Saturday, September 26, 2009

Three Is The New Two

We had a garage sale over the weekend and made gajillions of dollars, helped mostly by my inability to speak Spanish.

NESP (Non English Speaking Person): "How much?" pointing at tiny refrigerator dumped by our former tenants.
WASP (Me): Hmm, lets see, it's the end of the morning and I can't be arsed to lift it back in to my car. "Fifteen dollars."
NESP: "Nah. Too much."
WASP: Dude. Less than $15 for a 1 year old fridge. Are you high?
NESP: Returning two minutes later. "Will you take forty dollars."
WASP: "Hmm, OK." OMG she thought I said fifty!!! Stop grinning like an idiot! Stop it! Keep a straight face and take the money, take the money!

Apart from random household electronics, we were mainly selling baby paraphernalia. I can't tell you how many people looked at Lucy and said "I'll give you $10." Oh you slay me.

Emotionally, getting rid of all that infant clothing was very hard to do. I'd put aside some of Anna and Lucy's most special clothes. There are those pieces you just can't part with; first outfit home from the hospital, first party dress, first outfit worn whilst eating solid foods, first outfit worn in a stroller in a light drizzle (OK, I found it hard to let go). Still, we had a lot left over, and I knew by selling them for a $1 each that the clothes would be going to a good home.

I also sold some 'sundry baby crap' items, bouncy chairs, a swing, steam sterilizer, boppy etc. The stuff that makes your living room look like a yard sale in those first few months post-birth. I did not sell my breast pump. You want to know why? Because everything else can be re-bought on Craigslist for cheap. After all, we bought our co-sleeper online for $50 and sold it 6 months later for $50. My breast pump was a shed lot of money and I don't want to have to buy another brand new one, and the idea of a second hand mammary device is a big no. But why would I need to use it again?

Because I'm not certain I'm settled at having just two children, and LK is even less sure.

Pause for the enormity of that statement to sink in.

That's right - you think I blog sporadically now. It wouldn't get any better I assure you.,

When you ask my friends with two children whether they're done, or whether they're still open to negotiation on the subject of more kids they give you a good hard stare, tell you to sit down and then put a cold compress on your forehead. Either that or they'll tell you they took a pair of scissors to their husband and performed a home-vasectomy the minute they got home from the hospital.

They are done.

Quite honestly I can't work out why I don't feel the same way, I never really saw myself as a particularly devoted mother. Until a few years ago I honestly thought I was considering children more out of a sense of conventional obligation rather than anything else. It certainly explained the panic and emotional turmoil I went through when I first found out I was pregnant.

Either the idea has grown on me or I'm too worn down by fatigue and diapers to remember how joyous my old life was.

Do I want to be pregnant again? No! Do I want to go through labour again? Ha! Stupid question. Was I not lucky enough getting two healthy babies after all that nearly went wrong?

The desire to have another child is irrational. When you get right down to it (and I am talking finances here) it's downright irresponsible. Is it my hormones? Is it my subconscious need for a son, for completion? Am I a sucker for punishment? Remember, Lucy was very briefly a twin. Two could become four. Hell, a primary school friend of mine tried for a third and then had triplets.

We have been canvassing our friends with families of more than two. Was it a good idea? Do they regret it? We have had some remarkably candid replies. Some people have told us flat out, don't do it. They love their kids but lost too much of their lives, became too worried about money, about college, felt that their other kids lost out. Other friends have said it's just more people to love (LK's philosophy).

I am asking for your comments - please feel free to be anonymous. Do you wish you'd had more children? When it comes down to brass tacks do you regret that last little bundle of joy? (Mum - my brother may be reading this.......). Did you yearn for another child but when the dust and hormones settled are you now glad you stayed with the number of kids you had?

I do realize that we struggled good and proper to even get pregnant with Lucy, so this may be entirely moot, but my hormones and my rational mind are at war and I need some perspective.



seadragon said...

I have no advice for you from personal experience (we just have the one for now), but I will say that this sounds like something that really depends on your own feelings. And it really doesn't sound like you're hoping people will set you straight and tell you that having a third is a terrible idea. It sounds more like you're hoping for people to tell you it's a great idea and to go for it!

