Little Miss is 15 months. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed, and yet the first weeks after her birth seem like a lifetime ago. We were in such a different place back then. I was enjoying every moment of my maternity leave, trying to savor every second spent with my girls. I wore Little Miss a lot during those 10 weeks. For several hours a day. I would wrap her up and go outside with her on my chest, all the while playing with Little Monster. Little Miss would fall asleep on me and I would keep her close during her whole nap. There were times, of course, when I laid her in her cradle to sleep, but having the freedom to bring her everywhere in the yard, without having to pick up a blanket and toys and everything else that comes with a newborn, was priceless. Little Monster was not restricted in her play time because of a new baby sister, and I didn’t miss out on any time with her either.
Going back to work was shockingly hard. I was ready to return to work when Little Monster was a baby (again, a whole different time and place), but this was something else. I bonded so strongly with both girls on my leave. I borrowed a ring sling from our BWI chapter’s Lending Library that month to help me carry an infant, hold a toddler’s hand, and haul all their crap in and out of daycare every day. It was a lifesaver. I was sure to make my own ring sling before I had to return the borrowed one. I often wore it into work and kept it on me for most of the day. I was so accustomed to having my baby close to me, and it was one way I could feel like she was still there, kind of. I rushed to pick up my girls each night, and looked forward to bedtime when I could wrap up Little Miss and walk her to sleep.
There were days when I managed to wear her for an hour a day, and there were days when I only wore her for two minutes a day – the minute into daycare, and the minute back out to our car. There were a few days when I foolishly thought I could do the daycare run without the ring sling, and each time I wondered, “What was I thinking??” One of those days I never wore Little Miss because she was asleep before our night walk. I am forever grateful for our daycare provider who was willing to wear my baby when I couldn’t be with her. I left my Infantino mei tai with her so that she could wear Little Miss when she got tired and cranky, and still have two hands to care for the four toddlers that she had under her wing. I knew that she was loved and that all her needs were being met while I was at work. That day when I never wore her myself? She was worn by her care provider.
When I quit my job we had to figure out a whole new routine for life, and babywearing fit right in. With new chores around the farm, it was so easy to just put her on my back and go out to feed the animals, water the garden, and work on home improvement projects. She knew when feeding times were and would fuss until worn if I was running behind. There have been times when an animal got out (or in), and I quickly put her in the ring sling or mei tai as we walked out the door to take care of the situation. Little Monster enjoys the occasional ride as well. Sometimes when she is over stimulated or just plain tired I can put her on my back and still manage the day to day tasks that need to be done. Sometimes I end up wearing both at once to meet their needs.
At 15 months, Little Miss has been worn every day of her life. It is practical. It helps us bond. It helps me meet the needs of my family. I can wear one child or the other or both, depending on who needs what. I can cook dinner. I can feed animals. She can feel close and cared for and loved while I do all the things that are required of me as a wife and mother. And at bed time every night, it is a time for us both to slow down and unwind and enjoy the peace that comes before sleep.