Weight training, family travel style

Little R, (well) before the body bench press.

Little R, (well) before the body bench press.

There are a lot of benefits to traveling with family for the holidays. Enabling your kids to build bonds with cousins is a big one. Watching them engage in extended family traditions is another (even if you, like I, are NOT a fan of The Sound of Music).

Another benefit: Building muscle mass by carrying sleeping kids like potato sacks.

I’m not talking about lugging all the crap (though I have written about that before). Instead, I’m talking about actually carrying the kids AFTER THEY HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP. If you’re a mom or dad, you know what I mean here—the end-of-night ritual where you have to pick up your sleeping child, somehow grapple with the kid’s apparent bonelessness as you toss him or her over your shoulders, and stumble out to the car, only to do it all again when you get back to the hotel (or wherever else you’re staying).

I’ve done with at least one child this every holiday now for the last five. And let me tell you—as the kids get older and bigger and heavier, it schlepping them around at midnight never ever gets easier.

The first challenge: They weigh a lot. At L’s last checkup, she clocked in at just under 50 pounds—no small potatoes, even for a bruiser like myself (that was a joke, people). The second challenge: Temporary blindness. When you’re carrying a child across your upper body, you can’t really see. This means you need to be extra-specially careful navigating stairs and corners.

Of course the third and final challenge is simply keeping the child asleep, knowing full well that if you wake up the little Mister or Miss, all hell will break loose and you’ll spend the next hour of your holiday struggling to get the kid back to dreamland.

I’d like to sit here and tell you I’ve got all sorts of tips for doing this easily. The problem: I don’t. My advice on this subject is especially typical. Bend at the knees, use your body to support the child, don’t make loud noises. If you’ve got input to share, please do so in the comment field below. If not, rest assured that I’ve been working out quite a bit these last few weeks, and I should be ready to bench press a small 13-year-old by the time Kwanzaa is done.

What are your tips for carrying a sleeping kid after a long holiday with family?

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