Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Being a baby is hard work. Babysitting might be worse.

On Sunday night, I agreed to babysit for my cousin's little girl, Elizabug aka Lil E. It was a busy weekend for the family with E's birthday, getting over a cold, having a party for 15 little kids, and being topped off by her mom's birthday on Sunday.

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We're buds here.
Sunday evening, I headed over to start my work as baby wrangler extraordinaire.  I walked in the door and knew exactly how my night was going to go.  E took one look at me, grinned her face off, and burst into tears. It would be the night of the bi-polar baby -- happy and then OH SO SAD.

It quickly became a battle of wills. E is pretty adorable and feisty.  What she didn't count on is Auntie Bronwyn is meaner than her. I've lived longer, and I've got more insurance.

First we had supper -- that part went pretty well.  I gave her a spoon to play with and while she was trying to put it in her mouth, I shoved food in there. She ate almost the whole bowl. It wasn't until we were moving on to other things when suddenly she decided there would be NO MORE OF THIS and started screaming.  Problem with that is it was time for meds and I knew it would be easier if she was strapped in.

I was wrong.

I put the syringe full of medicine near her face and she turned. No problem. I got it in her mouth and put the tiniest amount past her lips. She drooled it onto her chest. I used her spoon to put some in her mouth. She spit. I wiped it off her face with my finger and decided to sneak it in that way. She bit me. Finally, I got as much of it in her mouth as down her shirt and in my hair. I figured it was close enough.  On to bath time.

Lunchtime with Lil E
Don't let her innocent face fool you.
It's been a long time since I bathed a baby, so I was a little concerned about making it too hot. I knew the rule of thumb was luke-warm, but I have to admit I was on the luke side of warm. E let me know this as about 5 minutes after I put her in the tub she started shaking and clacking her teeth together. Was the water actually that cold? No, she just wanted me to know she wasn't pleased. I pulled her out, warmed up the water, put her back in and life was good.  We had 15 minutes of pure joy.

Except she started to doze off.  I figured it was a sign, so I pulled her out of the tub. She came willingly until she saw the lotion I had to put on her. FREAK OUT. She went stiff as a board and tried to lay down on top of me.  She wailed and sobbed and moaned.  I mean, until she saw her pjs and then she got distracted.

It alternated like that for the next 10 minutes.  I would put the lotion on the baby (or she gets the hose again) and she would be FURIOUS until something shiny happened and she forgot she was supposed to be mad. The diaper went on while she was standing because there was no convincing her otherwise. It was hard to keep a straight face while strapping RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION baby into her footy pyjamas.

We got her done, she calmed down, and we went to warm up her bottle to prepare for the night.  I let her stare at the microwave while I warmed the bottle and checked to make sure it wouldn't burn her.  We sat down in the rocking chair and started to read a book about the Little Owl. It was adorable. E was not impressed. She wanted the other book. Fine. I like Goodnight Moon. Except she didn't like that one. She wanted the Owl one. No, the Moon one. NO. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

Fine. No more books. I got her bunny out of the crib and her swaddling blanket. She bit the bunny by the ear and growled. Then she screamed. I was sure the neighbours were going to call on me by this point. She had done little but scream bloody murder between laughing fits for the last hour. But I was not to be deterred. Blanket on, bunny in hand (and teeth), bottle given, I walked away from the crib -- only to hear the bottle being flung across the room.

Howling ensued. I waited a few seconds and turned back. She had wrapped the blanket around herself in a way that would cut off circulation and was trying to stand up. The howling had turned into  hyperventilating. I picked her up. Crying ceased. It was like one of those dolls from the 90s. Put her down - cry; pick her up - happy.

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Grumpiest baby to ever have grumped
Finally, I held her, wrapped in her blanket, and we sat on the rocker. I rocked (the face of calm) while E strained and struggled, howled and sobbed, growled and moaned. She got close enough to my sweater that she bit the neck edge and held it in her teeth for dear life. If she could have gotten skin, I have no doubt I'd have bled.

She fought going to sleep harder than any baby I've seen in a long time. She alternately bit her bunny and my sweater as though we were her captors she had to battle. Finally, she slumped in defeat. It was not a giving in to tired as much as it was a giving up because there is NO POINT TO LIFE ANY MORE. If she could have rolled her eyes and HARUMPHed, I'm sure nothing would have expressed her opinion more clearly.

She fell asleep despite herself and only woke when I placed her in the crib to give me one last growl and bite her bunny firmly on the ear before falling back to sleep.  I backed out of the room slowly holding my breath.

I had won, but it was a tenuous victory.

18 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, dude! I can't believe how bad she was! I should've known I was pushing my luck by going out after a tough weekend of disrupted schedule.

    Thanks for putting up with my kid so that I could go out for a birthday dinner.

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    1. So, I re-read this, and realised that when I wrote out E's bedtime routine, I omitted parts of it, and that she would've freaked out about that, even with me on a good day. (The double-edged sword of making your kid used to following a routine: you become a slave to that routine.) I should have written that she gets the blanket and bunny first, before the book. Chris also left a new book by the chair (the owl one), which makes her too wired. (Apparently, this is a thing? Old books before bed so that they sleep more quickly.) Then, lights off and cuddle with the bottle in the chair until she mellows out, and THEN into her crib, with nothing but the blanket and bunny. If she got the blanket, bunny and bottle as she was going into the crib, she probably thought she was being punished. (And if she gets anything else with her in the crib, other than the bunny, she's likely to toss it out of the crib, because she's all "What am I supposed to do with this?"

      Sorry about that. She's even more obsessed with her routine when I'm away. Wynn Anne is right: my kid is a cautionary tale for people considering kids.

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    2. Poor kid, I really messed her up!

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  2. This should be required reading for anyone considering having children.

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    1. It was the most fun I've had in awhile.

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  3. As a grandmother of 9, I have to admit I had a chuckle reading this story. Because I've been there, sometimes the babies just want their mommy. And you did a great job writing about your evening. :)

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I hope she will still be talking to me when I see her next!

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  4. That.is.one.cute.baby. Haha I enjoyed reading this. It was tough but you did it! :D

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    1. Elizabug is the cutest baby. She's so much trouble and that makes it even more fun!!

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  5. Everyone considering kids should give this a read and offer a family member or friend help babysitting. I have a 5 yr old and twin 8 month olds. Wanna come over? Bahahahha! Great post ;)

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    1. Oh wow. Twins. I think that might be above my pay grade. Though, I do love baby snuggles...

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  6. Bwahaha! I love this post. Story of my life as a mom. Way to stick to your guns though. (btw, when you're babysitting. I think anything goes. You could have skipped the lotion and went straight to cookies. Cookies in one hand, bottle in the other and you're good to go. The parents can deal with the after math later! haha)

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    1. Kathryn, you are devious! I LIKE IT!!!!

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  7. Is this supposed to be as hilarious as it is!? LOL. P.s I want to eat that babies cheeks!

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    1. Oh it definitely is, Kyla! She was hilarious. And her cheeks are totally edible!!

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  8. Adorable. And, now I want to add you to make babysitting rotation :)

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  9. Hilarious! This kid sounds smart. You might have to watch out next time, I bet she's already plotting.

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  10. Too funny! We're lucky to have nephews who seem to go down without issue. Although, I am constantly trying to keep a straight face when they get really SERIOUS about silly things.

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