It was beautiful, but oh-so-cold. St Ives in winter. So we bundled ourselves up and began walking toward a favorite cliffside path. Along the way, we began to hear a baby crying and then saw the tiny pram, pushed along by Grandma and Grandpa. Both looked worried.
"What shall we do?" said Grandpa, holding a bottle rather hesitantly toward the tiny, opened, crying mouth. Grandpa's hair was a lovely cloud of white, exactly matching Grandma's. He wore a stylish wool golf-type cap (very British and posh), and she a scarf. They were super cute.
"What shall we DO?" he said again. I didn't hear Grandma's reply, but instantly felt her pain. She had, after all, been through it all before. Brought up her own brood, one of whom had produced the wee screamer before them. We walked behind them, still hearing the poor little cries, and I realized this: being a grandmother makes you instantly at one with all other grandmothers. I could hardly bear it for her and longed to give her some kind of encouragement. But, somehow, I couldn't.
They continued along the pathway, apparently hoping to soothe their offspring's offspring with a calming walk. It often does the trick, right? Baby sleeps. Baby wakes. Baby starts to cry and nothing stops it. Grownup tries every possible remedy and finally places Baby in a car seat, or a pram, or a backpack, and begins a journey. The steady movement often produces the relaxing rhythm that will produce the much-hoped-for sleep.
But this journey wasn't working. I remembered once hearing the story of a young couple whose baby absolutely would not sleep, would not stop crying, and would neither eat nor drink. They finally gave up and bundled the thing into the car, and started off. They drove all night. In circles. I am not even joking. If they stopped for just a moment, even to quickly change drivers, the baby would screech louder and escalate into near apoplexy. In the end, all three of them fell into an exhausted sleep at the side of the highway.
Presently a policeman came and tapped on their window with his baton.
"Ah, ma'am? Sir? Are you alright? Is everything alright in there?" Tap-tap-tap, he continued. "MA'AM?"
The baby began to cry. It is best to draw a veil over what happened next, but suffice it to say, NO ONE WAS HAPPY.
So I felt very, very sorry for these two dear and sweet grandparents. When they had run out of strategies, the baby in the pram finally and miraculously found its own thumb. Wonder of wonders! They hardly dared believe it, but peace finally reigned once again.
This summer the SconeLady and her husband will be keeping the three small fry for a time. None of them are babies, and all of them are reasonable. We have all sorts of schemes and I think it will be great. Still, I am not discounting that at some point, someone might ask, "But what shall we DO?"
(How about I keep you posted).
See you along the way!