It’s a big weekend for me, coming up. There’s Mother’s Day, of course. And I should hear this weekend about whether the show is being picked up for a second season. But the biggest thing is that my daughter – my oldest – is turning five. Five. As in, going to kindergarten, learning to read, tying her own shoes, five. I’m not having a hard time with it at all. I mean, unless you consider sitting next to her bed at night while she sleeps and sobbing my eyes out to be a hard time. Okay, so maybe I’m having a hard time. It’s just that she was so little, and now she’s getting so big, and she’s graduating from preschool (don’t even get me started, all I have to do is think of her in a little graduation hat and I start to choke up), and I just can’t believe that my baby is really not a baby, or a toddler, or even (gulp) a preschooler anymore. And so, the question that’s been floating around our house lately is whether we want to have another one.
Of course, we have another one. We have a two and a half year old who keeps me more than occupied, and who still is very much a baby and a toddler and a preschooler all rolled into one. But I can see where he’s headed. He’s headed for grownupville, just like my daughter, and it’ll be here before I know it. But another baby…I don’t know. I kind of like the idea of two. My husband and I have a man-on-man defense thing going on, I have one hand for each of them when we cross the street, and there’s no need for anyone to share a bedroom. Plus, I hate being pregnant, and I don’t even like babies. But then the other night, when I was crying hysterically in the dark by Harper’s beside, Michael came in and he seemed resigned. Do you really want another one? he asked. He is vehemently against a third child, but I knew that at that moment, I had him. All I had to do was say the word, and we’d be having unprotected sex within minutes. But I don’t really want another baby. I just want Harper to be four forever.
I have to say, though, I do like knowing that I still have the option. There’s something about saying that maybe we’ll have another baby that makes me feel young and in my prime. Because the truth is, as women, no matter how many different things we juggle, no matter how many high-powered jobs we have or how many BlackBerrys and cell phones and Bluetooth wireless devices we carry, no matter how many different colored markers we use to manage our kids’ schedules, when it comes right down to it, we have one job, and that job is to make babies. And once we’ve fulfilled that job, our entire reason for existing is over (of course, I’m talking big picture, here; evolutionary big picture). I hate to depress anyone, but think about it: once we decide that the baby-making factory is closed (or once it shuts itself down all on its own), sure, we get on with our lives and our careers and our European dream vacations, but we also mark the end of our youth, and begin the slow, steady decline towards death. Harsh, I know, but true, nonetheless, and I guess I just feel like I’m not quite ready for that. I’m not ready to close down the factory and make the necessary layoffs that such a move would entail. Ovaries, uterus – sorry, gals, its pink slips for you both.
So as my oldest turns five this weekend, and as I celebrate being a mother, I’m sure the thought of another baby will be there in the back of my head. But I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that as lovely as pregnancy sounds, with all of its connotations of youth and fertility, when I’m actually going through it, I’ll just feel fat and sweaty. And as sweet as the idea of a little baby is – a little baby that doesn’t move and doesn’t talk back and doesn’t whine and doesn’t ask me to buy it things – I’ll need to remind myself that I actually find little babies that don’t talk and don’t move to be supremely boring. The truth is, a new baby is not going to stop me or my existing children from getting older. A new baby, my husband will be glad to know, is not the answer to my problems. At least, not for now, anyway…