adventures in babysitting

i babysat my two nieces today. the oldest will be four in a couple of weeks, and the youngest will be 7 months old on sunday. my sister has been teasing me that they need cousins, and she has also asked me several different times to tell me when "the door has closed on that idea" so that she can stop wishing and hoping. 

i think the door closed today.

never have i felt more frustrated in such a short period of time, and yet more absolutely certain that i wasn't doing anything wrong. i promise i was doing everything right, and the baby screamed and screamed her head off continually no matter what. of course this happened right as i was trying to get us out the door for The Big Library Outing, which i eventually had to completely abort because i couldn't get the baby to calm down in her carseat. 

i only cried twice, i think, and i made sure neither of them saw me. i'm pretty sure that would have freaked out the oldest, because in her eyes auntie can do no wrong. anyhoodle, we cancelled The Big Library Outing, got out of the carseats, and went back into the house to watch peter pan. and i made the baby happy the only way i could: by holding her as much as possible, and by never attempting to feed her. i felt like a failure, totally embarrassed and a little freaked out. i totally need to go to bed.
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12 comments

  1. babies are like chaos in action. i have to tell you, i like kids and want to have them someday but i’m not big on babysitting the ones that can’t talk or walk. you really have to spend a lot of time around that baby to interpret its screams and know it tricks. babies don’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t really really know babies or someone who really really knows the baby in question.
    so you didn’t fail.
    i feel like a horrible sister when my baby sister wears me out and i have to pass her off to my younger sister (who she lived with) i can’t get the kid to eat and she’s 5. it’s just obvious that babies take a lot of practice.

  2. babies are like chaos in action. i have to tell you, i like kids and want to have them someday but i’m not big on babysitting the ones that can’t talk or walk. you really have to spend a lot of time around that baby to interpret its screams and know it tricks. babies don’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t really really know babies or someone who really really knows the baby in question.
    so you didn’t fail.
    i feel like a horrible sister when my baby sister wears me out and i have to pass her off to my younger sister (who she lived with) i can’t get the kid to eat and she’s 5. it’s just obvious that babies take a lot of practice.

  3. oh honey. you didn’t fail. sounds like you behaved just like any caretake or mother would. kids and babies act irrationally and it’s tOtally normal and their perogative and whatnot and it drives me freaking insane! (I’m not very patient, and I like to Do Things Right) It is easier when they are your own (firstly, they like the food you have in your boobs!) but there are still times exactly like you described. I’m sorry your day went poorly, but it wasn’t a reflection on you. gosh darn mercurial babies! :p

  4. oh honey. you didn’t fail. sounds like you behaved just like any caretake or mother would. kids and babies act irrationally and it’s tOtally normal and their perogative and whatnot and it drives me freaking insane! (I’m not very patient, and I like to Do Things Right) It is easier when they are your own (firstly, they like the food you have in your boobs!) but there are still times exactly like you described. I’m sorry your day went poorly, but it wasn’t a reflection on you. gosh darn mercurial babies! :p

  5. Babysitting my nieces and nephews has pretty much solidified my decision not to have kids. They’re cute and all… but, I just don’t have the patience.

  6. I like revolving doors myself since you never have to decide if it’s open or closed.
    Parenting can be very hard, practice or not. I console myself by imaging my kids will have lots of things to talk about with their therapist.

  7. I bet you could – it’s probably easier taking care of your own kids, because you’d have a very tight bond with them, being their parent and all, and you’d know them *really* well, so their crying and other communication would make way more sense to you and you’d have a better idea of how to keep them happy. At least, this is my theory! 🙂

  8. i have many, many responses 🙂 here is a (non-random) sample:
    (a) babies are irrational. you can do everything right and sometimes they’re still annoyed. but you love them, and it is usually short-lived, so you cope.
    (b) babies love their mommies. like, a lot. that doesn’t mean that they don’t also love their daddies, other mommies, aunties, babysitters, siblings, or nannies. they do. but they love their mommies a really, really lot. (i’m guessing that there is some david buss-ian explanation for why. ;-)) anyway, sometimes they just don’t cooperate for other people for no other reason than they want their mommies.
    (c) its different when they are your own. i know this is an annoying statement–at least it was to me!–because you can love your nieces and nephews tons and tons and it seems ludicrious to hear that the stressful/annoying experiences will suddenly seem delightful! yah, they wont. BUT, they’ll seem sort of normal and manageable (most days!) and the completely awesome will outweigh the stressful (also most days!)
    (d) you are one of the kindest, most nurturing, least selfish people i know (an honor that your husband happens to share with you, imho) and should you choose to bring a baby into your family i’ve no doubt that you would be a wonderful mommy. you’re totally cut out for it. having said that, if you decide NOT to go that route, you’ll never lack for ways to use those skills! 🙂

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