Keepin’ it Real for the Kids

Posted: October 14th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Miss Kate | No Comments »

Kate is a busy mother. And it’s no wonder. She has on the order of 6 babies. All who need her vigilant attention.

Of course, there’s the diaper changing. Which involves finding her own diaper bag, ferreting out a diaper or two and the package of wipes. Then, no less than 20 wipes need to be extricated from the box. You can find fault with the girl’s diapering prowess, but I’ll say this: She’s a thorough butt-wiper.

And she works lovingly. She hardly slaps that baby down on the changing pad–did I forget to mention she gets that out too? No, she loving holds the baby’s head as she lowers it down to the floor, while quietly commanding, “Now lie down.”

When not dealing with what’s coming out (in her imagination at least), Kate busies herself with the input. Snapping the straps on the booster seat has long been an entertaining pastime, since the time when we bought a small booster seat for her to use at Grandpa‚Äôs house. When her high chair became too cumbersome and babyish for Kate, we got our own booster seat and it wasn’t long before she realized that it was perfectly suitable for her own babies mealtimes. Invariably when you go to put Kate in it, it’s already occupied.

Sure, she gets them seated. But the actual feeding comes in fits and starts, truth be told. At times they get a sip from her own sippy cup. And more recently they get a drink of “owange juice” from a bottle that came with a doll she got for her birthday. Not sure why they sell toy baby bottles that appear to be filled with Tang, though I’m probably too hardcore about rarely giving Kate anything more than water or milk. But like all of us, you want for your children what you didn’t (or don’t) have, right? So, for Kate’s babies, owange juice it is.

There’s also much time spent putting the babies “night-night” in either her crib (which requires them to be flung over the side railing, hopefully landing comfortably on the mattress) or arranged carefully in their doll cradle. This involves lots of smoothing down of their blankets, kisses on their heads, and the repeated incantation, “Babies go night-night. Babies go night-night.”

The hairdressing takes a good deal of time too: putting barrettes on and off, struggling with pony tail holders, and attempting to brush or comb even the hairless babies’ heads.

Yesterday I was cooking dinner for friends who recently had a baby. With all the cooking Mark does for us it’s a wonder I even remember where the stove is. Thankfully I get practice whenever a friend has a baby and I whip up some easy-to-freeze one-dish meal.

Kate’s got this new step stool that I bought her for a buck at a garage sale. Best money I ever spent. She’s got the fancy stool Grandpa made her stationed at the bathroom sink, but this crappy plywood one is her vehicle for checking out everything that’s going down in the kitchen. And she slings that thing around with a flick of her wrist like a spry oldster with their walker. It’s funny, but can be annoying when she’s tracking your every move one second behind you. You’re at the cutting board and need something from the fridge and before you know it there she is teetering on her tiptoes on the stool’s top step, gravely inspecting whatever it is you’re taking out.

After 20 minutes of her being my little shadow I encouraged her to check in on her dolls. Surely one of them needs a diaper change at this point, no? And sweet relief, she took the bait. But as these things tend to go, after a while it was growing a little too quiet in the living room, requiring me to investigate.

What I saw was no less than seven of her shirts and several pair of pants spread out on the carpet near her soon-not-to-be-naked babies. And with serious determination she was heading back to her bedroom to purloin more. I was onto her and followed her into her room.

As she’s leaning into her dresser drawer to scoop up another armload of clothes she looked at me and stopped. She extracted herself and turned towards me with her arms straight out like a traffic cop. “No come in my room, Mama! No come in my room!”

My God, I thought. Isn’t the whole “do not enter” culture supposed to emerge years from now? Have I got a toddler or a teen here?

At any rate, I didn’t take it too much to heart. Sure she was making a terrific mess, and dragging perfectly clean (and anal-retentively folded) clothes throughout the house. But I know as well as the next mother, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for your babies. And ain’t nobody going to get in your way.

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