Monday, February 05, 2007

New topic

I think I've completely exhausted the topic of friendships, at least for the time being. But that forces me into a decision: what to write about now?

Craig and I recently had a short, but interesting, conversation about having more kids. It's a moot point - we took "permanent" surgical action to end our childbearing five years ago - but it's still worth discussing at least once or twice a decade.

I've been 100% glad to only have two children, and no others on the horizon, for quite some time. The decision to make the decision to stop having children took place after a pretty convincing false alarm when Alex, my then-baby, was two. I was quite certain that I was pregnant, even after going through about $30 worth of pregnancy tests that all were negative. I figured it was just too early to test and I was still breastfeeding, so that maybe had an impact on the test(s). Once the unequivocal evidence appeared, proving the tests correct and me completely wrong, I was elated, relieved, and knew for sure that I didn't want to go there again. The surgical procedure to end our childbearing took place a week later.

But when I thought I was pregnant, I was pretty happy about it, too. Craig and I had never set an ideal family size. When we talked about it, we knew we wanted more than one and less than five. But there were times that a third, and even a fourth, seemed like a great idea.

So, even though it's a moot point, I asked Craig the other night if he ever felt like we made a mistake, if he ever wished we had another child. (I made a LOT of disclaimers before asking the question - didn't want him thinking that something was happening.) He thought about it a minute and told me that yes, occasionally he had little pangs of baby-lust (the man does love babies), but no, he thought our family was just the right size and he wouldn't want to change anything.

I mostly agreed with him. Everything except the baby-lust.

It's weird. Before I had babies, I loved babies. I wanted to hold them, to kiss their little hands, all that. When I had babies I loved everything about them. It was great. They were cute; their milestones were amazing; all was well. But around the time they turned five or so, I realized something: I like kids much better than babies.

Other friends of ours (and family members) started having kids several years after we did. So when they had babies, we had these cool preschoolers who were emerging readers, singers, talkers, doers. And those babies? Pretty much just sat there. And cried. And needed diaper changes. And all that. Plus? They had no idea what I was saying when I said, "Hey kid, will you fetch me another beer?" And preschoolers are really good at that.

There's also the expense. It costs a lot, even if you're frugal and reasonable and don't buy every darn thing they ask for. We really weren't in the position to take on the added financial burden of another child.

And school projects. I secretly enjoy helping to build three-dimensional models of geographic landforms (including mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, valleys, oceans, deserts, islands, and plains) out of homemade play-dough and moss and food color and sand and gravel and the cool tree stuff that you find in the model train section of Hobby Lobby (and that was for the second grader; have I mentioned the science project that the fourth grader did?) (she got third place) (and I really think the kids who got first and second didn't do the projects - their parents did), but I don't want to help with homework forever. And the two kids I've got have enough of it.

Then there's the emotions. It's a roller coaster. I don't know if my nerves could take the drama that a third child might bring into the mix. There's so much that is beyond a parent's control: what they look like, how smart they are, who they make friends with, and all the many things that give parents wrinkles and grey hair.

All that to say, yeah, I don't want to have any more babies.


I did get a nice healthy dose of baby lust yesterday, for about eighteen seconds. A couple at our church adopted the most delicious little baby boy, and I could have eaten him up before church yesterday, but that would probably have awakened him, and I would NEVER wake up a sleeping baby. So I just peered at him instead. Because he was really cute.

So yeah, we're done. Permanently. With 99% no regrets.


furrjenn said...

DH and I are actually looking forward to the vasectomy later this spring. (Me probably more than he.) Let's hear it for recreational sex!

I am a little nervous about having three kids. I know the first six months will be a huge challenge, but after #3 can amuse himself a bit: sitting up, bouncing, grabing things, etc. Besides, I have lezred how to become more efficient with each kid, the older they get.

It helps a great deal that Em LOVES babies and thinks having a little brother is so cool. Iz s aso going through a baby doll phase, and likes to point out babies in pix, out in public, etc.

We'll see what happens...

Kaleigh said...

I'm sure you'll do fine. The "what-ifs" are sometimes fun, but I know that once we were done, we were done. Part of the decision, I'm sure, was the knowledge that I'd be under the knife again, and really, that's something to avoid.