I was the second of five children in our family and was delighted to have a new baby sister when I was eight years old. As the baby grew, she became more delightful by the day to me, the big sister. I continually pestered Mum to let me pick the baby up from her basket when she cried or when it was feeding time.
“I’m big enough,” I had insisted over and over.
Finally, success! One day I was told I could go into my parents’ bedroom and lift the baby out of her little bed and bring her to the living room.
Feeling very grown up, I went in, put my hands under the baby’s armpits and heaved. She felt heavier than when I had simply nursed her on my lap, but I got her out of the basket alright. Moving my hands down and carrying her, by locking my hands and arms under the nappy area, her with her little face pressed to my chest, I walked towards the door. Then, horror of horrors, part of the baby fell backwards. I still had my hands under her bottom and her little fat legs were at my waist, but her head and torso were now pointing floorwards; her head about level with my
What to do?
To call for help would cancel out any further chances of being able to “care for” the baby by myself. I had to rectify the situation on my own.
I staggered towards the parental double bed, gently nudging the baby’s head and upper body with my legs as I went. On reaching the bed, I gave the little body a sort of flip upwards and
landed her safely, on her back, on the bed. From there, I started again. This time, picking her up more carefully, with one hand on her back and shoulder area.
In triumph I came into the living room, carrying baby, and yet most probably looking flushed and guilty.
Strangely, the baby seemed to have thought it was all good fun.