I have a new job title to add to my resumé: babysitter. Or as they call it in these egalitarian times, a "manny." It's not a role I thought I would play, but when a new member of the family arrives, life takes turns that you might not otherwise have expected.
My charge is my nephew Jerry, still so new in this world that we count his age in weeks and in months. Three weeks shy of nine months, to be exact. He came last December, by way of my sister, after seventeen hours of labor. Eight pounds then and bald, so small you could hold him in one hand but so delicate you couldn't afford to; nowadays, much heavier that you need both arms to hold him up for any long periods of time. Still not much hair, though, but he's getting there.
He's now at a stage where his unique personality is more apparent. He's observant and thoughtful, oftentimes so focused as to seem lost in his own little world when left alone in his crib. But if he spies you from the corner, he breaks out into a gummy grin that shows off his two lower front teeth -- so far his only teeth. He's not given to much crying, and when he does, it seems to be more for show because it's easy to make him laugh again.
Jerry doesn't have a stay-in yaya, though that's more from circumstance than from choice. As they say, it's hard to get good help these days. Though he lives with the in-laws, he spends most of the day with us.
And this is where my job as "manny" comes in. We take turns with various duties, and mine is to get him to sleep. (The little fellow, you see, won't drink his milk unless he's in a light snooze.) It's not as hard as it sounds: the trick is to rock him in your arms while singing The Police's "Every Breath You Take" until he falls asleep. But it's not as easy as it sounds, either: because you have to be able to carry the baby as well as carry the tune. So far I'm the only one willing to do it.
Without a full-time yaya life is a little more hectic, but with many hands helping out, it's all quite manageable, even enjoyable. There's more time for bonding with the baby, we don't worry whether the yaya is really keeping an eye on him instead of texting, and, of course, we make sure that he's not growing up on Wowowee or the afternoon soaps.
And, best of all, I'm there to see him smile.