I started thinking about all kinds of dos and don’ts even before my daughter was born.
Among other things, I was wondering if children should be carried, as a rule.
Some mothers carry their children all the time: their offsprings lie in their arms like baby koalas, in front carriers, in back carry wraps, on their heads… Be it their own decision or acting on advice, they surely realise at some point that this sweetest burden is also a hindrance. Children get used to being carried around and there’s no way for them to lose the habit easily, at least until they start walking. Having considered all the aspects of my future life as a single mother, I decided not to carry my child.
And, against all odds, I persisted!
Or maybe I was just lucky to have a child who’s not too demanding by nature, who knows?
Anyway, she spent most of the time in the crib and began to discover the outside world only after she found her way out of the crib. OK, that was obviously an exaggeration, but I really didn’t carry her much, and I’m sure this made my parenting much easier.
One sweet day, my baby started to crawl… and then to toddle, holding on to the furniture as she walked past it unsteadily. In time, she became more and more stable.
Don’t think I’ve never carried her at all
Far from it: for a long time, I did carry her down the stairs (we live on the third floor, no lift, oh joy!).
I used to carry her when she was asleep or simply when she was tired and cranky.
Of course I did; there’s no greater pleasure than feeling the tiny arms around your neck or the small legs around your waist.
Cheek to cheek, as she whispers into my ear: „You smell so good, mom. You are the best mom in the world“.
But, the child has grown… and become heavier…
Mothers are strong by definition, and single mothers are stronger still – they simply don’t have any choice.
Still, carrying a child who weighs 45 pounds can be a problem.
And so I started denying her that pleasure quite consistently.
Until one evening, we arrived home; she was exhausted, and I was frustrated with all the everyday worries and problems. She lay on my bed („our bed“ – she still sleeps next to me) and asked me to play some cartoons.
When I called her to have a bath, she just squealed – „I’m so tired, please, carry me…“.
My first instinct was to say no.
I thought: What if I hurt my back, who will take care of her and do everything instead of me?
Then I saw her pleading eyes and just extended my arms.
I lifted my big, heavy child and carried her to the bathroom. Pity no one was around to take photos. I’m sure the picture would be hilarious.
I carried her knowing that such occasions would soon become very rare, if not impossible.
Time will come when she will no longer want to be my baby. She will move to her room and shut the door when her friends come to visit.
I will soon remember those lovely moments with nostalgia, her arms around my neck, the sleepy child who will always be only my baby. One day, soon perhaps, my child will want more independence and laugh at my need to carry her from time to time.
Until then, I’ll be happy to take any opportunity, any occasion. I will live each blissful moment, each second of happiness to the full. I will enjoy her childhood, her soft cheek rubbing against mine and her thin little voice, whispering that she loves me into my ear.