It’s Not All Mary Poppins

And an ‘Amen’, too

Josh, as you know, is a heavy little bruiser. Solid as a rock. Weighs a ton, and lifts like a ton.

Which is heavier, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?

Neither, obviously. They’re both the same: One Pound. A pound is a pound is a pound. Physics, and your kitchen scale, are clear on that.

Except… There’s physics, there’s fact, then there’s experienced reality. There are kids who just lift easier than others, you know? Of course you do. It’s the weirdest thing. The number on the scale might say the same thing. They’re both 25 pounds, yet Child A surges up into your arms, whereas Child B drags on your lower back like a bucket of sludge. We’ve all experienced that.

What’s with that?

Josh is a charmer. Largely cheerful, with a wide, square face most often wreathed with a big, wide smile. Josh weighs over 30 pounds. And Josh?

Lifts like a bucket of sludge. Every time I pick up that kid, I feel that “Ooof!” of effort. My back feels the strain. My arms start to quiver. Josh is 13 months old, he weighs 33 pounds and he


Reasonable enough. Thirteen months is not too late to be still crawling. He is not delayed in any way.

But he is heavy. Damned heavy. Crushingly heavy. Thank GOD he’s not a needy little clinger who wants to be carried all the time. I’d be in hospital in traction if I’d had to carry that lump for more than a few minutes each day over the past month. Lordy.

Still, a non-walker needs to be carried a certain percentage of each day. It’s unavoidable. And every time I pick that child up, “oof!” goes my lower back. (I know how to lift, too. No bent-at-the-middle swoops into the air for poor, deprived, bucket-of-sludge Josh. This kid gets the proper, back-straight, lift-from-the-thighs hoist, most often accomplished by a pretty neat arm curl. My back is going “oof”, but I’m developing great biceps.)

So you will understand my reaction when Emma, who was in the kitchen, called out to me in the front hall, getting kids ready to go out. I looked down the hall and saw Josh’s shadow in the kitchen door, though I couldn’t see him.

“Hey, mum! Look at this!”

And Josh rounds the corner.


The boy has achieved bipedal!!!

He was WALKING!!!

I looked, I laughed, I punched the air with both fists, and I shouted out an exuberant and utterly grateful,


Have you ever wondered why your kids always pick up swear words, far quicker than they pick up PG vocabulary? It’s because anything said with sufficient emotional fervor, something shoots out of mummy or daddy’s mouth with some force, that catches their attention. It makes an impact.

I just did that. (And I wasn’t even swearing! Which I never, ever do in front of the daycare, nuh-uh.)

I don’t think any of the daycare tots had heard that word before.

Poppy grabbed it first.


And I laugh. Of course. So then everyone else grabs it, too. “Halleljah!” “Hah-la-loo-lie!” “Hoe-la-loo-lah!”

It was a revival meeting, right there in my front hall.

Thing is, the kids know what provoked it. So every time Josh staggers by upright, he leaves a trail of “HALLELUJAH!”s in his wake.


At the end of the day, Poppy was the last to be collected. I was chatting with her mother (a favourite of mine amongst the daycare parents) about the day, and happened to mention Josh’s new skill. As I described seeing him lurch through the kitchen door, Poppy, who had been industriously snarling my shoelaces into a rich tangle of mayhem, stood up, threw both hands into the air, and shouted



Josh is upright, and the whole house celebrates, world without end.

Hallelujah and Amen


November 8, 2012 - Posted by | Developmental stuff, Joshua, Poppy | , ,


  1. I’ve got two non-walkers – 12 months (20lbs) and 10 months (22lbs) – and I know exactly what you mean about physics. The older one is much, much easier to carry; she hangs on neatly like a baby orangutan, taking some of the load herself and leaning comfortably. Whereas my own bruiser baby just kind of hangs there like a 22lb sack of potatoes. OW MAH BACK.

    She’s taken a few tentative steps, and he’s working on solo standing. Really hoping that they are both walking soon.

    Comment by Hannah | November 9, 2012 | Reply

  2. What a fantastic story!

    Comment by myrheille | November 9, 2012 | Reply

  3. Hahaha! Love it!

    My one-year-old is a bucket of sludge, too. He’s only 22lbs, and he walks quite well, but he’s clingy… and he just feels soooo heeeeeavy.

    Comment by rosie_kate | November 9, 2012 | Reply

  4. Glo-Worm, at 16 months, is still not walking – and she lifts like that, too. My back would groan and my arms would ache, and she was a needy little clinger – she wanted to be held all day. Every day. She’d scream and cry when she wasn’t held. Ugh. Now she’s at least trying to learn to walk and wants to hold your hand more than be held, thank God – hallelujah indeed! It’s hard when they just hang on you like a sack of wet flour. She only weighs 20 lbs, but damn if it doesn’t feel like 50!

    Comment by torontonanny | November 9, 2012 | Reply

  5. Both my girls were/are slung babies – we’ve never had a pushchair, and wow, you really notice the difference between a baby who is regularly slung (in a proper sling – like your ergo or a wrap rather than a crotch dangler) and one who isn’t. Slung babies *know* how to be carried – they know that it’s a two-way street and they help you. At first I wondered if it was just my babies – did my relationship with them somehow have an effect on how much they snuggled in and co-operated? But no, I’ve picked up a lot of babies, some regularly slung, others not, and the slung ones genuinely know how to be carried. I can pick up and carry my nearly 4yr old (for fun/injuries – she doesn’t regularly need it!) far more easily than some 1 yr olds.

    Comment by Angie | November 10, 2012 | Reply

  6. I know what you mean about the weight thing. I think the illusion is based on density. Dense things feel heavier to us than non-dense things, because our brains measure weight by the square inch or something!

    Comment by IfByYes | November 11, 2012 | Reply

  7. just because I beg to differ – my second was a sling baby and she is not heavy, in fact, for her age she is a light weight. But but but. She does not know how to help at all. She is clingy, needy and still at 26 months and 22 pounds does not know how to wrap around my hip to make my life easier. It’s ok though, she’s slowly getting a slightly better walker. I’ll be shouting Halleluja when she’s reducing her clinginess, which often translates to me carrying her.

    Comment by cartside | November 12, 2012 | Reply

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