Slings and things

Mummy very much likes the idea of being a natural-earth-mother-type baby-wearer. She has a friend who is an actual real-life Supermum that has extolled unto her the benefits and joys of baby-wearing, and even provided a dazzling array of baby-wearing contraptions for Mummy to try. Supermum can wear lots of babies at the same time while running a marathon without even breaking a sweat. Mummy is in awe of Supermum.

Mummy has spent hours and hours watching people on YouTube casually flip their calm and compliant babies over one shoulder and quickly wrap them into a neat and portable bundle of apparently weightless joy packaged in tasteful fabric. The baby smiles happily, and the Mother embarks upon her morning yoga without a care in the world.

Rebel Baby does not like being wrapped in tasteful fabric. She likes to plank and thrash and generally protest, until Mummy is forced to brace her against a wall whilst attempting to lasoo her flailing limbs, and pin them in with straps and knots Mummy hasn’t used since her time in the Girl Guides when she had to build shelters in storms.

But Mummy is nothing if not perseverant, and eventually masters using the most basic of baby wraps to transport the little one about. What a total earth-mother I am! thinks Mummy as she casts aside the cumbersome pushchair and enjoys the freedom and closeness of having her perfectly tiny little human strapped her chest. Mummy and The Baby are in sync, their hearts beating against one another as they gaze into each others’ eyes… it is a magical time.

RB repays Mummy by steadily gaining weight, until Mummy can no longer walk without staggering and is developing a hunchback. The straps cut into Mummy’s shoulders and RB discovers that, from her cosy cocoon, she can headbutt Mummy under the chin and attempt to gouge her eyes out with her razor-sharp nails.

No matter, thinks Mummy, I will carry the baby on my back! For I am a natural-earth-mother type, in sync with my baby and attuned to her every need. Our bond is close and enduring. So Mummy spends an excessive amount of time heaving and wriggling and hoisting to try and tie The Baby on her back. It does not look remotely like the ladies on YouTube and Mummy nearly drops The Baby more than once. Rebel Baby does not approve of this new position, perhaps even fears for her life, and makes her feelings known most clearly. The magic is lost: it is a battle of wills.

Eventually, Daddy offers to help and pins The Baby in position whilst Mummy whips the straps into industrial-strength knots.

“Ha!” crows Mummy, victorious. “Try getting out of that one!”

RB shrugs, nonplussed, and accepts her fate for a happy family woodland walk in the winter sunshine.

Afterwards, when Mummy releases The Baby, feeling dead chuffed at her baby-wearing accomplishment, she realises RB has got her own back by chewing Mummy’s hair into knotted balls and vomiting down the back of her neck. Marvellous.

‘Unimpressed’ doesn’t quite cut it.

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