Saturday, September 5, 2009

babysitting

So tonight I do my first stint as babysitter for a nursing 10 day old baby boy and his big sister. You've heard of her: the very precocious and lovely, opinionated and humorous Maggie Claire. The parents are off to a party in the neighborhood. So why is a very experienced grandma and perinatal nurse scared? Because stuff happens when a new baby comes to live with you. Even if you are just visiting for awhile. Maggie will need to go to the bathroom and I will have to "wipe " her while I am holding a squirming infant. Or she will want to eat or have the station changed ( who knows how to do this? ever... ) or go out to play or just act up and out and I will have this little meatball that doesn't want to be put down, no how.

Then he'll want to eat and he's breastfed, so do I call his mommy and ruin her good time or do I go for the bottle? How do you mix that powdered formula anyway? I forget as soon as I don't have to anymore. And how hot is too hot and do you heat it up in the microwave or in some hot water on the counter? Bib? Will he projectile vomit? And when he "poops" do you stop the process and change him or be really heartless and just keep feeding. What about when Maggie says she wants to change him or feed him? Then what? Why DO they cry all the time? What could the matter be? How can we know, when they don't. Is Grippe water really the panacea? How many times can a baby burp?

And remember, these are the admissions of a very experienced mom and grandma, auntie and nurse! Is it any wonder that the hospitals do a great job selling their "How to Burp a Baby" classes and "How to Diaper" and " How to Swaddle" and the list goes on and on. The reality is little babies are easy. If their big sister needs something, just put them down, even if they cry. Not on the couch or the bed. On the floor, if need be. ( keep all pets in the fenced- in yard ). If they are hungry enough, they will eat however you feed them. Better too cold than too hot. Put a drop on your wrist. Change 'em when you can; they really don't know the difference. As long as you are in there, use alot of wipes and get them clean while you can, hopefully before their feet get in the mess. TAKE OFF SOCKS BEFORE YOU START THE PROCESS!! And swaddle them really well and walk around with them until they nod off.

Tell big sister to sit in front of something on Sprout T.V. Or better yet, tell her she can do whatever she wants as long as she stays in her baby-proofed room. Turn on the music and and give her the soup pot ( empty of course ) and some lids and wooden spoons. No crayons on the walls, not on Grandma's watch. When Baby goes down, pull out some ready -to bake cookies and ice cold milk.

No one will ever know how nervous I am. I read Happiest Baby on the Block, for heaven's sake. many times. Is it, shush, swaddle,swing, suck, whatever. And when they come back home, I am always asleep on the couch. Everyone's asleep, including the babysitter. Hope it's true tonight; there's a newborn baby in the house. I am certified in infant CPR and you should be too, if there is a baby coming to live at your house. For the rest of it, you'll figure it out. We all do. One moment at a time. Hope that your evening is as good as mine!