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Carting Around Baby

We’ve been doing a bit of construction on our home the past week.  Somehow, the house that was a charming fixer-upper Before Baby has turned into a crumbling, lead-paint –based death trap After Baby, at least in my fertile Paranoid New Mommy brain. 
And when I say “we”, I mean a team of highly qualified professionals.  I get to pitch in on important jobs like running to Home Depot and picking out the paint.  At least the guys humor me, and try to make me feel part of the team.
“Running” out for a quick errand has become a bit more time-consuming since Maddie moved into her big girl car seat.  No longer can I strap her into the infant carrier, pop her in the car, and pop the carrier into the stroller base.  We now have to strap into the car seat, get out the big stroller, strap into the stroller, and reverse it to come home.
One advantage, though, is that since we’re getting her out of the car seat anyway, I’ve begun strapping her into shopping carts at grocery stores and such, which eliminates the need to push a stroller and a cart (yes, I’ve done it).  The disadvantage is that said cart is pretty nasty, full of germs and sharp pointy metal edges.
When we were registering for baby gear, we came across those cart liners the stores sell – the vinyl things you tie into a grocery cart to give baby an insulated barrier.  My girlfriend Abby commented that she had been given one and never used it – too hard to install with a squirming kid in your arms. Brian mentioned wanting one, and I snorted at the notion: such time and money wastes were for the over-paranoid, over-protective mothers I knew I would never be. 
Yeah, I’ve got one now.

In my defense, I’ve got one that is nothing like the one I saw in the store.  As little as three Image017.jpgmonths ago I was still not planning on using one when I stumbled across this cart liner by Cart Along Baby.  I periodically try to give in to Brian on something to make him feel part of the parenting team, so I looked a little closer at it.  I liked what I saw, so I ordered one and began using it a couple weeks ago when we switched car seats.
And can I tell you something?  I love it!  I’m still not a big fan of the store ones, but this one was designed (and hand-made) by a mom and it shows.  I had my pick of dozens of washable fabrics and chose a cheerful, gender-neutral green gingham (always thinking about loaning things out!).  Some of my favorite things:
This puppy is really thick.  I am concerned about the germs she’ll pick up gnawing on the cart handles, but I’m also really concerned about her leaning over and puncturing an eye on those sharp silver spokes they all have.  The cart cover is nice and soft and cushy, and its thickness helps her feel more cocooned, more comfy.
It’s elasticized around the edge, and so fits any cart seat.  We’ve also used it in booster seats at restaurants, which keeps her from eating the previous occupant’s lunch.
It’s super fast to put on.  The elastic means there’s no tie straps, etc., and it stays on.
The cart liner has several different “extras” – it comes with its own safety strap that can be threaded through the shopping cart, though I usually thread the shopping cart strap through the liner and leave the liner’s safety strap for her to chew on since I know it’s clean.  It’s got deep pockets on either side where you can store a sippy cup or hide a wallet and cell phone you don’t want baby to gnaw on.  And the best part – it’s got a clip on the front to attach a toy.  We’ve put a toy permanently on the clip that she only gets to play with when running errands – it feels like a treat to her!
I used the cart liner at the Home Depot the other day when paint shopping, and no less than five women came up to me and asked me where I got it.  I ran on and on while Maddie contentedly chomped on her safety strap and played with her toy; she’s never complained about being in it and seems quite at home in her padded seat with her little toy.  Everywhere we go – restaurants, grocery stores – women comment on it and ask where they can buy one.  Every time a mommy compliments me, I feel a little less like Conspicuous Over-Protective Mom and a little more like Smart, Savvy, Health-Conscious But Cool Mom.  ‘Cause you know all those mommies can’t be wrong.
Which I guess means my husband was right, too, back when we were registering.  Dang it.


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