you are so silly

Friday, 17 January 2014

I found you!
I found you!
Two times two is four
I found you!
I found you!
Now let's go find some more.

I found you!
I found you!
Been lookin' all the live long day.
I found you!
I found you!
Now don't you go away.
****

Baby B is developing faster than I can keep up with. One of the best things about this new spurt in her development is the laughter. She giggles and giggles at the silliest things. Daddy dancing in front of her singing 'doobeedoobeedoobeedoo'? Funny. Being lifted above my head and pretending to be an aeroplane? Funny. Being tickled or having raspberries blown on her tummy? Funny. Mummy saying the same thing over and over again but getting higher and higher pitched until she sounds like a mouse? Funny. Sitting up on the sofa and purposefully leaning over until she flops onto a cushion? Hilarious.

In consequence, the silliness level in our house has stepped up a notch. Sometimes Chris and I will realise we're both singing the most stupid made up song and we have been for ten minutes because it makes her laugh. We will do the most silly dance you've ever seen. Just to make her smile.

Now people who know us might think that we are pretty silly in general. But I'm actually kind of serious most of the time. I worry a lot about all sorts of things – from the way others perceive me, how I measure up against other women my age in terms of success or jobs or looks or money, how we are coping financially, what's going on with our government and rising house prices and living costs and lack of jobs and the weird stuff that's happening to our education and healthcare systems. I've devastated by news stories a lot more easily these days (anything involving children will linger horribly in my mind now). And occasionally I have a horrendous thought flash through my head: what if I fall down the stairs with her? What if she flings herself out of my arms? Stupid things that pop into your head before you can stop them.

Which is why it's nice to counteract all this sometimes by being really really silly.

Irecently read a post over at Be a Fun Mum about – well, just that – having fun. The post was called 'I don't want my kids to be smart' and I had to read it to find out why. Because surely everyone wants their kids to be smart? Surely every parent secretly hopes their child will be number one, first to reach the milestones? As a mother you feel this pressure to have it all. The perfect life. The perfect home. Perfect children. It feels so important to look as though you have it all together.

But, really, I agree with her ...

There is much more to my child than how smart she is. How accomplished she will be. How many times she is the first to achieve something.

It goes without saying that I want her to grow up to be respectful and kind and sensible and to work hard and to find what she is good at. But more than that, I want her to enjoy the innocence of childhood before it passes her by. I don't want to pressure her to be the best at everything. I'm wary of falling into the trap that the more time we spend learning baby sign language, or looking at flashcards, or practising writing, or looking at phonics and maths books, the better our children will be. Although I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with those things (I will probably do some if not all of them with her), I've seen the need to have a child with the highest IQ far eclipse the child's inbuilt need to be happy and have fun.

Because childhood? It should be fun.

I want to be the kind of Mum that enables fun. Childhood should be about spinning around until you're dizzy, running really fast, seeing how loud you can shout, or how many marshmallows you can fit in your mouth at once. Childhood should be making forts out of sofa cushions or sleepovers in the living room or camping in the back garden. Childhood should be picnics at the first moment of sunshine in the year, or late bedtimes in favour of sunset beach walks. Childhood should be about listening to stories read in silly voices and music playing loud and attempting to bake and making a huge mess of flour in the kitchen, or making completely unrecognisable masterpieces out of paint and glue and old cereal boxes. Childhood should be water fights, cuddling on the sofa and watching a film, jumping in puddles and … all of that nostalgic sweet stuff.

I still remember the best moments of my childhood. The evenings after a long day, when I'd realise I'd fallen asleep in the car, and it was dark outside, and we were home. And my Dad would lift me out of the car and carry me over his shoulder into the safety of our home. I would lay in bed, limbs tingling with tiredness, and enjoy the exhaustion that comes from having the most fun day.

There is so much bad stuff in the world. Evil abounds and it seeps into things that were formerly good. Adult life can be full of boredom and worry and hurt and lethargy and stress. Grief and sadness will come. There many things to face up to. And there is a lot of responsibility, if you really want to follow Jesus' example, to see justice happen, to give to the poor, to extend hope to the helpless. Those things are important. Vital.

I want her to see us do those things. And I want her to see us to go through the difficult times, the sometimes awful and scary moments life throws at you, still with our faith intact, humbled and ready to go again – and still with joy. Still with laughter. With a hope and happiness that comes not from exam results, or milestones reached, or goals accomplished. Not with achieving a perfect balance, of having it all together, of keeping things as smooth as possible. But with happiness that comes from knowing the One who gives and takes away. With the assurance that comes from His provision. With the perspective of things bigger and better than our worries or fears.

I want her to see our whole lives as a celebration of Him, and of sharing our joy with others. So as well as all the fun we'll have, I want her to remember welcoming people into our home with the table set and candles lit and food smells wafting through the house. I want her to remember lots of laughter and games around the table.

I want her to see that there is an underlying assurance and joy to our lives. That no matter what happens, no matter what trials we face as a family, Mummy and Daddy love her, love each other, love God. And there is happiness to be had every day. Joy that is a gift from Him, to be sought and found in the most unlikely places.

So yes. Joy is important. Silliness is important. Fun is important. And I will defend her right to fun as long as possible. Because He came to give us life, so we can have it to the full. No-one can do 'life to the full' quite as well as a kid can. And they grow up so fast.

I'll forget all this sometimes. Of course I will. Sometimes I can't open my eyes and I rely on coffee to keep me going and I feel overwhelmed and afraid and inadequate. I'll feel self important and I'll define my life by my good works, my responsibilities, how 'deep' I am, how much of the Bible I know. So I've written this to remind myself. Life is a gift. Treasure it.

This morning, we danced around the room to Caspar Babypants, whose lyrics are at the top and bottom of this post (if you're a parent or look after small children, you should totally check out Caspar Babypants. Such sweet, funny, catchy little songs to enjoy with children of all ages). After a few songs and some manic dancing, she suddenly yawned and leaned her head on my chest. Within moments, she was asleep. Resting after the fun that she just had.

A little moment of perfection worth being silly and undignified for.



****

If you've gotta play
You play and bounce a ball
If you've gotta grow
Then grow til you are tall
and if you've gotta cry
Then cry til you feel fine
But no matter what
You are the baby of mine.

1 comment:

  1. I love this!!! Thank you for reminding me that life is too short to not have fun and be a little silly. Love you guys xx

    ReplyDelete

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