One Potato, Two Potato? Contemplating Family Size
As I sit here trying to outlast my sixth-month-old in the game of sleep training, I wonder at the fact that just earlier today I was entertaining the idea of having more children. Seeing an adorable, blissfully happy pregnant woman with her toddler in the kiddie pool will do that to you.
But seriously, now that my rock-hard shoulders have navigated their way up to my ears and I’ve ground my teeth to nubs, I’m trying to imagine how I could possibly raise more than one of these at a time. Don’t get me wrong: I have plenty of good times with my son. From relaxing in the kiddie pool today to playing jet plane on my back to discovering the exact location of his tickle spot with my nose, we spend a lot of time laughing and cuddling. But then a night like this comes along, and nearly 30 minutes into a losing-his-shit crying fit, the thought of a second beast-child terrifies me.
I’ve never liked the idea of having an only child, so in a sense, once I had my son I committed to a two-part deal. And when I envision future camping trips, road trips to the Grand Canyon, and other such family vacations, I always imagine more than one child, never just one. It seems like a lonely way to grow up.
Then again, I think about the difficult road ahead for me and my husband as far as retirement goes–we are woefully underprepared–and I know that having any more children will just make our goals that much tougher to realize. Then I pass the girls’ department at a clothing department (all tutus and sequins, as if all girls must be prepared for an impromptu dance recital at any moment), and I think to myself, “I want a girl!” And just like that, thoughts of financial security vanish in the haze of my campfire daydreams of having two little ones to sing songs with under the night sky.
It’s silent now. My baby boy has finally cried himself back to sleep. Why he woke up in the first place is a mystery. As the muscles in my neck start to relax and the insects of the night resume their singing, I take solace in the fact that I don’t have to decide anything tonight.