As I sat in a high chair across from my parents, I discovered what was to be my life’s calling. My gaze was locked across the dining room of the restaurant on a baby girl not much younger than I was at the time. I gave her one of my first waves, still backwards with my fingers facing myself, and we immediately became friends. Obviously I don’t remember this occurrence as I was only a two year old, but my mother swears that this was the exact moment that I became, as she calls me, “the baby-whisperer”.
I have lived that moment, over and over again with countless babies in a variety of settings. Now, my waves are forward facing and I’m not connecting with the little person from my own high chair. Undoubtedly, though, the connection exists.
This phenomenon, while making me an awesome, highly desirable babysitter has also led me on a sure and certain path.
I will have to be someone important to babies in my professional life. It’s natural. You’re supposed to figure out what you’re good at and in a perfect world; you make a living from it. I’m good at babies. The challenge I face is taking what has always been effortless and turning it into something that will require a lot of hard work and dedication.
When I make a new friend of a small person, there’s a whole lot of sizing up going on. Not from me, of course. I don’t judge babies, I like them all. They, however, have some decisions to make. Am I scary? Do they need to tuck their head into their mother’ shoulder or behind her leg? Can I be trusted to not make those crazy grown up faces and noises at them? Once they know for sure that I’m safe, they lock on me like a magnet. I’ve had new baby-friends reach for me, out of their mother’s arms and into mine. I don’t know what it is.
I can see right through the beautiful packaging to the soul within. It’s like I know them as a person when they’ve only just arrived on the planet. Here’s the key, though, they know me. You can’t pull anything over on an infant. They are way too perceptive. That’s why they like me. They can see me. Perhaps with those big, wondering eyes, they see right through my teenage packaging and see me as that baby from across the restaurant with the backwards wave.
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