My Uterus is Smarter Than My Head When It Comes to Babies

Soon I’ll be leaping tall cradles in a single bound!

When you get to be a “woman of a certain age”, like me, it makes you a little sad to realize that your body has retired from the business of producing life. After all, babies are sweet, adorable, and smell like innocence. Apparently my now-defunct uterus is smarter than my marshmallow-soft heart, because as I was recently reminded, taking care of babies is exhausting work best left to the young.

Almost all of our friends are grandparents.  Our 20-something girls have shown absolutely no interest in marriage or  children and I’ve adopted Doris Day’s “Que Será, Será” attitude about the whole thing.  I really mean it, too…for the most part.  But part of me is yearning for grand-kids.

This is where a much younger friend comes in.

My friend, Riko, is a stay-at-home mom with a 4-month-old son.  She brings him along when we get together so I can cuddle, coo and generally make a fool of myself all over his chubby cuteness.  She and her husband live half a world away from their families in Japan, and when I found out she was pregnant I saw myself as his substitute grandma.  I’ve offered to babysit several times but she wasn’t ready to leave him yet.  She recently mentioned their wedding anniversary was approaching.  I renewed my offer, she took me up on it, and I leapt at the chance.

I can’t remember the last time I watched an infant.  My husband and I have a large extended family, but haven’t had many opportunities to babysit due to distance and age differences between our kids and nieces and nephews.  I was a bit concerned that things might have changed a lot in the last 2 decades.  After all, medical science has flip-flopped like a landed fish on the whole babies-on-their-tummies-vs-on-their-backs debate.  But I trusted that the fundamentals would come back to me, and I was right.  It’s like riding a bike.  Assuming one rides a bike with a smelly diaper full of noxious substances.  What I hadn’t remembered is how exhausting the whole business is.

You need the stamina of a long distance runner, the flexibility of a gymnast and the entertaining skills of a clown to do a gig like this.

Riko said her son was a bit fussy in the evenings.  She is a master of understatement.  He was on the verge of bursting into big, fat tears the entire time and it was my sworn mission to keep that from happening.

I tried putting him on his play mat.  No go.  His swing?  Not interested.  Riko had said that holding him while sitting and bouncing on a big, rubber ball generally calmed him down, so I tried that.  Talk about a workout!  You have to balance on the thing by constantly tensing your thigh and stomach muscles.  Trying to get up or sit down while keeping both hands on a wriggly, 19-pound human tested my agility to the limit.  But that and walking around to look out the open window were the only things that kept him relatively cheerful.  I alternated between these activities all evening,  accompanying them with silly faces and made-up songs so stupid I would have been mortified to be caught on hidden camera.

After only 2 hours, my arms were quivering with exhaustion and my back was killing me.  When the anxious parents got home from their anniversary dinner and asked how the evening went, I lied through my teeth without hesitation – Junior had been a perfect angel, all smiles and fun, and didn’t they have somewhere to go tomorrow so I could babysit again?  Then I staggered home and collapsed.

My friend is taking the baby home for a month-long visit, and I’m going to use this time to get in shape.  I’m thinking squat thrusts for those bouncy-ball-balancing thigh muscles, arm curls for the baby-lifting triceps, and sit-ups to work that all-important core.  When they get back to town and I’m called up to pinch sit again, my response will be: “Bring it on!”

Here’s the babysitting par-course I’ve devised:

Totty Squatties

Lungs & Lunges

Kung Fu Baby

Leg Lifts & Lamentations

Falling Off The Damn Ball While Trying To Stand Up

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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31 Responses to My Uterus is Smarter Than My Head When It Comes to Babies

  1. You might want to try these exercises with a toy doll, rather than a live human baby…JUST in case.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. darthtimon says:

    Just go to your happy place!


