Writing left handed

Baby Carriers and the So-called Caravan

What’s killing me the most is the photos: not just bodies crammed onto bridges or flatbeds trucks, or sprawled along the roadside with nothing more than a backpack or a wadded up jacket for a pillow, but the kids– the babies— tied to their parents with cords if they’re old enough to walk, or scrunched into knotted scarves if they’re not.

Our kid (who was born this past spring) has 5 different baby carriers at this point: the Tula with the cute floral print that we keep in the car, the black Ergo 360 “Omni” with lumbar support for when we mean business, the mesh-and-therefore-breathable LilleBaby that stays at my mom’s house for days when she’s babysitting, and a set of his-and-her K’tans (gray for me, black for my husband) that happened by accident as a result of my futile quest to find a soft carrier that actually fit. Because God forbid any baby born to a white, upper middle class, city-dwelling, Uppa-baby-stroller-owning family doesn’t have both a structured carrier and a soft one.

So when I look at the photos of the Central American asylum seekers making their way north, repeating– if I may– the same damn journey made by our illustrious (and more importantly white) Pilgrim forebears 398 years ago, my heart just aches. But so does my back. Because of all these babies and their poor parents without Tulas and K’Tans and Ergo 360s.

Yesterday I accidentally locked my keys in the car. I had a subway token, however, and it was only 8:00am, so I could’ve easily taken the baby downtown, met my husband at his office, gotten his key, dropped the baby off at my parents’ and still gotten to campus in time to start teaching my Tuesday/Thursday classes, but in addition to locking the key in the car, I had also locked the Uppa Baby, the Tula, and the Omni 360 (a mistake resulting from Halloween margaritas), leaving myself with only the K’Tan and my rather rambunctious sidekick, who is now tipping the scales at 20 pounds.

If you’re familiar with the parlance of baby paraphernalia, you’ll know that this is the new mom equivalent of the apocalypse. If you’re not, imagine trying to squash a pair of drooling and spontaneously combustible barbells into a soft gray sack that provides roughly the same lumbar support as a velour hair scrunchie.

There was NO WAY that I was going to attempt taking mass transit downtown without the requisite accoutrements. So I did what any rational white, upper middle class, city-dwelling, Uppa-baby-stroller-owning mom would do: I called my husband, and called my mom, and left them to sort it out while I, trapped at home, changed the kiddo into the “I ❤ Abuela” onesie that my mom brought back from a recent trip to Spain so that she’d be too bowled over by cuteness to mind bailing me out at 8:00am.

I relay this story because I like to think of myself as adventurous, and resourceful, and even fairly intrepid in the right circumstances, but if I couldn’t even handle a trip downtown without a proper baby carrier, how the hell could I trek through THREE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES with just a scarf to hold our baby to my back?

And yet, I would. I know I would. Because I’m a parent now, and like every other decent parent around the globe, I would do WHATEVER I had to do to keep my kid safe, whether that meant tying them to my back with a scarf and trekking north or crowding into the hold of a ship and sailing west. There is no difference. None whatsoever. And if you think there is, you’ve been duped.

(Also you might want to re-think celebrating Thanksgiving later this month.)


PS: Yes, this is my first blog post in a while, since before kiddo was born to be exact. This will also be my last at this site, as I’ve decided to start a new blog with a title slightly more befitting my new status as…. a mom. If you’d like the link, send me a message and I’ll make sure you get it (I expect to “go live” sometime over the next few weeks). In order to maintain my family’s privacy (now that we’ve got a kid and all…) I’ll be attempting to blog anonymously.

And yes, for those of you who I don’t know in the “real world” or on Facebook, I had a baby 🙂 Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and cheered me on over the past decade. Now, go vote please.








11 Responses to “Baby Carriers and the So-called Caravan”

  1. chauffeur

    your post choked me up… meanehile the orange feeds his rabid fans with lines like we will shoot them if they throw rocks.

  2. zentropper

    Hi Kat! I’ve booked you for years now and should love to follow your mom adventures in the future! Thanks!


    On Fri, Nov 2, 2018, 11:20 AM Fieldwork in Stilettos wrote:

    > Kat Richter posted: “What’s killing me the most is the photos: not just > bodies crammed onto bridges or flatbeds trucks, or sprawled along the > roadside with nothing more than a backpack or a wadded up jacket for a > pillow, but the kids– the babies– tied to their parents with ” >

  3. AbuelaOf3Grandboys

    Oh dear, you also got me choked up at the end, this is so dehumanizing and more. The idiot in chief’s newest publicity stunt using desperate human beings as his shooting gallery…PLEASE VOTE!!!!

    YES, obviously please send me your new link, LOVE that you may be blogging occasionally again.

  4. Laurie

    It’s been killing me too. Just the thought of families desperately traveling on foot nearly a thousand miles away, while troops are being called to face them as a dire threat, is beyond belief.
    Absolutely send me the link when your blog re-invents itself. I wouldn’t miss your posts for anything! (And you obviously have one lucky little one, not because of the accident of being born middle class, but to be blessed with such a loving family!)

  5. Grace @ Cultural Life

    I can’t imagine the desperation those families are feeling. My heart aches for them. 😦

    On a happier note, I’ve followed your blog for years and I’d love to receive the link for your new blog. 🙂 Congratulations on becoming a mom!

  6. billnigreen

    Dear Kat,

    I’ve been following ever since my young friend Mary Lane Townsend had some kin of contest related to your blog. You were on ~ Date #5 and I was charmed enough to go back and start at #1! I believe I’ve read every post since! I enjoy hearing about your life and was more than delighted that you found the right partner and have now become a mom!

    I’d like to receive the link to your new (anonymous) blog because I feel you’re a fascinating person.

    Wishing you and your family the very best,

    Bill Nigreen

    Facilitation for Social Change 7 Fayette Street Boston, MA 02116 (617) 338-5368 http://www.Nigreen.com


  7. JC

    Hi Kat,

    I’ve read your blog from time to time but this is my first time commenting. I’d love to keep up to date with what you’re doing!

    Your writing is so easy to read and is really relatable. I hope you’ll be bringing your tap shoes over to the new blog as well!


  8. Leah

    I would like to follow your new blog, please. I’m not a very consistent blog reader (or poster), but I did notice your absence. Good for you!

    You always offer an interesting and insightful take on things. I’m not a mom, but I bet I’ll still find your updates interesting as always.

    There are days I don’t listen to the news, because I can’t stand what’s going on. I’m a Canadian, soon to be spending five months in the US, and I really don’t want to. I don’t want to be a part of what is going on. I don’t want to support the Idiot in Chief in any way. Perhaps there will be ways to contribute to the good, and not the evil, while visiting your country this winter.

    Blogs like yours give me hope that change is coming.

  9. Zoe McGogo

    Have followed your blog for years, and as a writer, dancer, lawyer, activist and margarita lover it often echoed sentiments of my own life (I also got married last year and am not 8 months pregnant). Would love to follow your new blog.

    I’m Australian and watching things unfold from here, is … soul crushing. Especially while we have our own fundamentalist right PM in power here in Aus (and I was in Brazil earlier this year so THAT’S horrendous too)

    But also, babies and the future and hope? (I hope)

  10. Carolyn Knees

    Oh I would love to get the new link. I’ve followed you for years (under an old email address), recently checked my old email address and saw I’d missed this post, resubscribed before reading the post with my new email address, and then read the post and realized that I had just subscribed to a defunct blog. Womp womp. If you’re willing, I’d love to read along on the new blog. 🙂


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