When I was a teenager, I was the babysitter--kids loved me. And all through my 20s and my early 30s, when my friends where having babies and I was surrounded by kids, kids loved me. But then I hit that age where my friends' kids were growing up and there weren't any more coming along. Then we found another couple who were DINKs like we were, so I wasn't around kids any more. Then I went into the "the dark period" and didn't care if I had friends at all. And somewhere in there, I lost my "kid aura."
Babies didn't lunge for me any more. Kids didn't come running up to hug Miss Kelley any more. I realized this the hard way when I volunteered to babysit my friend's 3 month old, who screamed and cried the whole time I was there. This is like separation anxiety to the extreme! I felt pretty helpless, calling my friend apologetically wondering if she should come home. But this was her third kid, so she said he would calm down eventually. Well, he didn't, no matter what I did. Actually, he calmed down a little when I turned on Dora the Explorer, but that show lasted only about 20 minutes, dammit. So, he cried until his mom came home. And even though I've never been haunted by the ticking clock, I felt bad that I had lost some kind of bond with kids that used to be so natural to me.
Until yesterday. I have a friend who after giving up on having a baby, of course, got pregnant. Her little boy is 3 months old, and I was hesitant to be around him. It had been 2 years since the last 3-month-old cryfest, and I hadn't been around a baby since. Luckily, I had nothing to worry about.
While Mom put together a frame (framing has become a necessary hobby), I held the little one, who was fussy because he needed a nap. But as I held him, he smiled and giggled and seemed genuinely happy to be held and cuddled. After doing that stand and sway thing for a while, and him still awake, my back yelled at me sit the hell down! So, I did. I rubbed his tummy while he sucked on his thumb and before I knew it, he was aleep! Hmmm, that tummy rub works pretty well--just like a little alligator without teeth. I put him back in his car seat, and Mom promised me lunch next time we go out. Score! Sleeping baby and a free lunch!
So, I guess I didn't lose my aura completely; it just went dormant for a while. Hmmm, I wonder what other things will perk up?