actually fell out the bottom of the carrier! only on to the bed, & she didn’t even wake up from her nap, but still! imagine if that had happened while i was walking down the street!
i think a freehand carrier could work for someone else, but it didn’t really fit my body. so i returned it & decided to just bite the bullet & buy a babyhawk. i customized it with extra-long straps, skull-print fabric on one side, & red minky on the other. i was really pleased when it arrived because it looked even cooler than i had expected. jared said it looked like an “L.A. tattoo studio,” but you know what? i’m not a quaker & i don’t give a fuck about “plain dress”. i’ll look like an L.A. tattoo studio if i want to.
first i tried ramona in a newborn carry & it went really well. she was nice & secure & fell asleep immediately. but it wasn’t really any different than having her in the moby or the ergo. so i decided to try her on my back. it took quite a bit of trial & error because i was simply incapable of swinging her over my shoulder & on to my back like the ladies in the youtube videos do. finally i laid her in the carrier & kind of laid back on top of her (but not actually on top of her), grabbed the straps, & lifted her on to my back. once i tried it that way a few times, it was super-easy & she didn’t mind it at all. there are like a billion ways to tie the straps, but i think the backpack tie is the most comfy for me, & the extra-long straps enabled me to loop them under ramona’s butt for extra support for her.
i don’t think i am ready to take her out into the world this way, because getting her off of my back isn’t as fast & easy as taking her off my front. but it’s great for around the house. i was able to put away laundry, wash dishes, work on my computer, & she just chilled back there, babbling to herself. i think this is my new favorite carrier. it’s faster to put on than the moby, there’s a greater diversity of ways to carry ramona than either of the other two carriers, & it’s more comfortable than the ergo (which is not to say the ergo is terribly uncomfortable).
ramona has also started sleeping through the night! she is giving us seven to twelve hours at a stretch! because of this, jared has signed on to take over all bedtimes, middle of the night wake-ups (which only happen two or three times a week), & the whole getting up in the morning thing, enabling me to have some nice stretches of free time. i’m still on duty while he’s at school & making dinner, but it’s a big relief to know that i have time to get my shit together in the morning without having to immediately be on baby duty, & to have some time at night without having to get her to bed. i am still getting up once or twice a night to pump, & it’s awesome to be able to do that without also having to stress about the possibility of ramona needing a bottle as well. he’s also talking about taking over half her baths, which would be great, because i don’t really like to bathe her. she is still kind of freaked out by the whole thing & occasionally screams her way through her bath. she needs to be bathed though. it’d amazing how filthy a baby can get when she can’t even roll over yet.