Like a sack of baby potatoes


I never thought parenthood would be so . . . physical.

Back in my pre-baby days, I only ever pictured myself cuddling a newborn. My chief concern revolved around babies’ floppy necks; I mean, aren’t they tiny and breakable? I was only imagining sunny afternoons curled up in our squishy couch or the whish, whish, whish of a rocker. Featherweight and lovely.

Oliver’s small size at birth — 3 pounds, 9 ounces — aligned perfectly with that fantasy. He fit in Spencer’s hand.

And then, quite thankfully, he grew. At almost 9 months old, our preemie now tips the scales at 23 pounds, 2 ounces. He’s wearing 18-month clothes. An adult-sized Santa hat recently fit on his noggin.

This kid is heavy. A warn anyone who swoops in to lift with their legs sort of heavy.

Baby chub aside, parenthood is physical in so many other ways. There are the practical demands of picking up and unloading a stroller, a car seat, the pack-and-play dutifully carted to others’ homes for a visit. If you’re bringing the baby to the car already strapped into said car seat, you’re lugging more than 25 pounds in one (formerly weak) arm.

Plus your purse. And lunch bag. His bottle bag, and maybe a diaper bag. And the Amazon package you have to return, an extra pair of shoes for running errands after work, your recyclable grocery sacks . . .

I’m tired just typing all of that.

Eh, I’m tired all the time.

I make two trips to the car before work every morning. When the temperature dipped below 20 degrees last week (don’t worry — we were back into the 60s yesterday! Yay, weirdo Maryland!), I sprinted out to my car twice to get it warming up with approximately half of my house loaded in my arms.

Then I had to go back for the baby.

When I do manage to keep a grip on Oliver, he’s learned to slap. He loves the sound his palms make when connecting with human skin, so I deal with his swats and hits and slaps — literal slaps — when we’re doing fun things like walking downstairs. Slipping down the steps while holding a baby is a major (and rational, for once!) fear of mine, so it’s natural that Ollie would add another element of danger. Just to keep things interesting.

He’s also a little furnace. The exertion of carrying him combined with his natural warmth makes me feel overheated in the coldest breeze. Even now, in winter, I wear tank tops at home because I am sweating about 90 percent of the time. Holding Ollie is like wrestling an alligator — especially now that he suddenly has his own opinions. And prefers to be free of my tender grasp.

My man wants to run.

He’s not even crawling yet — an elusive milestone that bothered me for a while. Preemie parents know the odd mixture of pride at all your baby has already accomplished interspersed with sadness because he’s not on the “normal” full-term timeline in baby apps and parenting books.

But then I picture the sweet, exhausting day when I’ll have to chase my son and haul his baby butt up and down three sets of stairs.

And the house looked so beautiful when we bought it.

It won’t be long. The baby wheels are churning, churning, and he’s gone from rolling over occasionally to literally leaping from our arms and trying to walk — or, more accurately, jog — around the living room.

He’s going to be a wily one.

Good thing I’ve now got serious muscles.

18 thoughts on “Like a sack of baby potatoes

  1. My daughter is 3 months old and 16 lbs, and I too struggle with the weight of her and all the baby stuff. I just wanted to far thanks for your posts this past year. I’ve appreciated the honesty of motherhood as I’ve progressed in my pregnancy and experienced becoming a mom for the first time. Glad to see Ollie doing so well!


  2. Can imagine your Baby Days…Thankfully mine is All Grown Up…but worry not Worries of Being A Parent are Never Ending…But love the way you pen Them…


  3. Hahahahaha. I want to officially welcome you to motherhood. It’s the best life in the world. Think about having twins with an older sister and my god daughter at the Zoo. When I took the twins out of the stroller, one went west and the other went east. Thankfully my god daughter grabbed the one while I ‘hobbled’ along to get the other. Wouldn’t have traded that time for anything. They are 34 years old now. Enjoy that heavy little fella who is so handsome. He’s gonna be looking down at you soon enough and saying, “Mom I gotta get to practice by 5:00 p.m.” and you’ve just put dinner on and it’s 4:45 p.m. Enjoy.

    Oh yes, that heaviness is just all of his sweetness.


  4. Oh, the slapping. Teddy moved past that only to discover the joys of eye gouging and hair pulling for several months, but JUST THIS WEEKEND after much ado about “gentle” he has learned how to give kisses. Weird, wet, open mouthed kisses, but I’ll take that over slapping any day.


  5. So funny to read – I had almost forgotten what it was like at that stage! At least you keep fit without spending way too much cash on gym membership. That running you speak of – it will be here before you know it and then you gain aerobic exercise on top of all the weightlifting as you run after him !


  6. I feel you on the premie milestone thing. My girls have come so far but I just had to fill out a development questionnaire for their pediatrician and there’s so many things that they aren’t doing yet that they should be doing. It’s frustrating and worrisome. I know that premies usually catch up by the end of the first year so I’m trying to be patient! We haven’t gone to the pediatrician yet so I don’t know if it’s really an issue yet, which just means that I’m all spun up about the possibilities of there being an issue… yay, anxiety!


  7. Oh yes, Caleb is also somewhere around the 23-24 pound mark and my back is always killing me! When I’m out shopping with Jerry or my mom, we are constantly having to pass him back and forth because he gets too heavy! Plus all of the “stuff” we have to carry now… yikes. I’m always forgetting something.

    Try not to worry too much about the milestones (though I know how hard it is not to! I worry all the time!). Caleb is turning one next week (!) and has yet to crawl. These babies… they know what they want to do, when they want to do it, and they won’t do it one minute sooner. Sounds like Ollie is getting ready to bust a move though. I think Caleb is too! Good luck to us! Ahh! Haha.


  8. Bless, he’s really coming along in leaps and bounds! Looking forward to seeing how he grows – you should both be so proud of yourselves, he’s a little star 🙂


  9. I always judged my nieces and nephew’s weight by comparing them to a sack of potatoes…or a ream of paper. 🙂 They’re not mine but yes, a physical workout that no one tells you about.


  10. Yes Motherhood is so precious and will build muscles you didn’t even think you had! I have one, a boy he is now 4 and is the joy of my life. His energy is through the roof and he reminds me constantly (non-verbally of course!) that mommy is not as young as she use to be! HA but I am loving every minute of it! Thanks for sharing:-)


  11. I know I will be glad when Shreya outgrows the infant car seat if only because I don’t want to lug that 25+ pound weight about. But yeah, parenting is very physical. Holding the babe and standing while eating dinner or cooking or just because she doesn’t want me to sit. Sigh…


  12. I’m the grandma now, but when I was visiting grandsons when Cam was 20 pounds, I noted that he was 20 pounds of baby and 10 pounds of wiggle. This Christmas, it took me about a week to recover from the grandson visiting. Sore arms, legs, and back.


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