I still do, even after filling in as a helper parent for several days last week and being totally unsure about what I needed to do most of the time. Thanks, Erin, for putting up with my ineptitude! I think I'll need a pretty good partner in crime before I decide to have my own.
Except Erin and Todd have my favorite children, ones that I like to visit and have fairly frequently since I moved to AZ/CA. And with their third baby arriving just days before Todd had to go out of town for two weeks to start grad school, I volunteered to go hang out at their house for a few days and see what I could do to help. Oh boy.
She's really cute though, right?
The plan was for me to get up in the mornings with the two oldest kids (J's 4, and Miss B is 18 months old) and keep them occupied for awhile so that Erin could try and sleep or feed the baby. Except Miss B's been getting up around 5am, and they let her yell until 6 when they'll go in and get her. Sleeping habits are tough to establish, I hear. Good thing I've had 6am work calls over the last two weeks so that I was in the habit of getting up (ugh, so not a morning person. Living on the west coast is sometimes not an advantage in that regard).
Little J would get up around 7 and join us for some TV and breakfast. By the third morning I'd kinda figured out what they like to eat and how they like to eat it. Do I need to chop their food up? Do they use forks? If they ask for a cookie, how do I make them eat something else? Miss B climbs up into her high chair like a monkey when she's hungry, and climbs down as well. Is she going to fall and hurt herself? Can I let her do that? Yes, yes, I can let her do that.
When I felt it should be about noon, I'd look at the clock and realize it was only 930am. Time goes by way slower when you're up at 6. Those early bed times are kind of great.
I was a little nervous about my grocery store run. Newborn diapers and a specific kind of pacifier? Eek. I honestly don't think I've ever walked down the baby aisle at the store. But I was successful.
The next day we took all the kids to the park. Three carseats = two cars. We met Erin's sisters + spouses and their kids on the playground, and as I walked up I noticed all the kids running around together and all the parents sitting in a line, under the shady trees. That's the life to look forward to, eh?
Little J and Miss B really love their baby brother and almost anytime the baby cried, Little J would say, "he's probably crying because he wants to see me. And he loves me more than he loves Miss B." He is a super sweet kid and we talked about how I knew him and his parents when he was a little baby and couldn't move or do anything, just like his baby brother. And he said he'd probably invite me to his 5th birthday party. Score.
Little J is still learning how to stay in his own bed all night, and while he does pretty well most of the time, Friday night was a meltdown. He got up at 10 and ran into his mom's room screaming. She ushered him back in (I swear I would've done something if I knew what to do) and told him he had to stay there and calm himself down or he'd be locked in. I guess this is a necessary tactic. Well, he could not calm himself down and yelled that, so guess what - door's locked. He was offered the - let's say a prayer and calm down option - but he didn't want that either. So the door's locked and for ten minutes or so (maybe not that long, I dunno) he's banging on the door and yelling, "I need a prayer! I need a praaaay-eeeer!" I was totally about to crack up, though it wasn't really funny at the time, since he woke up the baby. But I'll never forget his funny cries.
We started negotiating. He was thirsty, I offered the water fountain inside. He wanted milk, I said I'd go look for some inside. He said they don't have milk in the church, but I convinced him that I could look around. Finally, I got him to take his foot off the lock. Took a bit longer to actually get into the primary room, seated, and with his class, but his teachers took over. Whew.
The baby was the super easy and sweet part of the trip, and I really think he got cuter every day. I always forget how little they are; he's really tiny. And thankfully not a random crier.
Erin, like you said when I left, I'll see you again in about 5 years.