The other day I was flying alone with A & Z in tow. It was the first time in a long while that I had not used wheelchair assistance to get to the gate at the airport. There were short lines and my tolerance level for walking had increased in the last few months, so I thought to go for it. Plus my brother was able to escort me to the gate. With a double stroller (a hawt red Maclaren at that), car seat hanging off one handle, backpack on my back, and purse slung on the shoulder, I was supermom!
Then my brother left for home, and of course that cues Kitty (li’l Z) to start whining and won’t sit in the stroller without ear-piercing yells.
Never fear, a sling can save the day. After months of not using this thing, I rocked my double-layerobscenelyexpensive-dupioni silk sling with Z up high, backpack in her seat, and hands mercifully free to handle the stroller, jackets, and boarding passes.
Yes, you can get by parenting a baby without a sling, but boy does it make it a whole lot easier if you do have one. I have never mastered the art of walking around doing things with a baby under my arm. No, no, no, I didn’t sign that part of the parenting contract that said, “you will sacrifice use of your left arm for hours at a time because your baby won’t shut up without being picked up.” I get that some babies are whinier and more high needs than others, and so need a lot of picking up, rocking, etc. etc.—but I refuse to give up what I need to do just because I have a baby in one arm.
In my healthier days I have wandered the streets of London on a trip for hours by myself with a 7 month old nursling in tow, tied on my back so I could effortlessly fold the stroller and jump on a bus, or down steps to hop on the tube. When he was fussy, I could nurse him in the sling and catch the bus at the same time.
Nightmarish nights of sickness and teething with my first babe were made bearable by the fact that I could sling him and get whatever I needed done at the time. When traveling by plane, my arms didn’t ache from carrying the sleeping lap baby because I just tied him in the sling and used my hands to read, eat, or do whatever. Public bathroom trips were a breeze because I didn’t have to wait for the handicapped stall (to fit the huge stroller)–I could leave the stroller outside the door and use the restroom with baby perched up high on my back in a sling.
I’m fortunate in that my second baby was one that didn’t need to be carried and soothed as much, and so the sling was not as much of a necessity because I couldn’t really do it much anyway. So it was a nice surprise for me to be able to pull it off so well the other day. I still have a lovingly gathered stash of colorful and varied styles of slings ready for a future baby…and ready for Z on those rare occasions that we use them.
A sling is a thing….
…..of beauty and love.
Held close and snug, heart to heart, face close enough to kiss… my slings have given me moments of such ethereal beauty and love that are rare to be found in this hectic world. The babywearing years are so short, that sometimes I sneak my elder son into a sling for a few precious moments just for a taste of nostalgia and the type of snuggle that only a simple piece of cloth can bring.