It always surprises me, how quickly I snap back into getting jobs done while looking after a small child. I'm adept at managing to carry a baby while cooking, cleaning and so on, and it is possible to do almost anything one-handed if one tries. When there is a slightly older child, the knack of scurrying about in the few short moments while he or she is busy and not requiring one's full attention soon comes back. However, there was nearly a full hour this afternoon when Zerlina fell asleep on my lap and I could do little except read the bits of the newspaper that were visible without turning broadsheet pages. Little z has officially given up her daytime nap in the past few weeks (her own choice, not her mother's) but I evidently have a deeply restful aura about me.
Later, I managed to cook a roast chicken and a steamed jam sponge pudding and serve it two hours earlier than we normally eat, as well as taking z for a walk, feeding the chickens and giving apples to Big Pinkie.
Pinkie was a naughty girl, by the way - I mentioned a while ago that she'd gone walkabout, and the Sage and Jamie tried several times to tempt her back across the fields. She would follow them for some way, but then simply stop and refuse to come any further. In the end, the farmer had to bring her back in the trailer. She wasn't too thrilled about it, and was quite huffy with Jamie, but seems back to her good-natured self now.
Back to the matter of carrying babies - I think the trick is to keep a straight back. Bending over while carrying a heavy child is a recipe for an injured back. As long as my knees hold out, I should be fine.