Today I took care of a friend’s six-week-old baby.
It wasn’t that long ago that I had my own tiny baby to care for so I thought it would’t be that big of a deal.
For such a little baby, he sure came equipped with a loaded diaper bag. A few of the items included in the bag were: wipes, hand sanitizer (of course), a digital camera, vitamin drops, clothes and more clothes, baby legs, bags, bags for bags, snacks and candy (for the adult), and no less than a dozen diapers (disposable and cloth). I guess when it’s your first kid it is good to be prepared. As you have more kids things change a bit. For example, last week a friend watched my daughter for me and all I took was a single diaper, no wipes, no cup, nothin’ else.
As I was getting instructions, I was told he “probably” wouldn’t poop because he usually only poops at night. Well, guess what the very first thing he did as his mom walked out the door? He stared at me for a few seconds, did a perfect goat impersonation and then let it rip.
It had also been a while since I’d been spit up on, forgot about that stuff.
And what do 6 week olds do? I couldn’t remember. He seemed to have a routine though, it went something like this- eat, diaper change, sleep, then repeat. That’s all he needed. Sounds so simple right? Then you remember that a tiny baby needs all of your focus and attention, all the time. Where does a tiny baby sleep? In your arms, or in a baby carrier attached to you. How had I forgotten all this?
I was doing just fine taking care of the baby, but what made it a challenge was I had two kids of my own to manage as well. I had a plan worked out in my head. If I put my own baby down for a nap and turned on Sesame Street for my son I would have everything under control. Since my kids were playing so well, I decided to skip the plan and let everyone roam free. Big mistake.
My kids behavior slowly started to deteriorate. They saw I was occupied and started to test the outer limits. Remember that feeling when you were in school and some other kid was taking up all the teachers attention and you could pretty much do whatever you wanted, that’s what was going on here. My son started climbing in and jumping out of the high chair, something he has never done before. Next, he and his sister started pulling all the books off the bookshelf. After that, they dragged out toy after toy, dumping out hundreds of pieces everywhere.
I was helpless against this. There’s only so much you can do and so fast you can move with a baby strapped to your chest.
Eventually things calmed down, I did put my daughter to bed and turn on Sesame Street for my son. The last couple of hours we hung out were peaceful and a lot of fun.
So when I signed up for this gig had I forgotten about how much attention a little one takes? Maybe a little.
But I would do it again in a heartbeat.