For years, I operated under the illusion that I was doing a decent job of parenting. Now I know better. Thank you, kind strangers, for pointing out my failings. And now I confess them to you, dear reader. I sometimes wear my kid.
In reality, I have always thought the term “baby wearing” was weird, as if my child were some kind of accessory that could pee down my back. But whatever the term, when we’re running long errands, I toss Squish into our Ergo carrier and go. I have recently learned that carrying my kid on my back is as socially acceptable as disrobing in church.
My first indication that this behavior is alarming to the public came at the grocery store. As I was paying, George the cashier pointed at my son and said “He’s in the same place he was the last time I saw him. You should let him down.” I was unaware that shop keepers wanted unrestrained toddlers in their stores, but I chalk that up to ignorance on my part. In an effort to please, I turned Squish loose in the apple display. He had a grand time.
My education continued, appropriately enough, at my third-grader’s school. We walk to and from school, and it’s always a bit of an adventure. One day, a teacher stopped us on the sidewalk and asked me when I was going to let Squish walk on his own. I hadn’t given the matter much thought, honestly. Maybe when Labrador Lady quits trying to run us over on a daily basis, but definitely before he’s old enough to drive. I’m pretty sure.
My most recent encounter was at the pediatrician’s office. Squish got sick the day before his annual check-up. Of course, he did. Our doc’s office has two waiting rooms – one for sick kids, and one the well ones. Being a firm believer that there is a special circle of hell for parents who sneak their sick kids into the well-side, I put him in the Ergo and braved the sick waiting room, standing in the middle of the floor while I filled out the annual paperwork so he couldn’t even think about touching something. The nurse took one look at us and snapped “You have to stop carrying him!” So I let him down to lick the furniture. She thanked me.
I never in my wildest dreams knew that carrying my toddler would be such a controversial move on my part.
But it gets worse.