I’m Still Wearing My Three-Year-Old In A Carrier And I Have No Plans To Stop


Wearing A Toddler In A Baby CarrierWhat’s the hottest fashion accessory right now?

Preschoolers. That’s what.

You know those super-cute babies in the Bjorns? Yeah. I’ve been there. But I’ve kicked it up a notch:

I’m still wearing my three-year-old. And I have no plans to stop.

I don’t wear her on my front anymore. I’m not crazy. But I do tote her around in a soft-structured backpack carrier nearly every day — while our stroller collects dust under the back steps. (I use a Kinderpack handmade by a WAHM in Illinois. Other popular backpack carrier brands are Ergo and Beco.)

So, let me get my most-frequently asked questions out of the way:

”Wow. Isn’t that incredibly painful?” Yes. I’m in agony. But I’m a martyr, so I persist. (Really? Do you think I’d saunter around the farmer’s market in pain? Nope.)

”Shouldn’t she be walking?” Yes. And shouldn’t you be chasing after her when she tries to crawl under a bus or eat those acorns?

”You’re STILL wearing her in that thing?” Yep. And you’re still bitchy and rude.

Oh, and my favorite, back when my girl was much smaller and I was putting her in a front carrier in an Old Navy parking lot: ”Is that thing safe?”

No, lady. But this baby has been really annoying recently, so ”¦ whatever. Really? Who’d knowingly put their infant in something they didn’t deem safe?

All that aside, babywearing then toddlerwearing and now preschooler-wearing has saved my life and my sanity.

I’ve worn her at my big kid’s elementary-school science fairs, talent shows and school plays. I’ve worn her at music festivals and street fairs. (Tell me you can drink a beer, dance and comfortably hold your wriggly kid all the while keeping her safe from drunken concert-goers.) I’ve worn her through museums and zoos and on hikes through Glacier National Park. I’ve worn her to pick up packages at the post office and while we wait for her check-up at the pediatrician. (No thanks. I’d rather not have my kid lick that toy that your tuberculosis-racked toddler just licked.). I’ve walked comfortably down the street in the most brutal, slushy Chicago winters, confident that we’re cozy warm and I’m not having to sled-dog a stroller up messy sidewalks. And in the summer, I’ve worn her while carrying all of our gear as we walked across the sand to find a spot at the beach. Have you ever pushed a stroller through sand?

In the big city, my girl and I don’t take up much of a footprint when we walk down Michigan Avenue or squeeze our way through a crowded street festival. I find myself increasingly annoyed by those moms with their SUV strollers and Sherpa-esque diaper bags, hogging the sidewalks and store aisles, taking up so much room and giving the rest of us with young kids a bad rap.

Mostly, though, it’s hard to argue with some extra snuggles from your kid whether they’re newborns or preschoolers. My oldest kid is 10. (For the record, I haven’t worn him in years ”¦ Heck, I can’t even pick that kid up anymore if I wanted to.) I’m well aware that this mommy thing is over in a blink. When my 3-year-old is on my back, we tell stories while walking to the park. She sings songs in my ear.

Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she’ll wrap her arms around me and give me a hug. Tell me you can do that in your $600 stroller.

Nah, I’m not giving that up anytime soon.

Heather Lalley is a writer and mother of two living in Chicago. She’s the author of ”The Chicago Homegrown Cookbook.” Find her on Twitter @flourgrrrl.

(Image: Kinderpack.com)

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