How to carry a large, clingy toddler
A few months ago, I wrote about how my toddler is breaking my back.
It’s no less broken now. If anything, it’s more broken. She’s bigger now but no less insistent on her ‘up’ time. In fact, she can actually say ‘up’ now.
And she does. Repeatedly.
She refuses to use her stroller or baby carrier anymore, and while she can walk perfectly well, her preferred method of transportation is in my arms. Her clinginess was kind of endearing when she was a baby, but it’s significantly less so now that she’s a 25lb toddler who can yell, “UP!” into my ear.
So when Hippychick offered to let me try their Hipseat, I was ready to give pretty much anything a go. It was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to carry her for much longer. I mean, I don’t even go to the gym anymore. I haven’t lifted weights in two years. MY BODY IS NOT BUILT FOR THIS.
The Hippychick Hipseat provides a firm shelf for babies/toddlers to support their weight from underneath, which means that the parent’s spine can stay straight instead of twisting.
And my spine is already twisted enough, thank you very much. Did I mention that I have scoliosis? Because I do. I’ve got a tiny little hunchback on my left side because of it. I’ve also spent the past 12 years leaning over a laptop for eight hours a day, so my back was already pretty messed up long before I ever had a baby.
When I first strapped on the Hipseat and plonked the Popple onto it, I could feel right away that there was less pressure on my spine, and that I wasn’t standing with my pelvis jutting forward like I normally do to compensate for her mahoosive weight. She cuddled into my chest and ran her fingers through my hair like she always does.
“This just might work,” I thought – but I knew the real test was yet to come.
The nursery run.
Our nursery run involves a train ride followed by a 15 minute walk from the train station to her nursery. That might not sound very long, but it is when you’re trying to carry a squirmy toddler. I always look out for other struggling toddler-carriers, but I only ever see parents calming pushing their well-behaved children in pushchairs. Meanwhile, the Popple yells, “UP UP UP!” at me.
“You are up,” I tell her.
“UP!” she demands, as though I’m somehow being lax in my carrying duties.
My arms ache. My back twinges. I try to shift her up higher. The nursery seems impossibly far.
I hate starting my days like this.
When I tried to nursery run with the Hipseat, the walk didn’t feel nearly as long – I’m guessing because her weight was supported by the support belt rather than my very un-muscular arms. It was nice to amble across city centre without feeling like someone was stabbing me repeatedly in the shoulder blades.
Would I prefer that my daughter sit in a pushchair like every other normal toddler out there? Yeah, that would be nice. But she is who she is, and she knows what she likes. If she’s going to insist on being carried, better for her to be balanced on a seat than draped over my very broken shoulders.
Hippychick very kindly sent me a Hipseat to try.