In Part One I talked about some of my keys to success, a few of my standout highlights, and listed various TV Findings I have made since having access to Netflix, soap operas, children’s movies/TV shows all the days of my nanny life thus far. I want to turn the conversation though to some systematic research I have done just over the course 6 weeks or so. This research is backed by hours of observation and experiments involving controlled and independent variables. Okay, honestly I haven’t really incorporated experiments into my routine quite yet, besides the good ole Pavlov make the baby salivate with an empty spoon shtick, but I truly have been observing a great deal.
In a short amount of time I’ve become infinitely closer to zoologists and animal behaviorists which I never believed would happen in my lifetime. My clientele just happen to be the human kind. I am a babyologist in the purest sense of the word. I watch these mini-sized Homo sapiens in their natural habitat and I take notes. Lots of mental notes. My research is far from complete but I say with confidence that human babies are the coolest creatures out there. They display many characteristics that I think all older humans would love to have for their entire lives.
For instance, wouldn’t life get significantly better if we could sleep wherever and whenever and not care? You are talking to me, I don’t care I’m just going to fall asleep. You’re going to try and feed me my essential nutrients for the day, I don’t care I’m just going to power down for some zzzzz’s. You take me out in public to get actual things accomplished, I don’t care I’m just going to snooze it up. You leave me playing with the same toy for a while, I don’t care I’m just going close my eyes and forget this ever happened. You want to snap my picture, I don’t care I’m just going to take a catnap. You won’t pick me up after screaming for a considerable amount of time. I’ll show you how much I don’t care by just going to sleep. Babies have mastered the sleeping patterns that we all so desire.
Oh, and speaking of screaming. When over the age of months to 24 months can you get away with screaming for what you want? Unless you are 12 yr. old me at Pizza Hut in Scranton, this just doesn’t typically happen past that age. Once we hit the age to enter school we are drilled with reminders to use our “inside” voices and to speak in a proper manner to one another. Babies live by their own rules. They scream at you and you are at their mercy. I want to scream at somebody and have them react by stuffing bottles and food in my mouth. If you scream at bystanders as adults you are not warmly received and it’s not fair. Babies can do it, so why can’t we too.
Another wonderful characteristic babies possess is they don’t care a stinkin’ ounce about their self-appearance. I don’t know about you, but I know I could use a dose of that. They have a continuous stream of spit up drenching not only them but also all those around them, and they are perfectly content. It’s like they don’t even understand the whole disgusting process of regurgitation. The spit/drool lingers and they are down for a tickle session. They eat and never once motion for a napkin (a whole issue that as a stainaphobic person I am learning to deal with). Dry crusted food is in their ear and in the folds of their necks and they have no qualms with it. And quite possibly the most important thing when discussing self-appearance, have you ever met a baby who cares or puts any thought into what the clothes they have on look like? I have met parents who certainly care a tad too much, but if you see it from the baby’s perspective that’s where you truly gain insight. Leggings and a mismatched ill fitted belly shirt is a completely acceptable outfit and they don’t once go to pull down their shirt to cover their tummy. One arm in their pjs, one arm out of their pjs when they arise for the morning and they have no idea they are exposing half their body, and guess what they don’t care. Babies aren’t judged on what they wear and neither should non babies. If we all had this lack of awareness maybe we would be in a better place or maybe we would just be walking around with snot hanging out our noses and sleep in our eyes in unbuttoned zebra magenta onsies with hair pointing in every direction. Either way we can certainly learn a thing or two about their blatant disregard for caring about the image they are putting out into the world.
On the opposite end of screaming, I’ve taken a particular interest in the way babies get excited and show happiness. The panting and excitable, uncontrollable moving body parts gets me every time. It is even more interesting when this happens when one baby thinks you are approaching them, but you quickly take a side step to pick up the other one. They slowly get louder and louder with their painting while their heads shake out of pure bliss as you approach. It is crushing when this happy shake ceases and the angry shakes persist as you pay them no mind. I like to teach life lessons at a young, and one they need to learn is certainly rejection. Furthermore on the topic of giddy emotions, I don’t think, actually I know, I’ve never experienced the kind of happiness a baby gets from being placed into a bouncy apparatus while watching plastic toys fly around. A simple motion and basic plastic inanimate object gives them grins for days. That’s what their life is, and really that’s what life should be. Small occurrences, tiny simple actions should bring us the most joy, and now I know that to be true.
