22 March 2013

#Scintilla13: Baby Fever

Today's Scintilla prompt:

B: Write about spending time with a baby/child under age 2. If you’re a parent, do NOT write about your own child.

And today's fiction:

As soon as my sister Caroline walked through the front door, I plucked baby Isabel from her arms and whisked her away to the den. It would take Caroline at least ten minutes to unload her massive diaper bag and portable playpen. Having an infant seemed like a huge hassle.

Izzy smiled and babbled as I removed her mittens, hat, and coat. She was pretty hideous right when she was first born, but I suppose most babies are. In the nine months since, she's gotten cuter every day. Those chubby cheeks are so pinchable and kissable, I can hardly contain myself. Something about high levels of cuteness makes me aggressive. I could almost literally gobble her up.

The baby seemed sleepy, so I cradled her against my chest and walked around the room. As her eyelids drooped, my heart swelled. This is how I love them. Docile, tiny, peaceful.

"Thanks so much for babysitting," Caroline said, coming into the room.

"Of course. You know I love to."

She peeked over my shoulder. "Oh thank goodness. I thought she'd never fall asleep. She's been fighting it for a while."

We were silent for a moment, both studying Izzy's little face. The impossibly smooth, porcelain skin. The round nose. The eyelashes I would kill for.

"I can't believe she's nine months already," I said.

"I know. It's gone by so slow and so fast at the same time."

"You ready to start trying for another one yet?"

She laughed. "You could always get one of your own, you know. You and David will be great parents."

"Nah. I'll just borrow yours." Izzy began to feel heavy in my arms.

"When do you think you guys will try?"

"We won't."

Silence. Caroline stared at me.

Awkward silence.

I tried not to imagine what was going through her head. I'd heard it all before. How can you not want kids? You'll change your mind. It's different when they're your own.

Babies are great. Toddlers and teens are not. I loved Isabel almost like she were mine, but I loved being able to give her back. I'd never had any urge to have one of my own, though.

I looked at Caroline, silently daring her to take her best shot.

"Cool. You'll get to spoil Isabel all you want."

Caroline smiled. I smiled. In her sleep, I'm pretty sure Izzy smiled.

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