Two Thanksgivings ago we spent a long vacation in England visiting relatives, one of whom was a five-month-old baby, my niece. My sister-in-law was the brand new, first-time mother of this baby girl, and knowing that I would soon be a brand new, first-time mom myself, I was all ears and eyes and mouthful of questions about the everyday mechanics of taking care of a baby. My SIL gave me a ton of great advice (and maternity clothes), but I think the best education I received about motherhood came from just being around an infant all day, every day, for several weeks. It’s an experience I recommend all expectant mothers seek out.
Living with a baby for an extended period of time is vastly different from other common baby encounters, like holding your coworker’s kid during the office holiday party, changing a wet diaper “just for the fun of it,” or babysitting for an afternoon. Even the worst of us can figure out how to take care of and entertain a tiny human being for two or three hours, but up those two or three hours into twenty-four, and make that one day into every day, and we must dig into our reserves–of creativity, of patience–to answer the question “What do you do with a baby all day?”
Read the rest of this entry