Mary and Tommy received an invitation to a wedding on March 5th, and they asked me at least two months in advance if I was free to babysit. The wedding was over 50 miles away and they planned to be away from 1 PM to 1 AM. That was the longest time that they would be away from the baby, but my family and I have gotten comfortable with the babysitting routine. I love spending time with my nephew, but this night turned out to be a true test of my patience and skill.
My dad and I arrived at Mary and Tommy’s place. Mary reviewed how to use cloth diapers, told us there was extra milk in the freezer, and set out some books and toys. I’m sure Mary and Tommy were happy to get some time for themselves but were probably nervous to leave us in charge.
The baby was ready for his first nap. I had to walk around with him to calm him down and get him snuggled, then I laid him down on his mat and covered him with his blankie. My dad took this opportunity to leave because he usually goes to church on Saturday nights. He would be back around 7pm. That left me 5 hours alone with baby.
I heard the baby start fidgeting, and after 10 minutes, he was very awake and active. I changed his diaper, fed him, burped him, then did tummy time. We read a few board books, and I carried him all throughout the house and talked to him. I love to shower his fat cheeks with kisses and hopefully he likes it, too. I was the perfect auntie.
I definitely lost track of time. The baby and I were having so much fun playing and he didn’t show any signs of being sleepy. Mary had told me a hundred times that he needed to nap approximately every two hours, but the baby was fine! Or so I thought.
The baby was getting a bit fussy. He didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want a pacifier, and I checked repeatedly that his diaper was clean. Oh yeah, the baby needs to nap! Duh! So I turned off some lights and put the baby down. He finally fell asleep, and I took advantage of this break to raid the refrigerator. I finished off the carton of Rocky Road ice cream and sat down on the couch.
The baby woke up! Oh no! I tried saying “Shhhhh” gently and putting my hand on him so he knew he was safe. It didn’t work. He was awake and making noises. Did he need food? But he just ate before his nap! I let him stay lying down, then tried walking around with him to get him sleepy. Nothing worked.
My dad brought sandwiches for dinner and he ate while I held the baby. I told him how the baby only got 10 minutes of sleep, and he was being so fussy. My dad took a turn with the baby while I ate my sandwich. He talked to the baby and tried to reason with him: “Listen here, you have to get some rest, ok?”
After another hour of fussiness, I was able to put the baby down on his mat in the bedroom. My dad and I were already exhausted.
Baby started crying. I picked the baby up to walk with him, but he screamed even louder. So I put him back down and he was still crying. My dad told me to put the baby in his rocker chair and bring him in the living room. My dad rocked the baby and let him cry. We knew he was so tired that he couldn’t sleep. I was very frustrated and thought, “What kind of person needs sleep and is too tired to sleep so he stays up and cries?” Babies are so irrational.
The baby fell asleep in his rocker. He sometimes woke up and started crying, but he fell asleep several minutes after his outbursts.
Mary and Tommy came home early. Praise the Lord! The baby was asleep like a mischievous little man. My mom asked how babysitting went, and I replied with “Never am I ever babysitting him again!”
I now know that I need to enforce the baby’s sleep schedule and have him ready for naptime even before that time comes. There is no point getting frustrated with a baby because it won’t help the situation and could make things worse. I still love to see the baby and spend time with him, and I tease him about that night when he was a little terror baby.
Two days later, there were no more hard feelings: