Can we please stop labeling parents into silly categories. Respect each others choices and let us do what we think is best for our children. Despite what the media would like us to believe there are many reasons why I wear my toddler, I don’t wear her to be part of a trendy parenting movement, to conform to a label or to stop her being independent.
I still wear Ava who is just over two in a sling, her Dad also wears her, why? because she likes it and so do we. If you have children you will know when they are toddlers getting them to do something they don’t want to is near on impossible. We take the sling with us on holiday as it is easier, on the school run as it is quicker. We take it on day trips to London so we can easily navigate the tubes.
Using a sling is an extension of her independence. She chooses to go in it.
I wear my toddler because I think life is best tackled with as little baggage as possible being free to chase and hold hands with my older children. I wear her because of the way she holds her arms up, her happy squeals of delight when she sees me putting on the sling. I wear her because I prefer her close with the space between us perfect for the exchanging of smiles and kisses.
I wear her because she is so busy our times together of ‘just us’ are getting less frequent. Snatches in time become prolonged and calmer in the sling. I wear her so that she knows my arms will always be there when she needs them whether for a fleeting, soothing cuddle to wipe away tears or to hear worries, fears, secrets and dreams.
I wore her as a tiny baby to ease the arching back and screams of reflux, discovering it induced sleep. Her newborn body wrapped closely, curled against my chest hearing my heart, echoes from the womb familiar to her ears. Creating a wave of calm over me, having her so close, so safe, wearing her reminds me of the days we shared one body. She’s close enough to smell that incredible, incomparable newborn smell on her head. Rub her soft hair against my cheek and feel the gentle rise and fall of her breathing chest. Reducing my anxieties I became as hooked on the closeness as she did.
As a toddler I wear her with her head close to mine. We have the same vantage point and I can see what she is looking at with her eager eyes. Help her reach with little hands to discover new objects and explore the World. I wear her so she can reach me for kisses and giggles as she excitedly points at something new. I wear her so she can rest her sleepy head on me, push her face into my neck and block the World out when it all becomes a bit too much. I wear her when her little legs become too tired to explore any more, preferring the closeness of resting next to me to being pushed in a buggy. Stroking the soft soles of her feet and whispering my dreams and wishes to her as she drifts off to sleep.
I wear my daughter because time is short, she’s is growing so quickly and I know my days of being able to carry her are passing on by. These are precious days of sticky fingers reaching up to my face, watching her wait for my reaction as she babbles and chats to me. Giggles as I kiss her neck and calmness as I stroke her baby hair. For most of her life we wont be able to do this. So I carry her now.
And so I wear my toddler daughter, I hold her close, close my eyes and focus hard creating an imprint in my memory, in my arms and chest, the feeling of her closeness. And I wish to myself that we will always be this close.