Archive for September, 2009

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I swear I do more than play with babies

September 21, 2009

But it just so happens that babies often lead to the most ridiculous moments in day.

You remember Sam, Sir Pukes-a-lot of the earlier story?  Well, I decided that a great use of our time together would be to put him in the stroller and jog a winding route to the park.  It takes up time, he’s out of the house and I get exercise. Everybody wins.

Well, I put him in the stroller this week, and it’s not a jogging stroller, but I think, it’s not like I’m going to be doing anything intense here.  I am slow, and we’re just going along the sidewalk. There’s barely any slope to it.  So I start plodding along, and it’s not too hard.  The stroller goes straight, and isn’t too difficult to push.  No problem, I think triumphantly, and pick up the pace a little bit.  We loop around a roundabout, and head down a quiet residential street.  We approach an intersection, and I slow down as I look both ways, then roll down the little sidewalk drive onto the street.  As we reach the other side, I aim the stroller up the little sidewalk ramp. However, I didn’t notice that this one wasn’t quite level with the street.  When we walked pushing the stroller, these tiny sorts of bumps were not an issue, so I assumed that running would be the same case.

Wrong. We hit the bump.  The stroller stops moving. I do not. I crash into the back of the stroller.  The front wheels are stuck on the bump, but the back end tips up with the momentum.  I stagger around, legs entangled in the stroller, trying to right it without tipping the baby out. I manage to use my body to support it and pull it upright.  Sam is not pleased. He is glaring at me, and I do not blame him. I make sure he’s ok, then I continue along our route.

You might think I would be smart enough to avoid bumps or slow down after that. You would be wrong. The same thing happens five minutes later.  After that I do slow to a walk with any change in elevation, but the damage has already been done, to my dignity and my legs. This emerges a few days later, and that combined with a smattering of bruises along each shin is enough to teach me that I am not made to be a suburban mom.  Sam was sufficiently traumatized by the whole incident.

Not all strollers are created equal

Not all strollers are created equal

But he would have his revenge.

When we got home, we ate a snack, and I soon realized he needed a diaper change.  I grabbed a fresh diaper, and discovered that the bag of wipes had been left open and were all dried out.  I remoistened two at the faucet, and then went to work. I took off the old diaper and set it to the side, and wiped him up, placing the used wipes on top of the old diaper.  Then I made a crucial mistake.  I went to get the new diaper before folding up the old one, and sure enough, Sam chose that moment to pull one foot out of my hand and bring his leg down, placing the foot right in the poo. Yup. I immediately grabbed it, but it was too late. We stared at each other a moment as we both comprehended what happened. I looked around, but there was nothing but old diaper, used wipes, and new diaper. I looked across the room, where the bag of wipes sat, ten feet away. Stupid Lindsey. Stupid.  I looked back down at Sam and said “Crap.” Then, I swear to God, he rolled his eyes at me. The baby was sassing me. I pointed out that he was the one with poo on his foot, so as far as stupid moves goes this was sort of a pot calling the kettle black situation.

I thought, ok, I am a college graduate. Surely I can come up with a creative solution, so I brainstormed all possible options.  If I let go of the foot, he would surely put it down on the couch. Bad situation.  If I carried him over normally, the foot would touch me. Very bad situation. The obvious solution was to carry him over by the foot, but that didn’t seem quite right either. I finally folded up the old diaper, and gingerly propped his foot on top and told him not to move it. Miraculously, as I sprinted across the room, grabbed wipes, wet them in the faucet and raced back, he held still, and the situation was resolved. Lesson learned: babies are evil, and will take revenge on you if given the chance. Always be prepared.

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Why I don’t have a baby Pt. 2

September 13, 2009

Newsflash: I spend a lot of time with children these days. One of my four jobs involves babysitting a one and a half year old three days a week, for about five hours a day.  As I’ve said before, I love kids. Babysitting is actually really fun for me; it’s something I look forward to.  Which is why I found it so strange that I don’t like this kid that much. He’s really cute, pretty mellow, but he’s just… dull.  I think I’ve finally put my finger on it. When a baby is younger, like less than a year, you can pretty much tote them around and do what you want (maybe not as a mom, but as a babysitter).  Older, like 3 and up, they’re fun because they can actually do things, play games, make unidentifiable art, etc. However, in between these ages is the worst, because they’re not old enough to actually do anything, other than maybe throw a ball, or in this case little Sam’s favorite game is turning the light switch on, running away until I grab him and throw him on the couch. I turn the light switch off. Repeat 200 times.  On the other hand, if you try to take them somewhere, they are old enough that they want to get out of the stroller and wreak havoc. For instance, I took Sam to Borders, thinking I could occupy him with a picture book while I read about the GREs. Au contraire. He insisted, in no uncertain terms, on getting out of the stroller, and taking every single book off the shelves, then re-shelving it in a different spot. Needless to say, the employees were not thrilled at our presence. 

