Alison Milam is a recovered corporate attorney who works as a retail and e-commerce consultant for exciting new companies in London. When she’s not occupied with expertly parenting the two angels to whom she gave birth, she writes about how much yelling and wine is required to expertly parent those “angels” at her blog, What Were We Thinking?! Today Alison lets us into her brain (and her marriage) for a hot second while she ruminates over whether or not her family is ready and equipped to add a third child to their brood. How does anyone know if she is ready???
Raising children is like making biscuits: it is as easy to raise a big batch as one, while you have your hands in the dough.
— E.W. Howe
Someone in the house is getting super broody (“baby fever” for you uncouth non-brits). Surprisingly enough, that someone is my five-year old son, William. He insists on petting every baby we see, and talks incessantly about how sweet his sister Poppy was when she was born, “before she got to be so mean.” (She’s three now.)
So sweet, right? Except that he also keeps asking me when we are going to have another baby. Since his grasp of time (not to mention present vs. future tense) is tenuous at best, he has taken my response – “Someday, maybe we will have another baby” – and turned it into “Mommy is having a baby!” Which he tells everyone: teachers, strangers, my mother-in-law. Makes for some super awkward encounters, what with all that public drinking I do.
As for the two people who actually have to make the baby? We’re on the fence. Kind of. More on the “Yessiree bob, sign us up for another biscuit!” side of the fence, for sure, but…no biscuits *just* yet.
So what, exactly, is the hold up?
I mean, we adore both of our kids, like, 75% of the time. And that other 25% of the time we mostly like them, which is a pretty good average! I like them more than I like virtually everyone else I know, and waaaaay more than the vast majority of kids I encounter. Odds are we would like our next kid almost as much, right?
And it’s not like we have some incredibly smooth operation going on over here that a baby would destroy. Last night, Poppy took a secret nap at 6 PM while I was making dinner. In that brief 10 minute time span, she peed the couch and woke up like a rabid angry bobcat on PCP – a demeanor that she maintained for the rest of the night. Then, while I was cleaning the pee off the couch, William got his head stuck in his school uniform (I know; it’s troubling) and spent the rest of the night sulking because I wouldn’t let him have Pop Rocks for dinner as a consolation for his terrifying near-death woolen jumper encounter. Unless a baby came fully armed with live grenades, he or she couldn’t really up the chaos factor that significantly.
So, to reiterate: what is the hold up???
Superficially, there are a number of reasons to hold off: I’m really scared of getting fat again, after all the work I’ve done to slowly, slooooowly get back to a reasonable weight; and while we’re living in London, I want to be able to travel freely without worrying about morning sickness and diet restrictions and not drinking wine. (Am I a horrible person for verbalizing these?)
Less superficially: Can my patience handle another child, or will this be the straw that causes the camel to fully retreat into the laundry room with a twitchy nervous breakdown? Is it fair to our kids to add another life when I feel like all of our resources are already thinly stretched? Will Poppy be able to handle being a middle child? What if the next kid is a total jerk and we spend the rest of our lives regretting it, and then feeling ridiculously guilty for feeling that way about our child? Are we tempting fate when we already have two happy, healthy children, not to mention one of each sex?
If I had to guess, I would say that I will probably be knocked up some time next year. So all of this tortuous navel-gazing is probably moot, or at least will be in 6ish months. But hey, at least I have this lovely post to show our future third-born, so that s/he can feel super jazzed about how on the fence his/her parents were about their existence! First page of the baby book: DONE. Since that’s further than I’ve gotten with either Poppy or Will’s book, I consider this one a win.
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