Keep Them Close

My tiniest human has a new phrase of words. She says, “up in birds.” We call our Chloe Tula “birds” because there are birds on it. She loves being up. It is her happy place. (Unless she wants to run in the street in front of traffic. Then I am the meanest mama on the face planet for putting her up in Birds.) I did not realize when I first started wearing her that it would become her safe haven. She likes ups even with mama friends who look after her, and with childcare providers . She likes to feel snug against the adult who will protect her. Her knowledge for finding security provides her and I tremendous comfort.

I worry about the day when she won’t want ups. I already catch glimpses when she says, “down” or “play.” I know my days of wrapping her against me and keeping her from harm are limited, and I need to cherish these days. I know someday “walk” will be her default response, and “ups” will be forgotten.

One of my dear friends, Ginger Snaps Pictures, captured this picture and it embodies what it means to carry my youngest baby. She is snuggled into my back. She is smiling at the wishes of a dandelion.

Dandelion Wishes, by Ginger Snaps
Dandelion Wishes, by Ginger Snaps

She is safe, and warm, and happy. She is with her Momma. Babies belong to their mommas, and this baby is happy to belong to me.

As the longest days turn to into the shortest years I hope she will remember our connection. I hope she will look fondly on these pictures and carry her own babies. I wish for her that the security, confidence, and contentment of always knowing her mama will be there is passed down to my future generations. I wish for her that her own heart sighs with love when she glances at this picture.

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I wear her everywhere

I have been wrestling with this post all week. The elitism, privilege, and expense of baby wearing ultimately make it a very exclusionary hobby. My liberal heart struggles with owning first world problems. However, baby wearing is more than a hobby, and it is enormous part of my world, and in the spirit of International Baby Wearing Week I wanted to share what it means me to me.

I have a newish, but 6-year-old hobby. I babywear. Six years ago I wore babies, but it was not a hobby, and it was not fancy. It was awesome, but it was ordinary. Today, it is anything but ordinary; it is a huge part of our daily routine. Several times a day I superman toss my tiniest human onto my back, or snug her against my chest, or wrap her tight on my hip so we can chat. I wrap her against my body with several yards of gorgeous supportive material, at least half a dozen times a day.

Oonagh six days old in a Moby warp
Tiniest six day new human, in a Moby warp.

I started wrapping when she was 6 days old, because children with older siblings have to go places everyday at a really early age. She had to go kindergarten, and the grocery store, and the family still expected meals to be made everyday! So I started wrapping her to get all of the things done.

During her fourth trimester, my tiny human likely spent at least five hours a day wrapped in a Milky Way patterned wrap. She could nurse at will, she could nap whenever she wanted, she stayed toasty warm during the New England winter, and she developed an unbreakable attachment to me, her mama.

I quickly realized that I could go anywhere with her wrapped on me. I attended all the traditional family and kid outings motherhood requires, but I also did way more. I planned the holidays, made Christmas gifts, and hosted gatherings. I went to libraries and browsed books, I sat in coffee shops, I ate dinner with two hands, and I attended lectures and taught a class. I went to the movies, on walks, to a funeral and a wedding. I went to parties. I attended several meetings, and the national zoo. I planned school functions. I served food to needy families. I house hunted, bought a house, and moved! I worked from home to provide for my family. I did all of these things with my tiniest human wrapped tightly against me.

Tiny human wrapped in a Milk Way...
Tiny human wrapped in a Milk Way.

It is a hobby that has birthed a village of the kindest mamas I have ever met. We meet regularly to geek out about baby wearing, but the connection is more than that, because in our busy world, in our busy lives baby wearing has carved out a niche for us to make time to sit, and listen, and share – to mother together.

Keeping her close...
Keeping her close…

My wraps are merely the tools I use to baby wear, just like your shoes are the tools you use to take you places. The act is way more than the tool. Baby wearing defines my relationship with my tiniest human. Inside each wrap, deep within each pass of fabric stretched over our bodies is our love for each other. Baby wearing is how we interact with the world. She is closest to me, and I bring her everywhere.