But then, I hang out with my [freaking amazing, funny, sweet, and totally adorable] toddler, and feel this rush of..... love? fun? awe? And I want to bottle it or capture it somehow. I want him to keep growing and changing and learning, but yet I want to prolong this stage a bit more. At moments like these, I cannot even explain the..... desire (?) or crazy want that I feel to have another child.
My mind is sooooo far from being made up on this topic that it literally makes me dizzy. I'm thinking that if I write about it, perhaps I can sort out my feelings a bit. And if anyone wants to weigh in on this issue, please feel free!
So here goes:
At times, I can picture C growing up as an "only". I picture the two of us hanging out in the summer and having lots of opportunities for adventure. I see us going canoeing, or rock climbing, or taking Maddy down to the creek--where all three of us will undoubtedly get filthy dirty and smelly. I picture us gardening and cooking and crafting together. It would be easy to fly with an "only" so maybe he and I would take off to visit Arizona in the middle of the winter. I see M taking C on a random, spontaneous, weekend trip to watch the White Sox and maybe visiting Shedd Aquarium and the top of the Sears Tower. (or Willis Tower or whatever it's called now) These thoughts feel so... balanced and effortless (and yes, I know parenting is never effortless).
But then, with my rose colored glasses on, I envision myself playing with our two children in the yard, going for hikes, gathering sticks to start a fire while on a campout. I have my heart set on buying a Pop-up Camper and I picture our two children exploring the woods, roasting marshmallows, snuggling up at night with their canvas partition closed off to give them privacy from their parents. I can hear them giggling in their secret passage-way that M will build in the closets connecting their bedrooms. I picture us playing games in the evenings or reading books with a kiddo on each side of me. (I choose not to picture bickering in the backseat of the minivan or shouting about broken toys or pushing and shoving because my perfect children will of course, never do these things.)
Both camps look pretty good to me, and honestly, I'm leaning towards the two children camp.
I think I am terrified about having another baby.
Is there any way to order an 18 month old? Because, that is about when I started to finally feel.....like I was doing okay. Yes, C was a fussy baby. Yes, M & I were under tons of stress from the move back in to our house. No, I hadn't had a single opportunity to do any "nesting". Yes, we were buried under a million inches of snow and could barely go outside when C was a newborn. But does that really explain why I still can't shake the "baby anxiety"?
The thoughts of a crying baby, the sleepless days and nights and in-between, the memories of nursing (I don't think I really minded it until I realized how a-maze-ing it felt to be finished), the thoughts of my frail and mal-nourished body that resulted from nursing, the memory of dinner time with spoon-feedings, the thoughts of teething--and the mood swings that went with it, the memories of Tylenol & Ibuprofin and random fevers, the memories of coughs and colds and diaper rashes, and the feeling of someone being totally completely 100% dependent on ME---all result in a slight case of hives and a quick dash to the liquor cabinet.
And the sleep deprivation. Oh the sleep deprivation. I know so many people who chatter about "rough nights" and simultaneously breeze through the following day. But if there is one thing I've learned about myself after having a baby, it's that I. Need. Sleep. I am not one of these people who can run on less than 8 hours a night. I'm grouchy, irritable, inpatient, and probably pretty hard to get along with. Even now, when C rarely wakes up early or during the middle of the night, it just annoys me to no end. So if someone could guarantee that a new baby wouldn't cry much and would sleep a lot and teething & nursing would be a breeze, then I'm pretty sure I could maybe handle it. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure those babies don't exist.
After having C, I felt very out of sync. I had such a hard time adjusting to life as a family of three (plus 4 legs--and she is another story of being traumatized by the baby). I feel like it finally just "clicked" this past year. Now, being a family of three feels "right" and normal and dare I say... fun? So why would I want to venture back into those deep, dark, scary woods?
Honestly, I don't know. Maybe it's that some tiny part of me feels like the next time, I might be a little more prepared. I won't know what the woods look like, or how dark or deep they might be, but I think maybe, just maybe, I'll have a few of the tools that I didn't have last time. And perhaps the biggest one might be that little ray of sunshine... named Charlie.... who may provide some comic relief (or comic frustration) when the trees seem to be un-ending.
But for now... I guess I'll just stay up here on the fence.