However, Sam and I have worked out a routine that has made our time more enjoyable.  I arrive around 10:15, and we spend 15-20 minutes playing ball on the porch. Then we go inside and watch “Ni-hao Kai-lan,” the Chinese version of Dora the Explorer.  So far I know ni-hao (hello), ting (listen), homme-sua (red), and reu-sua (green). At the rate of one word an episode, I will be fluent in twenty years. After that, we go on an outing, often the park. We come back, he naps, and if he wakes up before the parents get home I give him a snack and we watch more cartoons. It’s good times. Or at least easy, slightly mind-numbing times.

This week, when I arrived the first day, his mom explained that he had a runny nose. He coughed sporadically throughout the day, but otherwise seemed ok. The next day she mentioned that she had noticed a cough, but he still didn’t have a fever. She said to call her if he seemed worse, and I foolishly thought “Oh, I wont have to call her unless he throws up or something.” And that, kids, is what we call foreshadowing. 

Post nap, Sam expressed desire for some “num nums,” so I got a bowl with some watermelon, and since he was still in a post-nap sluggish state, I spoon fed it to him while he watched tv. After about 10 bites, he sat up, and got a glazed look in his eyes. It was a look that my gut told me foretold projectile, so I leapt up to look for a plastic bag. Seeing none, I realized that I should just carry him to the bathroom. I turned back to him, and at that moment, he began puking. And I, instead of leaping into action like the super-babysitter I claim to be, ran away. I ran away from the puking baby because I did not want to get puked on.  Instantly horrified at my selfishness, I turned back, and taking advantage of the pause, dashed to the bathroom holding Sam like he was a bomb about to go off. Which, to be fair, was not far from the truth. I set him down on the bathroom floor to take off his clothes that were now, you know, gross, and he immediately threw up again. So that makes once on the couch, once on the bathmat, zero in the toilet. Awesome. I manage to rinse him off in the shower (which he did not appreciate as much as I would have if I had vomit in my hair), wrap him in a blanket, and call his mother to come home. But until she arrived I let him sit on my lap, mostly because I was wracked with guilt at my earlier cowardice. Plus, I’ll admit, he is a cute little guy. When he’s not puking.

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Why I don’t have a baby

September 3, 2009

I love babies. Really.  Love their drooly, toothless smiles, their soft baby hair, and especially their chubby calves.  Really, their legs are like little sausages.  But this past week, I remembered why I don’t have a baby (and sometimes don’t ever want one…)

My old boss called to see if I could babysit.  I had watched her two older kids before, and they are wonderful kids.  Some of my favorites. So of course, I said yes.  I arrived, and the mom was not there, but the dad was finishing getting ready.  It was then that he told me that the new baby had not stayed with anyone except the regular nanny because she freaked out on other sitters and had to go with the parents.  However, since they were on their way to a nice dinner, they felt it would be a faux pas to bring a baby, so they wanted to try leaving her.  She cried a little during the hand off, but seemed to calm down.  Dad suggested taking a walk before dinner, so we decided to go to the park.  7 year old James rode his scooter, 3 year old Molly rode her trike, and I put baby Kate in the stroller.  We walk to the park, which is about a 2 blocks away along neighborhood streets, then down a steep dirt hill.  There’s a cute little playground, and the kids immediately start climbing like monkeys.

Approximately three minutes after we arrived, I hear Molly calling for me as I adjust baby in stroller. I turn around, and she points out that her toe is bleeding. A lot. As she looks at it she starts to do the nervous whimper, but I confidently say “no problem, we’ll go home and clean it and put a band-aid on.”  Since I’m not freaking out, Molly decides she’s ok and wants to stay and play. But as she steps up the stairs, the actual pain sets in, and she begins to wail.  There is no consoling her this time; she is screaming.  I try all my tactics, the deep breaths, eye contact, reassuring words, nothing is working.  

