Childbirth is disgusting. I’m just going to say it. It’s one bump in the road along a stretch so vast you’ll never see the end, hopefully. Yes, the road is child rearing. There are multiple first occasions with your children that occur once and only once and you’ll never be able to live them again. When Jude rolled over for the first time, I had to witness by video. I was so mad at myself for being at work when he pushed past his first major milestone. When Margot rolled over the first time, I was brushing my teeth. The bathroom was less than ten feet from her. I was standing waiting for it, looking over her with paste about to fall from my mouth. Running toward the bathroom, my wife yelled, “SHE DID IT!” Goddamn it. Yes, I was able to watch her do it the second and third time, but it wasn’t the first and it never will be again. If Alaina and I decided to have another child there’s a large chance I would miss that kid rolling over the first time too. But we’re not, and I won’t.
After Jude was born we talked about having another kid. At first we only wanted the one. He was enough for us. I couldn’t possibly imagine how i could love another kid as much as I loved him. The practicality of the situation was bold enough. Money? Ha ha ha. Yeah, I’m just going out an a limb saying that at the time we weren’t poor, but we were by no means rich. Then, after watching him grow we started talking about how great it would be to have another kid. Another miniature human to watch grow and explore with, and in reality, to help us grow too. Five years. We decided when Jude was five, we would have another kid. Once we were well adjusted to raising children, we would know what to expect and how to go about rearing the next one.
Life didn’t let us wait five years. The universe in all its glory didn’t even give us a two year head start. Thanks Universe….keep up the absurdity. What I discovered, having 2 kids under the age of two, is that your world expands faster and wider than you could ever have hoped for. Everything I thought I’d be learning at a nice easy pace is slapping me in the face and forcing me to pay attention more than i ever thought possible. In truth, I wouldnt want it any other way though. Sometimes it’s important to jump into the water, no matter how cold you think it may be. Once you’re in, while breathless and in pain, you seem to be staying afloat better than you ever thought possible.
I love watching my kids grow.
I love watching my wife and I grow. Our ideals continue to change with every day we’re alive. We still seem to be the same people, just more so. Even our relationship has strengthened. People shouldn’t have kids to stay together, kids won’t save a dying relationship. They will help strengthen an already strong one though.
Seeing Jude and Margot explore their world is absolutely extraordinary. Watching Jude take first steps and talk first words has brought me happiness I didn’t think possible. And after Margot reaches these milestones, I’m good with not seeing it again. I missed their first rollovers but I’m not about to have another kid just to attempt to see it. And I feel guilty about it.
Society puts so much emphasis on children that they really place parents between a rock and a hard place. We can’t make a move without someone offering advice or criticism. “Your kid shouldnt do that.” ” Make sure they do this.” After having jude, many family members couldn’t believe we didn’t want another kid. A lot of people gave us unwarranted words that we “will want more”. Remember, other people know what you want even if you don’t.
Well, I don’t want anymore kids. Why? Because as much as i love my children and I love my life, raising kids is exhausting, and I haven’t even gotten past year two yet! Not to even mention the financial aspect of more children. Or should I say, the lack of a financial aspect.
Next month I’m headed to a urologist to have a vasectomy. I figure, everything else we do is against nature, why shouldn’t I do this? We tried the easy way, we were the .06% statistic. Alaina and I have been discussiong this since just after we found out we were pregnant again. What to do about birth control. Every form around was discussed.
Condoms?, eh who likes condoms, am I right boys?
The pill? We tried that, the hormones made her crazy.
Rhythm Method? Thats what produced Jude.
IUD? Hello Margot.
There are others that require a more extensive history of our sex life so…
The decision wasn’t the easiest one. Not because I still want kids, because I feel guilty for not wanting more. Alaina agreed with me, she didn’t want anymore either. A two hour drive through the winding woods helped us solidify our decision with each other. After all, if you can’t communicate with your spouse, whats the point of having one? She felt like she might want more children when we get into our thirties, but in reality she would want a child for the nostalgia aspect. I agree. I don’t care who knows it, holding a calm (emphasis on calm) baby instills a calm in yourself that is truly amazing. But nostalgia makes you forget about sleepless nights, high pitched screaming and poop that runs north instead of south. Still raising 1-5 year olds while I’m in my 30’s would be hell. People do it, I know…but I don’t want to. There’s a point in child rearing I want to pass. Dont get me wrong, I love changing diapers every hour or so…. In the off chance that we would want kids in our 30’s (or before or after) adoption would still be on the table. Plenty of empty nesters adopt tons of dogs.
Largely, I’m a huge advocate of not having your life change to much whir having children. Life around you doesn’t stop so why should you? On her third day alive, Margot was at the local Trader Joe’s. People gotta eat! Even tired people. This being said, because we don’t do daycare, we are limited for our jobs. We’re fortunate to be in a situation where when Alaina goes back to work (which is only days away) I have the benefit of staying with my kids through the day and work at night. If either of us ever wanted to change jobs right now, we wouldn’t really be able to. At some point, I would like to work doing something different, and having a continuous stream of kids just wouldnt work for us. Although, I’m sure we would find a way to change our jobs and still be with our kids. I’m optimistic about the fact that I’ll never be fired but there is always a chance…
I can’t wait till both of them are in school at least a little bit so I could have more than 10 minutes of quiet. I know, I know, “Dont blink, time flies, they’ll be teenagers before you know it and you’ll be dead.” Lets be realistic. Any parent that says they enjoy not having a single moment to themselves is full of shit. By enjoying the moments you have with them, you won’t have to worry about time flying by too fast or not being able to experience them grow (unless you miss both of them rolling over). Figure out whats important to you and your family, and then live with it.
After the Fact:
Along with my work at night, I also write. I currently have one book of short stories available and another in the process. For christmas, I decided to write and illustrate a children’s book for my kids. I am very pleased with the product and will be offering it to the public starting at the end of November. If you would like to pre order (no payment required as of yet) please email your name to be added to the list.