One day this week, we had the privilege of watching Caroline, Earl's niece's baby. I guess she isn't technically a baby any more since she turned one last week. Caroline's mom works two days a week and Caroline usually stays with her grandparents who have adjusted their work schedule to keep her. This week though, Earl's sister and her husband were off bicycling in Napa Valley (because someone had to) and we agreed to watch Caroline. She arrived at 8:30 a.m.
I was at work and stayed at work until 1 p.m. That means that my big, sometimes loud, husband was solely in charge of Caroline.
Now, Earl always took care of our kids when they were little, so I knew he could do it. But Caroline has had a fear or dislike of Earl since she was little. Something about him made her cry. Maybe because he's so big or because he would try to rough house with her. When I got home, Earl and Caroline were fast friends. She was wearing a flower behind her ear that had wilted. She had played with the trains we spread out on the floor and was especially fascinated by the cats.
Caroline doesn't walk yet, but she crawls everywhere and has discovered that bouncing on her butt backwards is a terrific way to cover ground. She bounces so high up in the air that she is practically standing. It looks like some sort of yoga move the way she places her feet together and bounces. Here are a couple of blurry photos of her in action.
This is nowhere near the height of her bounce. She is spring-loaded in the diaper area.
You may notice that she is bouncing on top of a calculator and has a remote control nearby. The remote was her favorite toy. She would press the buttons then look quickly at the televistion to see if she had turned it on.
Earl and I packed her into her jogging stroller and took her for a walk to our little downtown. We had coffee while she sucked on a straw full of water and shared bites of Earl's pumpkin ginger scone.
Then Earl took a nap while Caroline had a playdate with the 16-month-old three houses down. He was into kissing and she kept pushing him away. She was too busy eating leaves that I kept pulling from her mouth.
Our boys didn't want much to do with her at first. As Spencer walked up the back sidewalk, I was carrying a wet, disposable diaper to the trash can.
"Oh, gross. I was going to eat but now I've lost my appetite," he said.
The boys sat across the table from Caroline during dinner. They didn't want to risk gross food touching them. They watched in amazement as Caroline grasped handfuls of bananas, tomatoes, tuna and cheerios.
"She shoves her whole hand in her mouth to get one bite," Spencer observed.
Then she growled at them and they almost fell over laughing.
"Don't get too close to her food," Earl warned them as she growled again.
That girl can eat.
My observations after her dad picked her up at 7:30 that night:
Babies are cute but exhausting.
I never have learned how to get babies to sleep, which was obvious from the fact that she skipped her afternoon nap. None of my kids were good sleepers.
There is nothing as sweet as a baby belly and the smell of their soft heads.
It's good to get a baby fix.
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