UPDATE: Here's what it looks like to have a baby otter on your chest -- cuteness on parade but a bit smothery:
I was at the Seattle Aquarium the other day, watching something amazing. There is a new-born sea otter there. She's a chubby, fluffy two weeks old and so adorable that she just takes my breath away. Her very diligent, very responsible mama otter carries baby around on her tummy all day and night.
Otters, as you may well know, spend a lot of time paddling around on their backs. Their tummies are like little table tops where they set things like clams, fish, and other yummy things to eat. They also set their babies on their tummies as they paddle around. They nurse them, groom them, fuss over them, and in general are "on" as mothers 24/7. Mama might set baby on some rocks nearby for a quick feeding excursion, but she is right back to scoop up baby and start fussing over her again within minutes.
Watching this vigilance and responsibility, it occurred to me that the life of a mother otter is a lot like living with diabetes. You have this HUGE responsibility kind of clinging to you day and night, night and day. You have to fuss over it, tend it, think about it. You might be able to set it aside for a few minutes now and then, but then you have to scoop it back up or the anxiety will become too great. Of course, our "baby" has claws and will give us a good swipe if we forget it for too long! Is it a helpless baby? Or a snarky demon? Sometimes, it's a little of both.