Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Babies: They're Not Rocket Surgery

Uncle/Niece Bonding Moment
Babies. They're scary: what with their bendy limbs, googly eyes, floppy torsos -  and that soft spot. Of course, if you're like me and have had a plethora of babies pass through your hands (eldest of nine, aunt to eight), you tend to be a bit more blasé about the whole thing and have a sure grip of the little monsters, even if they're trying to escape your clutches and dive headfirst towards the floor. My husband, on the other hand, has always tended to view babies with something akin to fear - they're his kryptonite. Up until three years ago, he'd never held a baby. Whenever he visited our home in Ireland, he was offered a cup of tea, a biscuit and, as a special favour, a "go" of whatever baby was currently being passed around. We thought we were giving him a treat: the chance to snuggle whatever newborn was being handed from aunt to uncle (and, even more of a treat, handing the baby back to the parents at the first sign of crankiness or whiff of malodorous activity in the diaper department), but he shied away from it. Three years ago, he was handed my baby niece, and he held her, awkward and sweating, till she was passed on to my little sister. He was not impressed by the experience.

"It's not rocket surgery," I pointed out. (That's our favourite phrase at the moment - I can't open a jar of beetroot? Well, my husband says, it's not rocket surgery! Nothing like a bit of metaphorical mangling.) Babies are deceptively robust, I said. As long as you don't drop them, they're generally pretty easy to hold. He was sceptical. The thing is, though, my sister-in-law has just had her first baby and Mr Gingerbread is now a proper uncle, as opposed to an uncle-by-marriage, and there's no longer any chance of avoiding his call of duty. So last weekend we travelled down to the south of Bavaria, to inspect the newest member of my husband's family.

Once there, Mr G. manfully stepped up and took the child. He even held her for half an hour, albeit as one would hold a plank of wood or a toaster. But she appeared comfortable and didn't even squeak. He, on the other hand, looked about as relaxed as a tightrope walker, but they both got through it without any residual trauma.
"See?" I said, "Not rocket surgery! Any fool can hold a baby."
"You're right," he replied solemnly. "I guess you've hit the nail on the hammer."


Paul & Carla said...

Congratulations on your sweet little niece! Mr. Gingerbread will do better next time. LOL.

Karen said...

too funny!

My husband wouldn't hold a baby until we had our first. Now he is the first one in line to get at one!


Emily said...

:-) And we thought we were doing him a favour!!

Reality Jayne said...

Rocket Surgery.....teehee

Shawnee's Girl said...

Sweet! I am glad he held his niece. My best friend is terrified of holding babies. She likes them well enough, but is scared that she will drop them. For some people it is just easier when the little ones are not quite so little. Congrats on your new niece!

Petunia Pill said...

Mwah-ha-ha. You always make me giggle!

Susanne Tyree said...

Love this post! Our first grandchild was born on Tuesday and it had been 33 years since we had anyone so tiny in our arms. New baby fear, you have to "just get over it". They surely don't bite, since they have no teeth, lol. They are very strong in fact, let them even whimper and everyone is running to see what the fuss is all about....I say they are masters in all they do. We are the weak ones, the saps who turn to putty at their command. Babies, gotta love them!

Sue said...

So lovely a new baby! I'm sure Mr Gingerbread will get the hang of baby holding as time goes on. But he will probably be much happier when it comes to the 'when I was a lad' stage I find uncles are excellent at imparting important information about LIFE!