Occasionally, we have backup babysitting duty for great-grandchild Lincoln Olivia, who is almost 8 months old. Sue looks forward to these visits with enthusiasm. I feel panic, lacking basic maternal instincts and sustained time with an infant since I last babysat in, oh, 1974. We had cloth diapers and pins back then. You actually did not feel guilty letting a child cry herself to sleep. Times have changed.
Paternal grandma Abby wanted to take an older grandchild to the movies, so Sue happily agreed to babysit. Like a responsible adult, I put everything aside to help entertain Lincoln for the day. Caring for an infant is actually a good exercise in mindfulness, in living in the moment. You can’t read a book or diddle with a work project; there are coffee tables and cats and TVs to crash into. You need empathy and presence to figure out why she is crying and what you can do about it.
Thank God Sue has a kid and grandkids under her belt – she just knows. Lincoln also knows that Mom-Mom Sue is the go-to adult in these situations – that Lee-Lee is, well, clueless. I basically served as a short-term diversion so Sue could eat her lunch and get a bottle for Lincoln. I also delivered dirty diapers to the trash can and conducted pacifier searches.
There are several reasons why Lincoln cries:
- Dirty diaper
- Wants to be picked up
- All of the above
I will let the pictures tell the story of our day.