The Baby Time Machine

Having a baby changes how you perceive time.

It starts with sleep. That's the most obvious thing, anyway. Pre-baby, I generally got mad at people who woke me up. Adults don't usually wake each other up without a darn good reason. A baby, on the other hand, might wake you up just because she's awake and would like to play with you. I used to sleep nine or ten hours a night. Now I need seven hours to feel really great. A night of uninterrupted sleep is like a gift from heaven.

Then the next thing is productive time vs. baby time. Baby time is time you spend with the baby. Productive time is usually when the baby is asleep (like right now). Basically, when the baby is awake, you don't get much done. At first, this feels like being robbed of a lot of time. Until, I don't know when, something happens- or at least it happened to me- gradually, I guess. Instead of feeling robbed of productive time, I feel like I've been given some sort of Zen-like moment-by-moment-life-appreciation time.

Example of baby Zen time:

Today, while I was watching Zelma play on the floor of the living room, as she carefully examined, over and over, a block with the letter "X" on it, I decided to eat a carrot. As you may well imagine, I got up, went to the kitchen, and came back with a carrot. I sat down and started to eat the carrot. Zelma then, upon hearing the crunch of the carrot, looked up at me as though I was doing ABSOLUTELY THE MOST AMAZING THING SHE HAD EVER SEEN! So, I felt the need to explain myself. "I'm eating a carrot," I said. She looked at me like, "no? really? that is amazing! do go on!"
"Well," I said, "carrots are really tasty, and as you can tell, very crunchy." I demonstrated by chomping. "You eat carrots, too. This is what the carrot looks like before they grind it up and put it in that little jar for you to eat." Chomp, chomp. "Carrots are best eaten as a snack, I think, because they take so long to eat, especially a big one like this." Chomp. "They're good to eat when you don't want to spoil your dinner, because they give you something to do, but they aren't all that filling. I really like carrots."

You might think that this is a very boring speech about the carrot, and you're right, but Zelma thought it was great. Which made me think, gosh, why don't I eat more carrots? They really are something! And after a while, I realized I had somehow passed twenty minutes by eating a carrot and telling a very small person about the joy of carrots.

A baby has a way of making you notice things, and making time slow down, and making time speed up, and everything is so wacky, it's just great.

She likes, for example, to watch plants blow in the wind. I mean, who does that? I do, now, because she needs someone to hold her on her lap while she does it. And now I spend time sitting, watching plants blow in the wind. And wonder when it was that I forgot how nice it is to go outside, early in the morning, and watch nature. Just watch.


  1. That is so touching! It brought tears to my eyes. Zelma IS a baby Buddha. Maybe I will eat more carrots now...

  2. You know...spending all that time telling her about eating carrots doesn't just benefit benefits her too. :) Keep talking to her and she'll be even smarter than she is. :)

    Sorry there haven't been any comments of late...I had a nasty computer's all fixed now and I am trying to get caught up! :)