As today is World book day, I thought I’d use this post to mention a book which my kids love, and, I think, really helped them appreciate the concept of love and just how crazy I am about them. Yes this is another sappy post! Going by my stats, this is what you like, and well… I’m quite sappy too.
When my kids were toddlers, and after i’d smothered them in kisses, telling them every night I loved them, I thought to myself ‘how do they really know what the word love means and how do they know just how much I love them?’ I knew they realised I took great care of them and I adored them, but how could they possibly appreciate the intensity of that love?
During my pregnancy I wondered how I would bond with them, how would they become MY babies. I needn’t have worried. When they were born, BAM – I was instantly bowled over, a major surge of oxytocin did the trick and I was instantly and deeply infatuated with my two little bundles. The penny had dropped when I realised – Oh my god, this is how much my parents love me!
Of course I’ll never forget the evening they were born. Dylan had some fluid in his lungs and spent his first night in SCBU (special care baby unit). I closed my eyes and desperately tried to maintain the blurry image I captured as he was whisked away for treatment. After all the excitement had passed, I was propped up in bed and the midwives left me to it. It was 1 a.m. and the ward grew quiet. I was now alone with Eva. She lay in her cot beside my bed, staring at me silently. I couldn’t move much as I’d had a caesarean and a reaction to the spinal had left me shivering with the cold. I couldn’t pick her up, but I pulled her cot closer and reached in. She grabbed my finger and stared at me while I chatted to her. Although I was desperate to see Dylan, we shared some precious moments and bonded for a short while before we both fell asleep.
My husband arrived back early the next morning and I asked him to find Dylan – the SCBU nurse had said we could collect him as he was no longer in the incubator. My husband, the proudest man in Ireland wheeled in an enormous cot with little Dylan (all 7 lbs 3 ozs of him at only 36 weeks!) lying in the centre. I was still glued to my uncomfortable hospital bed at this stage, as I was only ten hours out of surgery. My husband put Dylan in my arms. This was the first time I had held him. After half an hour or so and intermittent tears, I realised how he liked to be swaddled and held – perched up high on my shoulder peeking over the side. My husband took him and I felt very proud telling him how to hold him the way he preferred. In that short time we had bonded and were beginning to get to know his little, emerging personality and I had fallen head over heels in love.
Fast forward two crazy years or so and I thought about whether my kids really knew how much I loved them and a lovely friend told me about the book Guess how much I love you? a best seller and modern classic by Sam McBratney.
The first time I read it, the kids’ eyes widened. They were as gobsmacked as ‘little nut brown hare’, the little character was told by his daddy just how much he loves him. The book really worked and helped them grasp how much their mummy loves them – all the way to the moon and back again. And lucky me. I am loved all the way to Jupiter, and Pluto and Uranus and the moon and back again and to the moon and back again and again n’gain n’gain!!!’
Eva overheard Dylan’s excited declaration of love for me and professed to love me ‘all the way to Duplo’ (Jupiter). How cute is that?!
Every night we compete to see who loves the other the furthest. This little gem of a book is very sweet and worth having, especially if your kid seems a little anxious or insecure about something and some gentle reassurance is all they need.
Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici @ freedigitalphotos.net