No. I’m not pregnant. Nor could I be.
Get your mind out of the womb, ya nasty.
PSA: I don’t like babies.
I know, I know, I’m trash.
So alas, call it kismet that someone should ask me to babysit. Me. Babysit a legitimate baby. With baby arms and legs. And ears. Wild.
For two days in October, I was asked to look after a one-year-old. I would go to Lake Lanier, nanny during various wedding shenanigans – bridal brunch, rehearsal dinner, wedding, etc. I’d be provided with my own room and food, in addition to payment.
And I said “yes.” Because
I’m poor I love new experiences.
As a prelude I babysat – for the first time, in all my 24 years – the same baby for five hours in August.
The experience can be summed in the following sentence: I’ve never seen anything put so much energy into crying. That “thing” was not me.
At least not externally.
Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled to resume the adventure.
I showed up at the family’s villa around 10:00 am, and – on first picking her up – she began to cry as she inhaled my fear. Throughout the next two days, many tears and 12 hour shifts, I learned a few things about babies:
- Diapers: Not that bad. I’d change a thousand diapers if it were any consolation. *note: never take me up on that.
- Babies are significantly heavier than cats – yet you cuddle them similarly. Incidentally, they act the same to my advances – unappreciative. Rude.
- Google is no substitute for experience – turns out you can’t troubleshoot a baby. I ended up calling the Bat at least eight times. “Just rock her and tell her you love her,” she said in the saccharine voice of motherhood. *gags*
- Patience is a must. Actions become mindless after a while, and you must learn to be numb. Yes, let’s tip this noise maker upside down. Again. Yes, again. And again, yes, yes, yes.
- You can’t go anywhere without said baby. So those two flights of stairs between the pack-and-play and main floor? It’s a hike with your extra twenty-five pounds that you feel in your thighs three days after. Did I mention babies are heavy?
- Seven is never too early for bedtime. If anything, it’s too late.
- For you, the caretaker, eating is a luxury. When the clock strikes “bedtime,” you’re unleashed; in an animalistic fashion, you feed. After starving for so long, the migraines come – shambling to the front desk, you have the gift shop unlocked at 11:00 pm to buy Advil and die.
- Separation anxiety is real. The struggle is real.
- Although she wasn’t mine, everyone assumed as much. On coming up from the ground floor, an employee startled me on the top landing. Apparently I drew her close to me out of protection – some latent maternal instincts awakened. We talked and I was told baby “looks just like you.” Must have been our matching looks of disdain.
- People love babies and people love mothers. As I took her strolling, I had several people approach me. Strangers would say, “your baby is so cute,” and I’d say, “I know,” winning me “Pretentious Not-Mother Award of the Year.” But for what it’s worth – she was adorable. Not all babies are. *sorry, not sorry*
- Strolling is nice. That’s a nice word: stroll. Stroll. It’s something I’ll do again. On our stroll, I took pictures. Because if there’s on thing I don’t see enough of, it’s golf courses:
Fun Fact: While taking said pictures, I stepped in brush that was home to fire ants. While wearing sandals. Life’s an adventure.*finger guns*
Fortunately, the crying dissipated after a solid nap, and nannying became exponentially easier. #bonding The challenge grew, however, when, in addition, I was given her 4-year-old twin siblings. I had to feed three, give baby a bath, play games, devour chicken wings, put them to bed, clean up: just go ahead and shovel dirt over my grave.
Whilst bathing baby – who looked to the sky, prostrate and praying for my demise – the room door closed and locked us inside. Coming out I found my four year olds crying, afraid something had happened to me. Besides my shredded dignity and childcare failures, I was fine.
The little girl told me I was pretty. Precious.
The family itself was quite marvelous. They were kind and generous, and understanding to my plight. Upon taking her to the wedding, we had to leave because…? Crying, but of course. If there are baby whispers in this world, I’m the polar opposite. Her father kindly took us home to the sweet sanctuary of HGTV and room service, where we spent the rest of the night collapsed on the couch together.
I don’t know if the sentiment was breed from starvation, but room service is one of the most exciting things I have ever partook of in all my 25 years. They deliver delicacies into my open arms with a smile and a carnation. My stomach salutes you, room service.
After slumming it with the munchkins for 12 hours, I retired to my [own, secluded] hotel room.
I have never stayed in a room alone – which is an interesting commentary on the dullness of my life – and it was incredible. They gave me a bag for my laundry; it said “LAUNDRY.” And there was a bathrobe in my closet, which I wore because I do what I do what I want.
Do I like babies now that I’ve spelunked with one?
Answer: Are you kidding me?
Don’t get me wrong – I loved my precious little chunk. It’s not hard to adore something so tiny who hated me so unconditionally. Likewise, I can name several babies I like, all of whom I’m either related to or friends with their parents. But for myself – no.
Babies are a lot of work. They’re exhausting and time consuming. Taking care of one isn’t necessarily difficult – it just takes patience and sacrifice.
“When I grow up, I want to be…”
A veterinarian. A teacher. A mortician. A mathematician. An adventurer. A writer. A wizard.
There a are a lot of things I’ve wanted to be when I “grow up.” A mother is not one of them. I didn’t mind my taste of motherhood but it’s definitely not something I’d willingly seek. “You’ll change your mind…” Maybe. But probably not. And that’s okay.
So, as I drove away, the sun rising across the lake, I thanked God for all the babies in the world – but mostly, I thanked Him that none of them were mine.
Unless they’re kittens. Then I want all of them.