Babysitting in Idaho

Friday November 10, 2006

img_0107b.jpgIsabel is in the third hour of her weekly cleaning Joe and Amy’s house as I sit on the couch in the slant sun illuminating the back sides of the bare aspens in the front yard and creating complicated patterns on the walls through the many windows in sight. North November light.

Inga swearingen croons through the sound system. Four year old Ethan is in nursery school and ten week old Abel is deep asleep. I held, rocked, played with, sang to, fed and changed him for two and a half hours until he drifted off in my arms. As he relaxed, his body got heavier while his consciousness thinned and floated away–along with my own. Now he’s awake again. Only a forty minute nap.

12:10 Abel sits in his bouncy seat listening to the Bruch violin concerto. He’s waving his hands and feet, fascinated with the soft moon, star and blue dog on his toy bar. He stares at them, his own movements rocking him, occasionally furrowing his brow, swatting and talking, and I talk back.  Now the sounds intensify. They could lead to crying or just be self-expression, cheering at the ball game.img_0115.jpg

I have nothing to do but attend him. Behind the music, the sounds of the Spanish soap opera from the tv in the kitchen as Isabella cleans. We conversed a bit in Spanglish: she has five children, aged 22 to 7. She looks youthful and moves fast.

It’s three days after the election, after the national headlong plunge into darkness has been arrested, after the citizens of San Luis County voted overwhelmingly to approve a huge shopping center on prime ag land with no environmental review. I flew here for a week to provide some support for Joe and Amy as she returns to work.

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