Lastly, I think the aspect of my research that I enjoy the most is watching them be distracted for hours on end just by solely looking at and exploring their own body parts. That came out a bit weird but babies have the flexibility of Dominique Moceanu, and it’s nothing to be weirded out by but rather to applaud. They spend 15 minute chunks at a time looking at their hands! They stare at their feet with intention for several minutes and then decide to place them in their mouth! You always hear people say, “Don’t you just want to know what they are thinking” when staring at babies doing peculiar things. I would love to know what babies are thinking when they analyze their fingers for endless moments and exactly what their thought process is when placing their big toe to their lips. The reason I want to know these things is so I can try to live my life by passing the time with new distractions found just by looking down. Also, so I can employ these tactics to get out of talking to people. “Sorry too busy checking to see if my pointer fingers have changed since yesterday to speak to you” – sounds like a terrific excuse for avoiding unwanted conversations.
My research and observing these creatures is nowhere near ending. Based on the 5 preceding paragraphs where I meanderingly describe the characteristics that make babies so awesome and perfect test rats in my mind, I’ve clearly invested too much already to stop taking copious cognitive notes on them.
Before I wrap this up I want to include a couple more miscellaneous tidbits that have happened in my novice days:
- This is what happens when you try to eat a bowl of Kix:
A not yet crawling baby manages to trap himself under his chair. I would have been impressed if he was buckled into his chair and then accomplished this task. However, he rolled himself right into trouble. He knew what he was doing and he knew his scarlet top of the head and ears would get me up and away from my enjoyment of the Kid tested, mother approved bowl of breakfast.
- I might be wrong, but people believe that we as Americans are desensitizing our youth by exposing them to violent video games, movies, etc., etc. I have another thing that we can desensitize our fellow compatriots to and that is bowel movements. Everyone does it, people don’t like to talk about it, but I have the solution. Come hang with me for a day (really you only need a few hours with 3 babies and a 3 yr. old) and you will be cured of anything negative you have surrounding this sensitive topic. If you are grossed out by this then I obviously don’t want you coming to hang out with me so my offer is rescinded for those who can’t handle it.
- Along with the kids I care for I also “care” for a dog. (Care is in quotes because he sleeps way more than the babies throughout the day so I really don’t have to do much and by no means is it referring to me neglecting him in any way.) I didn’t have pets growing up, but I am a human so I’ve been around dogs. I have friends with dogs, cousins with dogs, people I formerly babysat with dogs. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I know dogs have a killer instinct when it comes to food. This dog though takes it to a whole new level. He will be knocked out for 4 hours 3 rooms away but when a microscopic piece of English muffin trickles off the plate to the floor he will be there in a nanosecond to catch it in his mouth before it hits the tile. I don’t even know what to make of this. I have too many baby behaviors to analyze to even begin to make a forage into dissecting canine behaviors.
- I didn’t think at 27 I would already be experiencing the cyclical nature of living but I have. I don’t wear diapers like nonagenarians, but I have taken a liking to baby food. Specifically Gerber’s bananas, bananas mixed berry, bananas-orange medley. I taste pureed foods and I like them, so sue me. (But Katy Perry please don’t for ripping off one of your church friendly lyrics). I don’t sit down and eat them as a meal (not yet anyway), but I think this definitely is a sign of my life coming full circle. I came into the world eating foods as such and I’m going out, oh nevermind.
- I want to challenge anyone who is up for it to come spoon feed three babies at the same time and do it while keeping their own mouth closed. It can’t be done. Seriously, try keeping your lips pursed while attempting to get the spoon into 3 mouths that are all over the place. Having success here would be like completing an Ironman race. First leg – actually getting a majority of the food into their mouths without them spitting it out, or employing arm swipes that are tae kwan doesque, or melting down because you are feeding another baby and they can see you do it in plain sight. Second leg – doing this while keeping your lips sealed, sorry can’t be done. Final leg – cleaning them and the surrounding areas up. By the time you are through it may feel like you are an Ironwoman but at least you don’t have the rashes and soreness to prove it, or do you?
If you have gotten to this point, thank you for reading. This became much wordier than intended. What it comes down to is this though, I am clearly envious of the life babies lead. I am livin’ in their world and I have found myself wanting the things that comfort them. I want to lay in a motorized swing while soft music plays and sleep inducing lights twirl above me. I want to be pushed around in a triplet stroller with my siblings to take in all the suburbia scenery around me. And ultimately taking a page out of the big bro’s book (my 3 yr. old nephew) I want to proclaim this and make this my new life motto: “I just want some bread with my butter.” That’s it folks, all I ever wanted in life is some bread with my butter.
***Again, I really appreciate anyone who had the patience to read this entire post. Also, if you have read anything else here, thank you. I would love to hear any feedback you may have, so let me know what you think!