Five Things I’m Learning About Babies Via My Niece
It’s not like being around babies was a foreign experience to me prior to meeting my niece. I’ve met plenty of babies, been around them numerous times, but never have I been as hands on with them as I am with my niece.
Ever since I met her, I want to be around my niece every chance I get. Just now my sister came by the house to drop her off for my mom and I to babysit for the day. When my sister walked in with my niece in the car seat, I hurried over to pick her up, only to see she was still sleeping. I felt like the first kid awake at a sleepover, waiting for his friends to wake up. I couldn’t wait for her eyes to open.
Needless to say, this new experience being around my niece, all pro-baby like never before, has taught me some lessons. In a little less than a week, here are five I have learned.
BABIES ARE HEAVY
My niece weighs about 18 pounds. The free weights I use for my daily exercises are 20 pounds, so why does my niece feel heavier? The other day I went Christmas shopping with my family, and I took my niece walking around Macys, by the time I gave her back to my sister I was sweating. And let’s not even add the extra weight of her car seat. I thought I was getting stronger with all this exercise I was doing, as it turns out, I still have a long way to go.
I DON’T THINK I WANT HER TO BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
It’s the holidays and we’re getting my niece and her older brother (he’s eight) some gifts, some of which are from Santa. When I was younger, I believed in Santa, but when I got older, I got hip to the game (the leftover cookies was a clear cut message to me that it was time to grow up and get real), and I realize how foolish it all was. Santa doesn’t exist, but hard working family members who go running around in the rain looking for Christmas gifts they buy with the money they earn do exist. I think I want my niece and her brother to know about those people more than I want them to know about Santa.
YOU DON’T WANT THEM LISTENING TO THAT NOISE
I was holding my niece in this thrift store, and out of nowhere Trey Songz’ “Bottoms Up” song came blasting through the store speakers. I immediately went to find some ear muffs to put on my nieces head. I don’t want her listening to that song until she’s at least 24.
I WILL NEVER GET USED TO THIS WHOLE SMELLING-THE-BABY BUSINESS
My sister challenged me this morning to smell my niece to see if she’s used the bathroom. A few weeks ago I probably would have done it because she wasn’t eating foods yet, but now she is, and needless to say I told my sister no. I don’t want to smell any babies unless it’s by accident. Does this make me a bad uncle? I doubt it.
A BABY’S SMILE CONTAINS ALL HOPE
My niece smiles all the time. Seriously. All the time. I’ve seen her cry once, and that’s because I accidentally dropped her. We were sitting on the floor, so she didn’t fall a long distance, she just kind of tipped over. But she only cried for like 15 seconds, then she not only stopped, she started smiling again.
Since I have been back home, I say a new prayer, one that asks God to keep giving my niece a reason to smile the way she does everyday. I know life is not perfect, and I don’t think that ever bothered me until now, because for my niece I want it to be different. I think about all the things I have cried about, and my sister has cried about, and my mother has cried about, and my friends have cried about. I think about this world we live in and how it can hurt us in ways we never imagined, and now I wonder what can I do to prevent my niece from having to experience those pains. We all want what’s best for the babies, but so many of us guess what that is, we don’t really know, not 100 percent of the time. So I’m taking my cues from my niece’s smile. Whatever makes her do that everyday, give me that. Order it in bunches.