It's amazing how much you can do with only one arm, or hand, at any given moment of the day. My daughter has been going through a phase, since birth actually, where she refuses to be put down for a good majority of the day. Since she is almost always occupying one arm I tend to rely heavily on the other. I found out that there are multiple things I am able to accomplish during the day in this manner.
I can vacuum the house. The stairs are a little trickier and tend to require a lot of moving my poor baby around from one hip to the other but it is manageable, My daughter doesn't always appreciate the fact that she is hanging upside down or that she is barely hanging on at all at times but it gets the job done. I can clean the dishes from time to time. Mostly I just rinse and then throw the dirty dishes in the dishwasher but there are times when I spin a bowl round and round in the sink with a sponge until it looks clean enough to get past my husband. Dusting is especially easy with only one free arm. All I have to do is walk around the house and my daughter will reach out her hand and find a spot that needs to get dusted. She points it out, I follow behind with a rag.
Then there is the task of cooking. I am a pretty big wimp so I rarely use a knife while holding my daughter but if I am in a hurry than I will throw everything into the food processor and hope that it will all come out to the consistency I need. Most of the time it becomes mush and my husband asks why we are having soup again. I have started resorting to frozen cut vegetables and canned everything. Other than that, I use my free hand to turn the oven on, throw food into a pot and stir occasionally. It's really a good thing I can't bake because I am not sure I would be able to do that with only one arm.
My favorite thing to do with one arm is to hold my daughter while the other arm does what it has to do to get through the day. Yea, I get tired of carrying her everywhere but I can't imagine it any other way. It's nice to know that she loves me enough to want to be with me all day still because I know that will not last forever. So, even though my biceps ache and I there are days when I feel like I can do nothing else, just know that underneath all that complaining I couldn't be more thrilled to hold my baby in my arms.
Melissa Liipfert is the mother of a wildly active one year old, a playgroup junkie and member of the AtlantaAreaMommies. You can view her blog at: www.lilbitofthat.com.