Also, I can't believe you're even thinking of it with Lucy so small. That's a very good sign, I'd say! (I know we want more than one, but it took several months after my son was born to be able to imagine wanting to do the pregnancy / newborn thing again.

Anonymous said...

Skeletor has never looked back. Two is a nice amount to add to the world. If you hurry and do it the second baby never gets to feel like the young one, if you wait till she's older you extend your commitment, could be a lifetime. We don't know if our kids will ever move out, they might stay till they are thirty years old. And face it even if they don't live there they are right out front of your priorities. Then again you are already in for to two lifetime of service, what's a few more years?Money can be an issue, kids don't notice being poor too much but parents definitely can tell. Probably not much good advice here, I imagine you would like to see some more supportive messages here, sorry.

Anonymous said...

I too never saw myself as the dotting mother - least of all the dotting mother of THREE children! I too felt the same way after Maren was born . . . two was managable and I was happy, but I just wasn't SURE that two was enough. And then we got pregnant with Quinn - and I was OVER THE MOON. And then we lost Quinn - and I was beyond devestated - which made the decision to get pregnant again infinitely harder and yet easier at the same time . . . I had wanted a third child more than I had realized.

I worry everyday about the financial ramifications of having three children, and I go to bed everyday praying to God that lots of love will be enough to bridge the gaps.

Maybe throw caution to the wind and give yourself a deadline for getting pregnant? (The age gap between our kids was important to us . . . after we lost Quinn set a date on which we would stop trying so that a new baby wouldn't be too far behind Maren - we have done two in diapers, two in carseats, etc., and while it was hard, it was easier for me to have that than to have each kid doing their own thing . . . which is ultimately what I have gotten.)

I am starting to ramble, so I will stop. In summary: you may ultimately regret having a 3rd child, but nearly as much as you will regret NOT having a 3rd child.

Ali said...

Ok, I'm similar to you. I don't have a "done" switch. We have four children and I would still happily have more - we have pretty much decided that we won't but the urge is still there. I don't think it will ever go away.

I love the factt hat we have four. Our family is fantastic. Two, and even three, felt incomplete somehow. Sure, there may be some sacrifices to make financially but a friend once said to me "a baby brings it's own bread" and it's true. Things just miraculously work.

I say if you have the urge to go another baby then you should. I work on the philosophy that you are unlikely to regret having another baby but you might really regret not having one. It is just more love and more light in your life.

Jane said...

I have 3 and I have a 5yr gap between the middle and youngest. I will NEVER regret having my son, but I will tell you that 2 parents plus two kids is managable. Three kids plus a spouse who travels is HARD work. My kids were also born in another culture, which makes a difference too in my opinion. American culture is designed for TWO child families. With the ages your girls are at, you've barely even started really: no school yet, no extra activities yet. Dealing with 3 lots of everything is no picnic.
Ultimately, it's down to you though. If the feelings you're having now don't change, then don't wait too long for no.3. Dealing with the kids as a unit is much easier when they're closer in age. With big gaps you get 3 different soccer games on the same day, 3 different school meetings to attend.....on the same night and 3 different bedtimes to deal with EVERY night!

Michele Bertram said...

I have been lurking for a while, drawn by your writing and also the fact that we lived in Poppleton, outside York for a couple of years and I Miss.Yorkshire.So.Much.

Anyway, where was I? I had four kids way back in the dark ages. Things were nuts when I had toddlers and teenagers, since there was a 9 year gap between two sets of two, which I do not recommend, BTW, but there was a divorce in there complicating things. There were days when I thought I had lost my mind to even have considered it, but two just didn't feel done somehow, and I am so, so glad we went for it.

Yes, there was less money, and yes I was stretched....who gets time out and who gets the car keys taken away? The years fly by though and the baby stages are over so quickly that I can hardly believe it.

The 'kids', now 43-29, all say they loved being part of a bigger family and it was all so worth it!

I am now climbing down from my soapbox! My assvice is to follow your heart!


aibee said...

I don't think we can ever truly regret the children we have, but that we have the potential to regret the children we thought of, but never had.

And if you DO have that third child and DO regret having it, it's not the CHILD you'd be wishing you never had, it'd be the challenges that go along with having a newly minted family member, so that regret would be a TRANSIENT thing.

