Kina is pretty heavy now, which means that playing the “Oof I’m Pregnant” game with my four-year-old kid is an ordeal. My sense of things is that the way I felt after carrying a thirty-pound child around the apartment for three minutes—nestled in my stretchy waffle knit shirt with her Baby Rainbow Cat stuffie—is equivalent to roughly a day of walking around with a seven-pound baby inside your actual abdomen. Kudos to the pregnant people.
It was not always this hard to carry the kid around. When she was small, I used to toss her into the carrier and spend a whole day in the city; she’d sleep, I’d eat, we’d go to museums. It was like being a paranoid tourist, except instead of a Jansport backpack hanging off my chest, it was my progeny. Until very recently, I could carry Kina on my shoulders for an hour at a time, but I’ve started to feel like I’m boring myself into the earth as we make our way around. I feel sad about this! Now she walks everywhere and is generally less whiny, which is everything I wanted when she was dependent and whiny.
This morning, when she demanded that I stuff her into my shirt and carry her around like a baby, I felt my back giving out, but I also felt the warmth of her head on my torso and the weight of her body in my arms as I waddled around. It reminded me of the week she was born, when she was still smaller than a person ought to be, her cheek resting on my chest. She, who had spent her entire existence surrounded by a body, found comfort in that moment in being pressed up against mine. I don’t know what it was that gave me comfort—the same lingering memory of parental contact or the sense of purpose in sharing my own warmth with Kina.
I have a big kid now, and she’s quite happy not being pressed up against anybody for any length of time, so I felt lucky to be able to play the “Oof I’m Pregnant” game with her this morning, even if it did give me a wonky back. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to play that game—my shirts can only stretch so much, and I do need to work my core a bit. I’ll hold on as long as she can.