Friday, April 24, 2009


We are having some fine morning and evenings this April. Here in Nowton, the seasons are inescapable and we’re currently seeing an eruption of green as the park takes it summer colours.

My first sight on waking each day are the ancient trees behind our house,one of which is, sadly, dying. They are beautiful in the morning sunlight and soften the senses before the days occupations arrive.

That sight is followed, almost immediately, by that of my boy whose cries have roused me from sleep. He is regular, is Wilf. Six thirty on the dot most days. Earlier if he’s ill.

Wilf is my second child. He was just born nineteen months after his sister, Ruby. He was a December baby and arrived just as the holidays began. However, unlike with Ruby, whose arrival I greeted with immediate floods of love and tears, I felt oddly detached about Wilf. And this continued for quite some time, several months in fact.

I actually got a bit worried, so different was the feeling. I knew I loved him - but in a kind of abstract, distant way. I did all the same things but it felt an echo of how it had the first time. Of course I felt guilty, a bit, but more perplexed than anything, if I am honest.

Then, suddenly, several months down the line, out of nowhere, I fell for him. Almost to the other extreme where he is now in the front of my mind more than I sometimes think he should be. I now love him utterly and totally and looking at him melts my heart.

It might be that, finally, we connected. As a newborn he was often ill and cried constantly. Plus he cleaved to Katy and seemed to be be very much what Louden Wainright III described in his song about his young son, `Rufus is a Tit-Man'.

However this did change once I could do more for him. I realised too that he is probably going to be more like me than my daughter. Wilf is clearly quite a delicate chap, unlike his gregarious, happy-go-lucky sister. He is a smallish baby and I will be surprised if he grows any taller than five six or seven. He has also taken longer or burble than his sister. I suspect he'll be a late-developer, like his dad.

I love Wilf in a very different way to the way I love my daughter. Just as passionately but definitely differently. More protectively perhaps. I sense that many people love their children in different ways - and sometimes less than their other kids, truth be told.

Yet this remains fairly taboo, despite many people reporting it in their own lives as children. Which is unfortunate, as I am sure I am not the only parent in the world who hasn't been sure whether they would ever love their child as much as they really should.

1 comment:

Rob Fountain said...

Honest as ever Craig. And bang on. It seems okay when you're grown up to recognise that you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your family. It's a stock excuse for negative reactions to siblings, parents etc. When talking about your own children - certainly when they are young - it seems, as you say, taboo to suggest that the same is true. But we don't (yet) choose our children.

The taboo may stem from the assumption that through nurture we have some responsibility in shaping the people we make. If we admit to not having automatic fondness or attachment to our progeny the sin seems to be that we're somehow denying our input into what our children are like, or abdicating any ability to change the young people we've physically made. Natures are different, but nurture will always have a place. Because of that I'm sure Wilf & Ruby will do just fine...