Thursday, May 5, 2011
Marlee vs Baby
Something interesting you may not know about me before this trip? I'm 26, and have never held a baby. Ever. And not by lack of opportunity either. It takes a lot of skill to keep from holding a baby when everyone in the room assumes that since I am a woman I must be naturally inclined to holding an infant. That I want to hold them. That I simply can't wait to oooh and aaah over their little fingers and toes. Not the case.
I'm the random girl who stands in the corner when a coworker brings her new baby to work, making slow movements towards the door and secretly praying for a meteor to hit directly across the street so that I may direct my attention elsewhere. I grab whatever is nearby so my hands are full. I develop a hacking cough and excuse myself to the restroom. I'm so skilled in the baby deflection dance I could be on a friggin' reality television show.
You may laugh, but I'm going to be frank here. Babies. Are. Terrifying.
Why? Not because of the potential spit-up or diaper blowout, or the sheer fragility of their existence, but because they haven't learned how to sugarcoat their criticisms yet.
That's right. Babies are rude. If you're not funny, they cry. If you smell bad, they cry. If you look strange, they cry. With all this information I am left to think if someone hands me a baby and the baby starts crying, they are confirming my deep-seated fears of being a boring, smelly, strange-looking individual. I'm defective, and somehow this tiny person can sense it, and they are going to spread the word like wildfire.
So for the entire 8 hour drive on my way to meet my 4-month old niece, my mind was racing trying to recall my best baby deflection one-liners:
"I have a phobia of miniature sized clothing."
"I just got off work at the roadkill processing plant."
"I didn't take my seizure medication this morning."
"I'm actually deathly allergic to babbling."
These aren't even the good ones (I'm still kind of saving those), but the fact is nothing really works on my brother because he knows me. He knows I don't have seizures and he knows I don't work at a roadkill processing plant. I had no way out.
I walked in the door and my sister-in-law put her in my arms. I held her in a position crossed between holding a cat and holding a football. She squirmed. We made eye-contact.
Moment of truth.
She stared. I stared. Days passed. Months. I could feel my face turning red. She was judging me.
She thinks I'm funny!
Score. My niece is freaking awesome. She thinks I'm hilarious. No big deal.
The rest of the week was cake. She never cried, except for a small 2-minute warning whine to let us all know she had started her internal countdown to explosive torture, but 2 minutes is a long time to determine wet, hungry, or tired, so explosive torture never really arrived. Add on the fact that my sister-in-law has her daughter's sounds down to an exact science, already knowing ahead of time exactly what was coming next.
I found I'm not as bad as I thought I was. I played with her all week, ingraining into her head that I am the most amusing aunt she has, and even fed her a couple times. Sometimes she looks at me in a condescending "you're making a fool out of yourself" way, but I like to think that she is simply being sarcastic. Which I also like to think she picked up from me over the weekend.