This week is International Babywearing Week - a celebration near and dear to my heart... but babywearing in my family is evolving. After all, my kids are not babies anymore.
He is 6, and she is (nearly) 4 and, while I still do wear both of them, they are growing up.
Those early days of wearing were for survival; Cole was a difficult baby. He had colic and acid reflux and spent his first 8 months of life screaming. Seriously - all the time. The Moby wrap I had registered for on a whim became the single most important thing I owned. Those 6 yards of fabric posessed the power to calm my infant - and more than that, make him sleep! I can honestly say I do not know how I would have gotten through our first year without that carrier.
Stretchy wraps do have their limits, though, and even my very small son had reached them by the time he was nearing a year old. It was time to branch out, and I added a BabyHawk mei tai to my stash - and a Sakura Bloom ring sling shortly thereafter. It was love. My collection of carriers only grew from there; I am a babywearing addict.
But he is 6, and she is (nearly) 4 and our babywearing days are numbered. Six years ago, that Moby saved my life. Five years ago, I learned about the world of wearing beyond stretchy wraps. Four years ago (almost), wearing gave me the confidence to parent two children at once. Three years ago, I wore my daughter to my son's first day of preschool. Two years ago, I reluctantly put our soft structured carriers away - both of my "babies" had outgrown them. One year ago, I became a leader of our local babywearing group and worked to pass the torch to other parents.
He is 6, and she is (nearly) 4 and we no longer wear every day. It is not a matter of survival anymore. Cole still wants to be on my back when he is especially tired or not feeling well, and I am aware every time that this time could be the last. It has been a good run, but I know it won't last forever. Despite what people may think, I have no intention of wearing him as he moves into his college dorm, or down the aisle at his wedding... but 6 is not SO big, and as long as he asks, I will accommodate him and soak in every moment of remaining babyhood. It's gone so fast! Even faster for Lulu, I think, who firmly believes in her heart that they are twins. Last year, I wore her to the bus stop nearly every day to see Cole off to kindergarten; this year she prefers to walk herself, so that she can RUN down the hill on the way home.
International Babywearing Week looks different for us this year. Both kids are in school during many of the local events and I am going solo to support our group. I have not posted a babywearing picture every day - because, for the first time, I have not worn every day. This might be the last year I have any pictures to post at all - although I hope that's not the case. My IG hashtags have gone from #babywearing to #toddlerwearing to #bigkidwearing, and #teenagerwearing is not a thing... so be patient. I am not quite ready to let it go - this very special part of my parenting. Babywearing is soothing my unsoothable child. It is calming the tantruming toddler. It is snuggling up my children when they have had a hard day or are tired or just want an extra cuddle. Babywearing is where I found my Mama Tribe.