I am the baby monitor

As I write this, I am being the baby monitor.  Somehow that makes me think of sharp pencils and perfectly square-stacked jotters and pinafores.  My sister forgot to bring her (normal, electronic) baby monitor down to my dad’s house, so I am sitting quietly in a darkened room to make sure that lovely nephew keeps breathing and suchlike.

I do find it quite hard not to obsessively check his breathing even from across the room.  It is better when he snores.  “I aten’t dead!’ the snores say.  I keep thinking of Billy Connolly’s sketch about baby monitors but unfortunately if I go to find that on YouTube, that’s a guaranteed wake-up.

I can say for sure that I’ve never felt quite this worry about a child.  He slept for rather a long time in the car this afternoon and my sister and I were joking in that not-quite-joking way about ‘should we just check he’s breathing!’   He is way sturdier than when he was born but he still seems so very small in a big world.

Until my nephew was born, I had been very little involved with tiny babies since my little sister was little, and she’s only 6 years younger than me.  I am reliably informed that I was a whizz at terry-towelling nappies, which terrifies me when I think of the 6-year-olds I know.  As an adult, I have invested rather a lot of time in trying to get people to hand babies to my husband (who has a natural affinity for kids) rather than to me.   I’ve learnt a bit on friends’ kids over the years and progressed from being completely frozen in horror if I found myself with a kid on my lap.  Starting to spend more time with my husband’s godchildren has made me a lot more natural with toddlers: and they are often great fun.

But I’m still rather starting from scratch with the nephew, which means we are always coming up against milestones.  Today: first time changing a nappy in a public toilet.  I felt like I needed three hands.   Also today: realised that I am now totally unselfconscious about maintaining a high-pitched monologue in public to someone who clearly isn’t going to talk back. Yesterday: discovered that singing “Twist and Shout” has quite a calming effect.  And realised that I only know 8 lines of “Twist and Shout” (is that all there are?) 

I am immensely grateful to my sister for giving me the space to learn and do things a bit inexpertly at first.  I know that I will remember with fondness every little bit of alone time that the little one and I spend together – including the bits where he’s asleep!

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6 Responses to I am the baby monitor

  1. julietwilson says:

    I’m hopeless with babies, beyond smiling at them and playing peekaboo. I think singing anything helps though,


    • Singing does seem to make a big difference! Although I don’t really have a whole lot of baby songs to mind. My sister and I sang a chunk of the musical ‘Joseph’ to him when we were in the car and he was playing up.

  2. Ruth says:

    This is one of the loveliest blog posts I can remember reading in a long time. Made me laugh, smile and almost even cry a bit :) its nice when parents talk about their children, but it’s almost better when aunties and uncles do it. Xx

    • Thanks Ruth! I am that obnoxious new aunty with too many pictures on her phone who corners people at knitting night. My sister just gave me a notebook with his picture on the front so I can be obnoxious at writing group too.

  3. Becky says:

    I’m very impressed that you’re changing someone else’s baby’s nappy. Pretty sure my sister condidered her auntie duties stopped short of that!

  4. Ah, so I could have negotiated better terms? :)

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