Familiarity with kids

Little kids made me uncomfortable as an adolescent and young adult. I felt no desire to hold them or to interact with them. For the most part I didn’t understand them, and as far as I could remember I was just not around babies at all. Though as a little girl, I played mommy for a life-size baby and I enjoyed it greatly.

On the other hand Conrad felt most natural around the very young ones. And kids connected to him instantly always. He was never embarrassed to be goofy. The world around would fade when he was interacting with kids. He was the most sought after babysitter in the neighborhood.

Fast forward to my first nephew being born. Caleb. I remember taking the day off from work to drive Hwy 280 to Palo Alto. We walked in this beautiful hospital and we took turn in holding our first nephew. Feeling his heartbeat, he was so fragile so beautiful. It was love at first sight. And he taught me to be comfortable around babies. During his first months we took turns babysitting him overnight on Fridays. We would fight over who gets to wake up to give him the bottle. I saw a tender and sacrificial side of Conrad that made me love him even more. I knew then that he will make a great daddy someday.

Here is something I wrote in August 2009. Caleb was one month old.

Conrad has volunteered us on quite few occasions to babysit.

This particular weekend was a lot more “fun” than I felt comfortable sharing back then. We vividly remember it, unlike all the days around that weekend. Conrad was just sharing last night during dinner about how he found out that pull-ups are not “pulldowns”. I wasn’t there when he tried to change one of the boys on Sunday morning. He called me desperately for help. He tried to pull down the pull-ups, but they were full with soft baby poop, which spread on the boy’s legs and dripped on the hardwood floor and on Conrad’s pants and shoes. You should hear him recount the event. It’s hilarious.

The little one asked to come up in bed with us at the crack of dawn. So we let him. Soon we realized that his diaper was overly wet from all the drinking of water he’d done all night, waking us up to give it to him. But we were so tired we just sat like that, cuddling with a wet baby and slept a little longer.

I have no regrets. We learned so much from that experience of babysitting over the weekend. Now that we are parents, and we align with those friend’s many beliefs in parenting, we realize how spending that weekend the way we did gave us courage, gave us a sliver of experience.

We wanted learn, and spending time around parents and their kids is the best way to get yourself ready for that stage. I commend all the young people who don’t shy away from socializing with families with kids. We can be a handful, and we don’t even see it anymore, that we get so desensitized to the messy house, the constant interruption, the noise, the incessant talking.