Building Trust One Tiggy Exchange At A Time

Last weekend we visited Rhiannon’s-Closest-Living-Relatives, parents of the Baby-That-Doesn’t-Trust-Me. (Note: Title of Rhiannon’s-Closest-Living-Relative is an open competition. You just have to move less than 20 miles away from us. And be related to Rhiannon.) This visit was a dry run for two weeks from now, when RCLRs will attend the Phantom of the Opera and we will be in charge of the BTDTM. Yes, we babysat before, but not with the bath and putting to bed routine. And let’s be honest – the chances of me having anything to do with the bath and putting to bed routine? Slim to minus infinity.

It wasn’t always this way – once long ago we watched the BTDTM, except then she was too young to understand the concept of trust and if you had a bottle and two arms, by golly, you were golden. I thought we bonded. She burped on my shoulder and tried to strangle me with my own necklace. I even watched Rhiannon change her diaper. Watched I tell you! From a Hazardous-Material-Certified safe distance. I thought that was a lifetime pass. She fell asleep on my chest as we watched some profanity-laden late-night television. Apparently that means nothing to her now (which makes sense considering that was 90% of her life ago. That would be like me remembering one night when I was under 3.)

We made progress. I think we have an established tolerance level of each other. I agreed to pay attention to her rather than football and make no sudden movements in her presence, and she agreed to exchange non-important items with me, like a computer mouse. And she would walk by the couch I was sitting on without going the long way around the coffee table. She’s a baby – baby steps are ok.

And then the breakthrough. She handed me her Tiggy (which as close as I can tell is a Siberian Tiger that looks really cute.) Sensing this was a big moment for us, I took him, gave him an appropriate tiger hug, and handed him back. She hugged him, looked at me, the audience held its collective breath, and she smiled. And handed him back to me again. The crowd went wild. The guys in the nose-bleed seats exchanged high-fives and the cute busty girls three rows back at midfield threw paper airplanes with their phone numbers at me. So I gave Tiggy another hug and handed him back again. And she gave him a hug and gave him back to me. And the audience grew bored. But it was a breakthrough.

I bet by the end of the night next time we see her, we’ll end up on the porch exchanging life stories over a few cold beers. She’ll be old enough by then, right?