Two or three? Finalising a family

NS February 15th, 2011

Over dinner the other night, Noble Husband and I somehow fell into discussing whether we are done having children or if we would like another at some point.

I’d always vaguely surmised that I would decide by the time Noble Boy turned 3 as I wanted to leave a bigger gap this time if I did decide to have another, but not too big to where it would feel like starting over again. He’s now 2 and a half so if I was to begin pondering it, the time would be soon(ish).

But the fact that I’m getting really into my new career and am putting a lot of my energy into it as of late has prevented me from even considering it. Another baby at this point would put the brakes on all of the wonderful momentum I have going right now and, honestly, I’m not ready to let it (and me) take a back seat again.

Plus, the sleep! Oh, the lovely, sweet, nearly-uninterrupted sleep. The ease with which both children now go to bed and how long it took to get to that point. I can’t give that up!

The leaps and bounds by which our marriage and our finances have improved and the ability to leave them with grandparents or friends while we go out on a date or paint the town red…it’s done wonders for our souls.

I finally got my office back just last month after successfully moving the children into one room together. That would all have to be dismantled and put away to make room for a cot if another baby were to grace us with its presence.

I’d be a fool to give all that up, right?  And 90 percent of me knows, deep down, that I am happier right now than I’ve been in a long time. To possibly screw that up for the 10 percent of me that daydreams of how lovely it would be to experience pregnancy again, to give birth and breastfeed a newborn again, to love another human being so fiercely and completely again…Well, when put like that it does make me pause. So what do I think about having a third?

I shrugged at NH from across the table and said I’d decide for sure in a couple/few years, by which time NB would be starting school. But then he had to go and make the valid point that he’s getting close to 40 and that if we were going to have another he’d want to do it sooner rather than later. He doesn’t want to still be parenting teenagers in his late 50s/early 60s, which is fair enough. He’s perfectly happy with the two we have and that’s what feels right to him, coming from a family of four himself. So if I want another, he’d want to do it in the next year or two, not in 3 or 4.

We talked over some of the pros and cons and he asked, What do you want, what feels right?

I’ve always imagined myself with three, I found myself saying.

Huh, that’s interesting. Any particular reason why?

I don’t know why, frankly. I’d always put it down to being one of three myself, though since my younger sister died when I was 9, it was only me and my older sister for the latter part of my childhood. I’d been happy enough as part of a sibling twosome so why, even though I’ve had no particular yearnings for another baby, does two not feel complete, somehow?

And then words came out of my mouth that I’d not stopped to piece together, let alone internalise. Until I said it, I hadn’t even realised it was there.

Because if something were to happen to one of our children, god forbid, I wouldn’t want the other to grow up alone.

I was as surprised as NH was. We sat in silence for a moment. He looked at me sympathetically.

I had no idea you felt that way, he said.

Neither did I. But maybe now I’ve said it the very idea automatically vanishes,  like an exorcised demon abruptly leaving a disturbed home, relieving its occupants and leaving behind a tangible peace and calm, the kind that flows through you in such a rush that it seeps into your bones.

Still, not exactly a good reason to have another baby, is it? It’s all a bit morbid and irrational. But now, having said it out loud, I can have an honest look at myself, at my life, and whether another baby would fit in or whether it feels more like an expectation I’ve placed on myself.

I’m leaning towards the latter but have put off making any rash decisions either way. Perhaps in another six months to a year I’ll be in a place to bring some resolution to the matter.

And if we decide that our family is complete as it is, I’ll be buying a large bag of frozen peas for NH with the words ‘FREEDOM!’ and ‘Your turn, SUCKA!’ written across it in marker pen.

Concernicisms

NS February 10th, 2011

There’s this mum at NG’s school who, on more than one occasion, has commented on how pale and/or tired I look. One time she even enquired as to the state of the dark circles under my eyes! Pardon me, ma’am, but the circles under my eyes are hereditary and no matter how much sleep I’ve had or how much concealer I’ve slapped on, they will always be there. As for how pale I am, again, this will not change. I do not fake n’ bake, nor do I care.

So, from the bottom of my heart, would you kindly bugger off and keep your opinions on how terrible I look to yourself? I don’t need criticisms disguised as concern, yo.

This is why I just keep my head down and rarely stop to chat to anyone at the school gates. I’m just waiting for the day when I snap at one of these suburban ninnies and am forever branded a Mean Mummy.

If I was 16, I would sulk in the corner and grunt whenever anyone tried to converse with me. Teenagers are onto something…

Eating with the enemy

NS January 26th, 2011

After swearing many years ago that I would never, EVER allow this vile substance to pass my lips, I have somehow come to end up blimmin’ loving it in the past couple weeks.

I live in fear that my American passport will be revoked upon producing photographic evidence of culinary treason but my cheese sandwiches, thankful for the reprieve from mayo, have promised to raise the necessary funds to finally secure British citizenship for me, thus making my transition complete and official.

Bacon be gone

NS January 18th, 2011

Walking home from school with Noble Girl the other day, she suddenly turned to me and asked, “Mummy, what are sausages made of?”

“Well,” I replied, “they are mostly made up of bits of animals and some other stuff too.”

“Animals? But how do animals get into sausages when they are so big and sausages are so small?

(hesitating slightly) “Well, the people who make the sausages have to chop up the meat to make it small enough to fit in.”

“They chop up the ANIMALS?! How do they do THAT?”

“They kill the animals and then chop them up once they’re dead.”

“Chop them UP?! That’s horrible! I don’t want them to kill the animals.”

“Well, that’s why some people don’t eat meat and are called vegetarians. [Insert names of people she knows] are vegetarians, you know.”

“Mummy, I don’t want the sausage people to kill the animals and chop them up into little pieces. What animals do they kill?”

“The main animals that are eaten in our culture are pigs, cows, lambs, chickens, ducks, other birds and fish.”

“But I love cows and ducks and fish!”

“I know sweetie. It’s sad, isn’t it?”

“Mummy, I’m not going to eat the animals any more. I want to be a vegeberian.”

“Vegetarian.”

“Yeah, that.”

“Okay, no problem at all. So no more chicken, fish or sausages. Got it. You can just eat more vegetables, fruit, pasta and cheese, stuff like that. Sound good?”

“Yep! But Mummy?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“You’re not going to keep eating the killed, chopped up animals too, are you?”

(sighing but smiling) “No, I guess not.”

So…anyone got some good vegetarian recipes?

She gets it, even when we don’t

NS January 9th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, after a spot of shopping, we took the kids to Pizza Hut. Though there were moments where we had to corral them back to the table, for the most part they behaved in the socially prescribed way by sitting in their chairs, eating their food and not making too much noise. It was a nice outing.

As NH and I were paying and getting coats on, our server, a young woman who looked to be in her early 20s, smiled as she watched our children tickle each other and laugh. After she handed over the receipt and my debit card, she said to them, “You two make me so happy. Watching you play together has made my day.”

She then turned to me and said, “This must be the best part of being a parent, huh? Watching them smile and laugh. I bet it makes up for all the times you’re fed up with them.”

Caught off guard by her lovely and insightful comment, I just smiled and nodded. As I watched the two blonde heads of my progeny skip out the door holding hands, the poignancy of her comment caused my eyes to briefly fill with tears.

Yes, I am lucky and yes, they are a joy to behold.

Thank you, Pizza Hut girl, for reminding me of that.

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