One of the cool things about “nonemployment” is that I have very flexible schedule of commitments. This leaves me available to substitute teach or babysit or petsit on short notice. My sister’s full-time child care provider had a sudden family health care issue arise, so it became an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to cover child care for my 7 month old nephew. Dad has recently retired, so both he and I flew up to CT this weekend to be with my sister’s family and “pinch hit” in the baby-care and household gaps.
Dad and I arrived yesterday, and going through “Baby-Boot-Camp” style instruction in diapering, feeding, naps, bathing, changing clothes, playing baby games, singing songs and reading stories. My last intensive baby-care experience was my youngest brother (I was nine when he was born; truly, he was the best doll ever). Though I have baby-sat for babies and toddlers more recently, but only for a few hours at a stretch. We’re getting better at the “What do you want?” game, which includes going through a checklist of hungry? tired? wet/poopy diaper? overstimulated? cold?, along with looking for subtle cues indicating which of the above is most likely.
It has also been a lovely bonding experience for the few hours my sister and I have spent together, especially when we remember shared things from our own childhoods (For example, being able to recite the complete text of various Sandra Boynton board books by heart.)
Last night, my sister and her husband bundled up the baby and took us all out for dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday. (Though she maintained that our arrival from Kansas was the best present.) I learned about snapping the baby carrier into the car seat base (magical!) which also snaps into the stroller (amazing!) My nephew slept for the first part, but after he woke up, the rest of us took turns holding him so we all could eat our food in shifts. The baby is very social and excelled at making goo-goo faces at the adoring crowds in the restaurant.
Coming back from the restaurant, I figured out how to unsnap the carseat from the base, and to maneuver it out of the backseat (without unbuckling the baby-burrito that is my nephew). I brought the carseat, baby included, through the garage into the house.
“Where can I put this down?” I asked my sister. My sister replied, “Oh, you can set it down over there in the corner.” There was about a 3-second pause before my sister and I quoted in unison, “Nobody puts baby in the corner!” and started giggling. Sisters are the best!