If you are twenty something and in a relationship, no doubt you will have experienced the knowing looks and conspiratorial nudges between older relatives at the mere mention of babies, childhood or anything vaguely baby related. I bet you’ve noticed the sneaky references to future offspring and the fact that throughout attic clearouts, the bin liners of toys remain when everything else is removed to the skip. It’s no coincidence that you are being well fed and well tutored in the wonderful things that your partner did and said as a child as you reach the blossoming peak of your fertility…
Ok. Yes, I have nurturing instincts within me. I don’t despise children, and I can appreciate a cute baby just as well as the next woman (although I also have the ability to recognise when a baby is less than cute- a skill that is most commonly found in young men). I also love the word ‘papoose’ but I can use the word without actually having one. Heck, I could even buy myself one just to carry my shopping in. How’s that for a statement of the state of the Western world and the modern woman’s priorities? But I ought to mention what I envisaged when I said shopping: what I would really like to buy, over all else right now, is a little black nose lamb. That’s right. I don’t want babies. I want lambs (and if it wasn’t a somewhat controversial ethical issue, I’d also have Orangutans).
Is it wrong that I find non-human newborns far cuter than my own species? That I could (and have, and do) cry at the sheer beauty of a tiny helpless little creature, especially if it is covered in wool, has four legs and a flippety little tail? The thought of bottle feeding a lamb makes something melt inside and when I have a warm, soft, curly little body to snuggle up and look after, I am so totally in love with it that it could simultaneously bite my fingers and poo explosively on my very best cardigan and my affections wouldn’t waver.
Perhaps I was a sheep in my previous life. I think Buddha got a lot of things right- maybe the reincarnation thing is one of them. But if everything that I have an affinity with is an incarnation I’ve experienced, then I’ve been a heck of a lot of things (although never a crocodile, shark or a snake funnily).
Maybe it’s an unconscious rebellion of a very soft nurturing variety. I never was good at the ‘drugs and sleeping around’ kind of rebellion you’re meant to experience in your late teens. A ‘let’s get a lamb!’ rebellion is far more me.
All this is not to say that I will never procreate. If the time and place is right and I deem the world to be stable enough to cradle my very best genetic cocktail, then perhaps I’ll give it a whirl. Of course, I’ll need to have my own house and land with a high level of self-sustainability and a wonderful group of like-minded people to aid in the homeschooling programme, or perhaps a travelling home that traverses the world so that I never feel inhibited by the dependent party (The Wild Thornberrys are a good model), but there is one very important condition that I place over all else: it had better get on with my lambs.