Saturday, January 10, 2009

Little Green and Dick the Parrot

Was the last post date really 9 November? I can believe it, and yet I can't. Time has flown by at times, and virtually stopped at others... As I type this, Little Green is sat in a bouncy chair getting better acquainted with his new best friend: a colourful, as-yet-nameless parrot. Only now, three months in, can I truly see what all the fuss is about. All the tears and fears (no, not the band). All this stepping out in front of a bus business... Kids. Flesh and blood. Offspring. I really would give my left arm, and my right for that matter, for this little creature. I would give my spleen and my liver, too. I would become nothing more than a torso, for him. It's incredible when you think about it. Best not to dwell there, then. Just watching him stare in amazement at his parrot fills me with an unspeakable delight. Tears well, honestly. I'm not shitting.

That first smile, the first giggle, and every single one thereafter make the labour and ensuing colic almost bearable, almost forgettable. Okay, well, not quite. But I can see how, after months pass and the infatuation with your progeny grows in time with their little limbs and their teeny intellects, you may be mad enough to do it all over again. Nature's sly that way. We still will happily start and stop with LG. (Figure it's better to pour all of your love and resources into one human being than shatter and divide and kill yourself over two or three... The sibling argument is just that. An argument. You never hear the expression 'sibling love' or sibling affection' for a reason. Many sibs I know hate each other with a passion or are, worse, estranged. Case dismissed.)

God, he's just LOVING that parrot! Sorry, where was I? Three months is truly a revelation. Knock knock. There is a mini person in there. At last. And that little person is finally sleeping a 7-8-hour stretch of a night. That little person still cries at times but only at times, with real tears, for real reasons, or reasons that can almost be fathomed. Now the only obstacle in parenthood is other people. Well-meaning interfering people, who undermine you at every turn because surely that baby can't be warm enough, fed enough, loved enough. One of my own blood relatives -- who shall remain nameless for the purpose of this blog -- actually suggested we give Little Green up for adoption if we couldn't look after him properly. At the time Mr Green and I were contemplating where we should spend our 10-year anniversary, which falls shortly after LG's first birthday, assuming he would stay with grandparents for a week or a long weekend. Hurry, contact social services... I'm not quite sure what the etiquette is for dealing with well-intentioned, poorly delivered 'advice', or indeed, those who deliver it, but I am more than open to advice on this front.

Only other struggle is vis-a-vis reclaiming a sense of self, which no doubt will come -- it will come, won't it? -- at some point as Little G gets older. I love being a mother, am coming to love it more than I thought I might (even though, admittedly, the singsong mummy is a shoe that fits like a stiletto). And yet, I don't want to be slave to it either. I don't want it to be the sum of all I am. Not a shadow of a doubt that the most radical transformation in becoming a mother is this sudden loss of identity, which is not so much removed but lobotomised. How do you get it back? Do you ever? I know that an integral part of being a mother, no matter what age your child is, is being taken for granted. Is bending over backwards, being compromised, repeatedly, in the name of love. Women have done it for centuries, and will continue to do so for centuries more. And while I feel proud to have joined this selfless tribe, I fear I still have a long way to go to qualify in their ranks. To become selfless enough.