Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Steady Mum: Baby improved balance

The Little Man and I went out for lunch together last week. Nothing too fancy, we were just suffering from a little bit of cabin fever and decided to cycle to the nearby shopping center to grab something at the food court. On these occasions, I tend to get food which I can share with The Little Man, so no fast food or spicy stuff. We settled on some Vietnamese beef noodle soup.

After paying the guy at the counter he asked if I needed any help with the tray. I said I should be alright and picked up the tray. He shook his head and said "Mothers are amazing." I smiled back at him but in my head I was thinking "Well DUH.... that's obvious, what's your point?"

It was only when I got to the table to unload everything that I realized that I was carrying:
  • my backpack
  • a shopping bag with a bunch of bananas
  • one adult and one child bike helmet
  • one toddler
  • my wallet in my mouth
  • a tray with a steaming bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup
Fortunately, we all arrived at the table safety, and I finally realized the meaning of the guy's comment. The realization surprised me because I am usually the most uncoordinated person ever. 

At work I have the unfortunate reputation of being the person who's managed to severely twist her ankle, while walking out of a restaurant after a work dinner, while wearing flat shoes, and being the only person in the group who hadn't had any alcohol. Since then, whenever I go to dinner with one colleague and decline a glass of wine, he'll say..."Now now you know what happens when you don't drink." 

I've also been known to trip on completely flat surfaces, and drop things when I'm carrying more than one item in each hand. My excuse for my clumsiness is that I'm quite a tall (1.75m), could stand to lose a kg or 10, and I wear a size 7.5-8 AUS shoe. In short...heavy weight balancing on small base.

It was so bad that before The Little Man was born I seriously worried about how I'd get through the next couple of years without tripping or dropping the baby while carrying him. I hadn't noticed until now that in 17 months of being a mother, I have not yet dropped the baby (Yay me!)

Before all of you who know me cry foul and bring up "unfortunate events", my last comment does not include incidents when the baby has fallen off things like furniture or garden walls ...etc.

So here I was thinking .. "Hey, you know what, maybe motherhood has cured me of my clumsiness and I may have achieved effective equilibrium." Until two days later on one of my rare days off (The Little Man was in Daycare), and I could run around to get errands done like going to the post-office, dentist, get my phone fixed, etc. First, I tripped over my bike stand when wheeling my bicycle out of the garage. Then, I dropped my card when paying the dentist, and dropped my phone when picking up the card, then dropped my helmet while trying to pick up the card and phone. I wondered how I could possibly think I had better balance now given this evidence and that I still regularly stumble and lose balance (especially when stopping my bike at traffic lights). There was that major bike crash I had just before Christmas (mentioned in Product Review: The Yepp Mini). And I still had a bruise from tripping over the exercise ball the week before.

Then it struck me that I'm somehow able to balance better when I'm carrying the baby. I've had any number of obstacles in my path (mostly The Little Man's toys) and tripped but never fallen when carrying the baby. I've done grocery shopping and traveled alone with The Little Man, with multiple pieces of luggage and managed. So maybe just carrying the baby improves my balance. 

Not satisfied with anecdotal evidence, especially from my sample size of 1, I've spent a couple of evenings doing some research and cannot find if anyone has done any studies about how people shift their weight when carrying children. And if this leads to better stability and equilibrium. But alas, I cannot find anything other than baby wearing sites claiming that it improves the wearer's posture and balance (with no references!!)

Has anyone experienced better balance when carrying your kids? Do you know any research to support this? Or should I start bubble wrapping The Little Man because, given his mother's history, we're overdue for a tumble?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I had initially thought it would be about balance of lifestyle when I read the title, not literal physical balance! LOL Also a very interesting idea for research. Should I ever come across anything I'll let you know ;)