This week I am watching another little guy. He is a few months younger than Holden. Before this week, I have been bothering Stephen, saying, “have we really closed the door on having a third child?” not because I want to have one right now, but because maybe one day I will and there isn’t a word I hate more than “never.” And I might have even roped Brandon into this madness, by asking him whether he wants another brother or a sister or if he wants our family to stay as it is. And he always responds that he wants a sister. Just six months ago, he didn’t want to share me. Now, he has not only acclimated to having a brother, now he wants to try out the other kind of sibling, too. Whether or not Steve and I are willing to admit it, Brandon has quite a bit of pull around here.
It was only five or six weeks after Holden was born that some of us women were talking about whether we planned to have more kids. That was back when Steve and I had agreed that we wouldn’t and that I wouldn’t even bring up the topic anymore (whoops). That was when Holden’s scary emergency C-section was fresh in my mind; the scar still crusted over with that surgical glue that I didn’t yet know I could peel off. So I shared that we wouldn’t be having more kids. That this was it. Two boys. All we ever wanted. And another woman said she could never say she was done – that she would never again raise up a baby to become a beautiful, happy, adjusted adult. And a few months later, I totally get what she was saying.
Perhaps Steve hoped that with me watching another little one this week, I would go back to our original plan of two and done. That I would be so overwhelmed that I would be listing our jumper and playpen on Craigslist before the week’s end. While I’m not saying that watching a third child has made me want another one, I’m not saying it hasn’t, either. I do so enjoy him curling his hand around my finger while I feed him. Or the way he cries not because he’s hungry or needs to be changed, but just because he wants me to hold him. I do miss the dependence a little baby has on me, the being needed and being of utmost importance. Holden has already outgrown most of this. He has been as independent as he possibly could for a long time now.
What this week has taught me is that I can do it; watch three kids simultaneously, and them all end up fed, rested, and clean(ish) at dinner time. I have long fantasized about children’s names, since long before I was pregnant or even dating or out of high school; I could certainly come up with some good options for a third baby. And this time, there wouldn’t be any pressure. With both of our previous pregnancies, Steve and I were dead-set on having boys. This time, we could be one of those couples that don’t even find out the gender that used to make me so nervous (how can you be so spontaneous and unprepared?!?).
If it was a boy, we would be ecstatic. What boy wouldn’t want more than one brother? And we know what we’re doing with them (sort of) and have all the correct colors of things for them. If it was a girl, we would be ecstatic. She would be special, standing out in this sea of boys (yes, anatomically I am female, but I have no doubt that by her third birthday she would already be aware of my unwomanliness – she would be appalled by my ashy knees and asking me if it would kill me to put some lotion on). Steve would be such a great father to a girl. He has that perfect dad blend: good example of a man and tenderness that every girl’s father should be. I would bawl my eyes out in twenty-some years as he walked her down the aisle. And of course, they would be crying, too.
I’m getting carried away. Now there is a couple decades and an implied fiancé involved when I was really just trying to say that I’m not ready to say “no.” Or “yes,” but certainly not “no.”
“Never say never,” was one of my mom’s catchphrases when we were kids. It never (old habits die hard) made sense then. I would say something like, “I’m never going to like broccoli” and she would say, “never say never.” But in this scenario, it totally makes sense. I think that was one of my mom’s other catchphrases – “mothers are always right.”