Print

E-Mail Story

Comment

News Letter Sign up


This just in: Parenting is hard


April 03, 2018

1 Image

Eleven months ago, my first nephew, Enzo, was born. We weren’t able to be there for his birth, and it took several months for me to meet him, at which point he was a doll baby in need of head support. This week, though, Enzo came to visit Georgia, and now, he’s nearly walking.

We were utterly unprepared for guests of the mobile child kind, and spent the last couple of weeks awkwardly perusing the baby aisle of Wal-Mart in search of organic foods he might eat. We borrowed play pens and dump trucks and brightly colored blocks from a friend. We barricaded fragile things in the guest room, and tried to minimize contact with sharp-edged furniture.

We are both highly educated people with excellent problem solving skills, but we met our match with the car seat on the day Enzo and Celeste were to arrive. We had to watch videos to figure it out, and that was our first taste of the complexities of the minutiae of parenting.

In further preparation, we isolated the cats and moved a small mattress into the living room to create a soft barrier, the other two sides comprised of our L-shaped sofa. It served as a pen and a safety net over the week, as Enzo has developed the skills and dexterity to get himself into trouble. He is in the wriggling stage of development where he is constantly moving, and is able to climb. He kept mounting the plastic dump truck and the elephant walker. He thrashed about inside his playpen like a WWF wrestler.

The brightly-colored blocks were a hit: Nikki built towers with them and Enzo, delighted, smacked them down into their smaller components. Every other toy made noise, and the off switches were hidden, blending carefully into one of the dozen colors each toy boasted. Sometimes, while he was napping, we would accidentally incite the sounds: children’s voices counting, singing, mechanical bells and whistles. Luckily, he has grown up in the house with a loud pit bull, and he slept peacefully through most interruptions.

We watched Celeste do everything one-handed,collapse and extend the travel stroller, search for pacifiers and toys that had been tossed or dropped, share her meal time with him so that she took bites, then prepared bites for him, tearing up apples and sweet potato for him to feed himself. We watched her rub his back until he fell asleep, and readjust him when he woke, fitful, from slumber. She knew what he needed when he cried. She knew when he was “faking it.”

Right now, Enzo requires 24/7 supervision, even in the moments he is sleeping. I have always known that parenting isn’t an easy job, which is part of why I have never wanted children, myself, but I didn’t realize exactly how demanding it would be at every moment of every day. Even with a well-behaved and good-natured baby like Enzo, the constant vigilance would wear me down by noon, at which point I would petulantly wish for time alone, and independence.

But some people are impressively good at parenting, and well-suited to it. Celeste sang cheerily throughout the day, and smiled consistently at her beautiful baby. She rarely expressed frustration, and managed somehow to navigate Enzo’s needs will still tending to her own, which really was something of a miracle.

We learned this week that where Celeste is good at being a parent, we are best suited — and maybe even good at — being aunts. We got used to it right before he left, and for a moment, I felt much more adept at caring for a baby. Then I realized that the next time I see him, he’ll be in a different stage of development, and the learning will begin anew.


Print

E-Mail Story

News Letter Sign up

Bookmark and Share
« Previous Story | Next Story »
 

COMMENTS

http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses. To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor. The comments below are from readers of http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ and do not necessarily represent the views of Publication or Morris Multimedia.

You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]



You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]