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Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Nephew Who Sporadically Smiles

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 8:04pm

I am the type of person who likes to capture moments, sometimes by a camera phone or by writing. Today, I am going to make an attempt to encapsulate in words from my memory the moment I had with my one year old nephew.

His name is NJ. He is a one year old baby who does not smile a lot. The moment he does, the person babysitting him calls other people in the house to look at him and marvel at such a sight. My mom or my sister would sometimes scream for someone’s camera to be at him. Sometimes I would catch Gina, NJ’s regular babysitter smiling with delight at the look at his sporadic smile and sealing the moment with a kiss.

One time, however, I was tasked to look after him. Now, this to me was a big challenge. Besides his very sensitive mood, NJ is heavy, which means that if he cried and if I had to carry him in my arms, it would be like being in a gym lifting weights, for me. He also likes toys that are not real toys. He likes the real things: dvd players, remote controls, etc. So one would either have to think about preventing him from getting electrocuted or a thing from getting broken. Another reason is that I am not used to babysitting anymore. I have lived independently for about six years now in a life, not involving kids, let alone babies. Watching over NJ should be quite a challenge. So at this time, I had to begin by not making him notice that his mom was gone and it was just me and him in the room. I tried to find a “toy” for him but all I could see were toys. I was, however, in the process of finishing my chocolate chip cookies when his mom asked me to watch over him. So I gave him one. He looked at it for awhile and held it in his tiny hand. He took a bite and said “yum, yum,” took another bite and looked at me, looked at the cookie and took another bite. Brown crumbs started spreading around his mouth and falling off it. Some were on his shirt. His bites became faster and he would look at the cookie from time to time as if asking himself what in the world those cookies are made of. He finally lied down and I thought he would cry, but he didn’t. The cookie now was held by his hand in a clumsy way, I had to help him securely grasp it. He would bite and chew and make that yum yum sound frequently. His six white teeth were now covered with brown crumbs. Then he uttered, “uh” as if asking me to look at the cookie. He took another bite and uttered, “yum, yum, yum” (Now I know why delicious sounds like that). I wanted to get a camera. I wanted to share my joy with other people and be able to show them proof that it really happened. But I realized that, that moment is just between me and him. I told his mom about it and she sighed in appreciation but she will never ever share the joy I had with my one year old nephew, who seldom smiles but has just shown me that even babies like that can appreciate cookies, will not mind to look dirty with crumbs all over the face and will freely express it with words like “yum, yum”.

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