This week has been phase 2 of my re-domestication. Now I’m allowed to play with infants.

Babysitting (or to be more accurate, in my situation: baby entertaining) is still new enough for me that I find it rewarding. I’ve had practice with Hugo’s kids but that was always in a “public environment”. Now I’m in the domicile and not only is it more natural, it’s more messy.

Part of the grubbiness comes from the fact that little Liisu is just under 12 months old, so she’s quite thrilled to be able to stumble around and pick things up, throw them, drop them, break them and bite them. I haven’t had to live with it every day for 12 months so I still find it cute. Of course her parents still find her adorable too, yet I’m sure it’s a lot less exciting when you’ve been doing it for that long. I guess the biggest reward is that you get to see the child develop more and more abilities and form a more complicated personality as they age. Delayed gratification, once again.

Fortunately I seem to be liked by the little ones. Yesterday I was surrounded by three toddlers of various ages, none older than three years old (I’m guessing). Maybe it’s because I look so different from most people here due to my long hair and beard that I’m met with a quiet curiosity by children. Then again, it might just be that I know what faces to pull at them now in order to avoid terrifying them (I used to have a great track record of inducing horrific reactions in small children simply by smiling at them).

When I’m not distracting babies for the purpose of providing their parents with a few moments of rest I tend to find myself cleaning up after them. After almost 3 years of hostel life this is basically second nature to me now. I no longer feel comfortable in an untidy environment that isn’t solely my own space. I admit I get a small high after cleaning or tidying something as the contrast is so blatant. In fact, I often find myself imagining what my “dream house” would have for a floor plan and what style of fittings – such as sinks and tables and chairs it would contain. I mentally rank designs according to function, simplicity, robustness and style. After having been responsible for keeping many kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms constantly clean and organised for dozens of people at a time I believe I have an advantage in determining how to furnish and lay out a room.

Of course I never went to interior design school or any of that crap but I’ve had years of hands-on experience and you can’t teach that, as they say.

Maybe that’s what I should do for a job.