There are moments — not often, but sometimes — when nostalgia decides to creep up on me and I get a rare case of baby fever.
I will look at my nieces and nephews and think, “Oh golly gosh, [I think in terms of a 1950s housewife] a little teensy tiny baby would be so nice to have to cuddle and hold. I want a baby.”
It was a few months ago and I was going through one of these said baby fever moments. Each time I laid eyes upon a cooing little bundle of drool, I would almost immediately melt into a state of pure and utter uterine yearning.
So when my sister in law, Ashley, asked me to watch six-month-old Jackson for the evening, I was thrilled.
I envisioned a night of baby cuddles on the couch, complete with patty cake and the belly laughs. Oh how it would be a glorious time!
I smiled at myself knowingly as I rushed past the front hall mirror just minutes before the kid was due to be dropped off. I had prepared everything. The kids were tucked neatly in my room watching a movie. The play pen was moved into the living room where Jackson and I would be camped out for the night. And I had mentally prepared myself for a night with baby.
“Man I am an amazing auntie!” I thought to myself.
The parents left quickly after dropping the babe off. That was mainly because I was ushering them out the door because I surely didn’t need them infringing on me and my nephew’s super cool and fun night.
When 7:30 rolled around, I prepared the child’s bottle. I did just as his mother instructed and even held him in the suggested position. He did not enjoy suggestion position. He hated suggested position. The screaming commenced.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m used to screaming — Sophie’s got a set of lungs on her that’s hard to compare. But nothing is quite like the anguished screams of a baby. I was beginning to get nervous.
“What if he never shuts up? What if I broke the kid or something?” I thought to myself.
Soon after, the panic set in.
What if I somehow, some way I had got spicy chili spice from the salsa I was making earlier on the nipple of his bottle and his mouth was currently burning up?
This is seriously what I was thinking as I madly scrubbed the nipple of the bottle under scalding hot water while the babe cried in the background. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
It turned out it wasn’t the nipple. So I began to rock him gently in my arms. This was about the time that the delirium kicked in. For some God awful reason I decided that the poem The Cremation of Sam McGee would more than likely lull the six-month-old to sleep so I began. …
“There are strange things done in the midnight sun. …” Although I swapped my usual eerie recital voice for a happy sing-song melody as I rehearsed the verse to the boy.
It didn’t work; it only made him scream louder.
So there I am — rocking, half singing, half crying nonsensical gibberish to the child whilst he reciprocates by screaming nonsensical gibberish back at me. We were a pair, I tell you!
I decided to try a different approach, seeing as how my arms were beginning to turn to mush and the fear that I would drop the kid was growing. I laid on the couch sprawling him over my torso and turning the tube on for background noise.
A flashback came to me of when Lars was small and how if I was uptight and nervous, he would never go to sleep with me. So I tried my damndest to calm down.
Low and behold it worked!
As I calmed myself down, so did the babe! His eyes became unbearably droopy and before long he was drifting off to wherever kids go when they fall asleep.
I was readying myself to move the lump of cuteness to his crib when I heard it. My heart dropped and then rose again as its palpitations came on fast and furious.
The sound of small footsteps running towards me, little voices shrieking closer — the children! I had forgotten about the children! And they were on the move, heading straight towards the finally sleeping babe. I wanted to yell and tell them to SHUT IT. But I didn’t want to startle the snoozing baby.
So instead I let it happen, hoping I could give them ‘the look’ before they woke him up.
But before I knew it, Jackson was screaming, Lars and Soph were screaming and I was remembering all too fondly why two kids are good enough for me!
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.