This guest post is by Erin Webdell, 30-something-year-old married mom of 3 rambunctious kids and 1 goofy dog.
About the picture, Erin writes “I took this picture after some stranger at Target made a comment at my toddler being ‘too big’ to be on my back. I took the picture a couple of minutes later and wrote the post when I got home. I look like poo lol, but it’s what was going on that day so I think it’s pretty fitting!”
Why I still wear my toddler:
Now that Ryan is nearly 2.5, I get TONS of people questioning why I still wear him.
“Isn’t he too big?”, “Shouldn’t he be walking by now?”
No. And also sort of no.
I’d like to address these questions here, (because it’s kind of hard to give a full explanation in a busy public place, PLUS I don’t really feel like I need to explain my parenting decisions to a stranger.)
I still wear my toddler because grocery shopping or doing just about anything where you’d normally use a grocery cart or stroller is just easier this way. I have a love/hate relationship with strollers. Do I like to put all of my stuff in them, plus use the fancy-schmancy cupholder for my coffee?
That’s a definitive YES.
Do I enjoy lugging the huge thing out of my car and unlocking my child from his car seat, just to strap him back into a stroller? Or how about finding an actual conveniently located elevator in the mall? Playing “catch the toddler” with a toddler who can suddenly unbuckle himself and run off while you take your eyes off him for literally less than a second?
That’s gonna be a NO from me.
Strollers are just inconvenient for me. Maybe you think strollers are the Lord’s gift to a busy mom; that’s great, keep on doing you.
For me, not so much.
As for grocery shopping: could I put him in the cart? Sure, and sometimes I do… When I have an extra 2.5 hours to shop because the toddler wants to “help”… And by “help”, I actually mean he needs to take each item I plan on purchasing, inspect it, and then place it into the cart himself. Sometimes we do this, because (1) I know he needs to learn to be independent and (2) I’m a glutton for torture, apparently. And it’s usually when I’m trying to get out of the house for more than 20 minutes.
But more often than not, I simply pop him into our handy-dandy Tula and he more-often-than-not either falls asleep on my back or enjoys all of the extra attention he seems to get when he’s physically attached to me.
Which leads me to this: have you met me? Yeah… I’m kind of a little bit of a germaphobe. You know all those super friendly strangers in public who like to try to touch your child during cold and flu season? I kind of want to cut them (just like a paper cut though, cuz violence is not the answer, and although I enjoy Orange is the New Black, I’m really not trying to go to prison).
Seriously though, if you have a small child and you’re a mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For some reason, people think it’s totally A-ok to touch a child because the kid is cute, and also in a stroller or grocery cart. My kids are adorable, so this happens often. When my toddler is securely attached to me, this doesn’t happen! Like, ever! People smile, talk to him, ask questions (like, “isn’t he too big to be in there?” ) And that’s that.
No, he’s not too big to be carried. He’s certainly not too big to be carried in my arms, so why would he be too big to carry on my back?
Also, he can walk. Actually, he’s a huge fan of straight-up running, which is great…. Unless you’re in a busy parking lot. Which brings me to my next reason why I still wear my toddler:
It’s SAFE. This reason kind of relates to the last point I made because safety and health are definitely both on the same level of importance. If my toddler can’t run off, he’s safer. Right? This is why a lot of parents carry their toddler from their car into the store, and then promptly place said toddler into a cart. Ever try to walk through a busy parking lot, and then through Target just holding your toddler’s hand? If so, you’re the Steve Irwin of toddlers and you need to have a TV show or book or something.
Not today, Satan. I pop my toddler into the Tula and off we go, to the magical world of Target with a (most likely) napping baby, who will sleep through the ENTIRE trip to Target.
The. ENTIRE. TRIP.
Yep. You read that right.
Are you in awe?
So yes: my toddler can, in fact, walk quite well. He walks a LOT. He also runs, hops, dances, and does all kinds of interesting things using his legs and feet. Yet I still wear him on my back sometimes, because I want to.
Speaking of wanting to, that’s my final point and my biggest reason.
I LIKE wearing my toddler. My toddler LIKES being worn. He’s close to me. I’m close to him. In a busy, crazy world it is comforting for both of us, quite honestly.
He loves his mama and I’d carry him for the rest of his life if I could.
But one day he’ll actually be too big to carry, and at that point, he won’t want to be carried anymore, and I’ll be sad when that day comes.
So, for now, I’m going to continue wearing my toddler until he’s too big to do so.
And if I get any more questions like the ones listed above, maybe I will direct all strangers to come read this post.
Except the ones who touch him; those people are getting (paper) cut.