Saturday, May 31, 2008

Showdown: Sarong vs Snugli

Call it a clash of two eras, of old against new. Few things have been more effective in pacifying Sonny than Mum's placing him in her sarong, or cloth carrying sling. In a recent post, we exulted in its effectiveness - but we're not putting all our eggs in just one basket (or carrier technology).

Today, therefore, Pa tried out his Snugli, which looks like a rucksack worn front-to-back, with slits for Sonny's limbs to protrude from. This is modernity we're talking about, when compared to the time-worn sarong, and it certainly has its positives. For starters, Pa will look a lot less ridiculous than if he had a cloth bundle crossways across his chest: The sarong is traditionally for women, while the Snugli comes with no such cultural baggage. It is also more hardy, being made of fancy fabrics, and boasts all sorts of straps and buckles to improve the ride.

That said, the first Snugli trial - a fortnight back - had ended ignominiously; Pa spent an eternity fiddling with the straps and buckles, and while Sonny did not bawl out disapproval, he did leave a liquidy deposit that short-circuited the no longer dry run. Today, again, the buckles and straps were confounding. Over a couple of hours, Sonny broke out into tears a time or two, seemed at times uncomfortably squeezed out of shape and also found altogether too many jutting-out bits to suck at, or knock against.

Meanwhile, more strengths of the sarong seemed to emerge in counterpoint. Being cloth, it is more forgiving of tropical heat. It more effectively swaddles the child in a comforting embrace and converts with a swish of cloth into a modesty-protecting breastfeeding bib.

Still, as Mum and Pa become more practised in using sarong and Snugli, the balance might shift. The buckles and straps will cease to confound, an older Sonny may prefer the ergonomics of the Snugli. Perhaps. Anything might happen. It might snow in the Sahara.

Yes, our sympathies are admittedly more with the sarong (and no, we have no stake here, no investment in a sarong-making company). There's always a kick to be had seeing the upstart outmatched, the old-timer confirmed in his relevance.

Even if it's not quite yet a wrap.