Baby, You Can Take My Time

by Lexi Behrndt
Originally Published: 
first-time mom with her firstborn
Christopher Futcher

My side is uncomfortable. My back cuts off umbilical blood flow. Lying on my stomach is out of the question as it would be like trying to balance on a bowling ball. At eight months pregnant, I spend sleepless nights, wide awake and dreaming about the color of your hair, about whether or not your smile will look like mine, as the acid in my chest burns holes, simultaneously being startled and soothed my your gentle kicks.

It’s OK, baby, you can take my time.

In my arms, at my breast, nursing every two hours around the clock. You scream, and I fumble a nipple shield. Your latch isn’t perfect, and I’m a simple, first-time mom. 3 a.m. sees every tear, every ounce of frustration in both of us as we both cry, learning this dance of mother and son. You settle, tummy finally full, with sleepy dream smiles, in my arms. I watch you, breathe in your smell, wipe the tears from my eyes.

You’re all mine. Baby, you can take my time.

Rocking, crawling, pulling every book off the shelf. Fussing, fidgeting, green purees slipping down your chin, your disgust showing when I see it sputtering on the high chair, on my face, in my hair. Chasing you, running in circles, keeping your hands from grabbing and mouthing all the bad things, electrical cords, dog food, my coffee. My attention is all yours, for every waking moment you have. Even when you sleep, I sneak in just to see your face, to make sure you aren’t cold, to hold you, because even after a long, exhausting day, it only takes one hour after your bedtime for me to miss you.

Sweet baby, you can take my time.

Wobbling, running, kicking and screaming on the floor, hitting, throwing. I learn to discipline for the first time. Tears from both our eyes, as we navigate new territory, your will and mine. Park swings and merry-go-rounds, cartoons and puzzles, exploring trails and digging of worms. Kisses, “I wuv you, Mommy”s and losing my voice from repeating your favorite books and rhymes. This time is full, packed to the brim. Your energy knows no bounds.

It’s OK, baby, you can take my time.

Regressions, growing pains, unfamiliar transitions. Potty training, vegetable forcing, sleep retraining. Lying beside you, hours at a time, waiting for the settling of your little heart, your little mind. I lose myself watching your perfect lips, parted, eyes shut, heavy sleeping sighs. Once my tiny little boy, now so much more grown.

Stay little. Baby, you can take my time.

Backpacks and preschool. Puzzles and pretend. Sitting on the floor for hours while I be the voice of the rhino, you the lion. Laying out your clothes every night, peeling the crust from your PB&J, just how you like. Holding your hand as we walk down the sidewalks, learning every little facet of your personality.

Sweet boy, still my baby, you can take my time.

Because soon enough, it will be tee-ball games and homework. First crushes, puberty, late night talks, and junior high. I’ll spend my days reminding you to put on your deodorant, to call me, to wake up for school on time. You’ll grow “too cool” for your lips to kiss mine. First dates, hours spent teaching you to drive, applying for colleges. Sending you off with a temporary goodbye.

Even then, baby boy, though you’ll be grown, please always take my time.

You can always and forever take my time.

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