Just look at these faces. That's exactly what I've been doing over the weekend, in photo form anyway. Part of the remodel process includes (come to find out) sorting through all of the crap I've ever owned in my life. And this naturally includes photos.
Yesterday the boys and I spent part of the day sorting through a big box of photographs and actually putting them in an album. For a woman who is only months away from having both kids in school all day, this kind of thing can be risky business. I mean, they look so cute and cuddly in the pictures! But they look like that the same way a baby wolverine probably does, too. I mean, really – it's no secret that you feel all warm and fuzzy from the memories precisely because that's what they are: memories. None of these pictures portray the utter exhaustion, frazzled nerves, endless diapers, worrisome fevers, inconsolable crying, night-waking, weight gain or house that's never clean. Now if I could have captured all of that on film, then it wouldn't be so easy to start wondering what it would be like to have a third child. And yet, somehow...
This whole scenario is only exacerbated by questions like this from the boys: "Mom, when are you ever gonna have a baby in your stomach again?" "The next time you have a baby, can it be the girl kind? We have enough boys around here." "Mama, we really need a baby in this house. When are we gonna to get one?"
Maybe by the time you have your room clean.
Brooks won't even talk to me about it anymore. This annoys me to no end but secretly I think he's being smart. How many times can a good man take the crazy wife saying she's ready for another one and then in the same breath wanting to discuss permanent birth control procedures?
On the one hand, I tell myself that I'm more mature now than I was eight years ago. Besides, the two kids have given me a thick skin (not to mention a good aim) which makes me more prepared this time around. I'm more loving, more nurturing, more patient, more eager to spend time with them.
But on the other hand, to be pregnant I'd have to go off all the medication that makes it so I can be those things.
To make it even more confusing, this entry comes at the end of a day when I blew up at the boys for fighting (again) then wouldn't talk to them for the rest of the night because I was so irritated. I went to bed early and left them to fend for themselves. (OK, I did give them a little supper before ditching. And I knew Brooks would be home any minute. But still.)
So why won't the romantic notions of having another one just leave me alone? I can't help but wonder what would the baby look like. What kind of big brothers would Brahm and Oliver be? Would it be another boy or would God dare send us a she-beast? I'd give my bottom dollar to see Brooks being a dad to a baby girl, watching how she'd wrap him around her little finger. Sheesh - just one more can't be that hard - all my friends are doing it and they're still alive.
But then there are the times when I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. "What am I thinking?" I shriek aloud before jumping in the car to buy the nearest pregnancy test. "Just to be sure," I say in a trembling voice.
To help remind myself that two is enough, I recall a session I had with my shrink a few years ago. In it I divulged all of my shortcomings as a mom (OK, maybe not all - we only had fifty minutes). The issue of more children came up, of course, and she summarized the hour by saying, "It sounds like you have a thin skin for the chaos of childrearing, Jenny. I think it's OK to honor that." True, but this is also the same shrink I fired shortly thereafter because, well — I'm still crazy.
So I can't talk to Brooks about it, my friends are sick of listening, and I'm sure God Himself cannot take even one more prayer. I mean, how many times does He have to tell me that the world would be a safer place if I didn't before I'll listen? But sometimes the crazy part of me thinks I should just get pregnant and be done with it, logic and reason be damned. But that's exactly where the shoe pinches: I won't be "done with it" for at least another eighteen years after that. And for a woman who's only got approximately twelve to go (no matter how cute the little face might be) that may be asking a little too much.