Baby and the Beast

 

I did something incredibly dangerous and potentially quite stupid last week. Given how paranoid my husband can be, I was rather surprised he let me do it, too. Ever since this incident occurred I’ve been a little off my game and am starting to ponder the big questions in life, like “Is it time to buy a new bra?” and “How can I get a new baby without my husband noticing?” Yep, I invited a friend over last week for a visit and she brought along her 6 month-old son. As soon as she walked inside and I caught a whiff of his baby lotioned scent, my uterus started quaking and I had to fight the urge to snatch him out of her arms so Icould cuddle, sniff, and love him.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I occasionally suffer from bouts of Baby Fever, one of those most contagious fevers there are. I’ve kept it under control lately but this visit had the capability of sending me over the edge. There were warning signs that something small could trigger an attack, such as my reaction to seeing a six week old baby in my youngest daughter’s Sunday School class the week before. He was sleeping in pure contentment in his father’s arms and my legs took on a life of their own and made their way next to Daddy and Son. My eyes opened wide and I stared for an uncomfortably long time and feeble attempts to avert my gaze failed. I was not surprised nor offended when the father edged away from me; it was for the best. Nonetheless, I put that out my mind and hoped I would be strong enough to visit with my friend.

I had prepped my daughters ahead of time that a baby would be here. My oldest, who has long wanted me to present her with twin siblings so she can be like Dora the Explorer, was excited. She wanted to know what the baby would be able to do and what he could play with. She helped me clean up small toys and learned the phrase “choking hazard” quickly. She even chose a few toys we still own that are great for babies so that he would have something to chew on. My youngest, on the other hand, was skeptical. She followed her big sister and I around stealthily, listening intently and declaring, “That baby better not touch my stuff.” Ah, spoken like a 3 year-old.

I managed to contain the symptoms of the sudden onset baby fever that hit me as my friend entered our home for about an hour. I forced myself to keep my eyes on her as we talked, was able to keep my limbs under control and not make spontaneous grabs for the baby, and kept the conversation going with minimal effort. But then I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to have that child in my arms.

So I held him. He nestled in quickly and then gave me a big, gummy grin with a rivulet of drool going down his chin. I held him close and inhaled his sweet scent. My friend smiled knowingly; thankfully I needed to make no apologies or explanations for my bizarre behavior. I took it as a sign that I could go full-on baby crazy. And did I ever! The next hour was spent cooing, laughing, peek-a-booing, and offering my hair up as a toy to that little guy. My oldest and I got him to belly laugh, gave him toys to chew on, and cheered him on when he attempted to roll over. Everyone was happy: His mom was getting a nice break from entertaining and holding him, my daughter loved playing with him, the baby was enthralled with the attention and new faces, and I discovered the joy of having a baby without really having a baby!

Except one person who was not so happy: My younger daughter. It was plain to one and all she did not find one thing joyous about this little bundle. She went stomping around the room as loud as she could, sighing heavily in annoyance. She took toys away from the baby and then tried to look innocent as she explained she thought it was a choking “hizzard.” She leaned in very close to him and gave him the stink eye several times. She nearly went ballistic when he knocked over her tower of block, lecturing him on how that was not nice of him as he gazed at her with enchantment. And when, after awhile, she tried to him nudge him off my lap and threw her arms around me, I realized she was a little jealous.

“Do you want me to give the baby back to his mama?” I asked. She nodded eagerly and sighed  with relief as the hand-off occurred.

When our visitors departed, my oldest and I commented on how fun it was to have them over.

“We should invite them back again soon!” my big girl declared.

“Not too soon,” her younger sister replied. “Maybe next year. I didn’t like him very much.”

Thankfully the baby fever hasn’t been as bad I had feared. It was wonderful to have a baby in my home again, but it was just as nice knowing I would sleep well that night and not have to change a diaper. And it’s a bit obvious that the cure to baby fever, which is of course having a baby, would not be well-received by my surprisingly jealous youngest kiddo. As long as she’s ok with me cradling her like a baby and lets me try to swaddle her and squish her into a Baby Bjorn every now and then as the fever flares up, she can remain my “baby” for awhile.

~Michele

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