I’ve just had my third child in six years, and have noticed certain patterns about myself. For me, an early indication of pregnancy is uncontrollable irrationality. For about a week, I will be irrationally irritated with everything and snapping at everyone. So much so that with my second pregnancy, my husband said, “You better be pregnant.” I was. I crave greasy burgers from Burger King and strawberry milk from a dairy, but mostly I am averse to foods. This time around, I was averse to almost everything and hardly gained away weight. Each time I have been pregnant, I have waited for that nesting instinct to kick in, waited, and waited. I thought it had never hit, but as I look back over the months of pregnancy, I see a different kind of nesting. I nest with gadgets and gizmos. I reach for time saving technology and devices to make life easier.
The Steam Cleaner This was the year we decided to potty train our second son, a mere month before my due date. I already have one little boy peeing in my bathroom, but with the addition of a second, the urinal smell began to linger in my home. During my last pregnancy I discovered the wet Swiffer to help me keep the bathroom clean. During this pregnancy and potty training I added the Steamboy 200. So now I can Swiffer the pee away and then steam the heck out of my floors!
The Steamboy is a pretty nifty gadget. Thankfully it assembles easily because the instructions were not compatible with my sense of logic. It asks you to “Attach the carpet glide to the floor head,” which is fine to say but it doesn’t actually attach. Neither the picture nor the description in the instruction manual help, but if you go to the company website they show you how it works. It glided nicely over all of my surfaces and the extension cord was a great length, deceptively long even; I managed to pull the cord out of the wall.
Now don’t get me wrong here, this device is not to help me clean the visible stains caused by my growing brood. This is to get rid of the germs that follow them around like puppies. It’s great for kids, great for pets, and great for allergies. It does deal with minor scuffs and marks, just not deep carpet stains. It deals with 99.9% of household germs, so now when my son lies down on the bathroom floor, I know that his face is safe from his pee germs! It also cleans with just water, no added detergent, so he won’t have that nice Clorox smell on his face!
It’s nice and lightweight but could do with a hook on the handle to hang it up, and a clip on the wire to keep the cord in place. To use the clip on the top of the machine you have to wrap the cord in a particular way and that messes with my OCD.
The Coffee Machine. We have gone through many coffee machines over the years. Gevalia, Coffeemate, Keurig, we’ve tried it all. With a third child on the way, it seemed appropriate to replace our old models. So this time around we got to test the Brazen Plus craft brewing system from Behmor. Try saying that three times fast. This is several notches above where we usually like our coffee; we’re Dunkin Donuts people who don’t mind an instant cup. But I have to say, after working out how to use the machine optimally, it’s the best cup of coffee I’ve ever made at home. My husband spends as much time with this machine as he does with his Alienware these days.
Basically, this is the home version of professional coffee makers. The settings enable you to adjust for water brewing temperatures and the pre-soak function lets the coffee bloom before brewing. I didn’t know that coffee grounds could bloom before, but it’s blooming marvelous. Settings are so precise that you need to program in your altitude to allow temperature calibration. Water does not simply flow through this coffee machine; it has an over-sized shower head which pulses the water to allow “complete coffee bed saturation” to extract all the coffee out of the coffee. The Brazen Plus is one of few home brewers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. It is fully programmable so that your coffee can be blooming while you are still rubbing sleep out of your eyes, and when the power goes out you don’t lose your altitude settings; believe me this is a huge plus.
We followed the directions as to types of coffee to use, and experimented with local brands, and generic coffees. We find that Starbucks Pike Place works well, and more often makes a cup better than you would be purchasing at the store itself. Our favorite brew thus far has been the Dark Oak Roast from our local place, Scarborough Grounds. We regularly ship this to friends in Mississippi; it’s just that good. In a pinch we’ve used our old standby Folgers, and this machine elevates that cup of coffee too.
The drawback of having this machine at home is that we have become coffee snobs now. A gas station cup of coffee used to do us just fine, but now we have seen the light and we won’t go back I tell you, we won’t go back!
Once the machine is setup, it is ridiculously easy to get to good coffee fast, but it is also easy to clean up too, a big plus in a family like ours where it is go, go, go from 6am till 7pm with very little napping. We are not a napping house, and coffee helps us survive!
