When you’re single and unfettered, childcare is not necessarily on top of your ‘to do’ list. For my ‘to do’ list, it’s not only not at the top, but is actually no where on the list. This was likely no mystery to my brother and sister-in-law since they’ve never left me alone with their adorable one-and-a-half year old daughter before, but I guess the desperation of wanting a night out alone pushed them to the edge.
Fortunately for me (insert sarcasm), my crash course in childcare came on one of the stormiest nights Atlanta’s seen in a while. Off my bro and his wife went around 7pm, leaving me a mere 30 minutes to hang with the baby until bed time. No problem. I followed their instructions, carrying her to the fridge to get her bottle, bringing her to bed, singing her a song (not ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black, per my brother’s recommendation), put her down, and left the room anticipating 15 minutes of crying. After about 20 seconds of exiting, I felt terrible that she was alone and crying, so I went back, tried to calm her down, and realized I was a sucker and had to let her be.
Like clock-work, after 15 minutes, I looked in the video monitor and there was she, sound asleep. Four hours passed and I felt pretty proud of myself. Then, the damn storm had to ruin all my confidence and shake the house with thunder and deluging rain. Expecting her to awake, I looked int he monitor, and there she was, standing up, gripping a stuffed animal in each hand, screaming for someone to come. Like a trained dog, I ran upstairs to greet her and comfort her. She stopped crying immediately (which was good because I would have been miserable had she continued) and I texted my brother to tell him she was up with me. He called to give me instructions and see if “he should come home?”. Sensing they weren’t ready, I decided to suck it up and figure this child care thing out on my own. After giving her some milk in the dark on the rocking chair in her nursery, she fell asleep on my chest for an hour. I can’t remember the last time I sat quietly, alone, in the dark for an hour. Felt like 3 days. After all that time passed, I figured she could go back to bed (and hopefully her parents would soon return). I placed her down and tip-toed out quietly.
For a solid 15 minutes, I got to go downstairs and watch SNL. Then thunder struck again and basically repeated the steps in the previous paragraph. For the next hour, she slept on my lap, using her Moby Dick stuffed animal as a pillow. This kid had me wrapped around her finger like the fresh meat she knew I was. She was constantly moving the pillow around until she was comfortable, with no regard for my discomfort. Oh well. She’s cute.
Finally, I hear the garage open and slowly my brother comes upstairs to find me in the dark, with his child strewn across me. Like any good parent, he immediately started to laugh and run after the camera. Lucky for me, it was too dark for him to capture the image. He called his wife, and she took sleeping beauty off of me, put her in bed, and had no problem letting her cry until she soon fell asleep again.
All of this to say, I couldn’t have been happier to drive home to my quiet, baby-free house, and not have to think about spending every night jumping up at the whim of a baby who totally played me and read me like a book for the novice that I am!