Friday, December 18, 2009

Do you have any trouble? Can I borrow it?

During a discussion of moving our toddlers to big beds, one of my playgroup moms mentioned that she tends to worry about these things far in advance of their actually happening. For example, she had already thought of about twenty-five ways the switch to the big-girl bed could go horribly awry, and her daughter was only about fifteen months old at the time. In other words, many months away from a big-girl bed. She said her husband, on the other hand, waits until things actually become a problem before he tries to fix them. I know! Crazy!

Having children has both increased and decreased my own propensity for borrowing trouble. As the mother of only one baby, I was quite good manufacturing possible problems that might arrive one day, particularly in regards to sleep. "I rock him to sleep! HOW WILL I EVER STOP?" or "He uses a bink! NOW HE WILL NEVER STOP!" or "We finally have a good bedtime routine! HOW WILL WE EVER MANAGE TWO CHILDREN?" You should note that I was not actually even pregnant when I worried about that last one.

But now I have two children, so I've gotten over a lot of those worries, because I have living, breathing proof that I will not always have to rock him to sleep and he will still go to bed even when there is a small interloper intruding on his personal space. (You might argue that my lap is MY personal space, but I'm a mom, so... no.) Technically, we're still working on the bink, but I think we're going to have to go cold turkey with that one after Christmas. I choose not to think about it right now.

However! I am still quite capable of imagining the insurmountable problems of having more than two kids. Would you care to join me on my particular train wreck of thought?

"Nora is almost six months old, and her bedtime routine still revolves around nursing and rocking. What are we going to do if we have to let her cry it out? She shares a room with Jack! And there are no more bedrooms! So where are we going to put MORE kids? And where will we keep their stuff? What if we have to move? And what if we decide to move when I'm pregnant? How will I ever take care of two kids while I'm pregnant? OMG THE HOUSE IS A MESS HOW WILL I MAINTAIN OPEN-HOUSE LEVELS OF ORDER WHILE PREGNANT WITH TWO KIDS? AUUUUGGGGHHHHHH!!!!"

Yes, I can successfully work myself into a state of high anxiety about getting ready for an open house that may or may not happen at some point in the distant future in the midst of a pregnancy that may never happen. I'm worried about how I will clean THIS mess right now such that the house will be ready to show in THREE YEARS OR MORE. What's that you say? The house will be cleaned and messed up about four thousand times by then? Oh, and Nora will not always require a bouncy seat and exersaucer and high chair and changing table? And she'll even probably be able to play on her own in three years? YOUR LOGIC WILL NOT WORK ON ME.

I have to admit, I'm also wondering how I will ever be able to manage more than two kids, and this makes me sad, because I'm pretty sure I want more than two kids. I'm the youngest of six, and while I always enjoyed people's shock at learning about what a large family I had, I never thought it was that big of a deal. Looking back, I now wonder how my mother ever even left the house. It seemed so effortless to me! Well, it WAS effortless. For me. But my poor mother! My sister had a similar thought recently after a morning of hosting most of the under-seven set of grandchildren at her house. They weren't being bad or anything, just being kids, but six small children behaving well are still pretty darn loud. "I'm surprised you still like us," my sister said to my mother that afternoon, because my mother had to deal with that level of chaos EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I think I'm stuck in the same loop that Swistle talks about here. I have gone back to this post of Swistle's many times, in fact, because it is reassuring to me that she had the same "I-can't-possibly-have-more-than-two" thoughts that I am having. And now she has five! And she is surviving!

So. I will continue to try to talk myself down from the ledge in regards to the hypothetical open house we are going to have in three years. I am going to stop trying to solve problems before they exist.

And now the baby is waking up, so I am excused from having to come up with a coherent ending to this story. Yay!


Becca said...

Even if you got pregnant right now by the time you had your sixth Jack would be well into elementary school... so you would only have a few kids actually at home all day. Right? Still. I don't know how people do it either!

Erin said...

I do this too! It is getting better, but I slip back into it OFTEN, usually with something related to my oldest... probably because he's my oldest and we're always figuring things out for the first time with him.

BUT! Now that I have three, I feel strongly that it's not necessarily the NUMBER of kids, but the BABY FACTOR. Babies are so demanding! And screamy! And they poop all the time!

Whereas toddlers and preschoolers and children have much more similar needs. They can put the food in their own mouths. They can sometimes even use the TOILET. Amazing.

But throw a baby in the mix, and you've got two totally different species to tend. And it gets exhausting fast.

Babies grow up, though. And that doesn't mean they get EASIER, but at least they become more similar to their sibling counterparts. Which makes the whole of act of parenting a little easier to balance.

Swistle said...

I LOVE the title!

And also the subject. I STILL keep having to remind myself of this kind of thing. Like, I'll think "HOW WILL WE HANDLE X??" and then I think, "...Oh. Actually, Rob will be, like, able to DRIVE by then."

Heather R said...

That's me right? I am the mom who worried about my daughter switching to a big girl bed! I am famous now on this blog! :) I have also had the exact same thoughts about the open house thing. Today I actually got both kids to nap at the same time in a hotel room! And then at bedtime I put Sawyer down AWAKE in the same room as Amelia and he went right to bed while she talked to herself. She unfortunately never stopped talking to herself so we had to bring her out the livingroom area of the hotel room and she is on the pull out couch still talking to herself while I type this. I have come a long way. 3 weeks ago I was wondering how I would ever stop nursing Sawyer to sleep and putting him in his car seat for naps.