I have been taking care of my great niece for a few days. Her mom has gone back to work and day care wanted a full month's pay for a few days. I don't agree with this choice of working and day care but she has her reasons which she thinks are important and my opinion is not wanted.
Little bit is 12 weeks old and from my imagination, this is a day from her point of view:
"You woke me up when I was sleeping so sound and whisked me out to the car. I snooze back out, cuz I spend so much time in the car I sleep the best there. You take me out again and we are going inside. I know this place because we visit here. You feed me and ahhh, I'm happy. You hand me off to Great Auntie and she holds and plays with me. I sit in my bouncy chair, watching the Christmas tree. I'm a little fussy cuz my tummy bothers me. I can't settle so Great Auntie places me in a bed in a room I don't really know. It's dark and there is quiet music playing. I fuss a few minutes before dropping off to sleep for 30 minutes before I wake myself up again. Great Auntie gets me, changes me and offers me a bottle. I know it's the same stuff that comes from Mama but the container is just not the same. The rest of the day pretty much repeats this, for a total of 10 hours. My FAVORITE time is when Mama comes and I get to snuggle and nurse then it's off to home again."
I took care of my own 3 children some 30 years ago. Today I'm struck by how many choices I make throughout the day about my great niece that may or may not be the same ones her mama would make. Not just that her life is in my hands but how she deals with it and perceives it. I know when she was so fussy this morning, as a mama, I would have taken and nursed her a bit and she would have dropped right off to sleep. She didn't want bottle milk and was just unhappy because I was not "the mama".
If I thought it would make a difference I would harp on my niece more but I know it won't and will just alienate her. My thoughts and ideas are making an impression on my own married daughters so maybe some good will come out of it.
If it would really change them, I wish all the mama's could trade places that first day with their babies. Little ones whose whole life has revolved around Mama and now she's not there and they just don't understand.
I know I'm preaching to the choir, but maybe it will make one person think twice or thrice about it.
"Not the Mama" Great Aunt