Amy came to the Lerke family a few days after we rang the Independence Day bell. Promptly at 2:00 p.m. she was born. She came to us, seemingly, the next day or so. She was the first newborn baby I'd seen. She had shedding skin and I watched as Mom rubbed Baby Oil on her. She was round, beautiful, just as perfect as I imagined a baby should be. Finally, I was allowed to hold her and she didn't cry when mom put her in my arms. Mom told me to hold the back of her head, so she would not strain her neck. Her fingers had tiny nails and her feet were smaller than my palm. When she yawned, I noticed a round dimple in her left cheek. Then she opened her eyes, they were as brown as chocolate. From then on, we called her Chocolate Eyes. Framing those eyes were the longest eyelashes I had ever seen. Mom told me they may change to brown. She was not quite bald. She had a dappling of tiny hairs on her head, which seemed to curl. I touched the top of her head and there was a hole under her skin. Mom told me to be careful for that is her soft spot and it will heal up. I could fit her in my forearm. I pretended that I was her mother and pretended I had just given birth to her, even though I had no idea where babies came from at that time.

As Amy grew, I was asked to hold her a lot, when my mother had other things to do. I remember rocking her until she fell asleep. She cried a lot. She became heavy and squirmed to get out of my arms and wanted to be put down. As soon as I put her down, she would crawl quickly away from me. It seemed like I was always chasing Amy or trying to catch up with her. Mom would call, "Margaret! Watch her! Don't let her go..." I'd pick her up. 

Amy walked within 8 months. She always wanted to be put down so she could hold onto the playpen and jump up and down. At a mere 18 months old, she was able to swim in the pool. She loved water. She could play in the bathtub for a long time. She would cry if I took her out to dry her.

I was her "au pair", just like my sister, Sarah was, for me. I was always found holding Amy, watching Amy, running after Amy, changing Amy, feeding Amy, trying to get Amy to stop crying. I realized, by the time she was a toddler, that I didn't want babies of my own. They demanded too much attention. 

I was trying to be good and help my mother but Amy demanded all of the attention. I wanted some of that attention for myself, but whenever I called out for my mother, it seemed like her response was, "Do you know where Amy is? Why aren't you watching her?" Amy was my first experience in caring for others, before myself. After a while, I got really good at that...

Margaret takes classes with Valley.