onsdag, juli 26, 2006


I have a much easier time talking to children than I do talking to pets. That's for sure.

But I'm not known to hold children. I like talking to kids. But I don't hold them, really. Babies, with their constant awe and heartbreaking fragility, are definitely out. Friends say, "Would you like to hold her?" and my heart does a fearful flip. "Oh. No," I say.

At times this produces the response, "Why don't you like kids?"

I do. Really. I just fear that they'll break in my presence, or that maybe when I touch a baby's head her poor skin will begin to smoke and we'll discover that all along I have had the mark of the beast on me.

At any rate, it's well known among my friends that I'm rather timid around children. I'm like all those idiots in Victorian novels. (Please god do not let my life list like men in a Thomas Hardy novel!) This came into play yesterday as my friends here in Florida conspired to make me sweat more than the humidity outside.

So I'm working in the conference room. Elizabeth comes in. Lara stands in the door. E begins to tell me about the family dinner / meeting they are having on Wednesday. And I'm going along like, "Yes, yes, mm-hmm" trying to be all understanding and stoic because she seems to be a bit upset. She wipes at her eye a time or two. Then she tells me about how they thought it might be a tense gathering and didn't think the children should be around for it.

E has a three year old. Her sister-in-law Jen has a three-year-old and a baby. The cogs are turning in my head. I begin to sweat.

"So we were wondering if maybe you could babysit?" she says.

All the blood in me is going to my head now, trying to oxygenate my panicking brain. I'm still trying to play it cool, but clearly I don't look cool. She adds what is meant to be an encouraging note: that two of the children are three and one--the baby--"doesn't move."

I pull at my hair, a habitual coping mechanism I later find out they'd predicted I would do.

I say, weakly, "I have like zero experience," and emphasize this by making a zero with one fist; but she's holding that paralized expression, that "Aren't you my friend? We really need your help" expression. I add cautiously, "But I guess I could try."

What a team player!

At this point they erupt in laughter. I discover soon enough that even their husbands had jokingly suggested me for babysitting duty. At lunch a bit later, after my reaction has been retold, even Lexi, Jen's husband, quips, "Thanks for babysitting, man."

I've been had. By all of them.

If I didn't love them all so dearly, I'd plot revenge. If I wasn't so terrible at lying, I'd plot revenge.

It still makes my face warm to think of being an emergency babysitter. Oy.

Sidenote: Great news from Lyn this morning at the doctor. Woo!!
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