For some time now I have been quite broody and it seems babies are more frequently popping out of people I know, which is taking the broodiness to new heights.
In August last year the opportunity arose to look after one such child, the fruit of Victoria Thompson’s boss’s loins.
I was delighted, and a bit shocked, when I heard the news that he was including me in the babysitting duties because although he knows me quite well 'digitally' (his choice of word not mine) he’d only met me twice in real life – once when I brought him an ice-lolly because he was working late at the weekend (good impression) and the other time when I was having a mental breakdown on the grass outside his work (not so good) – but as the date came closer the fear set in…
I have a theory that babies, like cats and dogs, can sense evil. I am not saying that I am evil but just that I might be and don’t know it yet. This particular concern has been highlighted by the film Antichrist (I have a habit of taking films personally). Any logical person would have the same thoughts, no? Just me? Well anyway I was worried about meeting Luca because he had the potential to alert everyone in the vicinity that I am the devil.
When I explained this to Vic on the way there, doing my best to hold back the tears, she told me not to worry. She told me that I’m one of the nicest people she knows and I felt guilty so I told her I’d done some pretty mean things when I was little. (I didn't give her any examples but I'll give you one now... When I was seven I went to an all girls' boarding school and they started to introduce boys. The first one to move into our building came to the room I shared with my best friend to give her The Little Mermaid on video as a gift. I think I was threatened by him making the moves on her so I grabbed it and threw it on the floor exclaiming, "She already has this one!" I still feel bad about this especially as I don't think she did have the film.) Vic looked at me funnily and said that anything under the age of ten doesn’t count and that it was probably not a good idea to tell her boss and his girlfriend of my concerns given this was the first time they’d be leaving their three month old first born.
Despite her reassurance I kept my distance from the wee one until the parents had departed for their date, when I felt it was safer to test the water. Also I get embarrassed chatting to babies or young kids when grown-ups are around because I tend to talk to them like they’re adults, and occasionally in this weird voice that my high school boyfriend used to do when talking to his dog, and sometimes me.
Before they left they informed us that Luca only poos once a week. You can imagine I was quite upset by this - I wish they'd told me to sit down before delivering such bad news. However after his bottle he did do some tremendous farting that led us to believe a poo had been deposited. A special treat given the disappointment on hearing of his infrequent bowel movements. Nappy open, we saw it had been a trick played by a particularly stinky fart. It took about half an hour to work out how to get the sticky bits on the nappy to work and also to get the nappy to sit like he wasn’t a gangster with his crotch by his knees. I say we - most of the nappy work was being done by Vic - I was just hanging over the side of the bed dangling my magical necklace in his face to distract him from the indignity of it all.
Perhaps the chiming necklace I was wearing had distracted Luca from outing me because if he sensed any evil he didn't say anything about it. He did, however, mistake my body for a bed and my finger for a nipple. But as I've been mistaken for a prostitute on more than one occasion I'll take being mistaken for a bed and a nipple as a compliment.
After his nap and some food (milk for Luca, meatballs for us), and once we'd worked out which way round to put him in the pram, we took him for a walk in the park and felt how a proud lesbian couple must feel with Luca chatting away to himself in the way only babies that can't talk do. He soon fell asleep and I envied him. If I had someone to push me around in a pram maybe I'd get some decent sleep.
When the frantic parents returned we left them to do some serious catching up. As we walked to the station I text a guy I been on a few dates with telling him I'd been babysitting and "Please can you lend me some sperm so I can have one?" I am aware this is not the sort of thing you say to a guy if you want him to stick around but wait...
He replied straight back saying, "What you doing tonight?"
I have never know someone so keen to lend their seeds for an artificial insemination extravaganza. Maybe he just thought it was the modern way of asking for sex. If that was the case he didn't get what he wanted and neither did I.
I am still accepting donations so do get in touch.