I realize Molly is in no way going to ride her trike back.  I pull Baby Kate out of the stroller and put Molly in. I plan on just leaving the trike to get later, but James is heartily offended at this, so I ask if he can pull it and his scooter along behind him, and he agrees.  He starts to take them up the hil, and I turn the stroller around to begin the march up. Now, going down this hill was no problem. Going up is a different story. It would be no trouble for, say, a mountain goat, or Navy SEAL. I am, in fact, neither. I am further hindered by the stroller, which is a lot heavier with a large toddler. In addition, I have only one hand with which to push, as the other is holding baby Kate. Kate’s about six-months old, which, if you know babies, you know is old enough to hold your head up, and not much else. They are very floppy. So I heave into the stroller, trying to keep baby Kate from flopping right out of my one arm.  The stroller hits every rock and shrub in the path on the way up, and twice stops completely for no apparent reason. I try to talk to Molly as we go to distract her from looking at the injured toe, asking any question I can think of. She is mildly distracted, but the effort of talking puts me further out of breath, and, my guess is, does not help with the profuse sweating I am experiencing. Buckets.

Eventually we get to the top and the street, which I reason will be easier. Oh, foolish one. Pushing the stroller with one hand results in it going straight along the sidewalk approximately 2% of the time.  The rest of the time it veered either to the left, where it rolled off the curb, or to the right, where it clunked into a wall/fence/bush.  Molly did not appreciate any of these.  I continued talking to Molly, and James soon hit a goldmine as we talk about Halloween costumes, and he tells her to make her monster noise.  An inhuman growl, louder and more terrifying than should come out of any blonde, blue-eyed doll, erupts from Molly, causing both James and I to laugh.  Well of course, this only encourages Molly, and she proceeds to constantly growl the rest of the way home. This is great, as she has completely forgotten about the toe. Great, that is, until we reach one house where a group of six adults are sitting around a table in the front yard, enjoying a nice, quiet dinner in the summer evening. Enter Sweaty Lindsey, Demon Child, Floppy Baby, and James.  The ten yards in front of this house take about ten minutes to cross, as the stroller veers back and forth and generally refuses to do anything helpful, and Molly continuously growls like Satan.  Halfway through, as they stare at the sweaty, frazzled girl struggling across their sidewalk, I give them the smile and “Don’t mind me, ruining your magical evening” nod. One offers me a drink to finish the walk. I breezily (and by breezily, I mean gasping for air) say “No no, I’ve got it under control.” Clearly, I have not.

Twenty years later, we have made it past this house.  My hair is, at this point, forming its own separate entity, the frizz is so bad. At the next house there is an older man in his garage, and he has a good laugh as we make our way across his driveway, and halfway across, as I nearly slip in a puddle of my own sweat, he asks if I need help. Again, I assure him I am fully capable. As we get to the corner he and his wife come out of their house with their own child on bike, and the woman insists on helping, which I accept. I am able to take the trike from James, and we get past the last two houses to ours. I am, at this point, a hundred years old.  The woman takes baby Kate so that I can get Molly out of the stroller (who, by the way, is perfectly fine and chit chatting with the “nice lady”). Kate begins to cry, so I take her back as soon as I have Molly out.  The woman comments that she’s very attached, and I reply “Yeah, but I’m surprised she’s not crying with me, I’m not even the usual sitter.” At this, “nice lady” says “Oh, you’re just a sitter? You’re not the mother?” …No. No, I do not have three children, the first of which would’ve popped out when I was 15, but thanks, I’m glad I look haggard and sweaty enough to be the mother of three. Fantastic, really. 

We go into the house, and I manage to feed the kids chicken nuggets and cheerios (all prepared one handed, as Kate starts to shriek every time I put her down).  James gets in the shower, and I decide that since Kate is a little fussy, she might need her diaper changed. With Molly looking on, I lay Kate down on the changing table. The most horrible noise I have ever heard erupts, comparable to a legion of demons descending to bring apocalypse upon the world. Or something like that. It is coming out of Kate. She is not happy about the changing table, so I decide to just move as quickly as possible. I wrench open the onesie and pull off the diaper (luckily this was just a “number one” situation). However, once I have the diaper off Kate begins to flail, and pulls out of my grasp to roll over like some sort of ninja baby. I pin her with one hand, and pick her up to hold while I fold and dispose of the one diaper, and lay out a clean one. Anyone who has ever changed a baby knows that at this point, as I hold a naked-from-the-waist-down Kate on my hip, she will of course pee. And she does. A lot. All over me, and the carpet. At this point James remerges from the shower, and Molly announces “Kate peed.” James is disgusted. I tell him at least he is not wearing it. I continue with the changing, and do not even attempt to put on her pajamas as she is still screaming, and a quick cost-benefit analysis tells me she can stay in the same onesie.  

After this, I get James to bed, shower Molly one-handed (even handling a shampoo in the eyes incident), put a cried-out baby Kate to bed, watch ten-minutes of cartoons with Molly and put her to bed as well.  I spend ten minutes picking cheerios up off the floor before the parents arrive home, and ask how it went. Ha. 

Moral of the story: Don’t have babies. The end.