The Reluctant Wrappee
Some weeks ago the affectionately named Toddle Beast and I embarked on our customary weekly wander around the estates of our local National Trust property. I confess to feeling just a little bit smug as I started along the three mile track, easily navigating a stile and bypassing a couple of buggies that had got stuck in the mud. Breathing in the fresh air, I revelled in the freedom that babywearing provided.
When we got to the halfway point, Toddle Beast declared his desire to go down & play on the wood stumps, so I took him off my back and away he went. Thirty minutes or so later, I mooted the idea of carrying on with our walk. The café scone was beckoning and, being pregnant, I was predictably anticipating my next toilet stop. The suggestion that we might leave the tree stumps was, equally predictably, met with adamant refusal. I took this in my stride. We were in no huge hurry. Why not play in the woods a little longer longer? It was a lovely day after all.
Another thirty minutes later saw a large purple black rain cloud approaching, and me eyeing up bushes to evaluate their lavatory potential. "Right, time to go now then", I proclaimed valiantly. "One more trip around the big tree & we're off!". I got the wrap out, ready to carry my little adventurer... and he cried and walked hurriedly in the other direction. Attempts to pick him up for the big hip scoot resulted in general screaming, planking and trying to propel himself toward the ground. Now, and here's the crux of it, when push comes to shove, putting a reluctant toddler in a buggy is a great deal easier than wrapping one on your back. The latter operation is akin to putting pyjamas on an irate Kraken while facing the other way with your arms behind your back. A near impossible feat under normal circumstances, but when you're pregnant I'd say it's impossible. Of course he wouldn't walk either, unless our destination was around the big tree.
Some time later, we'd been passed by lots of people looking at me smugly (I probably imagined that) as they pushed their buggies. It was raining, and I was reflecting on how emergency flares might have been a useful addition to my already over-stocked changing bag. There is no emergency service dedicated to toddler recovery, and I was out of ideas and pretty demoralised. My mind had ventured into dark thoughts about not only our current situation, but about the dreaded 'wrap strikes'. Would he ever be wrapped again? Would my precious wrap stash lay dormant until our new little one arrived?
Thankfully, after a while, my snack bribe was accepted and Captain Kraken mollified into a grumpy frog. We managed a wonky ruck and limped the mile and a half to the café end point. Of course, I would have preferred a gin & tonic to a scone at this point, but we were alive, and the Toddle Beast had actually settled into being carried after a few hundred metres. Panics of both kinds were averted.
I confess that the next time we went on that walk, I wrapped him on my back and took along the buggy as well as an extra precaution, getting stuck in the mud repeatedly and reminding myself again why I love babywearing. The buggy wasn't required. So, what did I learn from this little episode?
- Even tiny bouts of smugness directed at the plight of other suffering parents are subject to the laws of karmic return.
- Small people have a will of their own and we just have to roll with that sometimes. You can no more convince a reluctant wrappee to be carried than you can make a toddler eat their breakfast if they're minded not to.
- Babywearing is primarily for the good of little people, no matter how us big people treasure it. When the end of our wrapping years comes, I guess I'll just have to suck it up like everyone else... but not yet.