Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I Use a Play Pen

You've probably heard teething sucks. I don't think the term generally suggests happy times ahead. I always thought, "Yeah, teething seems like it would be a bad time." Well, I was not deceived, however, I didn't know it could take weeks. I didn't know a baby could lose his appetite. That part kinda freaked me out. After his growth spurt, which had him taking in 40 ounces a day, he's suddenly drinking less than 20 due to gum sensitivity. And this means night time wakings to make up for lost calories.


But we recently bought a used playpen. I refuse to call it a play yard. Pishaw. It's a damn pen and I love it.

Nordstrom retails it for $162.77.
I got mine for $100.
Jack was rolling his arse all over the living room floor and completely not staying on the play mat. After watching him all slow motion like and hearing one too many thunks as he thumped his head on the floor, I decided to contain him somewhere safe and comfortable.

Play pens have really fallen out of favour these days. I think it has a lot to do with competitive mothering. The more you chase after your wee one or hover over your baby, the better parent you must be. Me? I'm sticking him in an enclosure where I don't have to fuss or worry, as I'm not going to earn any medals for allowing him the freedom to kill himself when my head is turned.

The Joovy is a really large pen, much larger than the Pack n Plays on the market, which are really just portable travel cribs/bassinets (We have one). This thing is huge. It takes up all the available play space in the living room, only it prevents Jack from rolling into the coffee table or having access to electrical outlets.

I've loaded it with toys and he happily plays in there for a good 30 minutes before letting me know he's over it and wants to do something else. I'm not really into directing his time. I like to let him figure out his own fun, which is a lot easier on me and seems to be working out well for him. He's not a very needy baby. I read to him a few times during the day, we cuddle over a bottle, I sing while I change him, we share countless smiles, but mostly he likes to do his own thing. The play pen is perfect, and dude is it sturdy business.

Jack in his play pen.
My Instagram is shamelessly baby-centric.

I know a lot of parents fret over "stifling creativity" or "caging" the baby. I couldn't possibly care less about these things. I'm not much for hyperbole. Parenting methods are always evolving and changing and surely the dark ages known as the '50s, '60s and '70s, where play pens were common, did not destroy humanity's capabilities for greatness or innovation. People get so frazzled over the wrong stuff, such as details that likely do nothing meaningful to shape a child.

Ultimately with a baby you do two things: Give love and keep the baby alive. Everything else will sort itself out if you're a reasonably sensible person. Anyone who wants to forgo a play pen can have at it with my support. I just ain't going down that road. I am inclined to keep things that improve my quality of life, and boy has the pen ever done that. I'm pretty sure crying around here has dropped by half since this thing entered our lives.

Maybe one day I'll meet someone else who uses one. Maybe not. Either way.


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