The Breast Pump. I have had all manner of feeding experiences with my three children. With the first I failed miserably at nursing, but found success with my breast milk. So I exclusively pumped and bottle fed for ten months. With my second son, I went straight to formula. This time around, my surprise baby, I decided I would stick to it and nurse no matter what. Even with that in mind, I knew that, based on my supply the first time around, I would need the support of a good breast pump. Thanks to Obamacare, I didn’t have to spend $300 on the pump of my dreams, as it’s free or subsidized to get one these days. I did not upgrade this time, but went straight back to my buddy, the Medela Pump In Style Advanced. Easy instructions mean it is quick and easy to use the first time around, so you get comfortable with it very quickly. Sure, you will always feel like you are hooked up at a dairy, but it’s a much smoother process than I would have imagined.
The battery pack on the Medela is fantastic. I pumped twice a day for two months on the same eight AA batteries before it started losing its juice. The car charger works brilliantly for pumping in airports, parking lots, etc. This pump has the option for single or double pumping, and I have only used the single option once or twice.
Big advantages for this product: It’s one of the most widely used pumps, so parts and accessories are easy to find. If you save your pump for the next pregnancy, you can request new piping at the hospital, Medela generally supplies them for free.
I was ridiculously excited on the day I got the email notification that my pump had arrived at the house. I almost passed out when I opened the box. I never said I was normal.
The Iron. Every time I have a baby, I get obsessed with ironing little clothes, though this compulsion fades as the exhaustion grows. I used to do this with a $6 iron, but then I upgraded. When my mom moved to the U.S. last year, she took a liking to my iron; British people like their irons! So of course she now has that and I now needed a new iron. What I ended up with looks more like a space ship and you could easily fit my new baby into it! It took me a while to warm up to the Maven 100IS, but now that I’m getting the hang of it, I’m quite ready to build a laundry room just to accommodate it. The website describes it as a lightweight steam powerhouse, and powerhouse is right.
This is not the kind of iron I am used to—this is a lightweight iron that comes with a docking station. So the station contains the water and controls the pressure, 3.5 bars of it, and the iron that you hold in your hand is more of a conduit. This took a lot of getting used to, and the advantage for some people was a distraction for me. The steam comes out fast and furious; this is the commercial iron of the home and not for the faint of heart. Getting used to the footprint aside, this beast irons faster than most irons I’ve had before. The Velocity could give it a run for its money, but the Maven gets the job done. It takes 7-8 minutes to reach full steam, but can then run for 1.5 hours according to the manufacturer.
I wasn’t really sold on this new gadget until I accidentally left it running one day. I grew up hearing nightmare stories about leaving the iron on, but on the day I left the Maven on and unattended for over two hours, I couldn’t have been happier. It was no hotter than when I had left it, and had done no damage, either to the machine itself or the area it was in. If you are looking for safety and protection from baby brain in an iron, then this is the one. It may not have made my life significantly easier with regards to my ironing needs, but the security of this over use knowledge is worth its weight in gold. I need protecting from myself after all.
Baby Swing. What on earth happened to baby swings in the last five years? I went to Babies R Us to register and couldn’t find a nice simple swing with a small footprint. They were all enormous with bells and whistles, so to speak. This time around we are doing quite well without a swing. A happy baby and a mama who doesn’t want to put her down will do that.
There are many gadgets designed by companies to make things easier, or at least seem easier for parents, and a lot of them we do without. We didn’t sign up for bottle warmers when we bottle fed but used a glass jug and boiling water. We have never subscribed to a wipe warmer; we breed ’em tough in New England. Our humidifier is cast iron and on our stove top, our nightlights are the twinkle stars on the ceiling. Of course my husband thinks a Steambox will help him with the nesting phase; I say the tax return in 2016 will help him with the Steambox phase!
My third pregnancy may not have produced any scrapbooks or decoupage, I may not have repainted and re-ordered everything, but I certainly managed to accumulate some time-saving and brain-saving gadgets to help us get through babyhood with three kids in the house. I’d love to hear how you nest; head on over to our Facebook page and let me know.