Here it is almost Christmas and my daughter is twenty (gasp!) months old. It’s a busy time in parenthood. First of all, I’m carefully beginning potty training. Ariana has her own potty now that she sits on whenever she wishes. Secondly, I’m also weaning her off of her sippy cup. I swapped out her two-handled sippy for a generic plastic cup with a lid and straw during mealtime and I’m trying to teach her that cups don’t have to go everywhere she goes in the house. Progress reports on these two endeavors will be featured in later posts.
Perhaps the most exciting and draining development in recent months is Ariana’s mobility. She took her first step later than most of her peers at around fourteen and a half months and didn’t transition to walking full time until nearly sixteen months. Now that she is rapidly approaching two, her steps are purposeful, quick, and often totally without caution. Her personality and desire for independence are also growing. This has created many challenges for me, and toddler wearing has been a vital solution.
As I have written before, I started baby wearing when my daughter was two weeks old and credit this practice with saving my sanity on many occasions. Ariana was the baby that always wanted to be held, morning, noon, and night. Wearing her in a wrap or carrier gave me the ability to keep her happy and still have two hands free to accomplish little things that really needed doing, like laundry.
Now that Ariana is older, her desire to be carried has basically vanished. She much prefers going where she pleases when she pleases than just lounging in a pouch while I go about my boring adult tasks, like laundry.
So do I still baby wear? Not exactly. Now, I toddler wear!
Toddler wearing, like baby wearing, serves my sanity. I don’t have much need of it around the house, since Ariana happily shadows me, but out of the house it is essential. Walking into a supermarket or any store is like walking into Eldorado for a toddler. (Look! Something shiny!) One minute Ariana is obediently holding my hand and the next she is racing toward whatever thing caught her eye. I learned this the hard way a few months ago and have since fixed the problem by toddler wearing.
Now, whenever I go to a store intending to shop for more than five minutes, I first hoist Ariana into my Ergo Baby carrier on my back. She gets an excellent view of all the shiny things and I don’t have to worry about her getting away from me. This works particularly well when grocery shopping since I don’t have to make room for her in the cart and worry about her pulling apart grocery items before I pay for them.
I have a very nice Graco stroller in my garage that is largely collecting dust. I use it only rarely now because toddler wearing is just easier. If Ariana gets tired of riding, and the environment is conducive to a roaming toddler, I just put her down and stuff the carrier into her diaper bag, and I have no heavy, empty stroller to push around.
As an added bonus, I have continued to get stronger and build muscle as a result of toddler wearing. Ariana is now about twenty-six pounds and thirty-two inches tall. I went for a walk around the neighborhood (about a mile) with her on my back a couple days ago and didn’t feel tired at all. I regularly carry her for an hour or more before I feel tiredness in my legs from the extra weight.