M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, April 25, 2002  

Last Wednesday night I had a chance to do something I'd never done before: take care of a baby for more than ten minutes in a row.

She's my niece. When we spent the evening together, she was just short of three months old. Now she's just over three months old. Damn, people age fast when they're babies. Since she's not old enough to pick her own Internet pseudonym yet, I'll just call her Deniece (get it? Ha! I kill me!).

It was an evening of firsts for both of us, actually. It marked the first time I:

    Mixed baby formula. I ran out of other ideas when she got hungry but refused to have anything to do with my man-boob.

    Changed a diaper. I promised myself I wasn't going to do any of that exaggerated Three-Men-And-A-Baby/Bernie-Mac/Every-Other-Pop-Culture-Image-Of-Men-Changing-Their-First-Diaper mugging and moaning. Then I did anyway.

    Actually made a female of the species stop crying.

Obviously she experienced more firsts during the same period, since she's, like, less than one percent of my age. It's true what they say about re-experiencing the world through a child's eyes, and appreciating the sense of wonder that someone has when everything is new. So it was kind of exciting to be there the first time she:

    Saw our house. Not that I'm not there when most people see our house for the first time, but this is different. It's important for her to know her way around, since we plan to have her cleaning the whole place from top to bottom in a year or two.

    Rode a cat. No, obviously that didn't really happen. I couldn't find the duct tape.

    Became offended by the stereotypical depiction of perceived gender roles in Kevin Smith films. Lacking much background in film criticism, women's studies, or the English language, she was unable to articulate her position more precisely than "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa." But obviously something about Mallrats pissed her off.

I wondered what I should do if Deniece did something for the first time while under my care. Should I tell her mom, or should I keep it to myself so her mom could believe that the first time she saw Deniece do something was actually the first time Deniece did it? Obviously day care professionals deal with this dilemma every day, and presumably they've got it figured out. I forgot to ask before Deniece's mom left, though.

I wasn't too conflicted when Deniece started rubbing her head. That's not terribly surprising considering that the cranium represents about 95% of a three-month-old's surface area.

I didn't freak out when she said her first word to me, because it was "guh." Likewise when she busted out an "ehhhh." When she followed that up with "ratatouille," I knew I was in trouble. And not just because we were fresh out.

I came thisclose to calling Deniece's mom when she took her first step. But then I had to put the phone down so I could chase her up and down the stairs.

Deniece finally resolved the situation for me by driving to the store to get me cigarettes. That did it. I don't even smoke.

Obviously she's not as smart as I thought.

posted by M. Giant 1:22 PM 0 comments


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