Never shake a baby

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.


8 thoughts on “Never shake a baby

  1. Your mother only told you half of it. In some ways it is worse when they are yours but it others it is also a hell of a lot easier. You are much more tolerant and hence able to cope when it is your own kids. Hell if I managed to cope with having two babies you can too.

    You ask any parent after 24 hours of having their babies home and they will tell you they don’t know how they are going to cope and that they don’t know what they are doing. But you know what? Most manage to cope. You quickly learn the ropes and while it may still be hard work it stops being a chore once you start to bond with the baby. The thing to remember is 98% of people manage to get through this so you can too.

  2. It did 😉 and whats worse I had to stand for the entire process. The hospital was very sexist and only let my wife have a bed. I don’t think it hurt her much. I did ask her but it was hard to hear her answer over the screaming. 😛

  3. Please don’t ever shake a baby! We don’t like it and it isn’t good for us.

    Hello Aunty Hawk.

    On behalf of babies everywhere I’d like to apologise for your bad experience with one of our kind but unfortunately, these things happen.

    Perhaps your baby was missing her mummy (we babies call this seperation anxiety) or was just having a bad day. Until we can talk the only way we have to express ourselves is by noise and we have found that crying is the most efficient method of communication (for us – mummies and daddies don’t like it).

    If you are looking after someone elses baby it is harder BECAUSE it is someone elses baby. It is easier with your own (except that no one is going to come and take it home afterwards).

    Don’t let this put you off having one of us. We don’t cry all of the time and we bring so much joy into people’s lives. Like the nice man said, you will cope, most parents do and although sometimes it might seem hard you have all of the good things as well like first smiles, first steps, first day at school 😉

    Love Matthew

  4. I fancy New Zealand to win although Daddy says they’ll choke in the semis! Daddy thinks France are playing well at the moment and are in with a shout this time round and Mummy thinks Jonny Wilkinson.

  5. oh sarah…you got it tough….but it is true, it will be easier with your own, they know you and trust you, so only that sort of crying will occur when they are sick or teething, as long as you keep their belly’s full, nappy’s clean & wrapped up warm 😉 xx

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