I borrowed a baby at church yesterday.* Sitting not far from me was a young mom from Bolivia with 8-month-old twin boys. She had one baby in her arms and the other beside her in a double-wide stroller, poised to begin complaining, so I offered to take the first. I knew from a stint I had done previously walking the halls with him (or his brother—no hope of telling) that he would be heavy, and I was so right.
How to describe him? Sort of like a squirming bowling ball, but half again bigger. Or like a large struggling sack of sand. For short stretches he would sit relatively still, just bobbing slightly and drooling over my arm (his mom reached over to clean me up with a wipe), but then he would exert his considerable bulk in an unexpected direction, and I was hard pressed to keep him on my lap.
It reminded me of countless worship services with one of my kids striving mightily, stirring my skirt as a giant egg beater. It’s a considerable upper body work-out, but one that I welcomed. I was glad to be able to give his mom a rest. I also wanted to give her a figurative pat on the back for making the effort to be there.
I noticed that she had a piercing in her lower lip with a bright pink post sticking out about a centimeter, very much the sort of thing little fingers would want to grab onto and pull. Wearing it with babies around seemed like a risky proposition to me. Could she be counting on her young ones being too uncoordinated to get a good grip on it?
Having five kids means that I’ve never worn much jewelry. There was a very long stretch of time when necklaces were essentially reins, and I wasn’t interested in being led that way.† (I often don’t wear my wedding ring either, but that has more to do with frequently having my hands in bread dough.)
Looking at the bright pink post, I couldn’t help wondering what this particular bit of jewelry meant for a young mother that would make wearing it worth the considerable risk of curious-baby-induced trauma.
It also made me wonder if there’s anything I wear that is important enough to me to merit taking a similar risk. How about you?
*Valencia has three Mormon wards or congregations, geographically based. We’re in “Barrio Valencia Tres.”
†Apparently, some folks are embracing the babies-will-grab-you-by-the-necklace truth and making the most of it by marketing necklace/teethers. My objection wasn’t so much to the drool on the jewel, but to the tugging at my neck, something baby-safe materials fail to address.