Sunday, July 28, 2013

"The O.C." -- The Chrismukkah Shopping Babysitting Job

*A Little Fan Fiction For A Sunday Evening*

It seemed fair enough.  Sandy and Kirsten needed to go Chrismukkah shopping.  Besides, they hadn't gone out together alone since Sophie was born several months ago.  Not that they were complaining.  They are totally over the moon with that baby.  And living in Berkeley allows Kirsten to be the kind of mom she's always really wanted to be.  A Birkenstock-clad, cotton-skirt-wearing, quinoa-eating, nursing machine.  Don't get me wrong, though.  It looks good on her.  Beautiful, in fact.  I have never seen her looking so lovely.  And simply happy.

But, the Chrismukkah shopping did need to be done.  And I was finished with my finals.  "So," I thought to myself, "why not offer to babysit?"  

So, there I was.  Me, a beautiful little blonde baby girl, and a bottle of breast milk.  I was trying -- very, very hard -- not to think about where the cream colored liquid in that bottle came from.  And the baby girl?  Was unhappy.  Noisily and loudly unhappy.   She was not being fooled by the silicone nipple on that plastic bottle.  Not at all.  Smart girl.

"Yes," I thought to myself.  "You should have spent more weekends at the house.  Then your baby sister would know you a little better.  You could have practiced holding her, getting familiar with all her favorite positions.  Maybe Kirsten would even have let you give her the occasional bottle of breast milk."  But, of course, I had gotten wrapped up in my studies.  And my new social life.  I had neglected my family a bit, along with my little sister.  And my sister was now letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that she didn't appreciate my neglect.

So, I put down the bottle and I took a deep breath and I cradled the baby in my arms the way I had seen (on the rare occasions I was home) Sandy do it, with her head nestled in the crook of my left elbow and my right arm supporting her body.  I held her close to my chest and took deep, calm breaths.  She was still crying, but seemed to be relaxing a bit. I walked over to the window, looking out at the twinkling holiday lights decorating the neighborhood on this cold night, and I rocked little Sophie back and forth.  I looked at her little face, and into her blue eyes.  And I thought about all the Chrismukkahs before this one.  Special times that always did seem to bring miracles, in spite of my usually dubious attitude.  "You should never doubt Moses and Jesus," Seth would remind me.  Moses and Jesus -- the world's original superheroes.  And as I looked into my little sister's eyes, I couldn't help but think of the little brother that I would soon be seeing.  My little half-brother.  Marissa's little half-brother.  He would be visiting for the holiday, along with all the people I have come to call my family.  A family I know will never leave me.  Miracles added upon miracles.

Sophie was now quiet, but very alert, looking back into my eyes as I gazed into hers.  "Are you hungry, little one?" I asked her.  It's funny, isn't it, the way you talk to babies like they'll answer you?  I guess they do, in their own way.  Retrieving the bottle from the place where I had left it, I put it to Sophie's lips and she started to drink, never taking her eyes off my face.  It was a feeling that I had never had before -- her warm little body, wrapped in soft flannel, hungrily drinking her mother's milk.  And she polished off the whole thing in no time flat.  A true Cohen.

I then proceeded to the next step.  Burping her.  I placed a cloth diaper that had been left on the dining room table for this purpose over my left shoulder and lifted Sophie up to that shoulder, the way I had seen Sandy do it.  I could feel her soft hair against my neck and cheek as I gently patted her back.  And then, it happened.  She burped, all right.  She burped with such great force that Kirsten's beautiful white easy chair -- which was about three feet behind me -- was fairly soaked with liquid.

For a moment, I was a bit panic-stricken.  But, then I just had to laugh.  I held the little girlie gently out in front of me, so I could see her face.  I have to say she looked quite self-satisfied.  "Happy with yourself, are you?" I chided gently.

Deciding to ignore the mess on the easy chair in favor of not losing any of this rare and special time with my sister, I carried her into her room, and sat down with her in the rocking chair that Kirsten kept in there.  An antique wooden rocking chair, carved with beautiful, intricate designs, and covered with soft hand-made cushions.   The moonlight was coming in through the window.  A window silhouetted by delicate lace curtains.  I rocked Sophie on my shoulder until I could tell by her deep, even breaths that she was asleep.  And then I rocked her some more.  I rocked her until Sandy and Kirsten came home.  

And when they did come home, I didn't mention the mess on the easy chair.  I simply didn't want to ruin the moment.  And I figured they'd find it for themselves, easily enough, the next day.  Besides, Seth was coming home the next day.  He's always had a talent with upholstery cleaner.

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