I recently spent an hour and a half alone with my niece Lila–no competent adult supervising–on the dangerous streets of Manhattan. She survived. Both of us survived, in fact. This I see as a tremendous accomplishment.
The secret I suspect I share with many other first-time aunts and uncles is that we are paralyzed with fear. We are supposed to be people you can trust with your baby, but we have no idea what we are doing. I had never even seen a real baby up close until I met Lila. The first thing I said to my wife when we left the hospital, after visiting our hours-old niece, was that I was surprised she wasn’t making more eye contact. And even having expressed this preposterously idiotic reaction to meeting a newborn baby for the first time, I was still trusted to wheel her around a crowded city for 90 minutes–alone. Read the rest of this entry →