Wednesday, May 04, 2011

It's a good thing they're cute

My oldest baby is 11. It’s been a long time since I changed diapers or thought about a feeding schedule or concerned myself with nap time.  But yesterday, I felt like the clock had been turned back a decade because I had a baby in my house. And honey, I have forgotten how constant baby-watching is.

I spent yesterday caring for three-month-old Aly.  Her mom, my friend, Kate, had a few gaps in her childcare schedule and asked me to fill in. “Of course!” I replied. I can take care of a baby; I had three of my own for crying out loud. It’s only one day; it can’t be that hard. Hey, guess what? When you're out of baby-care practice it can be really hard!

Aly got to my house at 7:30. By 9 she and I both had changed shirts twice. Kate told me her little one is a spitter – understatement of the century. By noon the washer was going with Aly outfit #3, and I was on shirt #4. By 3 pm I quit caring that I smelled like spit-up and didn’t bother changing, even though I needed to several more times before Kate picked up dear Aly at 5:15 pm.

Sweater #2
Besides the spit-up, I’d also forgotten about the days when babies don’t want to nap. And yesterday was that kind of day for Aly. She slept for almost an hour after her first feeding, but after the second she had no use for the pack-n-play and she let me know it. I’d wait five minutes, then check on her. I must have been in that room ten times, burping, cleaning spit-up, praying she’d go to sleep. After six visits, I got her up and said, “We are going for a drive.” I put Aly in the backseat with Rebecca, who became my look-out. “Is she sleeping? Are you sure? Check again.”

She finally did fall asleep, and I thought, since things were going so smoothly, I’d run into the grocery store. Because it’s so easy to grocery shop with an infant. Just as I managed to get the car seat out of my car and safely latched into the shopping cart it dawned on me that it was time for Aly to eat again. No problem, I thought. In a stroke of babysitting genius, I'd brought the bottle; I’ll feed her in the car seat. Only problem was I’d only brought the bottle and not the nipple. (As an aside, this is absolutely the only context the word nipple can be used in polite conversation. And even here it feels iffy to me...)

My little temporary bundle of joy
I needed something for dinner, and I needed to go to the bathroom like nobody’s business, so I decided Rebecca, Aly and I would run into Meijer super-fast, pick up something in the front of the store and get out as quickly as possible. Aly was a great trouper – thankfully she slept as I raced through the produce section, throwing salad and rolls and a rotisserie chicken in my basket.

We got home, got her fed, got her diaper and clothes changed (yes, again) and by that time, her mom was there to pick her up.  I looked around my house and realized I had done nothing – nothing – all day long. The clothes I’d intended to fold were still in the basket. The notes that needed to be sent were still on the table. Dinner was still in the trunk of my car. It is amazing how a 15 pound bundle of joy can alter the course of a day.

And yet, as I tucked Rebecca in tonight, she said she wished she’d gotten to hold Aly more. And I realized the day really did fly by, and I enjoyed having a baby around the house again. Not enough to actually have another one, mind you, but enough to be glad Aly’s coming back in a few weeks. But next time she’s here, I’m not even going to bother to shower first.