Friday, 14 October 2011

Ah, young love...

Yesterday I babysat someone else's child. On my own. For the first time. Ever.

The child in question - Matys - is 6 months old, and therefore requires a good deal of attention to keep him occupied and happy. His mother, Sandrine and my wife Christelle headed off to a zumba class for an hour or so of exercising fun, leaving me in charge of little Matys and Lydia.

Normally I would have panicked in this situation and probably been a bit useless. Fortunately for me, Matys is a very calm baby. He was born a couple of weeks before Lydia and has always been surprisingly calm and easy going, which is a stark contrast to our little Ms. Curious. He makes Lydia look hyperactive in comparison.

Matys being generally calm meant that I wasn't too worried about looking after both him and Lydia at the same time. I thought that whenever Lydia got frustrated I could quickly sooth her or play with her, knowing that Matys could lay quietly by himself for a few seconds.

As Christelle is good friends with Sandrine (they experienced pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood at the same time), Matys and Lydia are no strangers. Now that they are both at an age where they really start to understand what is going on around them, they have begun to notice each other's presence much more than before.

I wanna hold your hand
After giving Matys his bottle, during which time Lydia had a bit of a whinge (possibly jealous?), I put them both on the carpet in our living room. They immediately turned their heads and I could tell they recognised each other.

Matys then rolled onto his stomach, turned his head to face Lydia and moved his hand towards her. Lydia looked at Matys, then at his hand, and then reached out to touch it.

It was a very cute moment for me to see these two little babies enjoying one another's company, and I can tell that they will grow up as close friends in the near future. After changing Lydia's nappy and putting her pyjamas on, I put Matys in his sleeping bag and placed them side by side on the carpet.

What did Matys say to Lydia?
Matys then looked at Lydia (who was already staring at him) and starting telling her a story, which was made up mostly of "ba ba ba" sounds and squeaky noises. After about thirty seconds, he had finished his story.

Lydia then turned to look at me and immediately started crying.

I don't know what Matys said to her, but she obviously didn't appreciate it!

After this I kept the kids busy by playing with them, making funny faces and noises, and occasionally tickling them. They are both ticklish, which is fantastic as it means plenty of baby giggles!

I got both of them to play with a noisy toy we have with flashing lights and things to pull and hit (see photo) and they seeemd to enjoy themselves (at least they didn't complain to me).

I rounded off my first babysitting experience by huddling both babies together and singing them a few songs. Naturally they were English songs, so I don't know how much of that Matys would have understood (maybe he just listened to the melodies).

I find that I can't remember many of the lullabies from my childhood, so after singing "Rock-A-Bye Baby" several times I run out of baby-themed tunes and start singing more contemporary music.

Some Stereophonics, Beatles and Jack Johnson ditties were on the play list, which even included Guns N Roses at one point. The kids seemed to like it, and calmly listened to my crooning until their mums came back and Matys went back home.

In the end, although it was occasionally a bit of an effort to keep both babies entertained (and not crying), I think I came through it ok. It's probably a good thing to get a bit of practise at babysitting in now before the kids get older, as I imagine running around after toddlers will be a much tougher job.

PS - apologies for the shoddy quality of the photos in this article. We have energy saving lightbulbs in our living room and when you combine that with an iPhone camera the results are less than spectacular.


Joelle Ford said...

Well written - brings back a lot of memories.

Pushhyyarag2000 said...

Boy! Babysitting a six month old is a challenge! But you are lucky mate: you had someone to keep good company with the younger one. I'm reminded of my own accomplishments, which were far far long in duration. Let me try to be brief, if I can.

When I joined degree college in another city and couldn't get accommodation at the hostel, I was in search of a homely stay. I found a spare room that would accommodate me for a quid pro quo: the couple had a young one to be taken care of when they wanted to head off for a movie. It was a boy baby but hyperactive. I would normally manage well at home. Once I had to take him along to drop the elder boy to school. That was the first time I had taken him out & away from home. When he had finished enjoying whatever sights that fascinated him, he got home sick I think. He started full throat cry bang on the road non-stop. All my skills at soothing were in vain & passers by nearly suspected I was a child lifter!! Some kind lady close by helped me restoring calm & even helped carry the guy half way towards the house. I can't explain how relieved I was the moment I reached home! Neither me nor the boy's parents ever ventured something like that again! lol.

I could sense that you enjoyed the time thoroughly. Great!!

Kim said...

I can imagine that you were ready for a nap yourself when the mommies returned!