When your children get too big to carry

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As much as I fly the flag for equality in parenting, there are certain, physical realities between men and women that society will never overcome. For instance, it will come as no surprise to you that I never breast-fed either of my daughters. Conversely, however, Mrs Adams has never lifted the children up and carried them to bed while pretending to be a fork lift truck (all dads do this, right?). She simply does not have the upper body strength to do such things.

carrying children, weight, strength, parenting, professional blogger John Adams
Come on children, time for bed.

Mrs Adams has also never carried a child on her shoulders or had to carry a three-year-old, mid tantrum, a quarter of a mile to the car and back while dropping her older sister off at school. Such pleasures have always been mine because I am stronger.

carrying children, weight, strength, development, professional blogger John Adams
Carrying the children was so much easier when they were this size.

The days when I can do these things are coming to an end. For several months now, I have, slowly but surely, had to withdraw from such activities simply because my children are too big.

I still get lots of requests: “Daddy, will you spin me round?….Daddy will you carry me?…..Daddy, my legs are getting tired, pick me up….Can I go on your shoulders daddy?” I do what I can, but both kids have reached such a size that any activity involving lifting and carrying comes with a genuine risk of physical injury to them and me.

I noticed it first when giving Izzy, my youngest daughter, rides on my shoulders. I formally retired from shoulder-carrying several months ago. Every time I fulfilled one of these requests it was giving me a bad back, something I could suffer with for days afterwards.

On our recent holiday to Portugal I was mucking about with the kids in the swimming pool. We developed a game that involved me holding one of them while spinning around in the water. I could only do this for a few seconds with Helen because of her size. She is, after all, only 50cm shorter than I am.

Although a rather unglamorous comparison, Helen weighs about the same as a bag of cement. That’s a lot of weight to carry, even in a swimming pool.

Just the other day, Izzy asked me to carry her to bed. Simply picking the children up, either of them, and carrying them a short distance doesn’t present a problem. I am still quite capable of doing this.

Only thing is, Izzy was lying flat on the floor. I had to tell her to stand up as I wasn’t prepared to lift her up from that position.

To be truthful, this is a bittersweet moment. I’ve always been very physical with the kids; taking them cycling, swimming, running, spending time at the park. I was quite used to undertaking a small, supermarket shop with a young child attached to my hip. Carrying children in awkward situations is simply a part of being a parent, especially if you are a stay at home mum or dad.

development, weight, size, carrying children, strength
I have formally retired from shoulder-carrying children.

These days I have to limit what I do. I have no issue with forcing a three year to walk to the car, no matter how outrageous the tantrum. She has to learn independence. None the less, it is sad knowing my days pretending to be a fork lift truck are numbered (look, it’s something I’ve always done and the kids think it’s funny, okay?).

Is my age a factor? I can hardly pretend I am getting younger. It may be an issue, but I doubt it. I think it has more to do with the fact my kids are growing up.

I’ll lift and carry for as long as I can. It was obvious I was going to reach a stage where they would be too big. None the less, I won’t deny that reaching this point makes me a little sad.

4 thoughts on “When your children get too big to carry”

  1. It’s difficult not to get nostalgic about the activities you shared with when when they were little. Watching Night Garden every night is not one of them but I can see reading delightful books such as Peepo is pretty much over with now and it does make me misty eyed, I’ll admit.
    I do still carry Tilly as she’s a fairly dinky thing but the days of making her fly during the whole of the flying segment of the Snowman are definitely over (yes I used to do that). Elevated activities are certainly shortening in duration, though, but I’ll enjoy them while we can!

    1. Enjoy them while you can! Short bursts are fine for either of our kids, so long as I can carry then properly. If it’s anything else, I have to say no these days. I can relate to the Snowman thing. The demand my youngest always used to make was to be carried to school on the school run. One upon a time I used ot be able to do that. Not any more!

  2. HI John, this is hilarious.

    Feeling awesome reading your post, you are absolutely right, sometimes it is too difficult for someone to carry a baby. People always show their caress to a baby but when comes to carry for while, they feel shame because of their inability. You are good dad and it doesn’t matter for you to carry a baby for a while or long time.

    Getting baby in lap may feel the pleasure for many times. I love to get baby lap whenever I see anywhere. I haven’t feel yet to carry a children is burden.

    When kids are about 1 to 2, it is too easy to carry but after 3 we should learn to walk them by taking their finger.

    Thanks for sharing such interesting article.
    – Ravi.

    1. Yes Ravi, when my youngest hot the age of three I encouraged her to walk. She would steadfastly refuse to walk when I was taking her sister to school, insisting I carry her. She had a few tantrums but eventually learned she must walk! Thank you for commenting and please do visit my blog again.

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