Yes, I Still Carry My 4-Year-Old, And Here’s Why

by Joanna McClanahan
Originally Published: 

Every morning, I carry my 4-year-old son into preschool. The truth is, I still carry him a lot of places.

When he asks to be picked up, I happily oblige. And yes, we get some funny looks. Sometimes comments:

“Looks like you got your hands full.”

“Why are you doing that to your poor mother?”

“I think he’s big enough to walk on his own.”

“Don’t you think you’re spoiling him?”

Granted, he’s over 40 lbs. He looks like he’s as big as a 6- or 7-year-old, so I understand that it might look odd to people.

So why do I carry him? Why don’t I just make him walk?

Because I enjoy it. Honestly I think I carry him more for me than for him. To me, carrying him isn’t a burden; it is a gift. His sweet smell and his head resting on my shoulder. I cuddle him, breathe deeply, and feel completely at ease with him in my arms.

Because he enjoys it. There’s nothing quite like the warm, assuring embrace from a mom that puts a child at ease. If he wants to be comforted and held tightly, why would I deny him that?

Because I know this won’t last much longer. I know my cuddling days are numbered. I appreciate the fact that he’s still at an age where he wants to be held close. I know that it’s only a matter of time before he’s too big to hold. I’m also thankful that he still wants me to carry him, because in the blink of an eye, he’ll decide he’s too old for that.

Because he’s my last baby. As far as I know, this will be my last chance to carry a small child. Yes, I am taking advantage of every opportunity to appreciate his littleness. I’m savoring every moment where he wants to be held close and I’m physically able to do so.

Because it’s my workout. Raising kids is my cardio and carrying my toddler is practically powerlifting. I don’t get to the gym much these days, and sometimes carrying my giant preschooler is the best way for me to burn off those extra carbs.

Because we don’t care what you think. The side-eye and the exasperated sighs don’t bother me. If you were me, and understood the things I understand, I know you’d probably do the same.

And no, I don’t think I’m spoiling him. Giving my child comfort when he needs it isn’t coddling; it’s listening to his needs and helping him in the best way that I can. In just a few short years, he won’t even want to be seen with me, let alone to be swept up and smothered with kisses.

Before I know it, he’ll be a young man who cherishes his independence. But for right now, in this fleeting moment, he’s still my baby boy. And I don’t care if people judge for it, I’m going to carry him as long as I can, and cherish every moment of it.

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