Babies trust, so much. My heart hurts every time I babysit, and the parents leave, and the baby’s eyes get big and hurt. They think mommy and daddy are gone for good. And yet somehow, they always trust you eventually, you, the caregiver, enough to be happy again.
Baby Evelyn cried and cried when she came over yesterday afternoon. Her daddy dropped her off – Mommy had the flu, they needed a little time to rest without baby around. Baby Evelyn didn’t understand the situation, though, and she cried like she’d just been dropped off at the thrift store. I tried to make her laugh – puppet animal shows, funny faces, strange antics with my scarf. Poor thing, she only sobbed harder, and burrowed her head against my mother and furrowed her little eyebrows.
I gave her crackers. This helped, a little, and eventually she resigned herself to being our guest. We explored my bedroom. She liked my dry erase board the best, and its black marker. Second best: a fuzzy monkey. Third: all of my expired driver’s licenses/permits, cut at the corner.
How did Evelyn know she hadn’t been left for good, even though she’s been to our house many times to play? Walking around the house with that warm sweetheart in my arms, I wished I could put my ear to her head and listen to her thoughts. I wish she could tell me what she was thinking. Was she afraid mommy and daddy had finally decided not to come back? Maybe she just knew from past playdates that they would always come back for her.
Trusting little baby love. I finally got Evelyn to laugh. She squinted her eyes and grinned in delight. She cuddled with my teddy bear. She opened my dresser drawers and pulled out all my jeans.
She said “uh oh” a dozen times, but never in a moment of true trouble. She doesn’t know trouble, only unfailing trust, and love.
It’s all little babies can do.