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Monday, October 01, 2007

Blame It On the Raisins

When our first child was a baby and A. was still getting used to being left (all alone!) with his own child, I learned to expect a play by play of their time together. It went something like this:

"It was pretty rough. We walked around for about five minutes. Then he wouldn't let me read the paper without holding him. But he was happy on my lap. Then he went down for a nap. When he woke up, he was happy for a while, but then he cried. I changed his diaper and he stopped. I think he really wanted you. I had to take him for a walk. He cried when we got home, but I fed him and he stopped. For the last thirty minutes he cried when I left the room. I had to play with him the whole time."

Upon further questioning, I would learn that the total crying to not crying ratio was around one to fifty. Not bad. I mean, he was a baby and he liked to be changed regularly, fed every so often and he fussed when he was tired. Is that so strange? I realized, though, that I had done A. a disservice. When he asked how our day had gone, I usually said, "Fine. Yours?" I failed to mention that the baby cried, ever. A. was under the mistaken impression that Baby O never, ever cried with me: not in the car, not on the changing table, not when he was hungry, never. I let him in on the fact that babies are fairly high maintenance, even on the best days, and that they cry a little bit. Once we got that straight, I stopped getting the play by plays. I'm very thankful we didn't have text messaging back then; I shudder to think of the nights I would have felt compelled to come in early. All I really want to know when I walk in the door is how it went, in a very general way. I want to know if my baby is sick or was truly miserable. I also want to know if he did anything really, really cute. Other than that, keep it to yourself. It'll only make me feel guilty and I don't need it.

In Baby J's classroom at the drop-in nursery, there are two teachers. My favorite is a sweet, older lady with a calm, take-charge attitude. V. has the confidence of a woman who knows her way around a baby. In fact, just today, Baby J woke up from a nap right as I dropped him off and he was (oh, the horror!) crying, low-level whining really. I offered to stay, but V. was unfazed. She put a blanket over her shoulder, took Baby J and headed toward a rocking chair. I told her to call me if he didn't settle down, but before I rounded the corner and headed out the door to freedom, I could hear that he had stopped crying. I can't quite figure out why the other woman works there; I only hope she's not there to fulfill the terms of her prison-release. As far as I can tell, she'd be a better plant sitter than babysitter, unless the plants got over watered and leaked on the floor. She has something negative to say, every time you walk in the door.

My friend S, who's new to the whole leave the baby and go relax thing, has resolved not to look this woman in the eye. The first time S. left her baby, Sour Girl clambered to tell her that two and a half hours was too long to leave him and he was very upset. I saw him an hour before his time was up (I was dropping off Baby J) and he was happy as a clam pig in s happy baby. In fact, he was making friends. Mature beyond his years, he made a joke: He pretended that he was going to take my sunglasses from the top of my head. That might not be the funniest thing you've heard today, but the kids around him thought it was a riot. He was very popular. I called S. when I left to tell her how well he was doing. I thought she'd appreciate knowing, which she did. She was really happy until she came to pick him up and had her bubble burst by Sour Girl. Sour Girl exaggerates. From what I can tell, he was a little whiny at the end and wanted some attention. Newsflash: It's normal for a baby to want a little attention. It doesn't mean he can't handle the cold, cruel world of plastic toys and snacks for a couple of hours.

The other day, when I arrived to pick up Baby J, Sour Girl scurried over to the door, with a gleam in her eye. "He had a very messy diaper. It was very runny. I was worried he might be sick!" This was said as my baby, rosy cheeked and smiling, crawled around on the floor, avoiding eye contact with me in the hope that he might get to stay a bit longer.

"Huh," I responded with a benign smile (us blondes can get away with that),"He had one of those yesterday. I think we fed him too many raisins." This was true, by the way, I had let him eat about a pound of raisins the day before, because that was the only thing I could find that distracted him from using my leg as a scratching post.

"Well, it was really big. And runny. I thought he might be sick."

"Yup," benign smile firmly in place,"Must have been the raisins."

"Well, I thought he might be sick."

"Hoo-whee! Those raisins! Guess we'll have to lay off those!"

At this point, I tired of the conversation, picked up my giggly bunny and hopped out the door. Still rocking the vacant smile, I called out, "Bye! See y'all soon!"

And that was that. After three children, I'm far beyond feeling guilty because a paid babysitter had to change my kid's poop. In fact, I praised Baby J for his timing. I always appreciate a bye from a round of poop.

Of course, I had to call S. to tell her that Sour Girl has it in for everyone and we should just ignore her. Ignoring people like Sour Girl takes practice, which I've had. S. will need to come up with her own solution, but I've got mine. Whatever Sour Girl imparts, I will blame it on raisins and smile as vacantly as possible while I do it. People have trouble getting mad at you if they think you're a little stupid and I don't mind if people think I'm a little stupid, as long as I get what I want. Come to think of it, maybe I am a little bit stupid. Bless my heart.

"Baby J wasn't very happy today."

"Huh. We fed him raisins. Maybe we shouldn't have."

"Baby J threw his cup today."

"Interesting. Maybe he was thirsty from all the raisins he ate."

"Baby J has a little diaper rash today."

"Hmmmm...maybe raisins don't agree with him. We probably shouldn't have let him eat so many."

"Baby J was hitting other kids today."

"Raisins! You know how it is! Buh-bye!"

I would write more, but I'm having a raisin issue. You know how it is!

Namasté, y'all!

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