Putting our backs into the joyful tasks of parenthood - Susan Morrison

Putting our backs into parenthoodPutting our backs into parenthood
Putting our backs into parenthood
I have a long standing theory that every mum and dad has a dodgy spine, and for the same reason. It’s the brutal use of those parents as a beasts of burden by their own children.

A wander through the Botanics last week proved my point. Scarcely a lad or a lass passed us without a child firmly installed on parental shoulders.

My own aged spine twitched when I saw them. No-one can forget the moment when you lifted your little angel off your shoulder and felt yourself weirdly ‘float’ up.

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It's astonishing how heavy even the tiniest cutie can be after about an hour. And don’t you even think of trying to dismount the little darling before they’re done with their fun.

It’s an epic meltdown to rival trust fund Tasmin on some bloke’s shoulders at Glastonbury. She’s up there until the headliner finishes.

It must be great, though. There you are at last, up in the air, freed from the ground level buggy where all you can see are people's knees.

For the first time you can see the world and explore it with your very own vehicle. If you are smart, and believe me, these kids have calculating brains under those pastel sun hats, you can even control the route.

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My daughter particularly liked to steer me by pulling my hair. My son would drum his heels on the shoulder to indicate course corrections.

I saw both systems in operation at the gardens and one young lady with the novel approach of thumping a dainty fist on one side of her dad's head while shrieking in the other ear.

Things change when they get bigger, of course, and that’s when they usually get carted about on mum or dad’s back.

Some folks call this a piggie-back. We know it as a ‘collie buckie’. A great Scottish term. It's probably a reference to coal men hefting sacks about.

Believe me, a sleeping kid on your back feels exactly like a bag of nutty slack pretty fast.

So, general election time. How about a party promise of free parental massage? Let's save those spines.

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