All right, you asked for it, so here goes.
When Nan agreed to do this whole babysitting thing I thought – "You gotta be kidding me". We finally get to the point where the kids are all gone (for good, I hope) and we have time and leisure for ourselves and what does she do? She goes and makes a commitment that's going to tie her up for years to come. That's a typical "Nan" move where babies are concerned. And it's not just a little commitment either, it's a huge commitment, an all day every day commitment. And it's not a half-grown, already broken in, plop her down in front of the TV and call it done kinda kid either. No, it's an "I won't be able to do anything for myself for at least three years" kinda kid. A stinking, crying, getting sick all the time kinda kid. The worst kinda kid. The baby kinda kid. What was she thinking?
Before we go digging into the mind and motivations of my best girl, (which, believe me, can be both scary and dangerous), let me make one thing perfectly clear. I like babies; they're fine as far as I'm concerned. But the key to liking babies is to take them in small doses. A little bit of baby is good. A whole lot of baby is vexing. That's why grandparents are so fond of their grandchildren; they only have to be exposed to them on a short-term basis. This is a fact recognized and commented on by every grandparent who has ever lived. I don't believe I have ever heard grandparents talk about grandchildren without hearing the comment, "I get to have all the fun with them that I want and then hand them back to their parents", followed by self-satisfied laughter all around. That's because we, as grandparents, have experienced the parent thing. We've done our duty and done our time. It's someone else's turn to pick up the ball and run with it.
A scamp torturing a poor granddad.
All of that is true, generally speaking, but there is a small subset of grandparents, mostly women, who live and breathe for the kids. They never seem to get enough of them. No matter how old they get or what else is going on in their lives, they never stop being attracted to small, helpless humans like moths to a flame. There is something in their make-up that draws them to the larvae. Maybe they like being constantly interrupted in whatever they are doing. Maybe they enjoy aggravation, botheration, and unreasoning resistance. Maybe they just need to be needed. Whatever the underlying pathology, these Uber Mothers fill their lives with children. They are women who are invariably patient, wise, capable and self-sacrificing. They love children and children love them. They are fairy godmothers without the wand and wings and Nan is their queen.
So here we are. Another baby is in our midst. Kiley has come among us. She's a funny little squib and I do mean "little". She's tiny even by baby standards. I think her doctor said she is in the tenth percentile for size, which means small. Her "Betty Davis" eyes are the biggest part of her. I try to stay away from her as much as possible and avoid eye contact because these babies are dangerous things. They're like boils. They have a way of growing on you; especially this one, I can see it. If you let them, they will worm their way into your heart, like cholesterol, and if you're not careful they'll take up permanent residence there. Then, before you know it, you find yourself hanging around them more and more, and thinking about them when they're not around, and looking forward to seeing them, and wishing they were around more often, and bending over backwards to fulfill their every wish and desire. Believe me, I don't need that - not at my age. Nan got herself into this and she can count me out. I'm too old for that crap. I don't want to be a jerk about it so I give her a hand with the baby now and then, but only when absolutely necessary. I'll carry her around for bit when she's "fussy" but that's about as much as I can do, sorry. A quick kiss goodbye out at the car is about as far as I am willing to take it. She laughs when I "get" her belly, which isn't very often because "Uncle Tom" don't roll that way. She thinks "this little piggy went to market" is a regular riot. And she's so flexible. I can grab her feet and tickle her under the chin with them. She seems fascinated by my voice. When I sing to her she stares at me like she's mesmerized or something; it's creepy. Thank God she goes home at the end of the day because I would go nuts. I wonder what she's doing right now.