Borrowing Baby

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Infants are meant to share-I don't care what the size or type of family you come from; those adorable little people have more demands than just one person can deal with and remain sane. This week I had an old friend visiting( a dear pal who I met more than a decade ago in art school). Back then she was a radical filmmaker in a '70s denim pantsuit (and this was long before that look became hip) and I was a wannabe writer in Sylvia Plath-style cardigans. We became fast friends and collaborated on a big project that felt like giving birth to something together. Flash forward to now: She's still a radical filmmaker and I'm still a wannabe writer, trying to fit in bouts at the keyboard between breastfeeding and toddler tantrums. Having my friend in our home made such a difference-not only did I have more time at the computer, the kids were way happier having another adult around. Sure, my friend had meetings and other folks to see, but she played with the two-year-old and took the baby whenever I needed her to; in fact, her favorite thing was "borrowing the baby." She and the baby hit the town: They went to the grocery store, on walks around the neighborhood and even to visit the toddler and me at the new preschool. She became a pro at putting on the baby sling, and by the end of the week the two of them-my friend and my infant-were practically inseparable, smiling and cooing at one another and pretty much ignoring me altogether. Was I offended? Heck no. The baby loved all this attention since she so rarely gets the spotlight when her big sister is around, and I loved being able to eat a meal with both hands. Plus, it's really amazing to watch your kids bond with people you care about and to do it totally on their own terms. The baby was won over instantly; the toddler, in her typical way, was standoffish. She kept waiting in the wings to see what this new person was all about, eyeing her suspiciously and then asking me endless questions, such as "What's your friend, Mama?" But soon she, too, succumbed to the warmth and charm, and the two of them had a great time playing together. As I watched my friend with my kids, I was reminded about how I used to love to go borrow my best friend's dog and walk him all over the city. People would compliment me on how cute he was and I never explained I wasn't his owner. I acted like he was mine. I hope my friend did the same with my children this week because that sense of ownership means you care. And it makes the lie a little bit true: that dog was partially mine because I loved him so much. So, if you don't have a baby but have a friend or family member that does, go borrow that baby for a little while-not only will you be giving the mom or dad a break, you'll be stealing some special moments that are all yours. If you have a friend or family member that "rocks" your kid's world, show your gratitude with an eco-friendly Rockabye Baby T.

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