A big thank you to Sheffield Sling Surgery for this guest blog!
Hello folks! My name is Happy Hooters, and I live with Rosie at the Sheffield Sling Surgery. Well, when I say I live there, I mean that is where I began my working life. I don’t think I’ve actually spent very much time resting on the sling shelves in the library at all – man, I have been busy, now I come to think about it!
I remember the day I was opened; it was a sunny spring day and there was the sound of a baby crying; this sound never lasts long when I am around, I can tell you. I was unpacked, given a good shake, and held up to the light for inspection; my fabric, my webbing, my buckles, all fit for purpose. My waistband was clipped together, my panel was smoothed up a curved back and my shoulder straps were done up. I could feel some wriggling from my passenger and a bit of a slump, but I was soon adjusted so that I felt nice and snug and supportive, with no wrinkling of my pretty frontage. My hood was folded in half and clipped up out of the way, and my wearer began some rhythmic stepping and swaying. I could feel my passenger relaxing, her muscles loosening, and the crying soon turned into snoring. I noticed the tension underneath my shoulder straps also settling, and there was a contented sigh from my wearer. This was a good feeling! I felt useful, comfortable and pretty all in one go – and clearly I was right as soon I was walked down the steps into the spring air and out into the world!
I stayed with this family for two weeks. It took a little bit of practising from the parents to get me fitting just right, and the little girl usually let them know quite loudly if I wasn’t quite snug enough. When she was making burbly happy sounds or snoring sounds I knew all was well. Soon they had the hang of it (I recognised one of my brothers on the video they watched to help them practice) and they were using me every day! They took me to the woods for a walk besides a babbling brook, they took me to the shops in the city centre, they walked me up and down the stairs at night time, they took me to cafes, they took me to meet lots of other slings. I was amazed to see what a colourful family I am part of!
I was sorry to go home as I loved being out and about and didn’t want to just sit on the shelf.. It turned out that I had nothing to fear, as when I was taken back and placed on the sling library table, I was picked up again very quickly, this time to be used with a little girl. I was a bit too big, so I had to wait (rather impatiently) to be adjusted for my new passenger. My waistband was rolled over to make me shorter, and my accessory strap was used to make my body panel narrower. I was practised with a few times, and my panel and shoulder straps got a lot of readjusting for the perfect fit, but soon I was snugly cuddling another baby and I could feel her sinking into sleep. I heard a voice reminding the wearer to make sure my passenger’s airway was clear and to keep her back well supported, and off we went again! I had a lovely couple of months with this family and it was super to feel the little girl growing and to feel her weight increasing. I was even used by my passenger’s grandparents for a walk in the Peak District! Towards the end of my stay I got a change to stretch out again as they didn’t need to roll me any more, but the strap was still useful.
My next trip was to a family who had a rather heavy boy who had just started walking. He was the biggest baby I had carried so far, but I knew I was up to the job.. and indeed I was, I carried him around the Peak District in all weathers. At the library session where they collected me, I was used to demonstrate a back carry with a demo doll, which gave the parents the confidence to try me themselves at home. I know dolls are useful as they help people to practice, but I much prefer carrying real children with their warm active bodies. So I was very excited to be used with a real toddler in a back carry out and about. What a view of the world we got together! I got a little bit muddy from my adventures with them, but a cold wash soon sorted me out and I was as good as new.
Over the next few months I carried children everywhere, from small babies to toddlers. I’ve done front carries, hip carries, back carries. I’ve sen the inside of a lot of handbags as I pack up pretty small. I’ve been taken to see some Christmas lights which was great fun!
My shoulder straps have been chewed a lot, so I was pleased when I was given a pair of suck pads to protect me from dribble, and I do enjoy having a good wash and brush up from time to time. Most of the people who have used me have loved me; many have gone on to buy one of my siblings for themselves.
I am nearly a year old now, and have been in constant service all this time. I think the longest rest I have had was about a week. I have travelled to lots of places around the country, on holidays and to visit relations all over. My only regret is that I haven’t been taken abroad; some of my Solarweave cousins have been all over the world; New Zealand, South Africa, Ibiza, Portugal. I don’t mind too much, as I know I have kept a lot of children close, safe and comfortable. I’ve been the scene of many a contented snooze, and given a lot of parents their hands back – I am a happy Connecta!