Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Oh, my aching back!
My two-year-old child has a problem. He cannot walk. We've investigated every potential medical cause and ruled them all out.
Two legs? Check.
Do they bend? Check.
Do they have muscles and bone inside? All seems to be intact.
And it's strange, because they work intermittently. For instance, if I try to hide a chocolate egg upstairs (oh, Cadbury, you seductress), those unpredictable legs rush my toddler right on up multiple steps to find it. If I put a permanent marker out of his reach, those same legs haul him up and over obstacles to retrieve it.
But when we're hiking upstairs to bed, or need to climb into or out of the car, or have to walk (oh, woe) fourteen feet to the mailbox:
"Can't do it, Mama. Can't walk. Hold you! Hold you!"
(He also hasn't quite figured out pronouns yet, but that's an advice column for another day...)
Now, I can hold him, sometimes. But it gets wearying when it's all the time — and most particularly when it's at the same place, every time:
To wit — when we're coming in from outside, we have to climb a flight of stairs to get to our floor. I often (usually) have something else to carry. Sometimes it's light but awkward like a pile of mail; sometimes (often) it's heavy, like a laptop bag or groceries or, you know, whatever I went out to get. Mikko looks at me with my arms full and burdened and he still, without fail, starts to plead: "Hold you, hold you, can't go up stairs, Mama. Can't do it."
See, he's heavy. He's been heavy for a long time. He's somewhere around 36 pounds or so now, and has been for almost a couple years now. (He'll be three in June and has always been a chunky monkey.) I've always had a bad back, inherited through my mother's line, and the pregnancy alone with my almost 12-pounder took a toll on me. My hips feel like they still haven't knit back together; my knees are beginning to show their age and creak when I walk; and my back is apt to give out whenever it dang well feels like it.
But: I am healthy. I am strong. I can carry him most days, if I want.
It's just — I'm tired of it. I'm annoyed by the fact that he can walk, and he knows he can walk, and he knows I don't want to carry him up the stairs all the time anymore, and yet he persists in asking — first with a sly grin and then — oh, if I refuse — the screaming! The everlasting screaming! I don't know what the neighbors in our building must think of us, because probably all they ever hear from us is a wailing kid being trotted down the hallway.
Because here's the thing. If I even hesitate, the screaming can start. If I give in and do carry him, that's not even a guarantee that the screaming will stop. And it is loud. This kid can pitch a fit, yo.
What do I do?
If I don't carry him, there's the screaming. And if I half-heartedly carry him, like tucked under one arm — hoo, boy, he hates that. Very, very infrequently I can cajole him to walk up the stairs happily on his own by making a game of it: Go up like a snake, I'll say, or a sheep, or let's count the steps as we go, etc. But it is so very rare that that works. Mostly he'll just tell me no, and we're back to square one.
I've even offered to carry all the stuff up first, then come back to get him, hoping he'll get bored and follow anyway. But you know? I just hate doing that. I'm not overly fond of stairs myself, and getting to make two trips carrying two heavy loads every time? Bleh.
So what are my options here? And what are the reasons behind this? Is he needing to reconnect? Does he miss the constant babywearing? Will he outgrow this, and how soon? (I remember being 5-7 or so and still wanting my dad to hold me, but understanding that I was too heavy for it to happen often.) Will I miss it when it's gone? Is it unreasonable to request a 2.75-year-old to walk up stairs by himself when his mother's got her arms full (or even if she doesn't)? Is there a way to handle this that is respectful of him (like, say, not make fun of him in a blog post...) and that also honors my needs not to be overly physically burdened?
I know what conventional parenting would say (i.e., my mom). Don't give in; don't listen to him whine; he's not the boss of me; you're encouraging him to be lazy; etc. But do I need to just accept that he needs this now, for whatever reason, and really go for it? Just carry him all the dang time? Even for the brief walk from the car to the door, get the ERGO out each time for the 2-minute trek and strap him in so I can carry everything without fuss again?
Or is there a brilliant way to reason with a 2-year-old...?
Backbroken in Hoboken (er...Seattle)
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)
- Replace hitting with…? — Acacia at Be Present Mama is at a loss on how to handle her three year old's hitting.
- Two Questions — Alexandra at Breastfeeding Momma would like some ideas on how to strengthen her bond with her 8-month-old daughter; she's also looking for input on an emotional topic: vaccines.
