This post is a bitch about babies. Not because I don’t have one, but because I did. This weekend we babysat for friends who came up to stay from down the country. They had a wedding to go to and we said we’d mind their 1 and 2 year olds. It sounded like fun. I have since reassessed fun.
The kids were absolute angels, until their parents stepped out of the house. Then the screaming started. To be fair, the two year old was fantastic. He even announced to me at six thirty that it was his bed time. Perfect! The one year old howled at the top of her lungs constantly for around 5 hours. Shaun took her for a walk around the garden. No go. He took her for a walk to the park. No go. I bounced her on my hip until my arm just about fell off. No go. I fed her, I changed her nappy, I gave her toys, I let her pull the cat’s fur. Nope. It was around that time that I entertained the idea of shaking her. I can see why people do.
I put her to bed at six fifteen, as per my instructions. She lay in her cot screaming. When her brother went to bed they played happily for an hour or so until she fell asleep. I don’t have words to describe my relief, and that’s quite something. All was right in the world.
For an hour.
Then she woke up for some reason and started up again. I ignored her for 5 minutes until it became apparent that it wasn’t going to stop. I brought her into the lounge and tried to console her. As if… After well over an hour of this, I discovered that she would be quiet if I laid her on her stomach on the ground. So I did. She went to sleep. Then I realised that should her parents come home, the sight of their baby asleep face down on the wooden floor might be rather unnerving, so I picked her up and put her on the couch. I was worried about her smothering herself in the cushions though, so I had to arrange her carefully. Queue the howling.
How do people cope? I consoled myself with the idea that if it was my own child I would feel differently. The next day when I was describing it to mum she said “It’s worse when it’s your own child.” Holy what?? How can that be?? She says it’s because you feel more responsible.
It really has put a bit of a bruise in my desire to create offspring. Maybe they require more patience than I have. If I make one and that turns out to be the case, it’s not like I can put it back.
I’m having a moment.