Can I see a show of hands for everyone with little kids? I was thinking about you all this week as I was asked to babysit an actual baby.
Who knows the song by the Byrds, to which the lyrics are “To everything turn, turn, turn/ There is a season turn, turn, turn.” That is also from the Bible – but adding the “turn, turn” makes it catchy. There is also a time that is not mentioned and that is to not remember what to do with a baby, turn, turn, turn.
I remember being a good mom; what I mean is, I was a fantastic mother! I loved having babies, so cuddly and sweet. Those babies are now 17, 15, 11, and 9, slightly less cuddly, and sweet only on occasion. I don’t spend a lot of time with babies, I don’t go to playgroups anymore, we don’t grab Starbucks. I do have one very good friend who has little ones. They come over for dinner, we all get a sweet little kid fix and off they go. Sort of like grandparents – but not as old.
This week my friend asked me to watch her baby. I would do anything for this girl, so I said “ Sure, no problem!” I mean, the baby is a one year old, not a tiny baby; it would be fun, right?
They showed up promptly at 7:30, before I had coffee, and she gave me instructions that seemed vaguely familiar: bottle, nap, pacifier – and in a flash, my friend was gone. It was just the baby, me, and the laundry I thought I would fold while we hung out.
That is when I remembered this baby deal is time-consuming; I had to be with her the whole time. Looking back, I could have taken her from room to room but for some reason (I blame the lack of coffee), we stayed in the living room. We talked about the Christmas tree, the dog, the throw pillows, all while stopping her from pulling the tree and the dog. I taught her “more” in sign language (did I mention she is a genius?). It was a great time – until it wasn’t. She cried, I bounced; she cried, I tried the bottle. Then I remembered the DIAPER, check the diaper! It was poo, you knew it had to be. I handled that like a newbie, way too many wipes, and I am sure I took twice as long as her mom would have. We moved on to playing music; I danced and sang like a goofball so she would laugh. She did finally take her bottle – right as her mom came back.
After she left I was exhausted, still had laundry to fold, and thought about all of you out there. Those with babies plus little kids being on duty 24 hours, many of you with spouses deployed. My heart goes out to you. I sort of remember those days, though it is a little bit of a blur. I want you all to know that, as hard as it can get with little people on you all day with no break, they grow. In no time you will be the mom who no longer meets friends at playgroups, but at coffee shops, and when asked to babysit may forget to check the diaper of a crying baby.
Raising kids of all ages has its challenges, but enjoying where they are in this moment is key. Go to the store and see a teenager roll their eyes and say something under their breath then hug your little ones. Kiss them and be thankful for little arms around your neck. It goes by so fast.
I will talk about the joys of teenagers in a later post. My 15 year old just read this and “insists” on it. I think I saw her roll her eyes while she said that…
*No children were harmed in the research for this blog post.