May 23, 2006

Babies I Don't Mind

Ma would always say that babies were no trouble. "All you have to do is feed them and keep them clean," she'd say. It was a very simplistic view on her part because it doesn't take into account the money spent on diapers and car seats, and the loss of time and sleep the parents experience.

I don't dislike babies at all. I find most of them very cute. The supervisor of the fieldhouse where I box at asked me to sing the National Anthem before a gym showcase highlighting the kids' sports programs last week, so I did. While I was standing off to the side near the audience waiting to go on, a baby in a carriage kept looking in my direction. His dad, a dreadlocked African-American joked, "He's fascinated with you for some reason." I approached the carriage to find a robust, light mocha complexioned, sandy brown haired baby. It was surprising to find out that the boy was three months old. "This is a healthy baby," I laughed. I offered the baby my finger, which he held on to with a strong grip. When my named was called to sing, I told the baby's father that I would be right back.

When I came back, I continued to play with the baby, who for some reason, took an instant liking to me. People are always telling me I'm good with kids, and I'm still trying to figure out where they get that from. However, babies, I don't mind much because they are small, and like Ma used to say, "They aren't trouble because they don't know how to walk or talk yet." The first performance of the evening featured kids in a gymnastics program. The baby's five year old brother, another cute kid, was part of that. Afterwards, big brother showed up with his mom, a pleasant blond, and the kids' dad introduced me to them. "Both of the kids are very cute," I told the mom. The dad admitted that the baby was a handfull because he cried and fussed most of the time. His older brother had been easier to deal with when he was an infant.

I bid goodbye to the family after a little while because I had to get inside the boxing gym. I thought about the pretty baby for awhile after that. Babies can be a lot of fun to hold and play with, but I'm also very happy to give them back to their parents after visiting with them.


Anonymous said...

I like babies if they like me. It's that simple.

AlphaGirl said...

I like babies in pictures...that's about it. If they were self-feeding, self-cleaning and could carry on a coherent conversation, well, then....

Anonymous said...

As an only child with no proximal younger cousins, I had no exposure to babies growing up. My grandmother, with whom I shared a very special close relationship, was the oldest of 10. In her day the eldest was like a second mother. Her entire life revolved around family and children. Her mother had other duties on the homestead. I know my grandmother could never understand my path, and I know she was worried about my happiness in the end.

I'll never forget the time I was asked to babysit for a neighbor with baby...I could not figure out why it was crying. I tried talking to it, holding it, cooing at it...They assumed I knew how to change a diaper. They never even asked me, they assumed. I did not. It was four hours of pure hell (for both of us) and, needless to say, they never asked me to sit for them again.

ChrisR said...

Teri - been there! Was asked to babysit for my mum's friend when I was about 14. Got into HUGE trouble for not feeding the baby. Which screamed all night, of course.

No one told me there was a little cap under the screw-on nipple bit! And I did get some milk out of the teat to test the temperature, so it's not like I'm a complete delinquent taking a bottle straight from the microwave.

Mother dearest was appalled, but how was I supposed to know? I'd never spent any time around babies before. And yet "They never even asked me, they assumed".