• Nice Things Now


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August 30, 2004

Sitting Around

Tonight I did something I hadn't done in more than ten years. I spent several hours with someone who couldn't wipe his own butt.

This evening I babysat this little guy for my coworker. You may remember him from here and here. He's almost nine months old now and quite an accomplished young man. He knows how to smile and wave and kneel and stand and scream bloody murder in five different languages.

For the first half of the evening, he was a prince. We went on a walk through the neighborhood and down the little main street and he waved like British royalty at all the flowers, and everyone we passed smiled at us. We even took a little detour to surprise Ethan at his apartment, and let me tell you, the look of abject horror on his face at my showing up unannounced, babe in arms, was priceless (tee hee!).

After our stroll, we went back to the house and took a bath, which was an absolute riot. Now, I've always considered myself someone who enjoys a bath to its fullest, but this kid really knows how to have a good time. There were big floaty duckies and little floaty duckies and floppy flat fish that stuck on the side of the tub and a whale that spit water and lots and lots of boisterous splashing and wriggling. He was having so much fun, in fact, that once taken out of the bath, it was as if some hateful yellow-haired she-monster had stolen the sun from the sky and made the world go dark and cold, never to be joyful again. This is where the screaming and thrashing begins.

There was screaming and thrashing while we put a fresh diaper on, screaming and thrashing while we got into the frog jammies, screaming and thrashing during bedtime bottle, screaming and thrashing in the rocking chair, screaming and thrashing during the dancing and singing, during the stories, during the lay-on-the-bed-and-snuggle-to-sleep technique that finally, eventually, at long last, praise be to Jesus worked. The only time there was neither screaming nor thrashing was when his mommy held him, which she did every twenty minutes since she was there the whole time trying to work in the next room.

We figured part of his fussiness was based on the fact that he could hear mommy nearby typing and talking on the phone and shuffling papers, which meant she wasn't holding him or feeding him or teaching him wonderful things like where his nose is. All of these perfectly acceptable reasons to be upset when you're only nine months old, I think. It sucks, though, to have a baby be so obviously displeased with you in front of others, even though I should be used to it; babies hate me, remember?

Eventually, though, as we rested on the bed and snuggled with a binky, the thrashing subsided and the screaming turned to noncommittal moaning, which then turned to suckling gurgles and contented humming. And then I got to enjoy the sweet soft face of a sleeping baby fresh from the bath and the radiant silence that echoes and swells in the absence of the wailing, and I thought, gee, this is nice. Especially since I get to go home now and I don't have to do this tomorrow.


Yeah, hearing momma in the next room probably caused most of the trouble. Kind of like the dog groomer doesn't want you to wait for your dog because she can SMELL you several rooms away and will get antsy.

It sounds like you did a great job, though. With the Cutlet, I usually let him play and when he's not looking I'll drain the water out of the tub. Then he finds out there's nothing to play with and wants out. He's 20 months old, though, and it's a different experience altogether. He's already hitting his "Terrible Two's" phase. Good grief.

Horror. Absolute abject horror.

ha! I loved the last line...

and so true. The absolute BEST thing about other people's children is that... they go home with someone else! AMEN

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