This I Believe — Life is Better on Baby Time
In college, my favorite professor used to lock the classroom door at
eight a.m. — latecomers were unable to attend. I relished being there! I even
found time to iron my blouse beforehand.
Now I’m a teacher too, and in my own classroom I have heard some
amazing excuses for tardy students. One mother claimed she couldn’t find
her son’s shoes — everyday? Another student came back late from vacation,
with this note: “Sorry, we were snowed-in.” Possible, except where I teach,
in Burbank, California.
But when my son was born a year ago, I was initiated into a new mode
of keeping time: by baby. First, he came into the world late, by a full week. I
did the squats, I ate the salad, I stayed up all night watching The Poseidon
Adventure. If that doesn’t bring on labor, nothing would.
I soon discovered that all ordinary times of day are null and void under
Baby’s Special Theory of Relativity. I learned that four a.m. is a great time to
sing songs, and eleven a.m. is the perfect time to go back to sleep.
Worse was preparing to go out anywhere, at anytime: to get to the
Mommy & Me class, a good 45 minutes, to get to the doctor’s, with change
of clothes, immunization records, and snacks — all morning. I was once an
hour late to a friend’s house after a string of mishaps, including changes of
Baby and myself. As I pulled Baby out of the car, into the pouring rain, his
Winnie the Pooh toy dropped into a swiftly moving river of gutter water. I
watched the fuzzy bear, gently bobbing as he was swept downstream, and it
hit me: my sense of time has gone down the drain.
So when I try to get a whole jar of rice and peas into one little mouth,
stopping often to deal with distractions, and when I usher Baby toward the
car, spending twenty minutes to make the journey across the lawn, stopping
to listen to birds and admire the weeds, I take a deep breath. I remind myself
to enjoy the drowsiness of the afternoon, and the silence of the night. It
won’t last forever, and it is so wonderful — I wouldn’t have it any other way.