Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Under the microscope

I have a confession: I don't have much experience with kids. I love them, but just don't have much hands-on experience with them. I've never changed a diaper, unless you count the baby dolls I had when I was little (but baby dolls tend not to be very squirmy--nor do they have real poop, for that matter). I've never fed a bottle. I don't think I've held an infant that was younger than six months old. I've never fixed a toddler's boo-boo. I did some babysitting when I was in high school, but it was for kids that were a little older.

So, even though no one actually came out and said it, I knew I was under the microscope over Thanksgiving weekend when spending time and playing with my 22-month-old niece. No doubt everyone was watching me interact with her as an indicator of how well I'll do with my own child.

I was nervous about it at first, especially since I knew I'd be watched. And especially because I'd only seen my niece two other times (once at six months old and the other time at ten months old) and it'd been a whole year since I'd seen her, so I'm no better than a stranger to her since she lives so far away. The last time I saw her, in early November 2005 (just three days after my, she bawled anytime I'd even come close to holding or touching her. She was very much in her "I want my mommy" stage, and I clearly wasn't her mommy, so she wanted nothing to do with me.

But things went much better this time around--much to the delight of my silent observers, I'm sure. My pathetically weak biceps were so sore by the end of the weekend because of how much she wanted me to hold her. (Note to self: Work on bulking up biceps--and fast!) She squealed with delight when I'd take her in my arms as if giving her a hug and we'd roll around on the bed together. She loved it when she was lying on her back and I would pull her across the kitchen floor by her feet. It was definitely a confidence-booster to have a good experience with her at this point and to hear both my sister and brother-in-law say we'll be good parents.

We also had another test this weekend: how our dog would react to a young child. He's seen kids around the neighborhood but hasn't really had a chance to play one-on-one for any amount of time. I'm not too worried about him, since golden retrievers are known for being good with kids, but he's just barely over a year old, so he has a lot of excitable puppy in him still. But I'm glad to report that he LOVED my niece (who also loved him)...they became best friends instantly. She'd try to share her sippy cup with him, and he'd offer up his favorite toy to her. When we'd go back to our own house each night, he would look around the house for "his" little girl, but she was nowhere to be found. I'm sure he'll be glad to have a little girl at his own house soon. He still hasn't been around babies, so that's an unknown in this equation, but I think he'll be fine as long as we still give him the attention and walks he needs.


At November 29, 2006 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you and hubby taking a newborn care class? That was helpful for my husband who had no baby experience either.

And don't worry about the biceps. Your arms will tone up before anything else does (unfortunately)between lifting baby, carseat, etc. It's a good thing they're small in the beginning...the upper body workout starts out slowly.

At November 29, 2006 2:21 PM, Blogger DMB said...

Yes, our hospital offers two different classes that focus on various aspects of newborn care, and we've got the dates set for those as well as the other classes they offer. They'll actually start pretty soon! I figure it certainly can't hurt and may even be helpful. :)



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