These wonderful girls were not asked to play with him, neither were they asked to look after him. They simply played, and included him in their games. They did not think he was intrusive, and instead took it upon themselves to entertain him, and make sure that he is safe.
Looking at these pictures prompted me to think.
"Do girls really have a natural instinct to 'mother' and care for the young? Is it what is called the 'mothering instinct'?
Ask any man, and chances are they would say that women belong to a peculiar species. They are emotional, unpredictable, and in some cases, highly strung. They expect their men to know what they are thinking, and can fall apart and dissolve into an inconsolable mess when things don't go their way.
They also tend to have this urge to try to nurture and protect those who seem helpless and need care (read: babies), and this feeling can usually start even during pre-pubescent times and escalate as their biological clock tick away. They get married, have kids, and feel that they are then complete.
Ask me again about mothering instincts.
I never had that. Seriously.
Don't get me wrong... I love babies - just not enough to want to have any of my own, or to have to wipe poopy bums or deal with screams, and have them cramp my style. Most of all, I wouldn't dream of getting married to simply balance the equation. I adore babies, enough to hand them back to their parents when they start scrunching up their faces in preparation for a bawl ranging from 90 dB to 140 dB.
Back then, I could not imagine giving birth. The thought of squeezing something the size of a huge pumpkin through the birth canal is enough to give me palpitations, not to mention having to push, breathe, count, push again and whatever that natural birth is associated with. I've never even carried a baby prior to having BabyMoo placed in my arms - and that speaks volumes.
I think most men are apprehensive, at best, but their 'fathering instincts' will naturally involve buying jerseys to herald their love of a particular football team (gender doesn't matter in this instance), and images of finally having a drum playing, football mad and mud-streaked mini-them partner in crime.
So... when I found myself married (unthinkable #1) and then expecting (unthinkable #2), I threw all caution to the wind, and hoped against all hopes that I will be able to provide for this little child, at least enough to not have Social Services called in by well-meaning neighbours and friends.
I have since realised that 'mothering instinct' should not be confused with a 'mother's instincts'.
I cheated on the giving birth bit. Knowing that there is a little being growing inside me did nothing to me in that 'pumpkin coming through!' department, and therefore I opted for a 'go to sleep, have baby, wake up' alternative. And no... BabyMoo's wails from across the nursery were enough to convince me that it wasn't a dream.
There I was, walking out of hospital, wondering how am I going to go through this parenting business. I didn't know what to do, I have no idea what lay in store, and I was petrified. Sure, I had my mother-in-law to help me out, but knowing that this little being was entirely dependent on me was enough to send some crazy images in my head.
"What if he chokes? What if he turns blue? What if he stops breathing and I was asleep? He can't talk... which means I wouldn't know what he wants!"
I spent a good part of the first few weeks watching him sleep because I was afraid he will stop breathing (don't believe people when they tell you to sleep when baby sleeps, most of the time it doesn't work that way). I panicked when he started bawling (he just hated to be swaddled) and I worried. Oh boy... I just realised that I didn't actually know what 'worrying' was till I had the wee babe. And too bad for us mums - the worrying will last forever.
Weirdly, though, I realised that when everyone has exhausted all avenues and options in trying to find out what ails the boy, I will instinctively know what to do. Of course, initially I didn't realise it, but after several hits and misses, I found out that the 'solution' was in my head all along! I didn't trust it, thinking that if the experienced hands didn't know, what did I - as a new mum - know?
I asked myself then: why is it that humans seem to be the only one who need parenting guidance? How is it that all other creatures, big and small, manage to reproduce and raise their young? Yes, there are some who eat their young... and there have been some instances where I have had the urge to do the same. But I digress.
If there is one thing I've learnt, it's that we all need to listen to our hearts more. As mothers, we are naturally equipped with instincts to nurture and raise our young, regardless of whether we had the 'mothering instincts' to begin with, or otherwise. When God has entrusted a little one to us, He has also made sure that we are 'basically' equipped to handle that road wrought with worries. All too often, we become so dependent on our intellectual sides that we forget there is much, much more to this amazing world we live in.
“A mother understands what a child does not say”
~ Jewish proverb
~ Jewish proverb
Linking up with: