Crying is for babies
I’m sitting on the second-last step of her curving staircase, watching her go back and forth in the foyer.
"T, can you hold the baby while I get the other one ready?" she asks, brushing away some hair from her face.
"I don’t know," I reply. "Remember how it was with the other one?"
When my older niece was a baby, she didn’t like me. Whenever she was passed to me, she’d squirm, frown, and start to cry. I’d try to hold her close, but her little arms would push me away. After the rejection, I’d hold her at arms length to see if her crying would subside. It wouldn’t. The moment she was passed along to the next person, she’d stop. It was like a scene in bad sitcom. Being a spectator in the same room would make you wonder if I was pinching my niece under her clothing.
It was unsettling. She acted as if I was a stranger. It took her almost a year to feel comfortable around me. Until my older niece came into the world, every baby liked me and I liked them. The ick factor didn’t come into play when I had to change a diaper. Dressing them was fun because it was like I was doing it to a real-life doll (that pees and poos). Feeding them and playing with them didn’t bother me.
The crying, on the other hand, was when I had to pass them along to their respective parents.
"Come on, T," my sister pleads. "Can you take her, even for a sec?"
"Fine." I scrunch my face, waiting for the inevitable wailing that is about to commence. My sister unwraps my little niece, and turns her around.
She passes her to me and… nothing.
She doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t frown. She doesn’t squirm. She doesn’t cry. She just sits there, looking at me. Her expression isn’t quizzical. In fact, she opens her eyes to get a better look. When she opens her mouth, I’m expecting a wail. As it turns out, she yawns. I breathe a sigh of relief.
When my older niece is ready and waiting to go, my sister walks up to me – still sitting on the second-bottom step – and looks at the both of us. "See? She’s opening her eyes." My sister points to the baby’s face as she approaches. "She hasn't done much of that, yet. Maybe she wants a better look at what her uncle looks like..."
From that moment on, I don't mind holding my little niece. They grow so quickly, that each moment you have with them, you have to embrace because they'll never be that size, ever again. Their faces change shape, their limbs stretch and grow, and their mouths attempt to form words with their small lips.
Of course, the second she starts to cry, I'm passing her off to my sister.
Note: This Sunday is her christening. I hope she doesn't cry.