Saturday, December 20, 2008

Taking Care of Baby

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I babysat his three-month old cousin, Gabriel.  I've never babysat someone so young before, so I have to admit that certain things were a bit difficult.  But, everyone survived and I didn't even put the diaper on backwards!

But I couldn't help but think about my grandmother - how she had her first baby when she was 19.  It sort of gives me the chills to think that if I was like my grandmother, I would be married to a man who is 8 years older than me and have my first baby on the way.

And I can't imagine taking care of baby without some of the amazing technological advances for taking care of baby that we have today.  For example, at one point, Gabriel decided to cry and scream for some unknown reason.  I was in the middle of changing his shirt (since he spit up all over it) and he just starts screaming.  I have one of his arms in the shirt and I begin to panic as his little face turns red.  I immediately picked him right up and started walking around the room, bouncing him as I went and giving "WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?" looks to my boyfriend.  Finally, I thought to put him into his massaging bouncy swing.  I put him in as he is still screaming and I was trying to get him strapped in and turn the thing on.  I got in on and within seconds he begins to calm right down.

I had a tsunami size wave of relief run over me.  I had no idea what set him off to start crying like that, but I was so relieved to get him to stop.  I knew that I owed that swing BIG TIME.

And honestly - when it came time to leave, I was so relieved that I got to go home.  I was exhausted and I had only watched him for two hours or so.  It certainly re-affirmed what I had already known: I can definitely wait a few years for kids.

Yet, my thoughts went back to my grandmother.  If I was her, I would be married already and getting ready for the birth of my first child.  Within the decade, I would have a total of three children, two of which would be twins.  By the end of her child bearing days, she would of had a total of five children and adopted her sister's illegitimate daughter.  Honestly, I couldn't imagine living her life.

Experiencing how hard it was to for me to take care of baby Gabriel (and I had that wonderful massaging bouncy chair), I can't imagine what it must've been like without modern advances.  My grandmother didn't have plastic diapers or already moistened wipes at her disposal.  She didn't have that massaging bouncy chair.  She didn't have any of that... 


Cindy said...

Elyse -
I've often had the same thoughts as you. My Great Grandmother died in 1933, leaving behind 8 children ages 9 and under. My Grandmother (the 9year old) took over the roll as Mommy and had her own child at the age of 14 - can you even imagine?? I've got 5 of my own - can't help but wonder how she did it! By the way, love your story about your adventure in babysitting, believe me, there are those moments in real motherhood as well! You'll do just fine when the times comes - make sure you've got a "magic seat" :-)

Apple said...

You're about a decade younger than my kids. I had cloth diapers and no magic seat. Perhaps you should talk to your Mom about what she had when you were born. I was surprised to learn that my mother had to have her sister-in-law come and stay a couple of weeks because she was afraid I'd break. Some of the things my kids have for their children amaze me (others just make me scratch my head! lol) I was 20 and a day when my first child was born. Was I ready? Nope! But I learned fast and when the time is right you will to, just as your grandmother did.

wendy said...

Elyse - you're about the same age as my youngest (she'll be 19 in a few months). I had my first baby two months after turning 20 & had all 4 by the time I was 28! When I shopped for my "on the way" grandsons 7 & 2.5 yrs ago, I kept thinking "Where was this stuff when I needed it?" My oldest was allergic to disposable diapers so had a diaper service. I nursed all 4 so that saved $$ on formula (although I supplemented) & washing bottles & I worked full time when I had all 4! And I NEVER wanted any moms to come visit! I think I did all that just so I can say to my kids - until you've had 4 & done what I did, I don't want to hear it! ha ha!