Last Monday morning our house-helper, Elisa, walked in and the first thing she asked after going through the rounds of greetings was whether she was correct in thinking Pape had reached the three-month mark over the weekend. I confirmed it. She immediately bounced back with, “Good. You can start carrying on him your back today.”


Most women start earlier, like at two weeks old. But the new trend in thinking, promoted by doctors from what I understood, is that at three months the risk of hip displacement is no longer an issue. So you’re safe to tie him or her on and go. Which is what Elisa wanted me to do.

It took a little while to work up my courage because a) it’s been about eight years since I’d done this, b) I’d only done it with babies who were already used to it, c) who wants to look like the silly toubab who can’t do something eight-year-olds across the country can do?


But we did it. Elisa helped hold him back there while I tied two knots in the front and voilà. Pape-on-the-back. He loved it. He tolerated it. He hated it. He liked it again. Elisa says he’ll get used to it soon, and I think he will. He slept back there for a while today. Nonetheless, she’s told me I have to do it several times a day now so he’ll adapt and get to where he loves it all the time, like the good Senegalese kid he is.

Once we’ve mastered it, I’ll post more on the how-tos. For now, we’ve got to get in our afternoon practice session!