- Balancing Needs When Baby Trumps Mama — Alison at BluebirdMama wonders how her child's need for noise and energy balances out against her need for quiet and space. (@childbearing )
- The McDilemma — Annie at PhD in Parenting is on the arches of a McDilemma. (@phdinparenting)
- Where is the mutually agreeable solution? When parenting calls for blood draws — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick has a child who needs regular blood tests that are torment for him. How does a parent honor a child when his health is on the line? (@RaisingBoychick)
- When To Wait To Nurse — Cave Mother wonders what age toddlers can be asked to wait to nurse.
- I don't love you Mama! — CurlyMonkey wonders what to do with her daughter's intense feelings. (@curlymonkey_)
- Help a Mama Out — Danielle at Born.in.Japan isn't getting much sleep with her cosleeping, night nursing, cranky little guy and hopes you can help with some suggestions for shuteye. (@borninjp)
- Dear Abby: My daughter really misses her Daddy — Darcel at The Mahogany Way needs to know how to help her daddy's girl get the connection with her father she needs — and not feel left out in the process. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- What's Going on at School? — Deb at Science@home is in a quandary: how can she find out what really goes on at school without stepping on the teacher's toes? (@ScienceMum)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Advice — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to find volunteer work that includes her toddler. (@CodeNameMama)
- How Do You Deal? — Erin at Beatnik Momma does not want to engage in "mommy wars." She'd like your input on how (and how much) to discuss her natural parenting choices with curious friends and family who parent differently. (@babybeatnik)
- Dear Abby — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts gave her son a banana...and no solid food since. What's the next step in baby-led weaning? (@thegrumbles)
- Excuse me, I have a poop question — Jessica at This is Worthwhile has a question about toddler tinkling. (@tisworthwhile)
- The Half Empty Nest Syndrome: What to do when Momma gets replaced by a cow? — Joni Rae at Kitchen Witch Momma is suffering from "half-empty nest syndrome": what do you do when your babies start growing up? (@kitchenwitch)
- Peer Pressure — Kate at Momopoly worries what message her daughter's new friend is sending — but how to break up such an infatuation? (@Momopoly)
- When I Fall Down — Katherine at Momioso.com needs your wisdom on how to be more gentle and at peace with herself. (@naturalparent)
- A question of sleep and sanity — KeepingMumSane needs your toddler cosleeping advice in order to, well, keep mum sane! (@keepingmumsane)
- April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice — Lauren at Hobo Mama needs a chiropractor … or help getting her 36 lb toddler to walk up the stairs. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Driver's Ed for Mommies — Maman A Droit is a self-confessed terrible driver and is scared to drive with her baby in the car.
- Solo Parenting — Mammapie at Downside Up and Outside In needs tips for being a single working mother while her partner's away. (@mammapie)
- Itsy Bitsy Biter — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting needs your advice about her daughter, otherwise known as the pitbull.
- How Can I Avoid Beauty Obsession? — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is at a loss ever since her tomboys turned into wannabe princesses. (@bfmom)
- Seeking Stability in Chaos — Michelle at Seeking Mother is in a heart-wrenching position. She needs your input on how to make a toddler feel secure during a time of transition, the illness of a parent, and multiple (new) caregivers. (@Seekingmother)
- Mama, That's Too, Too Boring! — Michelle at The Parent Vortex started out asking how to encourage her preschooler to get dressed — and four days later, she began to without prompting! (@TheParentVortex)
- Dear Lovey Hart, I Am Desperate. — Mommy Soup from Cream of Mommy Soup has several questions for you, from how you play favorites when no one's your favorite to how to tell off strangers curious about the ample size of your family. (@mommysoup)
- Diaper Duty Dilemma — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has a simple request: talk to her about cloth! (@babydust)
- What Do You Need My Son — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start wishes her calm four-month-old hadn't turned into an inquisitive and dramatic six-month-old. How do you handle changes in baby's personality? (@pchanner)
- Dear Natural Parenting Community — Sarah at OneStarryNight wants to know how to respond to criticism from family and friends over breastfeeding. (@starrymom)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Help — Sarah at Consider Eden feels like either her to-do list or her parenting is suffering, because she can't do both! (@considereden)
- To potty learn or not to potty learn - that is the question — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes wants to know whether it's time to start potty training. (@sheryljesin)
- Seeking Patience — Starr at Earth Mama looks to the collective tribal wisdom of this community to learn how to teach patience to children.
- A Dirty Girl Comes Clean — Tashmica at Mother Flippin' is struggling. How do parents deal with their inability to keep their children protected from danger? (@Mother_Flippin)
- Uli and the Pussy Cats — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis has a toddler who likes to put kitties in headlocks and ride them like horsies. How best to separate the little beasties?
- Perceptions of Discipline — Zoey at Good Goog doesn't use conventional discipline with her child — and doesn't know how to respond around people who do. (@zoeyspeak)