Made in: China
Supposed to be used for: Outdoor mud and dirt escapades, indoor messy craft escapades.
Actually used for: Keeping baby warm, immobile
How many M's: MMMM (4/5)
When I was 17 and pretty sure I wasn't going to have a baby until I was at least 35 ("probably more like 38"), my friends and I used to sit in the Naam restaurant talking about Russian literature and the elusive female orgasm. The Naam is a vegetarian restaurant, a Vancouver landmark that's been around since the 1970s. It was the only all-night place in our neighbourhood.
There's a building across the street from the Naam. One night we realized that there were only men -- but lots of them -- going in and out of it. We looked a little longer and saw two women in high heels leave through a back door, reluctantly drawing the attention of the men loitering outside. The sign on the window said 'Hair Salon' but the shades were always drawn. What we were looking at was surely our very first brothel.
But wait, isn't this supposed to be a review of the Muddy Buddy?
Fast-forward ten years: I'm waiting in line at the Naam with baby on my hip, and I look across the street only to see that the 'Hair Salon' is gone. What's replaced it? 'TJ's The Kiddie Shop'. I kid you not. I couldn't make this sh*t up.
But this time it's a bona fide business, you can tell because there's a bunch of strollers in the window. Also, men are not high-fiving as they drunkenly peel out the door. The next day I decide to check it out, see if they have any outdoorsy type clothes. Now that Sweet Baby James is crawling, there's no reason that he can't crawl around outside -- except that we're in Canada and it's kind of cold and all he owns is pajamas.
I take a gander through the store and fing something that is exactly perfect. A big yellow rain suit. Waterproof coveralls for year-round play, as the package says. It comes in yellow and in pink and is sized by weight. The nice saleswoman tells me they tend to fit large so I put the 2T (29 lb) size back and go for the 18 months (24 lb). She says that's a good idea, that I might find it 'quite voluminous' on my nine month-old.
I take Sweet Baby James to the park nearby and suit him up. It fits perfectly (a little big, with room to grow) and I think it's great: in this Beastie Boys of the '90s meets astronaut suit he'll be free to roam through the soggy grass and brown leaves I remember from my own halcyon days in Tatlow Park.
But SBJ fusses as I put him in the suit. And then he just sits there with his brow furrowed, poking at a single yellow leaf.
I try to tell him that he's free to explore, to crawl, to jump, to walk, even! But like that poor polar bear who'd never had more than a few feet to pace, he can't seem to look beyond the confines of his (yellow polyester) cage.
He was tired that day so I thought maybe he'd like it better another day. But so far, the suit seems to have some kind of demoralizing -- maybe soporific -- effect on the baby. I zip him into it and he struggles and then just sort of... lies there. This is the same baby who tries to crawl and nurse at the same time, whose pre-bed antics include energetic mounting and dismounting of the bed whilst attacking it with an egg beater.
I don't know what it is about the Muddy Buddy that makes him feel this way. Is it the slipperiness (it's polyurethane-coated polyester)? The colour? Or simply its voluminous nature? I don't know. So far I just use it to keep him warm when he's in the sling and we're outside. I figure he'll grow into it.
Other benefits: It has a (huge) elasticized hood with a duck bill brim. It has two front zippers, which is supposed to make it easy to change in and out of. Its seams are sealed and the knees are reinforced. And it comes with its own little bag for you to