10 Things I Have Learned How to Do With Just One Hand

I can do anything with a baby on my hip!

I remember somewhere around Cullen’s 8th or 9th week, when he finally seemed to have enough head control that he didn’t need me to have both hands on him at all times.  It felt liberating to just gain that one hand back.  Having had it held hostage by a wobbly baby head for 2+ months, I was amazed at how much I could suddenly do again.  But even that could feel pretty limiting at times.  That is, until I passed the new-mom initiation test of learning how to do anything with one hand.

Not to say that mastering certain skills one-handed is necessarily easy, but it’s something you learn to do as you bounce a baby on your hip.  I’m a huge fan of babywearing, and that got me through many of the early months, but these days Cullen isn’t really into being strapped down.

You’re probably thinking, just put him down — you don’t need to carry him everywhere!  And while he crawls and plays most of the time, as anyone with a nine-month-old knows, you can’t just put them down and go about your business.  He is into everything, so if he’s down, he requires attention and monitoring.  And when I really need to get something done — without pulling phone chargers or dog food out of his mouth — he hangs out in my hip.

Here are ten things I’ve learned to do with one hand, while carrying a baby around…

  • Sorting and switching over laundry 1 of 10
    Cullen has a serious fascination with the laundry machines, so if I put him down while I switch laundry over, he tries to climb inside the dryer while I'm tossing clothes around. I usually sit him on my lap and hold on with one arm, while I move clothes in and out with the other!
  • Take a shower 2 of 10
    Next time you take a shower, try putting on hand behind your back and leaving it there the whole time. Squeezing soap onto a loofah? Good luck! Even better, now try doing it with a wiggly, slippery baby in your arms. Occasionally when Cullen isn't feeling so independent, and mom desperately wants a shower, I'll take him in with me. I hold his slippery little body tightly with one arm while I do my best to lather rinse and repeat with the other. It's tricky, but fun.
  • Put on makeup 3 of 10
    Usually I can put Cullen down on the bathroom floor while I'm getting ready, but on those mornings when he won't stop digging in the trashcan or trying to open cabinets, I'm forced to scoop him up. Putting on eyeliner with one hand is a SKILL, I tell ya.
  • Put toothpaste on a toothbrush 4 of 10
    Sounds so simple, but it's tougher than you'd think. Opening the toothpaste, applying the right pressure, turning the sink on -- all things that are generally done with two hands. The upside is that Cullen thinks my electric toothbrush is HILARIOUS!
  • Taking the stroller in and out of the car 5 of 10
    This is probably the one I'm most proud of. Collapsing the BOB, folding it down, and hurling it into the car with one arm is no small feat, and is definitely one of the reasons my arms are looking bulkier than usual. This is necessary when I need to put the stroller away, but we're not actually leaving in the car quite yet. I'm not going to go through wrestling Cullen into his carseat just to pack up, so I make it work with one arm.
  • Locating a pacifier blindly while driving 6 of 10
    This is a skill all moms learn quickly. Concentrating on the road while simultaneously flinging an arm over the back seat, locating a tossed pacifier, and plugging the mouth of a screaming baby.
  • Rinsing dishes and the high chair tray 7 of 10
    If you saw my kitchen today, you'd never know that I could do this, but I DO clean up the kitchen while carting Cullen around quite often. After he's done eating and we're getting ready to head upstairs, I don't like to leave the mess on his tray, so I scrub it down with one hand while bouncing him with the other.
  • Feed the dogs 8 of 10
    This is another one that sounds so simple, but it's probably one of the hardest. Carrying two bowls, bending and scooping food into them, and then carrying them back full is hard enough. But then I need to carefully place each on on the ground with two giant hungry dogs leaping around. I try to always remember to do this when Cullen is in the Jumperoo so that I have to hands free!
  • Making the bed 9 of 10
    Our master bedroom is right at the top of the steps, so I make sure to make our bed every day in order to keep the house looking even remotely together. Cullen is obsessed with eating the phone and baby monitor chargers next to our bed, so he requires constant attention in our room. In order to make the bed, I often have to scoop him up!
  • Prepping baby food and making lunch 10 of 10
    It's hard to cook and prep food with a baby in tow, because you want to make sure they are never close to a knife or open flame. I have mastered the ability to chop fruit with one hand, making sure to keep Cullen turned in the other direction. Usually our fridge magnets are a good enough distraction that I can chop quickly for a few minutes, but occasionally I have to go with the one handed method.

Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs.  You can follow along on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest too!

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