Note: This is a quick post - I have a few in the hopper that keep growing, so I think a couple of multi-part series posts will happen soon.
I've been enjoying a strange version of baby fever.
On the day before a cousin of mine is scheduled to be induced (Best of luck, Mollie!), I've been thinking a lot about what we in our little household call "OPBs" - Other People's Babies - and how much I love them. Are you, or someone you know, having a child? That's great! Once said child has reached that stage where he or she can hold his or her head up, I'll be happy to babysit. Need someone to hold your 5-month-old for a moment while you do a quick chore? Count me in. Snuggly 10-month old? Yes, please. I will sniff that fuzzy little head with glee. Have a toddler? I am ready for goofy dance parties at any moment.
This morning we rode the elevator down to the first floor with a woman and her two sons who looked to be about 5 and 3 years old. The older boy had a small bike, and he explained with excitement to my husband that "We're going on an ADVENTURE with our BIKES! It's going to be SO SUNNY outside!"
We both smiled and told him it's a great day for an adventure. As we walked out of the building, we talked briefly about how our own someday Far Off In the Future babies will hopefully be so cute and enthusiastic about the great outdoors and bicycles, but those are conversations about Theoretical Events that will happen A Long Time From Now, whereas other people's babies are already birthed and fed and clothed by someone else! How convenient!
I'm fairly certain where the real craziness for OPBs got started: another cousin's redheaded son was born this past June, and he's one of the first babies I've gotten to really watch grow up. People, babies grow fast. Dude was just an intimidatingly delicate lump in late June, but by August his personality was really beginning to present itself. By the time I saw him a few weeks ago at a family party he was sitting up, quietly playing with my hands, reacting to the room around him, and - most striking - keeping tabs on his mom. Anywhere she moved in the crowded room, his gaze would follow.
That constant awareness of his mother's presence tells me that those "Other People" are pretty critical for Other People's Babies, and seeing the obvious bond that little guy has with his mother is both fascinating and daunting. When I think of the level of responsibility being a mom entails, I get a bit anxious... which is why I'm happy, with another new little cousin to hang out with in the very near future, to rest on my laurels as Cousin/Auntie/ Family Friend Schmei for a while longer.