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Birth Control

We must be masochists because we had a giant sleepover this weekend with my brother’s three kids -- Koby, 10; Joe, 8; and Emma, 5. When I tell you they adore Preston, I mean they are borderline obsessed with him to the point of playing regular games of tug-of-war with his limbs until he rips into three equal parts, and that’s when they stop arguing over who gets to sit next to him at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And Preston loves them just as much -- when Joe jumps around like a kangaroo he laughs; when Koby plays peek-a-boo he giggles endlessly; and when Emma gets right up in his face the minute he wakes up from a nap, he smiles a big toothless grin. It’s beyond adorable, and it almost makes me think I’m ready to have more children...almost.

The 24-hours we spent with the cousins was both fun and exhausting. It’s Sunday night as I’m typing this, and we’re winding down from a long weekend, but when I think about what we actually did, it wasn’t much more than eating junk food and watching kids’ movies, with a few adventures to Baskin-Robbins, Sweet Maple (a neighborhood breakfast spot), and the playground at Skinner Park across the street. Our plan was to go to Lincoln Park Zoo but an afternoon downpour squashed it pretty quickly. That, and the 90-degree heat and humidity.

As easy as the kids are, it definitely wasn’t easy having four kids under one roof for the night. Preston’s teething is in full force right now, so getting him to sleep has been challenging – and with the cousins here, it’s always hard to get them to quiet down long enough to let him fall into a deep slumber. In a condo, it’s even harder because you can pretty much hear everything from any room in the place, at any volume. But despite all of this, everyone miraculously slept through the night; there were no middle-of-the-night sleep walks; no one accidentally stumbling into Preston’s room; no late-night bathroom breaks. At 6:30 a.m., all the kids were up and ready to start the day, in position to play tug-of-war with Preston again.

The timing of the sleepover couldn’t have been better...or worse, depending on how you look at it. Jay and I have been talking about the timing of Baby G No. 2 lately -- or, rather, I’ve been talking about it and he’s been half-listening, as men (and, apparently, boys) often do. We said we’d wait to start trying till Preston’s at least a year old, and um, he’s two months shy of his one-year birthday now. (But who’s counting? Me, I’m counting.) On the one hand, I’m so ready to do this again -- I can’t wait to hold a newborn in my arms -- on the other hand, last time I checked, it’s hard work having kids.

So, I made a list of the reasons why we should and shouldn’t wait to have more kids right now. My heart is telling me to do it; my head is saying, we might not be quite ready yet.

Should Have More Kids:

  1. 1. I’m not getting any younger (I’m 36).
  2. 2. If we decide to go for a third child, we’d better get on with the second one. (See reason no. 1.)
  3. 3. I can’t wait to do it all over again, including the pregnancy -- yes, I’m one of those bizarre women who loved being pregnant (for the most part).
  4. 4. It’s fresh enough in my mind that I’m excited to do it all over again, but distant enough that I’ve almost forgotten about the hardships (c-section surgery, it wasn’t that bad, right?).
  5. 5. I’m probably as “ready” as I’ll ever be for two kids. (Read: Ignorant.)

Shouldn’t Have More Kids Right Now:

  1. 1. I love this time with Preston, and only Preston.
  2. 2. How much do kids cost a year? Can we afford another one?
  3. 3. How will I juggle, or blend, two babies with my career?
  4. 4. I haven’t lost all the baby weight from pregnancy no. 1 yet. I told myself I wouldn’t get pregnant till I was back down to where I was before Preston. I don’t want my body to think this is what’s “normal.”
  5. 5. The longer we wait, the further apart they’ll be, the easier it’ll be on us. Right?
  6. 6. Baby G No. 2 is going to be a devil child. You don’t get two perfect babies in one lifetime. But that’s going to happen no matter when we do it, so I’m just stating that as a matter of fact. But I guess the question is, are we ready for a devil child right now? (Like my optimism?)

So, as you can see, I’m a little torn. But the way Jay and I work, we go with our gut on most decisions and we work very well together as parents and life partners. We obviously didn’t put this much thought into the first one, because we got pregnant three months after tying the knot and embarked on the craziest year of our lives with an engagement, wedding, pregnancy, new business, new home, new dog, new baby, etc. And look how well that turned out. We have a healthy, happy, adorable baby whom we are absolutely crazy about. He’s the love of our lives, and we are so incredibly lucky. Do I even need a reason to want more kids right now? Heck, if I had any guarantee they’d turn out exactly like Preston, I’d sign up for an entire flock of children.

How much time and consideration did you put into starting, or continuing, your family? What were some of the pros and cons you weighed before having kids?

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