So my precious little angel of a two year old seems to have some, er, difficulty when it comes to sitting quietly in church. I’m sure that comes as a shock to many because I’m sure most two year olds absolutely adore the idea of sitting quietly in a pew full of tall people where they can’t see anything but the back of people’s knees. But mine has troubles. Serious troubles.
Since she has difficulty at 10AM when she is all fresh and well rested, I’m sure you could imagine my trepidation at taking her tonight at 5:30PM, right before dinner, after she had been screaming in the car for 45 minutes.
But two year olds aren’t for the faint of heart, and we were not going to give up so easily, so we put on a brave face and headed towards church.
I decided this time that things were going to be different, and so I decided to wear her in the Ergo. I knew the possibility for disaster was there. I imagined having to push my way past dozens of people while she screams at the top of her lungs, throwing herself back and recreating some kind of scene from a horror movie, but it was the only trick I had left up my sleeve, and I was willing to try anything.
And so in the parking lot, I started to talk excitedly about the Ergo, and she caught on, repeating “Ergo Me” over and over in the repetitive way that only a two year old can manage. I plopped her in, got my five year old out of her car seat, grabbed the car seat carrying my six month old and very slowly sludged our way towards the front doors.
My husband met us a couple of minutes later, and my lesson in advanced babywearing began. And this is what I learned:
1. If you plan on giving a toddler fishy crackers while babywearing, you might consider wearing a turtle neck because a normal, conservative v-neck shirt will do nothing to protect your cleavage from becoming a nesting spot for cheesy, sweaty little fishy crackers.
2. Babywear with disposable diapers at your own risk. Somehow both the Ergo and myself always end up filled with more poop than the two year old who created the mess. I’ll never know exactly how that happens.
3. If your toddler, who can’t read, insists on bringing a chapter book into church, go with it. It hurts a lot less than a board book when you are hit in the face with it.
4. Beware. Said chapter book will probably be rolled up and used as a telescope to see into your face. You know, because three and a half inches is too far to see with normal vision.
5. Stories are good. Just when your toddler starts her exorcism type tirade to get out of the Ergo, start whispering stories very quietly in her ear. This is the main benefit of the Ergo. In addition to literally keeping them strapped into place, their ear is right there to whisper into. And their cheeks are there to nibble on as well.
6. Watch your neck. When they start to get really bored with church, it is right there at the perfect height for them to repeatedly punch you in the throat.
7. Don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly. Just as church is being let out, you might feel compelled to let out a long, slow breath and congratulate yourself for making it through. Hold on though because just as you are about to do that, the people in front of you may just turn around, look you in the eye and say, “They weren’t too bad today.” At this point, you will be glad there is a baby in the carrier between you and the lady because otherwise you might feel compelled to leap over the pew and give her a piece of your mind.
I’m an avid babywearer. I love having my babies close. I love the secret little world we seem to share when we are heart to heart. I took a break during the latter half of my pregnancy from wearing my toddler, but I’m so happy to learn that she loves it just as much now as she did then, and now I have my six month old to wear as well. To me, nothing beats it. But just like everything else with parenting, just because it’s precious doesn’t mean it’s always easy.
And now I think I will go soak my back in a bathtub because one hour really is a long time to forward carry a growing toddler who refuses the indignity of being worn on your back.
Amanda Knapp is a stay at home mom who writes about her life on her blog, Indisposable Mama. She really doesn't like it when people comment on the behavior of her young children during church.