January 27, 2011

I'll Watch Yours, if You Watch Mine

Babysitting swap is the best idea ever! Today my next door neighbor dropped off her extremely adorable four-month-old son and headed out to a dental appointment. Later on, she came over and watched H while I (drum roll, please) cleaned the house. (It’s ok to be jealous of how exciting my life is.) We both got important things done, and no one had to pay someone to watch kiddos.

It was also a chance for a preview of life with two. (No, I am not pregnant. But we will eventually have more children.) Originally I thought that I’d have H down for her nap before they came over. And Rachel thought that C would be down as well. How easy could that be?

H was not yet down for her nap. C was way too interested in H to take a nap. We tried a little baby in his bouncer while I nurse H to sleep action. Too boring for C. Back downstairs we trudged, and I wrapped C so he could be out of toddler range but stay in sight of the excitement. Secretly I was hoping it would put him out. When H was that age, wraps were the easiest way to put her to sleep. After many struggles against sleep (H was sooo interesting!), he finally went down. Then I had the dilemma: A) do you take the sleeping baby upstairs to put him down and leave the toddler downstairs where she will probably cry? B) Or do you try to take her upstairs while trying to keep baby asleep and hope that she doesn’t climb into the bouncer and then cry when you try to get her out while trying to put the baby down? I went with A.

H did indeed cry, but not too much. C stayed asleep. Then it was scoop up toddler and get her down for a nap. Exhausting!

At the same time, it was so great to see H with the little one. She clearly wanted to help and was so curious about him. We are learning that while babies do have eyes and ears, it’s better not to poke them when announcing their body parts. Also, fingers should only bend one way. Don’t worry, no one got hurt.

I was afraid that H would be jealous of me playing with or holding C instead of her. Overall, she was pretty ok with it. What was hard was when she did want to be picked up. I couldn’t carry both of them up the stairs at the same time, and I only had one hand to help H going down the stairs. The logistics of two will definitely be interesting. I keep reminding myself that H will be even bigger whenever we have number two and she’ll probably be a lot more independent. I can’t really picture it.

Thankfully, the experience did not scare me off of having more. H is going to be a really great big sister and a very good helper for Mommy. She’s already practicing with Bear and Monkey. They get carried and shushed, and she gives them drinks from her cup and takes them to sit on the potty. A babysitter in the making.

Practicing her skills with Monkey. His feet were cold, so he needed socks.

Lastly, what shocked me was how small a four-month-old is. I’d heard parents say so many times that you forget how small babies are, but I just had one (20 months ago). Picking up C, and wrapping him, really drove home his tininess. I threw the wrap around, felt for his legs and only got my own hip. His legs were so short, and once he was in the carrier there was no bulk to him at all. I didn’t have any trouble reaching in front of me to wash my hands or help H. It doesn’t seem so long ago that H was that age. She’s very small for her age, but she’s huge in comparison to C.

All I can say is what every mother throughout time has said, “How do they get so big?”

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