A ninety minute reminder that I'm done with babies
NEVER go back. That's what they always say. And they're right – except when the spectres of the past raise their arms and grab you back, just for a while.
Last Saturday, I was forced back into an era I had happily forgotten.
The second sister was taking a well-earned weekend break with the husband. But what was to be done with her fella, a mere five months old?
Well, he certainly wasn't coming to me. He is far too precious for that. 'Imagine', our lassie probably thought to herself, 'putting a baby into that flea-infested pit that is our Anne's house, with them rag-tag childer of hers'.
If the fleas don't eat him, the Wee Lad would. So, she wisely decided to leave the baby with her friend, and his godmother, in Dundalk. I wasn't asked by the way, and just as well, because all I thought I had learned about looking after babies, having had two of my own, has gone out the window.
The godmother asked me to look after the baby for an hour-and-a-half while she did coaching with the soccer club my two lads are involved with.
So I thought I was getting a bargain by swapping my two for one baby. #
The baby is a good wee fella, strong and well-fed, but easy going and gentle and me, being the expert mother that I am, was going to have no problem with him as I did the Saturday 'messages' around Dundalk.
I knew I was going to have trouble when it took me about ten minutes to remember how to put the car seat in.
I used to do this all the time, in and out, in and out. But could I recall how to do it? Nope, it took me ages to figure it out.
The baby, well wrapped up in his blankets and hoodie and coat just looked at me with his big blue eyes and, if he was capable to thought, would have been thinking: 'God Mrs, how thick are you?'
Having finally managed to get him safely strapped in, we headed off to the Long Walk for the messages. It was in the pouring rain of a Saturday morning that I realised he was too small to sit up in the trolley and too big to carry around.
I ended up putting him, car seat and all, into the trolley and running through the deluge into the centre.
And of course, I was hardly in the door when I saw a friend whom I hadn't seen in ages. She took a look at me, then the baby in the trolley, then me, then the baby.
I knew what she was thinking before she said it. 'He's not mine', I said, as a smile of relief came across her face.
'Oh no, sure, didn't I tell you I wouldn't go back to that?' I added.
The baby was highly amused at being in a trolley and being whizzed around a supermarket. But as the shopping went on, space in the trolley ran out. The baby ended up wearing a 'blanket' of crisp packets and pancakes. He didn't seem to mind and enjoyed the crunching his little feet made as he kicked the bags.
But God, it was hard work. Maybe I'm getting too old, or maybe I'm out of practice, but those 90 minutes felt like a week at work.
I handed him back to his godmother in one piece, sleeping and happy.
Beautiful and all as he is, I'm taking good advice and never going back.