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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Aunt Invasion

I have no children and no pets, and the few plants that have lived to tell about my care probably wouldn’t give it rave reviews.  As a result I felt a bit nervous about watching Baby B while my brother and sister-in-law went away for a couple days. 

I mentioned this to a friend over breakfast a few weeks ago. “I just hope babies can’t smell fear,” I joked.  My friend, who had studied a ton of science before abandoning his plans to go to med school, didn’t even chuckle.

“They can, Karen, they can,” he said.

But any anxiety I had dissipated after spending just a few minutes with B.  As babies go, he's very low-maintenance.  He smiles easily and often.  And if he could smell fear, he didn’t show it.

I started Day 1 of "Aunt In Residence: Infant Care Unit" with a long walk.  B is not one of those babies who likes quiet so I brought my iPod along and used the stroll as an opportunity to kick off my Music Appreciation Experiment.  I began with The Neils (Young and Diamond), two icons whose voices and music I happen to detest.  I played “Old Man” by Young.  B screwed up his face –thank God -- so I moved on to Diamond.  B didn’t exactly launch the ipod out of the stroller but he didn’t look too eager to turn on his heartlight, either. So far, so good. 

I moved on to The Barrys (Manilow and White). My nephew seemed to enjoy “Copacabana,” which I’m sure had nothing to do with the fact that I was doing my best Carmen Miranda impression while it was playing.  B also got a case of happy feet during “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love” by the Big Brown Mound of Sound. If nothing else, this kid is going to rule the wedding circuit.

Next I rolled out a few current hits.  B did not care for “Call Me Maybe,” by Carly Rae Jepsen, “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” by One (Hit Wonder) Direction, or “I Like It Like That” by Hot Chelle Rae.  From this I infer that B can’t be bothered with: 1) Boy bands; or 2) Artists whose names include the word “Rae”.  I haven’t tried classical music on him yet but based on his tepid response to anything with a slow drumbeat, it doesn’t look good for Mozart, Beethoven and Bach.

When we got home, I put B on his mat for tummy time and transitioned to Art Appreciation.  I pulled up an image of the Mona Lisa on my laptop.  His face took on a neutral expression and he drooled.  Drooling is B’s default response to most situations so I ignored that but took note of his appropriately enigmatic look.  Next I showed him Monet’s Garden at Giverny, which generated a little more enthusiasm (and drool). 

“The Scream” by Munch was the last work on my list but I decided against showing it lest I risk sending B an undesirable subliminal message.

I declare the first day of AIR ICU a success.  I’m looking forward to taking on math and science tomorrow…and also naps.  I’m pretty sure B can teach me a thing or two about that.

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