The terrors of babysitting

ONE hour.

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I was babysitting my friend's wee one for 60 minutes - and, in all seriousness, I thought it was half a day.

When you're not used to being around babies it's terrifying when you have a four-month-old screaming down a shopping centre.

I took him into the toy shop hoping for some calm by waving a caterpillar above his face. No, that didn't work.

So we wandered for a while, but the screaming continued. We were met with some sympathetic smiles and sighs, but it turns out there's no reasoning with these mini humans.

Anyway, the wee boy was hungry - fair enough - so I went to a coffee shop and dug out his milk bottle.

My heart raced while I searched through his bag, tossing out nappies all over the table...I could not for the life of me find his milk.

But isn't it funny how difficult it is to do simple tasks when you've got a baby crying in the background?

Milk found, I was, finally, balancing the baby and feeding him - but this is when I thought hours had passed. Now I couldn't reach my phone.

"His mum will be sick with worry," I thought. "She'll think I've disappeared with her first born." How daft: it was only half an hour since she'd left us to pop along to the hairdressers.

Luckily I learned how kind strangers can be.

A man rushed to cool down the wee man's milk under cold water, a couple picked up the muslin cloths I dropped, and everyone had kind words.

Granted they probably thought I was a sleep- deprived new mum, not a clueless pal.

The whole episode got me thinking about making noise in public. What do you do? Should you apologise or just get on with it?

When you're used to blending in, it can be unnerving being the centre of attention.

THE plane trips I remember for the wrong reasons are the ones with the furious toddlers with full-blown tantrums, tears and spit flying everywhere.

No-one has patience for them.

But it's not just little people is it?

I also recall being on a plane where the police met us at the other end due to a drunk and disorderly (and insanely loud) group of 18-30 holidaymakers.

What about the young people who play music at the back of the bus?

The commuters who slurp loudly on the morning train?

I've no doubt caused annoyance by giggling with friends on public transport.

We're all guilty of being noisy, and you can't please everyone.

But you won't catch me tutting and moaning about noisy babies anymore - I have new found respect for mums, dads and babysitters.


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