Thursday, April 20, 2006

Takes me right back.

Cate is baby-sitting a three month old for a month. She says her sons want to be hands-on carers for their little friend Sophie, or "Soap-y" according to her youngest. They want her to stampede and play football and she can't even hold things.

When I was pregnant with Iris I said to Hazel many times
"There's a baby living in my tummy. One day the baby will come out and it will be our baby: yours, Dad's, and my baby. We will all look after it together."

My goodness me it really was true! I birthed Iris at home in the middle of the night, and to Sean's and my surprise Hazel didn't wake up until the next morning. Sean went through to her room and said
"Last night your little sister was born, right there in the lounge," pointing at the wall through which I had been yelling so loudly.
"Ohh!" said Hazel, awed for a moment, and then definitely "I hold her."
So she came into the other bedroom and did.

Hands-on from that moment, Hazel and her fortunately intrepid little sister taught me a lot. So Cate's post was very evocative for me, it took me right back to that morning:

And evoked some humourous advice; below.

If you hold Soap-y under the arms you can use her like a Foosball (table soccer) person and she can play football with the best.

All a three month old needs to stampede is a prosthetic adult. I like a front pack or sling for such things. Lacking either put her back against your front, your arms around her torso under her arms and one hand down the centre grabbing the nappy. Bend your knees rather than stooping. Stop before you get sore.

Soap-y might also like to be the hub of a stampede around her, probably while you hold her so she feels safe.

Would you like a few more ideas?

Small children enjoy having babies on their laps, sometimes for as long as a minute. Sit the child down with legs out and back support, on the floor but against a wall perhaps. "Sit" Soap-y between the legs with her back against their front and get them to hold her for balance. Watch her face for crumpling. If Soap-y gets good at it she might like a mirror held low to see herself and her big friend in, or she might let them feed her a bottle if she has one. One helper could hold her and the other the bottle.

Soap-y probably will "kiss", albeit sloppily, if you hold her cheek to the downy breast-like cheek of a child. Small children may squeal delightedly. Hold Soap-y's ear away from child's mouth when she gives her "funny baby kisses".

Soap-y may well be happy to be pushed on a baby swing for a long time by eager little hands.
"Gentle baby pushes"
"But she likes it!"

Children often like to fetch and carry for babies.
"Could you pass me Soap-y's burp cloth please? ... Oh. ... Could you fetch that wet flannel that's on the table too please."

Soap-y would probably like them to bring her interesting things to mouth. "You're right; it is quite big so it can't move to the wrong part of her mouth and stop her breathing, and it doesn't fall to pieces, but mice have some of the same sicknesses as us and this one is dead. The bugs that killed it might make Soap-y sick so I think we'll just bury it instead."


Blogger Cate said...

Your comment made me soooooo happy this morning, right before Soap-y arrived, and this post made me sooooo happy tonight, mere hours after Soap-y went home! Thank you for all of your wonderful advice--I heard "but she LIKES it" a zillion times today! I esp. liked the "Soap-y as hub in stampede" scenario!

I love the relationship that your daughers share--what a lovely family you have! You remind me, every time I vist here, what a joy children are, and to stop and appreciate the many finer moments that pass too quickly! xo

12:16 PM  

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