Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)
TITLE: Mama's Boy
By Deborah Engle
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“Well now, where could he be? I was only gone two minutes, and he can’t even crawl yet.” Curious sounds from the other side of the room turned her around, and her mouth fell open at the sight before her.
“Oh, my goodness, Robby, how did you get under there? Are you stuck?” Kim knelt on the floor and reached under the table. Being careful not to bump his head, she freed him from his little cell. “What did you do, roll over here?”
“You silly baby,” she chuckled. “You’re supposed to ask Mommy before you go anywhere!” She clapped his hands together, then leaned over and kissed his cheek. “How’m I going to keep up with Mama’s boy once you learn to walk?”
“Ma! Ma! Ma!” was his response. Laughing, Kim hoisted him onto her hip as she rose, then settled him into his high chair.
“Are you hungry, Robby?” While Kim warmed up two small jars of baby food, Robby’s approval erupted in the enthusiastic sounds of shoes kicking footrest and hands smacking tray, accompanied by insistent babbling that threatened to evolve into tears.
The first spoonful she offered him was intercepted by his flailing hands. The spoon tumbled through the air, landing on Kim’s jeans and depositing strained lamb on her blouse along the way.
“My fault,” she groaned, “I should have been prepared.” Once she had Robby’s hands held down, the rest of the feeding was much more satisfying for both of them. A warm wash cloth took care of the overflow, and a quick diaper change made him comfy, then Kim picked up his bottle and carried Robby from the kitchen.
The sight of the bottle produced a toothless grin, which was almost immediately replaced with a frown and a pathetic whimper. Robby’s chubby legs pumped and his pudgy arms waved until Kim sank into her upholstered rocker and offered him the bottle. He eagerly guided the nipple into his mouth, both hands working together. One dangling leg bounced rhythmically against the front of the chair. As he nursed, he gazed intently into Kim’s eyes. She smiled at him and slowly set the chair in motion, rocking back and forth. As the milk in the bottle diminished, Robby’s little body relaxed.
Though she was weary, this was the time she cherished. With his tummy full, sleep began to overtake the active little boy, and she cuddled him close. When nothing but bubbles remained, she pulled the bottle away from his still searching lips. His blue eyes opened for a fleeting moment, but he only grinned and sighed before surrendering to sleep. It was such a vision of sweet peace and trust, and Kim’s heart swelled with love for this tiny little boy.
As busy as her days were, she sometimes felt guilty for indulging herself this way. Robby had been able to hold his own bottle for weeks now. Kim couldn’t remember the last time she’d fixed a nice dinner, nor when she had last cleaned the bathroom. Still, she knew this special time strengthened the bond between her and her baby. The chores would wait, but cuddle time with her little one? Soon, that would be only a memory.
The clamor of those household chores did eventually break through. Gathering Robby’s limp body against her, she worked her way out of the rocker and laid him in his crib. Pulling a light blanket over him, she tenderly caressed his silky hair, then stepped out of the nursery.
It was only another step before she heard the first cry, and instinctively, she hurried back into the room. A quick glance assured her that Robby still slept soundly. Relieved, she turned away, to the other side of the room.
“Well, hello, little Ronny,” she crooned. Smoothing the red hair away from his face, she went on, “Is Mama’s boy ready for lunch?”
Amazed anew at the love that filled her heart at the sight of her son, she picked up the bright-eyed baby. Setting aside any hope of catching up on her housework, she happily anticipated some bonding time with Ronny. In spite of herself, though, she couldn’t help looking forward to the day the twins would settle on the same schedule!
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