For the first time in YEARS, I baby-sat last weekend. Two girlfriends and I baby-sat for my friends Kat and Stefan’s 5-month-old, Teddy, so they could go out and have a nice dinner with friends.
Yes, that’s right, THREE of us joined forces to watch ONE not-yet-mobile infant. And let me just say, I felt like we were all absolutely necessary.
I’m not very comfortable with babies. I think they’re “precious,” but I’m rarely chomping at the bit to hold one, mostly because I don’t feel like I know how to do it properly. I don’t feel like a natural. I baby-sat a lot in my middle and high school days, but rarely did I actually take care of an infant.
But we wanted to do this for our friends and figured especially with 3 of us, we’d figure it out. It also would be nice for Teddy to get to know me, and not burst into tears at my laughter (keep reading).
You’d think it’d be the easier thing, caring for a baby that isn’t really on the move yet and mostly just eats, poops and sleeps. But here’s the thing: You can’t communicate with them very well. You don’t know what they want. They communicate either by smiling, cooing or SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER.
Here’s a face I’d like to avoid.
My friends Karyn and Emily seem to be better with babies than I am — though on the way home we realized that we all had no idea what we were doing and thought the others knew better, so that was funny. We’re all sensible, professional 30-somethings, so you know, 3 heads has to equal at least half of one. In theory.
Before Teddy’s parents even left, he had an outburst in response to my cackling hyena laugh. I guess he didn’t care for it- who knew?
AKA, not a cackle-laugh. Got it.
So we weren’t exactly bonding from the get-go. I gave him some space and then tried again with a toy a few minutes later. He instantly began crying.
He hates me! I thought, panicked. I have FAILED.
Thankfully, that was only temporary. In fact, as the evening wore on, he would randomly get fussy no matter who was holding him. 1. Because he’s a baby, duh, but 2. I think he realized he had some choices here, and when there are 3 chicks, why just settle for one the whole time when you can change it up?
But I digress. It warmed my heart that he seemed to really take to the “baby shower” mix I’d made for Kat and Stefan’s shower last summer. Since Stefan is a musician himself, they play music a lot, so it makes sense he would find that soothing. I’m glad I had it saved on my phone.
That only lasted so long though. As one of us was holding him, another would be trying to get our dinner together that we’d brought or search for a new bib or spit up rag since he was going through them pretty quickly. Props to parents, especially single ones, because I honestly felt like it was very hectic even with 3 of us! We ate in shifts and he was fed, but only took about 3/4 of the bottle.
At one point, Karyn offered to give me money for the pizza I’d brought, which I parlayed into her having to change the diaper. Genius, right?!
Then Teddy got reallllllly fussy. Like the baby in the first photo above, Teddy’s lip would begin trembling in a very dramatic fashion, and you knew the tears were coming. We were able to stave them off a couple times, but eventually, he just let loose. It was his bedtime, so we figured he was tired, but he was wailing. Nothing that previously had worked was working — the music, my stupid “Wisconsin milk” song with his toy cow, “flying” in the air, the rocking chair, nada. I feared he had realized his parents had abandoned him with these 3 inept imposter women — one with a god-awful cackling laugh — and he was over it.
Then I remembered the bottle he hadn’t finished. Thank goodness he took it and conked out almost immediately. Then he slept, and the rest of the night was a breeze. When they got home, the 3 of us were playing cards, chill as can be.
They say you just do it, you figure it out. But judging that I was that panicked with two sidekicks… I’m not so sure about myself. Again, props to y’all with the little ones.
I can’t even control my cat.
However, if this tale has somehow SOLD you that I’m a fantastic sitter (can you read?), I am available! For the nominal fee of wine — Kat set that bar pretty high.