A couple weeks ago, I happened in the course of my day, upon a friend of mine, Kate, who was babysitting an infant for a friend of hers. The friend had to run to a doctor appointment and had no one to care for her infant daughter. So Kate graciously offered to keep the baby for an hour or so while she went to the appointment. I walked in the office and saw the cute little girl baby in a bouncer thingy, just laughing and bouncing away. Kate was taking pictures and sending them to the baby’s mother every 10 minutes or so. “Have a seat!” she said. So I sat down, and we played and laughed with the baby girl. Now, Kate has two grown sons, and I have 5 children myself, so we are not exactly novices to childcare. Also, we both share a really hilarious sense of humor. (right?) So of course I run over to my office and bring back one of those tiny cans of Dr. Pepper, which I had sanitized, then we gave it to the baby. (this can was unopened, FYI). Then Kate takes a picture of the baby with the Dr. Pepper can to send to her mom. Photo subtitle: Baby’s first Dr. Pepper! Aren’t we hilarious??
Anyway, a few moments later the baby starts crying. So of course we panic trying to get her to stop crying. I mean, when it’s your own baby you aren’t that worried about it, but someone ELSE’S baby is a different story! So Kate gets her out of the bouncy thing and baby is inconsolable! “Maybe she’s hungry?” Kate says. Then she hands me the baby and she goes to rummage in the diaper bag. Both of us are bordeline panicky at this point, as whatever it is baby wants, she is not getting nearly fast enough! Kate then hands me a bottle of water. “Just water?” I ask. “It’s all that’s in there!” Kate replies. I know some people give babies water, even though I never did. Well, maybe it will tide her over til her mom gets back shortly, I think to myself, and I start feeding the baby the water. She’s obviously thirsty as she gulps it down. Kate is still rummaging in the bag and pulls out a plastic container, divided into sections with a powdery substance in it. Maybe that’s the formula, i think. So I mention it and she says, “I think so!” and I give her back the bottle, which makes little baby girl really mad! Kate dumps the stuff in the bottle, hands it back and I start shaking it a lot and then give it to her to eat. After a few seconds I realize it’s not formula. It’s cereal. This is way too thick to be formula, I tell Kate, i think it’s cereal! “There’s nothing else in the bag!” she exclaims! At this point the baby is kind of mad because I have quit bottle feeding her this weird formula/cereal, and she starts crying again.
Right at this exact moment of insanity, her young mother walks in. Of course. She instantly spots the cereal bottle and takes it to go rinse it out. Kate is trying to reassure her that this all JUST started happening and that she’s been fine the whole time but just got mad. The mom says, “That’s how she is, totally happy until she’s hungry and then the switch just flips!” The mom is totally gracious about the whole thing, but she’s moving at a frantic pace to fix our mess and quickly takes the baby back. Then she starts rummaging around pulling out a can of formula from the bag. I look accusingly at Kate, who says, “I thought that was baby wipes!” I glare at her and inform her that next time, she holds the baby and I look in the bag. At this point I leave the two of them to hash it out and go back to my own business elsewhere.
Later, I told Kate, you know she probably thought we were total idiots, and wonders how our children have survived this long. We laughed and laughed. I asked her when she thought she’d get to babysit again . . . . we both think probably not anytime soon!