Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Baby Whisperer

That’s what my wife called me the other day when she offered my services to our new neighbours. She did say that she would ask me, but how could I deny helping them? What would you have done? Our young couple and their two toddlers moved in recently and were just up and running when mum had to be admitted to hospital. The following day dad had one of his most important days of the year at work, and simply could not stay away. They knew nobody else, we had just had some initial conversations with them, but we were really strangers to each other. I am a teacher who has been vetted and gone through every possible police check in the UK, so they knew they could not get better reassurance as for the safety of their children. They had no alternative child care and must have felt absolutely desperate. Both sets of grandparents live in the UK, so stand-in granddad entered the scene.

Having had recent practice with my granddaughter I wasn’t worried how I would cope with the situation, but I was only concerned with how the little ones would perceive me. Being at home with mum normally, how would they react to a stranger in the house? Would they see me as an intruder in their lives? After a while I could forget all of my worries; they were as good as gold all day. We had met briefly the previous day and I had played a little with them in their garden, but that was all.

We went through their whole, normal day without a tear or whine. They had breakfast, played inside, went for a walk in the double-buggy, listened to crows in the trees, saw some cows in a field, went to the playground with swings, slides etc, played in the garden, then quietly inside before midday nap (bottle, nappy change, a little cuddle, tuck in). They went to sleep without any fuss and woke up later with smiles on their faces. Some more play before lunch, which ended with the 18-month-old having a yogurt-covered face. How could I not let her practise eating with a spoon? Full tummies and happy faces. The 2 ½-year-old was quite happy staring at the TV screen with English children’s television, but when I asked him if he would like to go out and play in the garden, he went for his shoes and ran to the kitchen door.

So when dad came home from work in the afternoon, he was expecting to find me slumped across the sofa completely exhausted. He looked almost bemused at me when I reassured him I was fine. The children were happy, clean and nice-smelling. Then I helped dad getting them ready to go and see mum in hospital, and I was left with a very good feeling inside.

I hope nobody suggests I start a Rent-a-Granddad business; that would be too exhausting. But the odd, emergency baby-whispering is just about OK.

BTW – I have been a bad blogger lately, not enough time to write, and not even time to read other blogs. I have to do better!


Eric Valentine said...

I enjoyed reading your post Swen, it would seem that you passed with flying colours, so I wouldn't worry too much about bad blogging. The good act you did for a neighbour was more important. Well done my friend. :)

swenglishexpat said...

Yes, it all went very well, and now their mother is back from hospital. I have to admit I was a bit tired the following day, but what the heck, it was worth it! Now when I see the little ones they smile at me and want to be picked up and held. My heart melts. :-)

Di Mackey said...

I don't know about blog performance ... this was a pretty outstanding 'really nice person' performance and read :)