Most people who know me recognize that I feel awkward around other's children. Of course I think they are cute and are usually good for a laugh but I'm genuinely terrified of them. I think it's something about their eyes, so wide, and observant. I think they'll see right through me and know that I have no natural ability to pacify them. As the youngest in my family I was not the one comforting or trying to entertain a young child. This is why I am afraid of becoming a mother. I am enormously hopeless when it comes to children.
Just recently I had breakfast with a friend from work who has a 10-month-old girl. This child is simply beautiful. I have an atypical love for this young child. She is full of life and so much fun. I have a curiously comfortable feeling around her as long as her mother, Ashley, is right there with me. Breakfast was enjoyable. Ashley and I shared laughs and had a filling breakfast. After breakfast, however, Ashley got up to go to the bathroom. On her way she said, "Can you watch her for me?"
My pupils constricted and my heart began to race. I answered feebly, "Yes."
Ashley sat the chubby baby directly in front of me and said, "If she cries, bring her to me."
I wasn't sure which prospect was more distressing, the thought of a screaming child that won't listen to reason, or interrupting a private time of a friend. Despite the fact I love her dearly, I didn't really want to become acquainted with her in that intimate way. I sat there staring at the round face of this tiny person. I felt foolish sitting in silence, so I said, "Hello Maddi, how are you today?"
Maddi started blank-faced at me. The fear inside me rose. I felt ridiculous trying to make conversation with someone whose vocabulary skills were at most squeals or raspberries. Maddi was now bored with me and started to play with a teething ring. I watched her play with it for a while. She really enjoyed shaking it. It flew suddenly out of her grip. I started where it fell. I feared screaming and I knew I could not give it back to her because it fell on the floor and the floor was filthy. I decided to what is most natural to me. I made fart noises with my mouth. Astonishingly, it worked. She looked at me and smiled. I was shocked. Fart noised had worked.
Rather pleased with my success, I began to make random noises. It seemed to hold her attention well enough. It also got the attention of every table around me. I didn't care though. I was triumphant. I successfully held the attention of a small child without making her cry.