You know those lightbulb jokes that ask how many people of a certain group are needed to change a lightbulb? The punchline always targets a certain group and is usually derogatory. Well I have a slightly different version for you: How many grandparents, aunties and uncles with Master’s Degrees does it take to care for a small infant for an afternoon? The answer is no laughing matter…or maybe it is rather comical, if you were an outsider looking on.
I’m visiting my brother and sister-in-law this week, and they take care of their two-month-old grandson while their daughter, an ESOL teacher, is at work. As a bonus, their son, my nephew who is a Montessori teacher, is visiting from California. All of us have Master’s degrees and consider ourselves fairly intelligent. Then why is it that the four of us were scratching our heads trying to figure out how to get the baby into one of those carriers that you strap onto your front? And why do seemingly intelligent people with excellent vocabularies start talking baby talk with high-pitched voices? For my nephew’s part, I have to say I have yet to hear him coo to the baby in nonsense syllables with a voice that sounds like Micky Mouse. He’s more the strong, silent type who bonds with the baby non-verbally or in a regular timbre.
Yesterday we went to a shopping center and had lunch at a nice restaurant. When people came by admiring our baby, we all beamed as if we had birthed the little guy ourselves. He was the perfect angel and slept through nearly our entire lunch. When he did awake, he looked around with his beautiful huge eyes and cooed and smiled, turning us to mush. It was after we finished eating that that ugly incident with the baby carrier happened. My brother attempted to strap the harness onto my nephew so we could walk around and shop. After some struggling, he and my sister-in-law did manage to figure the thing out, but I have to admit it was quite comical. If you were an onlooker, that is. I didn’t even try to help them because I would have had the baby upside down and sliding out. A couple of college degrees clearly isn’t enough. I should have gone for the Ph.D.