Letter To Future Babysitters Of My Firstborn

This week, Dave left for a very last minute business trip. And I leave for BlogHer on Thursday. We were freaking out trying to find out what to do with our baby for the 1.5 days that our trips overlap, because apparently babies cannot be left home alone. Whatever, laws! My mother-in-law is saving us and I was typing up a list of things for her to know about Ellis and I realized that I was writing things like, “she needs her diaper changed.” And I realized why firstborns have a sense of entitlement. I’m pretty sure when my parents left me (a second born) they just threw me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and said, “see ya!” My brother didn’t even get the sandwich. 

Dear friend/family member,

You have been entrusted to watch Ellis for anywhere between one hour to two days.  Even if the length of time it takes to read this missive exceeds the time you will be watching her, you still have to read this. There will be a quiz.

She eats every three hours on the dot. If you try to push this out because you think you need to go to the bathroom or (god forbid) get a drink of water, may God have mercy on your soul. This is not our rule. Take it up with the baby.

Yes, we use cloth diapers. Yes, it is a little bit of work. But you’re gonna cry when I tell you how much money we save. You might also cry when I tell you about the laundry I do. But, whatever, we bought disposables for you. That’s how much we appreciate you. Do not under estimate the importance of this gesture. To put it in math terms: You > Our babies precious bum.

Tylenol, gas drops and all emergency phone numbers are on the counter. If you are one of those emergency contacts, please see the back of the sheet for alternate emergency contacts. Please forgive us, we are new parents and we are somehow still deluded as to think that if there ever were an emergency and our baby was choking on the mouse poison that we left in the basement( because I’m still more afraid of mice than of my baby finding the poison) you’d spend your time calling around and chatting with our neighbors. Essentially, in case of an emergency, call 911 and haul diaper to the hospital. For clues on how this is done, access your memories of emergency training from KINDERGARTEN. If it’s a false alarm, don’t tell us. We’ll probably die.

Sometimes she makes a sound like she’s trying to vomit. This is usually accompanied by her fingers in her mouth. People tell us she’s just trying out new sounds. We think she’s probably making a value judgement. If she makes this sound for you, your joke probably sucked.

Ellis is only allowed one hour of news/educational programming a day. We’d prefer this come in the form of NPR. Actually, I would prefer that it comes as NPR. Dave is still trying to get her to read FoxNews, for now we compromise on Swamp People. If you introduce her to “Yo Gabba Gabba”, may God have mercy on your soul. This is OUR rule.

She goes to bed at 7:30. Her bedtime routine is a diaper change, a bottle and some rocking. Lay her down, creep out of the room, hover over the baby monitor until your husband tells you to take your Zoloft.

She plays in her jumperoo, bumbo, on the floor, in the swing and with a million toys. Actually, we play with the toys, she just lies there and humors us. Please also humor us by engaging her in some sort of game like “chew the giraffe’s ear.”

She naps about every 1.5-2 hours. Nap time routine includes a pacifier, a short rock (until eyes get droopy), then lay her in her crib. Do not be fooled by the cute cooing sounds, eventually they’ll turn into blood curdling dinosaur caws and then there will be silence. If you feel cruel, you can go ahead and pop the pacifier back in her mouth. This is done by commando crawling into the room, showing the pacifier in her mouth and running like hell out of there. She usually giggles, it’s because she’s judging you.

If naptime suddenly goes awry you may use the nuclear option: strapping her into her car seat and driving like a mad man to Starbucks. By the time you order your Americano with room, she’ll be out like a light. Note: Do not be foolish and think that you are now in the clear to run errands. You may go to Target, she’ll sleep there. But the moment you walk into WalMart she’ll wake up. Ellis loves WalMart. It’s really an unfortunate gene for her to carry. It goes hand in hand with her love of peeing on things.

Here are the things we want to hear when we come home:

1. She was good.

2. She was an angel.

3. No fussing at all.

Please lie to us. PLEASE.

Thank you.

Ellis’ parents


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