Friday, November 15, 2013

Two, Three or Not to Three

Mom Said...

Being the youngest of 4 kids has always led me to believe I’d just have a large family, with plenty of kids running around.  So much so that when I met my husband I would not go on a date with him before we laid some groundwork first, discussing the kind of topics that would make most men run (crazy, I know).  Part of that conversation was that that I wanted 6 kids, and if that wasn’t going to work for him, well we might as well not start to date.  He agreed, knowing in the back of his mind I ultimately wouldn’t really want 6 kids.

Fast forward 9 years and 2 kids later, and we find ourselves faced with the question of whether or not to have a third child.  We have gone back and forth since the birth of our second child as to whether this is a bridge we should cross.  I want to say almost immediately after her birth, I told my husband I wanted another (which is the exact opposite of my response to the birth of our first, when I told him one was sufficient). 

Knowing the dynamics of a family with more than 2 children, it is something I want to do for my girls.  Each of my siblings gives me something different that I need in life.  I go to them for varying reasons. We fight, we talk to each other and even about one another. Most days we likely can’t stand each other, but you’ll never hear laughter and raucous like you do when you get all four of us in a room together.

My dad was very sick last year, and the four of us had gathered around his hospital bed to hold vigil in hopes he would get better, made serious medical decisions, and most importantly comforted one another.  This time with my siblings truly solidified my desire to have a third child.

Conversely, my husband is pretty content with just 2 children.  He is the youngest of 2 kids.  He has a supremely strong relationship with his sister and really feels you can get everything you need from that one sibling.  I try to explain the dynamic of families with multiple children, claiming he doesn’t understand what it is like to have multiple people to go to talk about your parents (because let’s be real, that is the most important reason for having siblings).  His retort is always the same, “You don’t understand what it is like to be in a family of just 2 children.”  This, of course, infuriates me.

We find ourselves 2 kids in, living in a city that is ridiculously expensive and in an apartment that is absurdly small. We are at the point where we need to make the decision of whether to add to our family.  I often sit back and think, ‘do I really want to do the newborn routine all over again’.  This is typically followed up by wondering how we would afford the third child, or where we would even put that child to sleep (we put our second in a walk-in closet for the first 6 months of her life).

I always come to the same answer, “we’ll figure it out.”  Isn’t that what all parents do?  Our life is already a juggling act.  Adding more giggles and teeny-tiny pitter patters would only increase the joy (and frustration) in our lives.  Someday, they’ll grow up, move-on with their own lives, and we’ll marvel at how amazing our children have turned out. This gnawing question will seem so minute, borderline ridiculous even, simply because that additional child will have brought so much happiness to us. We’ll wonder why we even toiled with the notion.  I also think that our girls will be so appreciative for giving them another sibling to go to talk about us, what better gift could we give them.  

Stay tuned for the ultimate decision…two three, or not to three?

Dad Said...

I’m tired right now.  My 16-month-old was up all night with a stomach virus.  It’s all part of the job and we all have these nights, so perhaps, what I should say is that I am more tired today than I was yesterday, but I was pretty tired yesterday too.  I have been perpetually tired for as many days back as I can remember (How old is my oldest daughter?).  But that is also in the Job Description.  I’m told I may be able to rest when the kids move out of the house.  Maybe. 

My wife and I have 2 wonderful daughters, ages 4 and 1, and we wouldn’t trade them for the world.  Young kids are so much fun and tremendously rewarding.  They are also exhausting from the wee hours of the morning until late at night.  Sometimes all through the night too.  Their seemingly endless energy is amazing and often tough to match.  We have really enjoyed watching our children grow.  We exhale a sense of accomplishment and relief with every milestone that physically and emotionally matures them.  We have pride for our children’s accomplishment but also thrilled that they are now sleeping through the night, eating on their own, potty-trained, dressing themselves etc.  Sure, a part of me is a bit sad that they are growing so quickly, but then I remember diapers and formula and that first six months after they are born and the thought becomes fleeting. 

When my wife suggested the idea of having a third child, I was vehemently against it.  I summed up my thoughts to her with a simple exclamation, “Aren’t you tired?”  The thought of being outnumbered was daunting.  We barely have a briefest of seconds to ourselves now, what would a third bring?  I have friends and family that have told me that having 3 is not much different than 2 in terms of time and effort.  I don’t remotely believe it. 

I found myself doing the math on my age.  I am 42 and a baby next year means..carry the one..Yikes!  Suffice it to say it will be some time before my wife and I find ourselves alone again and able to go to the bathroom in peace.

I come from a family of four and that certainly shapes my world view of family.  My wife comes from a larger family with 3 siblings.  She has always wanted to ‘fill’ our house and is quick to remind me of the really amazing parts of having babies. The tiniest hands, watching the sit-up, then crawl and walk.  It’s a rush to see them learn and absorb like sponge.  It’s truly a unique experience and it goes so fast. 

My 4-year-old has become so enamored and protective of her little sister and the 1-year-old watches every move her sister makes. It’s a joy to see them like that when they are not crying to beating each other.  What would a third one do to that dynamic?  Certainly change it, but that is not a bad thing.  More changes and more adjustments.  Just a few of the scary things abound. 

If we have a third one, I know it would bring nothing but love and good things to our family.   The other day my 4-year-old came home to tell us about a boy she wants to marry when she grows up.  I thought I had a few more years before all this, but I was very wrong.  It really does go too fast.  It does kinda make one want to do it all over again. I wasn’t sleeping much anyway.  

1 comment:

  1. both are spot on! We are just starting to get some sleep here...some nights...ha could always borrow Lauryn for a weekend to add to the fun!! ;)