Saturday, 23 March 2013

Chubby Bunnies

One thing that I found incredibly patronising before I had a baby was this statement: 'you don't know what love means until you have children'. Well, would you say I didn't know what laughter meant if I hadn't heard of Peter Kay; or that I didn't know what sadness was until I'd sat through 15 episodes of Eastenders?! Just because I have produced another human being do you think that some sort of chemical reaction has happened that's changed my very substance, my capacity to love? No. Else why would there be any mistreated children in the world? I know that everyone has the capacity to love or the capacity to hate. Do I think I have the capacity to love another 10? Yes. Do I think I have the capacity to want to chuck them all out of the window? Yes. As human beings we have a huge capacity for things which is only realised when put into practice. A bit like playing chubby bunnies. 

Then you eventually have a child yourself and you're told: "you don't know how you can ever love another… until you have two". Is this some sort of ploy all parents have to get others to procreate? Do you want us all to produce a bounty of loved children squabbling round our ankles until we are so loved up we start revelling in having our houses caked in sticky jam fingerprints and an array of monstrous plastic toys - until people start walking in our home and concluding that another 'Toys R Us' must have opened in the area?!

I for one am in awe of how much I love my baby. It never ceases to amaze me that after he has been screaming all night he can give me half a smile and I no longer want to throw him out of the window. As a parent I'm now just made more aware of our human capabilities for extreme limits (for sheer exhaustion without dropping dead for one thing!). Having my boy has made me appreciate mankind a little more; it's made me softer, more likely to cry at 'You've been framed' and more likely to invest in a small furry animal (no, really, I'm not going there). It's made me want to do silly things like pull stupid faces in public, invest in toys that take over the living room (and clash with the wallpaper) and sit for hours on end just rocking (that's not even out of madness, though it has crossed my mind). I will, no doubt, be the mum that runs miles to give my 10 year old his forgotten packed lunch box or who waits up till 3am after his first night on the town. 

I have no doubt that my feelings for him will continue to do ridiculous things to me that will change me for good - but (wait for it) not necessarily for the better. What? Controversial I know but I see many parents who love to the death of them - their lives are consumed with their children and they are left an anxious wreck. With any opportunity to love comes a choice - we can choose to love so much that our children turn into our 'most prized possessions' or we can choose to love so much that we set them free. That's scary.

I want my son to learn to make choices of his own - good choices that aren't out of an 'ought' or 'should' but I know it will be hard to let him. I want him to take his own paths in life (although I know that the first time he walks to school on his own I will be the mum hiding in hedges along the roadside to check he's okay). Most of all I hope my son learns that love is a choice. I hope he chooses the things in life that give him more opportunities to love and more opportunities for fun and laughter - whether that's travelling the world, playing sport, listening to music... playing chubby bunnies? You get the gist.

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