Yesterday, Jack and I experienced a big "first" in parenting! It was moving and encouraging, scary and awesome all at the same time.
We had to go to Home Depot after Jack got home from work to buy a new breaker for our Air Conditioner. Last year, we spent the summer wiring and unwiring the dryer and the a/c because we didn't have two 220 breakers. So on the days we had air, I could not use my clothes dryer... which really was just as well because one of the first projects that we had when we moved in last year was to put up a clothes line :P I must say, I'm not quite sure why we did that when the breaker was only $10 and change. That was a lot of effort to not spend $10.
After Home Depot, we hit up Target to browse the baby gear. (I do have a lot of corrections from my previous post on baby gear too!) I haven't heard from my licensing worker yet about when our next home visit is, so we are just trying to be prepared by getting all of the things that we need to get before we are licensed. It's somewhat expensive all at once, so we are trying to spread it out over a few weeks' time, so hopefully the home visit is not next week! Eeek! (And of course, at the same time I'm wishing the home visit was tomorrow so that we could just get it done and get licensed!!!)
My last post about the baby gear that we were thinking about buying sparked a lot of comments and emails where people shared with me their tips and personal experiences. That lead me to delve even deeper in the personal reviews online of each of these travel systems. I know that the normal parent is not going to be able to give me advice on which things we should buy right now, as we are not a typical family. We will be getting a child anywhere from hours old newborns to 9 years old, which means that we can't just start with a typical infant seat and buy the next one in a year when the baby gets to that stage like everyone else. We need to make a purchase that works for newborns and then the next we need to buy (at the same time really) is the next seat up, that can hopefully transition all the way up. Buying all the seats that you will need for 5 to 100 lbs is kind of a challenge!
I wanted to show Jack the differences between these travel systems, I needed his opinions on this purchase because hopefully if we do it right the first time, it will save a lot of money in the end. We headed to the baby gear section and literally pulled every stroller/car seat combo off the shelves that we compared. Here Jack and I are, kneeling down and inspecting bit by bit each one. We probably looked ridiculous... but I don't care. If I'm gonna buy something, I want to kick the tires first.
We narrowed it down at Target to a Chicco and a Graco at a certain point. While Jack is folding and unfolding the strollers and showing me which ones do and don't have suspension (typical Jack) I'm trying to tell him that all the reviews that I have read online say that people who have a Chicco love their Chicco and people who have a Graco love their Graco... so I guess it boils down to personal preference. While I'm telling him this and leaning back to look at some feature he's found that I would never have thought to add to a stroller... this visibly pregnant woman walks over to us. (Not a store employee.)
"I have the Chicco and used it for my first." She dives right into this story about her first baby and what she didn't like about the Chicco when it sat in a shopping cart and almost tipped over, which she admitted was her fault since the manufacturers say that these are not intended for that kind of use. She pointed out the undercarriage to both and the advantages and disadvantages of having the infant car seat in the stroller and being able to get into the storage bin underneath. She said that she's 6 months along and preparing to figure out if she's going to use the same system or purchase another one for the next child.
Our first? She talked to us like parents. A big loss that we have experienced is in the world of adults, we cannot relate to the majority of adults. Usually when people with children talk to us, it's never as a peer. If they mean to or not, they can be down right rude to us about the fact that we aren't parents or don't know what brands of car seats the children's pediatric blah blah blah prefers. This woman was awesome, she only said, "I don't know if you're buying this for yourself or as a gift or what..." And left it open ended. We didn't answer. She looked at my obviously not pregnant belly (lol at that... I was going to say flat, but obviously it's not quiiiite flat!) and just moved on.
One of the things that I was worried about from the way we have been treated in the past, was that we will still be singled out for not having given birth to the children that we raise. That we would not be considered "real" parents. Well, I personally know that's ridiculous, we are more of real parents than the parents who neglected their children so that they end up in our care in the first place. Giving birth to a child does not equal more of a parent, not at all.
It was just so... indescribable to be talked to like a parent. This woman who was pregnant didn't question how we were becoming parents, she just gave us advice from an already first time parent to brand new first time parents. No judgment, no condemnation, no condescension. I know a lot of people who have never been in my shoes are probably rolling their eyes at this one, but trust me, you will never understand the rude things that people say and do.
This lady was a breath of precious fresh air. So dear 6 month pregnant lady, you were such a blessing to me yesterday!! I appreciated you stepping in and talking to us like parents to be... what an awesome feeling that was!!
Anyway - On to the baby gear.
Like I have said a million times, we are getting licensed to accept a child aged newborn to 9 years old. This means that the children will weigh anywhere from 5 pounds (well obviously they might be less) to 50ish pounds... possibly more, you really never know how much a 9 year old might weigh. I mean, Maury has 4 year olds that weigh over 100 pounds... so hey. I was in 8th grade when I weighed 105, so I am not quite sure if that's typical or what.
I believe that anyone under 57" has to at least have a booster seat. I don't think I hit 5'3" until I was in 8th or 9th grade maybe? So 6 inches shorter than that... maybe up through 5th or 6th grade children will need a booster seat.... so that's 10-12ish years old. So much math we have to do. Of course who knows if these children that we are placed with are typical or atypical. From everything that we have been taught in all of our classes, it's that these children are MOST likely to be physically delayed. So much smaller than your average child at that age, due to the nature of the neglect and abuse that they go through.
Anyway - since we can't predict the future and we have no way of knowing what children will be placed with us, we are trying to cover all of our bases.
Which means, we need an infant car seat. Enter the travel system that we have settled on:
Baby Trend Travel System - Columbia
The car seat is rated from 5 to 30 pounds and the stroller is up to 50 pounds.
What I like about this one:
(Take this with a grain of salt as I have obviously never used it for it's intended purpose which is with an infant, taking it in and out of a car and lugging it around.)
-The colors and patterns. ADORABLE! Plus, totally unisex.
-The handle on the car seat.... seriously, I like that much better than the others. I might end up hating it when it comes to actually using it daily or however often, but for now, I like it.
-The shape of the storage bin underneath.
So we will need to cover 30+ pounds to 65ish pounds and beyond next.
Enter our booster-
The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Booster Car Seat.
(PLEASE do not quote me on this - we looked at this in the store and now I'm trying to make sure this is the right one.)
If this is the right one, this one is rated forward facing for 22lbs to 100lbs. It can use the 5 point harness as the baby grows and then later can be used to position the seat belt in the right spot over the shoulder and then, this is the part that I'm not quite sure on... In the store the one we looked at can be used as a backless booster... this one isn't saying that online, but I'm fairly certain that it is the correct one and it can be used as a backless booster seat as well.
So, I think with those two car seats we will successfully and safely be able to transport any children that are brought to our doorstep!