In short, have more kids. YEAH.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of 3. 3 is great!I agree with the fact that so much of the world seems designed for families with 2 kids, but we always enjoyed the slight feeling of anarchy that having to ask for another chair in a restaurant brought with it! As someone who, at this rate, will be lucky to even have one, I am aware that my "broody" head is on, but the experience of having 2 siblings was a really joyful one. Of course, I'll never know any different, but it was still a lot of fun. You'd probably be better off asking my parents though!

Teki said...

I just gave birth to my second, 14 years after my first. I thought I only ever wanted one child. So much so I spent my entire second pregnancy unhappy and dreading a baby. Now that he's here, I adore him and realize I was a fool not to have more children. I know I'm only speaking for my own personal POV but if you have even the slightest desire you should have another. I'd have more if not for the fact I turn 40 in a couple months and annoyingly single!

Expat mum said...

All I would say (from experience) is not to leave too big a gap between number 2 and 3. I have two teenagers and a 6 year old (not planned but not regretted). It's hard having kids at completely different stages. They don't want to see the same movies, come in from school and have so much homework they barely have time to talk to him. He's like an only child in one respect.

Anonymous said...

I completely struggled with this when Olivia was about 1 year old. I would love to have another one IF...we had more money, a bigger house, more patience, a free babysitter, a bigger car (cuz ours isn't big enough), children that actually went to sleep at a decent time and more time in the day. As it is, at the end of the day i honestly feel like i am going to fall over and Coby and i end up saying about 2 words to each other the entire day. I decided that i owe it to my kids, myself and my relationship with my husband to just have the 2.

That's how i feel. Now, i have a lot of friends who have 3 kids and seem to be completely fine with it, however, they do have a bigger house, more money, free babysitters (family that is actually overjoyed to spend time with their grandkids) and a bigger car.......oh and a lot more patience. :)

It's a tough decision because it's so FINAL! Good luck!!

Ruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth said...

All these warnings not to allow too big a gap between your children, and here I sit with four kids, 15, 13, 7 and 2. Yes, it's challenging sometimes (although the older kids can babysit for the younger two, which is a huge help), but in some ways I think it is easier than having four spaced 2-3 years apart. The older kids are very independent, and a big help around the house ... I can't help but think that having three to four kids in a six to eight year span means a lot of heavy lifting for mom and dad while the kids are elementary school aged.

That said, we never set off to space our family like this. The best laid plans, and all that ... (or, in the case of my fourth child, no plans at all). I guess what I'm trying to say in my rambly way is that while spacing them closer together might be better in some ways -- mainly in that you can treat them more as a pack, as they'll be more likely to be interested in the same sorts of activities -- you can make anything work, if you're of a mind to do so. (Multiple kids playing multiple soccer games at multiple fields? That's why God created the car pool.)

All that said, I haven't answered your original question, which was if I am happy with my family's size. The answer is yes. I can certainly see how life would be easier (and money less of an issue) with only two children, but have to say that in the long run I agree with LK: in the end, more children means more people to love.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea who you are and got to your blog from someone else's. This subject is a big one. My opinion is that you cannot think about money. People can never be equated to money, it is impossible. Pray about it, if you believe and pray, because I am a firm believer that if God gives you the desire HE will provide what you NEED. Set your mind on things up above not on material things that will rust away. That's my thoughts!

Jill said...

When my now middle child was 2 years old I had the urge to have another baby... a serious, heart aching urge. But no amount of "trying" was producing #3...

Fast forward 2.5 years and we now have 3 ... a 6.5, 4.5, and 4 month old... and boy is it different! We had fertility issues and it took us 2+ years for #3 to come along... and once we finally did get prego my hubby and I continually asked ourselves what the heck we were doing. Did we really want to go back to diapers and night time feedings, helplessness, and dare I say, a stroller? Too late now sister!

I got my tubes tied to ensure that no amount of wanting a baby would produce #4 ... however, the early morning feedings and poopy diapers are curbing that feeling anyway.

Hyphen Mama said...

I knew I was done with 2. I was so positive I was done, that I had my tubes tied while they were in there extracting the last one. I knew after the first that our family wasn't complete. I knew after the 2nd that our family was COMPLETE.

If you don't feel that yet, you just might feel complete with a third.

I, personally, am not a good enough mother to have 3.