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OtterSummer 8.28-Opportunity

It looked like a genuine opportunity. The Grand Otter mentioned to me earlier in the week that she sure could use a job, this after an opportunity slipped away. When friends called asking if I could babysit, I suggested that they might want to hire The Otter. I asked them to suggest a rate.

The Otter had been counting chickens for a couple of days, figuring herself on the edge of prosperity by the end of the week. Friday came and she agreed to help vacuum out the place so the toddler wouldn’t just become a dust mop as she tottled around.

The parents were running late and the baby fussy. She knew me and seemed to flare up when The Otter came close. Out of convenience, then, I held her while The Otter warmed the bottle and fetched the collapsible bed. She changed the diaper and swapped the clothes for a sleeper while I distracted the little one. We tried to swap responsibilities then, but our charge would have nothing to do with that. I took a short break then assumed the position in the rocking chair while The Otter looked on, then looked away to peck into her iPod.

The baby was clingy as could be. She finally fell asleep sprawled across my chest, me laying on my back on the big bed. I tried several times to quietly slip her off and sneak away, but each time the little one perked right up and started screaming again. The Otter suggested that she wasn’t really earning her pay. Later, when the mom returned, The Otter confessed that she hadn’t actually sat much with the baby.

This morning, I woke feeling remorseful. I should have made myself scarce. I tried to talk with The Otter about it, but she admitted that our little switch was more than simple personal convenience. There seemed in those moments no viable alternative to my shoulder, my lap. I still feel as though I innocently stole The Grand Otter’s thunder, though, since I’m confident that had I not been there, an equally serene baby would have emerged.

No undoing it now. Opportunity promises then delivers whatever it damned well pleases, with no imperative to please anyone. It seemed the least cruel alternative to volunteer my broad chest and rusty lullaby to the effort, but I’m feeling like I owe The Grand Otter one night’s babysitting booty. Grandfathering’s rough sometimes.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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