  3. Initially, I thought you were announcing a late-in-life pregnancy. Better be careful how you title your posts.

    Your girls are smart. Do you know why they’ve shown absolutely no interest in marriage/babies? Because marriage/babies when you’re in your 20’s sucks. It’s the end of youth. The last good time. People are finally catching on and waiting.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I also thought maybe YOU were pregnant. I was all ready to babysit when you come back to Maine.
    It’s funny but I often have recurring nightmares I’m pregnant again. Sometimes with triplets. I wake up in a cold sweat. That being said I love babies and toddlers. I can’t wait to be a gram. But my kids are still so young it’s gonna be a long wait. Sigh. And don’t give up hope yet about your own grandkids. I didn’t even entertain the thought of having kids until I was 30.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pegoleg says:

      The only way I could be pregnant is if a honkin’ big star shows up over my garage.

      I know what you mean, but although I had mine at 30, I was married at 23. Both my girls have shot by that milestone. Ah well, I was talking to a friend today who is totally exhausted running back and forth between watching two of her kids’ kids and her ailing, elderly mom. She is longing for the days she worked full time when she could take it relatively easy!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally hilarious.
    Spent last week filling in as emergency baby care with daughter’s regular caregiver MIA – can so relate. Never totally baby coo-coo, I was considered the kid whisperer at one time….but now. Exhaustion is an understatement
    “You need the stamina of a long distance runner, the flexibility of a gymnast and the entertaining skills of a clown to do a gig like this.” Soooo true.


  6. Al says:

    Peg, I know you’re budget conscious, but using a 4-month old as a free personal trainer? That’s going low.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Elyse says:

    Dogs are so much easier. And you can lock them up when you get mad at them. Or leave them home alone.


  8. List of X says:

    A four-month-old weighting 19 pounds? Sounds like he was way overdue for a diaper change. 🙂


    • pegoleg says:

      He is a chunky little thing – only about 1/4th his tiny mother’s weight. I don’t know how she lifts him, especially with those modern car seats that weigh 20 pounds.


  9. marymtf says:

    I was taken out of mothballs and hauled back into service almost 18 years ago. The youngest started school this year. Good times ahead for you, Peg, you lucky duck.


    • pegoleg says:

      The youngest in school? You’re not going to know what to do with all your free time! May I suggest the gym so you don’t lose those all-important muscles?


  10. I have two grandsons and have gone through exactly your scenario. I thought after caring for the first grandson I could never handle two of them and I wasn’t far from the mark with that prediction. I’ve kept my chiropractor in business with my post babysitting adjustments. Now they are 5 and 3 so not quite so much heavy lifting but there is the fear of serious injury when they leap from furniture and swing from rafters. Good luck with your babysitting ventures, Peg, and I’m sure you’ll be ready when your grandchildren arrive!


    • pegoleg says:

      Jeez, Molly, I hope you’re not going to tell me that this grandmother (and substitute grandmother) gig requires swinging from the rafters?!? Better add the Tarzan Workout to my lineup.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Margy says:

    That’s quite a post title – I couldn’t begin to guess where you might go with that one!


  12. somenameorother says:

    LOL. I would have been exhausted for sure! I have a married daughter who is 29 but not quite ready to have kids yet, and an unmarried daughter who I hope does not have kids yet 🙂


  13. Jackie says:

    Your paint shop skills will never cease to amuse me. This should be on all the major fitness sites.

    This past weekend, I visited an old friend (old in passage of time, not old in the uterus) who just had a munchkin. Only one month old and I insisted on carrying him through a walk through the Japanese Maple Gardens. He was out cold and his cuteness had exhausted both my arms so that no matter which side I had him on, they were visibly shaking. I wondered whether they would just give out altogether and if I would accidentally add him to the Koi pond when he began to stretch and whimper and I could excuse him back to his mother. Close call.


    • pegoleg says:

      Cuteness can only take you so far in life, then people start judging you on how heavy you are. Important life lesson there, Jackie.

      Interesting that both of our experiences with babies involved Japan in some way. What does it all mean???

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie says:

        Life lesson indeed. I feel like the media is doing a good job getting that one out.

        Re: Babies in Japan – we’re strangely connected, Peg. Let’s just hope the plot doesn’t thicken and turn into a Highlander situation where there can only be one.


  14. I’ll have to remember that ball trick. I love my Grand nieces & nephews and love spending time with them but you are right, they are exhausting. Watching little ones should be a standard test for measuring how out of shape you are.


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