Friday, March 11, 2011

Babysitting the Boys

We were with a couple on Mardi Gras who thought they were almost finished with babysitters when they conceived another child after the mother's forty-eighth birthday. The toddler seemed to be doing a good job of keeping the parents young, at least at heart. I marvel at the people who have babies late in life. Our old bones can't do nearly what they did when our grandkids were little.

We babysat our two great nephews, H and G, last night. Sometimes I wonder how siblings can seem completely unrelated. H was cautious from the beginning, even shy about leaving the womb. He had been in there so long already that he looked more like a wizened old man than a bouncing baby. The nursery attendant commented to us that he was an "old baby". He continues that caution as he heads to his fourth birthday. Even his smile is slow and shy.

H likes to build with Lincoln Logs and watch videos; he also likes to play Nerf football. Uncle Richard and he had lots to keep them occupied. With me, he likes to practice writing his a,b,c's, and have books read to him. I'm also hoping he'll like cooking, as soon as we get a step stool.

His almost two-year-old brother, on the other hand, is always raring to go. He spent his first months mad that he couldn't make his own decisions. Now, he goes about his business with great confidence and determination, rarely stopping to ask permission. He even walks with a confident attitude, swinging his little arm as if to say, "If you don't move, I'll move you." He knows what he's allowed to do, and will correct mistakes we make. He made a point of closing the toilet lid and the bathroom door, presumably to keep himself away from temptation.

G enjoys action. He doesn't care where the football goes, as long as he can chase it. Eating is an adventure, as he maneuvers himself up and down on the jungle gym of dining chairs, balancing his bowl and a cup. The most fun he had was chasing the beam from the flashlight, as he moved it like Tinker Bell around the walls, ceiling, and furniture. G loves to laugh.

Both boys are well-mannered, which makes them fun to be around. It's so much nicer to watch children that begin with a sense of boundaries. The knowledge that we're part of their parents' adventure in family living gives us great pleasure. We've missed that, now that our children are so seldom in need of sitters.