When I was five months pregnant with the mackerdoodle, I was sitting in my sister’s kitchen in Atlantic Canada talking about babies and family and what was in store for us. Melissa’s youngest child “Bess” was nine months old or so and sitting on the kitchen floor at our feet. During the conversation Melissa said, “It’s sad to me to think that Bess might be the last baby we would have.” To be honest, I was shocked. I was eagerly anticipating the mackerdoodle’s arrival, but I wondered how someone with four children could think it sad not to have more. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
When the mackerdoodle was nine or ten months old I was in the same house, helping Melissa pack to move to Central Canada. As she put Bess’ clothes in a box for my mackerdoodle, she told me again that it was sad to her to be giving me these clothes, thinking that Bess was possibly her last baby. At that point I knew with Bess just about two it was the longest stretch of time in eight years my sister had gone without being pregnant. I didn’t understand how leaving that cycle of pregnant/nursing/pregnant/nursing etc. behind was a source of grieving for her. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
Three weeks ago my friend Danielle had a beautiful baby girl. I stopped by to visit when little S. was a week old, and I saw the little bundle wrapped up in the bassinet, and I thought of my (then almost) crawling, 27 inch long great big boy at home and I thought. . .
“I want another baby.”
I get it. I understand how brief that first year is, and how very brief that new born stage is. I understand that temptation to just want a perpetual supply of baby giggles, baby milestones, baby cuddles. I understand now that every baby brings something new and wonderful into a family, and grows the love exponentially. I get it.
I also get that every baby grows into a child who requires a lifetime of nurturing and training in righteousness. I get how easily children can become idols in our lives to which we sacrifice the affections that rightly belong to God. I get that God calls us to good stewardship in all areas of our life.
So I understand why my sister wanted (wants) a fifth baby, and I understand why she and my brother-in-law chose not to pursue that right now. I understand why she would be sad to think of no more baby giggles, and I understand why they didn’t let their emotions make such an important decision for them. I get it.
I really, really get it.
My son will be six months old next week and is already out of most of his six month clothes. He is growing so quickly that I wonder if he may pass his sister in the next few years. With every outfit that doesn’t fit I feel like I’m watching my baby boy grow into a little boy who won’t have time to stop and cuddle his mama.
All of that is running through my mind right now as he sleeps on my lap. His feet hang off my right leg, almost touching the couch, and his head is resting in the crook of my elbow. He makes a loose “L” across my legs and torso and his easy breathing leaves a warm, comfortable, living weight against my body.
I should be folding laundry, but I just can’t bring myself to put him in his crib. I can’t help but feel that these moments will be gone too soon.
In the midst of the craziness that is my life right now, there are some gems of moments that I just want to freeze to preserve forever. I keep thinking “Oh I need to blog that.” and then I run out of time. So here are the moments I can still remember:
While reading a book about a family getting a new baby, my Mackerdoodle reached over, patted my tummy and said “Need more babies.” I laughed and asked her if she was saying that our family needed more babies. She nodded and repeated herself: “Need more babies.” When I was telling Jonathan about this story the next day, he asked her how many new babies we needed. She answered, “Um. Three.” Jonathan asked, hopefully, “Another baby, so there are three in the family?” She shook her head emphatically. “No. Three MORE babies.” Her daddy put both hands on his head and said “Oh I don’t know about that little girl.”
She has also added the phrase “I don’t know” to her vocabulary. She sounds just like Lucy in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, which she has never seen. My favorite “I don’t know” moment was on a walk one day. She was talking about the leaves and the acorns and the squirrels and the dogs, when she came out with “Baby Budder have bwoo eyes?” I responded with “Yes he does. Where did that come from?” She looked at me and said “I don’t know. ”
The Cheesedoodle, that aforementioned “baby budder” is also developing at a rapid pace. He is eating rice cereal with a little pureed sweet potato mixed with it. He is very enthusiastic about this expanse in his diet. He is also much more active than his sister was. He has figured out how to climb out of his Bumbo chair, how to take apart his tripod toy, and how to grab my face and kiss it (open mouthed, laughing kisses. The best kind.) Sunday afternoon, while he was busy trying to climb out of his car seat – and just about succeeding – Jonathan looked at me in all seriousness and said, “You know all those stories about me as a little boy that you thought were so cute? Well, you’re about to get more cuteness than you can handle. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
I can hardly wait. Especially if I end up with three MORE babies in the mix. Who knows what insanity my life could hold. 🙂
After two neurotic posts in a row here’s something to make all of us mothers remember some of the reasons we do it.