Friday, May 30, 2008

Learnings from Ashley - Part 1 of 2

Today I completed over two months of day-long care of my 5 1/2 months old granddaughter Ashley. Her parents needed someone to watch her so my daughter-in-law could fulfill her teaching contract. To meet that need they gifted me with the opportunity to care for her during that time. Lyda will now stay home and be a full-time mom. I will return to self care, something undoubtedly needful but far less fun without Ashley.

I have asked for joint custody. Those negotiations are not going well.

Just before taking on this responsibility I pondered what it was going to be like and even wrote some initial anticipations in this blog. The actual experience far exceeded my fondest hopes. My time with Ashley was memorable beyond words and will be forever inscribed on my soul.

So what did I learn?

Well, on one level I discovered that child care utensils and practices are considerably different than when I last dabbled with infants and toddlers in the 1970's. I believe that using our car seat from that era might be a felony today. And there were other things...

--Diaper pins have been replaced by velcro. What's the fun in that? And just as you learn that proper diaper tautness is assured by positioning the velcro tabs on Cookie Monster's ears, here comes Bert and Ernie requiring completely different diaper geometry.

--I learned that with some extra effort it is possible for a baby's head to fit through the armhole of their little outfits. That knowledge, however, is not as appreciated as you would hope.

--I imagine there are some parents who are like me in wondering how a cute little girl can follow a feeding with a belch that topples the figurine on the bookcase across the room. I have researched this and am pleased to report that there is no evidence that such a capability leads to an adolescence involving tattoos, Harley Davidson jackets, or the cultivation of sweet smelling plants in the backyard.

--Here's a quick tip. When putting on a baby's sock it is preferable to get all five toes, including the little one, inside the sock before pulling it halfway up the calf.

--And finally, the $55 tanks of gas in my Camry have got me to wondering about capturing the energy generated by a baby's kicking feet during diaper changes--especially the ones involving you know what. Forget solar energy. You could heat your house if you just tapped a portion of that kicking action.

Ashley made me laugh, but she also made me think about important things. More about that next time.