Baby Whisperer, they call me –
some definitions we just slide
into, naturally; discovered mine
at the age of nine, when my sister,
a child herself, gave birth and I,
the babysitter, was also born.
Ran a school that summer –
charged a quarter a week to
neighbouring parents, promised
to prepare their children for the
year ahead, turned my knack
into an entrepreneurship.
Uprooted at eleven to a highrise
full of families, filled my calendar
with other’s people’s offspring –
was in demand – while other teens
partied and rebelled, my wallet
bulged with babysitter’s cash.
Projected success into future
plans, told the guidance counsellor
I wanted to get my ECE – work in
day care – she scoffed, said I was
too smart, should be a psychiatrist
the world needs shrinks, not nannies.
So I signed up for psychology and
sociology – did not find myself, quit,
married a man – really just a child –
felt I’d found myself in the role of
wife, ignored the fact that I had
only replaced his mother – grew tired,
ran into the arms of another, racing
to have children of his own – knew
how to do children – returned to school,
studied Children’s literature, psychology,
set my sights on being a teacher – but
it all fell apart; alone raising three.
Married again, finding comfort in the
mothering role, became a teacher –
replaced offspring with classrooms;
certain I was fulfilling a calling, until
illness swept it all away, confined me
to a bed, homebound, erased purpose.
But wait; the story doesn’t end there –
because now I’m a grandmother – my
babies have babies – and even from my
invalid bed, I can care for the wee –
the Baby Whisperer still has the touch –
purpose reignited with each new life.