Tonight I agreed to babysit the nephew. This is an activity met with great trepidation because babies and I, we don’t mix well. Josh is adorable and everything but I don’t get to see him that often and, at 9 1/2 months, he doesn’t have a clue who I am. So I was scared.

Kari was supposed to pick me up from work at 6:30 and she is usually quite punctual so at 6:33, I was rushing outside to wait for her. Walked outside with Beth and then she ran off to pick up her lunch. And I waited, paging through a Scrapbook Etc. magazine. And then Beth was back and there was no Kari at 7:15. So I went back inside to find 3 messages waiting for me from Eric and Kari. Apparently Kari was lost. So I sat by my phone and waited some more.

At about 8:00, there’s another phone call. This one is from Kari and she’s downstairs at the guard’s desk. The reservation is for 8:30. So we get in the car and Josh starts crying. Little tears at first, just observations that he is bored because he’s been in the car forever. Kari orders me to sing.

You would think that with all the times I spend at karaoke, I would remember all the words to Change The World, right? No. Not a clue. And this kid, he knows when you start making stuff up. He appreciated Nobody but then started in with the criticism when I hit the chorus the 2nd time. Kari and I did the medley of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star/The Alphabet Song/I’m A Little Teapot. I tried Pink Houses, If You Could Read My Mind, This Diamond Ring, Mocking Bird. Nothing worked. At this point, he was sobbing pretty hard and Kari was frantically looking for a grocery store.

We found a Cub and Kari ran in, leaving me with the child. And the child screamed. And the child made a big noise. And I sang desperately, running through song after song. There was Jesus Loves Me and This Little Light Of Mine and Amazing Grace. There was The Star Spangled Banner. There was the weeping and gnashing of teeth (he has four now) when Kari ran out because she had left her wallet in the car.

But then the Mom returned and the nephew was pleased. And the child partook of an Arrowroot cookie. And the child had formula. And the child used the sippy cup the Mom bought in an act of desperation. And I got to sit in the back seat and make sure that the nephew did not choke on the cookies.

And then, something happened. The child smiled at me. And I was filled with love and adoration. The child babbled and said “Da da da” and “Lamoosneusza” which obviously is a sign that he is a genius. And I was filled with longing for a small child of my own. The nephew patted me on the arm and laughed at me. And I was moved by the welling of maternal instinct. And I was terrified. But fortunately, the child then started shaking the sippy cup all over and formula struck me in the face and I came to my senses. And I saw the lovely mixture of cookie and baby drool all over my arm.

Kari never made it to dinner. I fed the child a disgusting thing called Vegetable Beef baby food that was orange and frightening. And there was the wrestling for the bowl because Josh wanted to play with it more than he wanted to eat. And, I am ashamed to admit, he won the wrestling match briefly. And then I was smeared with orange goop.

We ordered pizza and I was left alone with the child for approximately 20 minutes while Kari picked it up. And the child did not explode, set himself on fire or cry excessively for the Mom. I feel quite pleased with myself. I’m still waiting for him to be six and reading Shakespeare but there are moments when I look at him and I think I understand why people become parents voluntarily. These small things, they’re really kind of cute.

Previous comments

At 9:04 PM, DeAnn said…

I’m laughing because you think that he will be reading Shakespeare at 6!! I know many many kids, even brilliant ones, and none of them are big on Shakespeare at age 6. Just a warning.

At 10:58 PM, CarpeDM said…

What? He won’t be reading Shakespeare? I am shocked and/or stunned by this. Did you not see where he said da da da and Lamoosneusza? This is sheer poetry. Well, if he’s anything like I was, he’ll be reading it in 4th grade. But hopefully he will get his mother’s math skills.