Friday, July 07, 2006

my date with amelie

next door to me live a nice couple about my age.
i talk to them sometimes, and when i gave them some leftover food from a munch-n-mingle, they invited me over for dinner. ephraim is studying neuroscience at byu and sabina is from germany, which caught me off guard; she speaks perfect english. they have two daughters; leoni is 3 [-ish?] and amelie is 18 months.

they were out on the steps as i was carrying some bulky hd equipment to my car last week and asked if i could do a favor for them: they were going to the shakespeare festival in cedar city for a few days and asked if could watch amelie for a few days.
'sometimes people seem normal but are sickos inside', said sabina, 'but you seem like a good guy.'

[i suppose i didn't need to tell them that i was going to ward temple night that night.]

this was kind of cool; i didn't have any work this week, and i was happy to help out.

until that night, when i realized i know nothing about babies.
how do you feed them?
what do they eat?
what do you do with them for a full day? what about two days?
and i've never changed a diaper...

but that's what i've been up to this week.

and you know who writes a blog and is an great babysitter?

this guy, right here!

[i also wrote a baby expert in indiana and got some great tips, which helped]

on wednesday afternoon, i was a little nervous, and sabina looked like she hadn't slept in days. she went over everything i could ever need to know about her little girl and i asked my questions, and by the end, we were both feeling pretty good.

so we took amelie into the kitchen and she and i ate some potato chips while mom and dad and her big sister slipped out the door, and that was it.

it was me and amelie.

tears almost came for a moment, but pooh bear can solve a multitude of problems.

i had some film left on my camera from japan and took some pictures of her, had my friend crystal come over with her knowledge of little ones [and to provide moral support for both of us], and mostly just had a blast with her.

she really liked to do laps around the parked cars, going around and around with her stroller, hugging as close to the car as possible.
that was kind of weird, but i didn't worry about her too much.

we took a trip to wal-mart [to have some pictures of her when mom and dad got home], played in the park, enjoyed some turkey jerky and a can of corn together, she screamed at the bath tub and so got a wet-wipe cleaning for two days in a row, has a wonderful smile after she sneezes, and likes to sing along to abba.

only one really stinky diaper, and only once did she wake me up in the night, and then fell back asleep before i could get to her.

now, i've always thought little kids were cool, but my life has never really brought me close to children, and i've never been particularly baby-crazy.
in fact, i've viewed them with a bit of suspicion, only in that they seemed to shift the established family paradigm when they come along.

but amelie will change your life.

it was absolutely fascinating, watching this little girl who has only been on this earth for 18 months, learning to use her hands and feet, grabbing things to explore and take in all around her, her clear blue eyes sparkling at all the colors and shapes and beauty about, her young mind learning an unbelievable amount of information, sorting it out and drinking from the great cup of life.
i wondered what was she was thinking, what she saw and felt with everthing that she did.

i also developed an immense sympathy and respect for single parents, people who have one or two or three [or more] children who live like this every day by themselves. heck, i even had crystal with me for nearly the entire time and my life still felt like it was on hold. as long as amelie was awake, she was my life. i had no time to write or to go running; i got up earlier than usual to make sure i could shower while she was still asleep, and when she was up, we not only together continuously, but it was all around her. still, mom and dad would be back on friday afternoon, and then my life would be back to 'normal'.

my hat humbly goes off to all parents who read this.

1 comment:

Em said...

What an awesome experience Jeff. You take the cake as a volunteer, I must say.

You will be so glad to have had this experience under your belt later. There's no skill in the world like not being frozen with fear when left alone with a baby.

You seem to earn a little more respect with each posting.