From humble beginnings…


Today I’m reflecting on the library, how it started and where it is now.

Seven years ago me and the child went to our first (and last so far!) protest picnic, it was something to do with breastfeeding and I’m still a bit confused as to what but we went along anyway, here we are:

me

 

That was the best t shirt ever by the way, it said “I make milk, what’s your superpower!” Celia was 9 months old, sling meets and sling libraries were a rarity, to find a local group I used to walk ten minutes to the train station sit on a train for forty minutes to walk another fifteen minutes to the venue. I did this while heavily pregnant, and in summer! At the end of all that travelling though I met some people who changed my life and gave me the confidence to parent the way my instincts told me (Kerry and Clare, I will always be indebted to you). They ran a sling meet which is (usually) essentially untrained peer support. And it was fabulous.

By the time of the picnic I has just moved from a wrapsody stretchy, experimented with a Storchenwiege woven and settled on a Joey mei tai as being my go to.

Then me and my friend saw Emma, this is her on the right, she’s also known as Jojasca who makes the hats for the demo dolls and little babywearing boots!

Emma

She swung her daughter up on her back in her mei tai, you know what Rachel once said about feeling the need to put a busking cap down when she wrapped, well there was nearly applause from us when Emma back carried we were that impressed. We rushed over to ask her how she did it.

I’m still not sure how but by the time we finished that conversation I’d agreed to start a sling meet in Warrington. And a month later we had our first meet up in Palmyra Square in Warrington. (How I wish I’d thought to take photos!)

Back then we had one inexperienced and untrained organiser backed up by some experienced babywearers (thank you to Emma, Sarah who is with her above and all the others!). I then went on to get experience and five years ago I qualified as a consultant after completing my Trageschule foundation course. I have added a Trageschule advanced qualifitation to my belt and we’re now a team of one consultant, six trained peer supporters and three untrained admin volunteers

badges

Back then it was an informal meet, now we have have grown from one venue through many different ones to five venues and I’m in the process of organising a sixth (gah, why do I do things things to myself!).

Back then the only slings that were available were the ones people owned and there was no option to take home (usually!). Now we have over 150 slings/carriers available with at least half out on hire at any one time!

Back then I didn’t think to worry about insurance, child protection, bank accounts, funding, aims and objectives, data protection, self assessment tax returns, environment, liability, testing, toxicity, cpd, risk assessments, finance and all the other miriade of important but intensely dull minutiae that make up the daily running and improving of the library services.

Back then as it grew I bank rolled the library, now it pays me an admittedly rather bijou wage but a wage nonetheless and it is my full time job that allows me to still be the parent my daughter needs me to be.

Back then I solved many of Celia’s troubles with a ride in the sling, even now at the grand old age of 7 years and nine months sometimes all she needs is a cuddle from her mum to help her face the world again. (And sometimes her mum needs to sneak in a cuddle too to know that her little girl is ok facing the world.)

Next month we’re going to have a Birthday party for the library to celebrate the anniversary of our first meet, come and join us and here’s to many more years of growth for the library!

One last thing, very special thanks have to go to Duna Scarott, without her I wouldn’t have had even nearly as many giggling fits as I have done over the years!

– Rachael

Overdue slings: a plea


No photos in this one, and not so much funny, but it’s an important issue.

 

So, you’ve got an email to say your carrier is overdue, or you’ve suddenly realised it is overdue (or suspect it might be!).

What not to do: Ignore it and hope it goes away. (Because it won’t)

What to do: Reply to my email, or contact me and I’ll explain what you need to do. I’m reasonable and approachable and since I tell people I can fix anything I know about, you can test that and make me fix things.

Over the years I’ve had lots of reasons for carriers being late. Poorly babies, poorly mums, bereavements, overunning naps, traffic, getting lost, but mostly just plain old forgetfulness.

Not a single one is a problem, email me as soon as you can and let me work my magic.

Please remember that when you hire you are shown terms and conditions, you then sign to say you agree to them. Part of those terms and conditions are that you will pay me £4 per week for every week you have the carrier. This means the longer you avoid me the more you will owe me when I finally get hold of you. Because I will, you have my property I can’t just write it off!

Here’s how overdue hires work. If you don’t return when your carrier is due I send an email letting you know it’s overdue and how to send money to extend the hire. Most of the time people just need a reminder and the first one does the trick, I update the spreadsheet and we’re good to go. If you don’t reply I will send you one of these for three weeks. After that I will send you a paypal request along with your email requesting the total amount owed so far. Again I will send you three of those, one a week. The next stage is that you will get a text and I will use any other means I have to try and contact you. Once I’ve sent two texts (And reminders by other means) then things start to get a bit more serious.

At this point will have been at least eight weeks you will owe me no less than £32 in outstanding fees. If there’s been no contact and/or no payment then I will send you a recorded delivery letter giving you a deadline in which to return the carrier and pay the overdue fees. You will also be blacklisted meaning I will no longer be willing to hire a carrier to you. You are more than welcome to try a carrier at a session but you cannot take it home with you.

If there is no response within my deadline then I will be forced to take steps to recover the carrier and fees owed.

I find it very sad that I have to have a policy of how to deal with non-returned carriers. The library has helped so many people for whom it has been a lifeline, we’ve provided sanctuary, company and hands free bonding. In order to keep the service open for everyone who really needs to access it I have to enforce the rules on paying for and returning carriers. I adore seeing the look of relief on a mum’s face when she realises that life is about to get easier, this is why I do my job, please let me continue doing that by paying your fees as soon as you can.

Thank you

Your ever faithful librarian, Rachael

Summer library sessions


3/8/16 One To One Midwives in Golden Square
https://www.facebook.com/events/291068554577591/

17/8/16 One To One Midwives in Golden Square
https://www.facebook.com/events/1120298788013438/


Venues: One To One Pregnancy Advice Centre, Warrington. Next to Specsavers in Golden Square (leave through the entrance between Boots and Scoop, at the crossing turn left and it’s just there!)

Time: 10.30-14.00

There are toys to play with and you are welcome to bring food (please clean up after yourselves though and if you can bring picnic blanket to sit on to the save the floor it would be appreciated!).

Slings: Will be available for hire and demo, to hire it is £4 per week (3 month block hire is also available. £25 for stretchy wraps, £40 for anything else) I don’t ask for a deposit as standard. Instead please bring along a piece of I.D. with your address and a picture of you on it (for example a driving license). If you can’t provide that please bring a cheque for £40 instead. Any problems just contact me via the sling meet page or website and for more information visit www.wawishslingmeet.co.uk

Important: Toddler carriers are by request only to save space in the suitcase. If you want to hire something specific please contact in advance to check it’s available. And back carries can ONLY be demoed and not taught for safety reasons. See below for consultations to learn back carries.

Be warned that this session now gets very busy so time with peer supporters or the librarian are STRICTLY limited, private consultations are available wawishconsults.setmore.com

Any questions just ask!