Adela Gomez, newly arrived in the United States from Venezuela and not yet fully fluent in idiomatic English, was confused but happy to help when her neighbor Anna asked her to "babysit" Anna's ten-month-old son, Nathan - only to comply literally with the request and nearly smother Nathan to death.
"We don't sit on babies where I come from, but I thought maybe it was the American equivalent of swaddling," she said. "Also, I tend to carry a few extra pounds. But I figured, she's his mother. She knows what's best for her son."
Despite her determination to follow through on her promise, however, Adela found that she simply couldn't sit on Nathan the entire time that Anna was out. "I get antsy," she confessed. And at one point, when she got up from the baby to get a glass of water, she noticed that little Nathan was gasping for air.
"Something just seemed off," said Adela. "I knew I'd promised to babysit on Nathan the whole evening, but some promises just have to be broken. That's just the reality of life."
When Anna arrived home, she found Adela on the couch - with Nathan sitting happily on her lap.
"I figured I'd at least let him sit on me," said Adela. "Backwards from how it's supposed to be, I know. But with babies you sometimes have to improvise. It worked out."