Babysitting Lakshmi

It’s been almost thirty years since I have looked after a baby. Well Lakshmi is not a baby anymore, but still. Even all those years ago, I never did do a good job. I muddled along like everything else in my life. Too proud to ask for help or advice, I read some parenting books from the library to help me through. I think quite a few of the teachings in those days have now been discredited, some even unsafe. Fads come, they go.

It’s been six days now since I have been looking after Lakshmi. The first couple of days at her home and the last four at mine. I have now slowly worked out the mechanics of a pushchair and am finally comfortable with it.

Lakshmi now knows what she wants and will make sure that you know that as well. She tries to get her own way if she can, especially when she is tired. However when she knows that she cannot get what she wants she concedes defeat quite quickly and moves on. Even though there are toys scattered all over the place, her eyes are on other things. My red mug is currently her favourite toy.

I’m learning on the job and getting there slowly. It’s been exhausting but at the end of the day when she smiles at you, you know you’ve tried your best. The times when you’ve had to endlessly change nappies when she’s had an upset tummy, clear up vomit from the carpet and clean up spills and splatters from the floor and walls are easily forgotten. Half an hour to get ready and out the door for an afternoon walk and you realise it’s raining outside. By the time you get to the pond to feed the ducks she’s fast asleep. Do I wait for her to wake up or do I walk back home?

These are precious days. The wide grins, the cheeky smile, the satisfied face, the babbling talk, the little dances to her favourite tunes. Priceless moments to enjoy.

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