So I find that I'm thinking about another kid. Another kid for our family, I mean. I think maybe Jay and I have spent too much time watching series one of Parenthood, and he keeps saying I want a big family like that, I want my children to have lots of brothers and sisters to depend on when they are old and have kids of their own and we're totally self-absorbed and unreliable.
I would like that too, but we can't seem to make any kind of decision. If we go back into the adoption process, I don't know that I can take it. I don't know that I can handle going crazy again (because believe me, I went crazy last time).
And hey, forget that, some days I just think that if we had another kid in the house I don't know that I can take it. My life is already so full of yelling and poop that I do wonder where I'd find the time to yell at another child. And I keep getting hung up on how much harder it would make my life. Am I really ready for that? My sister told me, not long after her third was born be very careful going for a third, three is exponentially harder than two. And I can see that. Right now I have two arms and two children - I can cuddle them both at once and that's really nice. My children are much snugglier (read: demanding) than lots of other three-and-a-bit-year-olds I know and they go kind of mental when I give one of my arms to someone else. They talk a lot about babies (you gotta bayybee in your tummy mummy? You gotta bayybee? No, honey, not today, not when you asked me yesterday and I think the answer will still be no when you ask me again tomorrow), but who knows how they would really react if there was a little competitor in the house. Actually, I think I do know, and I don't think it would be pretty.
Thing is, though, I do like the idea of another FascinatingBaby. I was cuddling someone else's baby recently and my body thought hey, I remember this. The weightlessness, the wriggling, the soft downy head, the way the skin on her little tiny face felt like velvet. And that's part of my decision paralysis, honestly - personally I would like another baby, if we decide to Three (yes, that's a verb now). Not a ten year old, not a child with significant and known preexisting condition. A healthy little baby.
But seriously, Claudia, did you just say that out loud? I've already been greedy enough to have two of those. I do feel sometimes like there is some kind of hierarchy of worthwhile adoptions. Older is better. Adoption from foster care is probably better too. Special needs is definitely better. And I absolutely understand this.I absolutely understand that medical problems or emotional problems and age and a hundred other things make some children harder to place, and that these children are absolutely not less valuable, less worthwhile, less wonderful than chubby healthy babies. I know this.
I know how precious these higher-needs kids are. My problem is not with higher needs kids. My problem is with me.
I always thought that we would do an 'easy' adoption first time around, and then when we had more experience as parents, we would adopt a child with higher needs than a healthy baby. And then we brought our twins home and they kicked my butt. Babies are really hard, and they turn into toddlers (who are really hard too) and so are preschoolers and I'm guessing that the stages to come have their challenges too. I find parenthood to be something that stretches me to breaking point and beyond most days of the week. I am good at bits of it ( playing imaginary games, as long as I can do them from the sofa) but I am terrible at other bits of it. If my children are sick, I usually forget to give them at least one in three doses of their antibiotics. Not something I'm proud of. This makes me think that maybe I'm not the ideal person to parent a child who needs, for example, regular medication.
And I can't stop wondering: where does our awareness of our own capacity need to fit in to decision making around all of this stuff? Where should it fit it? How about the capacity of my current children? They have got pretty big needs, pretty big demands (but doesn't everyone?) And even if they are higher-needs than most (and I think they are, particularly one of them) other people have multiple complicated kids and live to tell the tale.
|This should probably make me go awwwwww but it actually makes me go ARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!|
I wonder if- can I say this? - what makes me wary here is that I think I have seen people make decisions on that basis - deciding on another adoption (or another bio baby) because life is a bit flat or a bit hard, as if another child to plan for will fix that (it won't; it never does). That might sound harsh, but it isn't meant to. I think that another child brings the promise of newness, of freshness, of starting again for a family, and that certainly appeals to me. It certainly appeals to me when I'm standing in baby gap, looking at the adorable tiny clothes that no longer fit my twins and feeling like I can hear the sound of a whole corridor of onesie shaped doors shutting behind me. I'll be honest, it feels really weird to me that we might never have a new child. It sort of makes me think is this really it? Is this the way our family story ends? Is this the end of the upward portion of our narrative arc? Sorry to be a nerd about that last one, but I hope you know what I mean - as women, particularly, it feels everything is always pointing towards the next relationship-focused thing- we want to meet a guy, then we want to kiss that guy, then we want to get engaged to that guy, then we want to marry that guy, then we want to have kids with that guy and if that's over, then, well, is this really it?
(A non-baby-related and totally serious aside - I'm sure we all feel like this sometimes, whether we admit it or not, and I think it's an echo of how empty every earthly thing ultimately is - it's all just a chasing after the wind. Nothing is ever going to be enough here - even if I had a hundred children, they would all grow up, the most amazing career will end,and if I live long enough, I'll probably get terrible arthritis by the end anyway. I need to remember that only Jesus is the answer to what's my purpose and only he will never disappoint me. The only destination really worth aiming for is Heaven, is being with Jesus, although that's frighteningly easy to forget). But - back to the topic in hand - it would feel odd to me if this was the end of my life's big happy events. I feel the pull of a baby, but I also feel the pull of velocity. I would like there to still be something significant standing between me and the onset of the inevitable eventual funeral invitations.
Also, babies are really cute.
But we cant' seem to make any kind of decision. And I wonder: how does everyone else know when to stop? How do other families with two children know that two is enough? Or otherwise, how do other families with two children know that they want a third? Those who have three, that they want a fourth? I have no idea. (I'm so curious; please tell me).
I think that we could be very happy with whatever we choose to do. But I do want it to be a choice - I dont' want to drift into a third because it seems inevitable, or into staying with two because we never quite get our act together. Do we have the capacity for this? For a baby? For someone with higher needs? Or are we just attracted by the velocity? I try to be honest with myself and really examine my heart, but honestly: I have no idea.