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Old, Unkempt, Confused Man Holding Baby On Couch


Old, unkempt, confused man holding baby on couch

BY CHUCK NYREN

I’m sitting, doing nothing. She plops him in my lap. “I’m picking up his sister at pre-school. Goodbye.”

She kisses my forehead. Or the baby’s forehead. Or both our foreheads. I’m not sure. I’m in shock.

And babysitting grandma is gone.

Are you sure I can do this? I whisper to nobody because nobody is here but me and a napping infant. He was born at the beginning of December. Quick figuring tells me he’s around five months old. He’s not even six months old. Are you sure I can do this?

“The baby is awake. He’s surveying the room, probably searching for someone he knows. I’m petrified.”

I haven’t had much experience with the new one. I’m great friends with his sister. We hang out, goof around, get in trouble, and each gets time-outs. With this one I did have one special moment: a few weeks ago, while bouncing him on my leg and making faces, he starts laughing.  His mother and sister and grandma run over. “I’ve never heard him laugh before!” his mother says. “It’s the first time!”  I’m a hero. That lasts a day or two until he starts laughing with everybody–and my impressive feat is forgotten. I never told them that I never thought he actually laughed. It was gas. He squealed and winced.

The baby hasn’t moved. I haven’t moved. But I’m not totally out of it, discombobulated. Yours Truly is well aware this is a Facebook moment. Phone, camera, point, click. A flash and the caption comes to me in a flash: Old Unkempt Confused Man Holding Baby On Couch. That should be worth forty or fifty Likes, Loves, Wows. Anything with a cute kid.

The baby is awake. He’s surveying the room, probably searching for someone he knows. I’m petrified. He’ll turn his head and see a scary stranger and scream. Neighbors will rush over.

He sees me. We stare at one another. I feign a smile. His focus darts every which way, studying my forehead, eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, nose again, eyes again. His expression is blank. I’ve seen this blank expression before in babies and German Shepherds. You have no idea what they’re going to do next.

Then …… a grin! A big grin! A huge grin! Eyes beaming, arms and legs flailing, body bobbling in joy. In fact, that might have even been …. a laugh!

I guess everything will be fine.

About the author

Chuck Nyren lives in Snohomish, Washington. He is faux grandfather to five children, ages not quite six months to almost sixteen. They have two wonderful full-fledged grandfathers. Chuck does his best to fill in for the missing ones.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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