So, for the last couple of days, the Kiddo and I have been out running errands and soaking in Springtime (finally!), and I have witnessed an interesting phenomenon:
You see, both yesterday and today I left the apartment with our trusty Maclaren stroller with the intent of using it as a glorified shopping cart while wearing the Kiddo in the Ergo (all winter this has been my preferred m.o., as it is one thing to carry the Kiddo, and quite another to carry the Kiddo and the groceries and the dry cleaning!)
Anyhoo, we were shopping away, when the Kiddo began to grumble. I whipped out a boob, and carried on. Strangely, the sleepy and presumably hungry Kiddo would have nothing to do with the boob, and the grumbles began to escalate. I tried the other boob. It was ignored. I stopped shopping. The grumbles were now officially in the category of full-on crying, with lots of pitiful tears. Now, I tried to focus entirely to the Kiddo. I paced around the isles of the store with the usually lulling bouncy action and attempted soothing voice. I went down the mental checklist of things that could be irking the Kiddo....diaper?...temperature?...none of these things seemed to be the source of the problem and this caterwauling is totally uncharacteristic of the Kiddo when he's just plain sleepy. Sure, he sometimes fusses a little right before he nods off, but yesterday at the store my enduring efforts to comfort him and hold him close and nurse him were just being met with ever more fervent unhappiness. He was FREAKING OUT.
At this point in the meltdown, people were staring (or at least it felt like they were staring) and I glanced judgmentally/jealously at the nearby baby sitting in its nanny-pushed stroller, sucking away vacantly on a pacifier. It didn't feel right or possible to keep the Kiddo in the Ergo any longer, so as he angrily arched his back and screamed at the top of his lungs I took him out. At that point, I'm thinking "ok kid, I'm not even using a device to hold you! You've got 100 percent pure Mama's Lovin' Arms! I'm cooing to you! I'm singing your name! Look, I can hold you in my arms and nurse you and still bounce!" No takers.
And then I decided to try something kind of radical: I put him in the stroller. At the very moment that his little butt hit the seat it was like he was suddenly reclining poolside at the Ritz freaking Carlton hotel. All he needed was a tiny little pina colada. It was as though he had been dreaming of this moment for years and was now incredibly phenomenally blissfully happy. I was in shock, but I decided not to question a good thing, and proceeded to wheel us out of there in amazement. By the time we reached the sidewalk, he was asleep, and he proceeded to sleep peacefully in the stroller for a couple of hours.
Today, in a similar fashion, the Kiddo was happy as a clam being pushed in the stroller. Now, I love babywearing, but I'm not going to front: it was really nice to give my shoulders a break! At the same time, I couldn't help but wonder wistfully if the Kiddo had turned over a new leaf of independence...would he soon be completely over being held?!?!? He's only ten months old! I was expecting more time as a babywearer! Moreover, (and on a deeper, darker note) does he hate me?!?!?
Just before we got home this afternoon, I took this photo:
The stroller nap continued after we got home, so I sat down at the computer and started writing this blog post. I needed to record this seeming sea change, and ruminate on the meaning of it all. Suddenly, the doorbell rang (someone dropping off a delivery) and the Kiddo was rudely awakened. He was startled and upset and still quite sleepy, so I nursed him and held him and tried to comfort him back to sleep. Nothing was working - he nursed a little, but was mostly just flailing around tearfully again. I wondered if I should try to put him back in his beloved stroller, but we were not outside now or near the street, and maneuvering the stroller in the apartment is pretty difficult. So, while the Kiddo screamed I donned the Didymos wrap, which is the most comfortable and cocoon-iest of my babywearing accouterments, and I snuggled the Kiddo onto my chest. He immediately stopped crying. Behold:
Moments later he was asleep. Half and hour later, he still is. And that is the end of my story.