Growing up I was an only child, which meant I decided I wanted to have 12 kids when I got married. I assume it might be the same way if you grew up in a house of 13 kids, that you might want to scale that back when you started having kiddos.
But, my reality was that I got married later than most folks who actually do have 12 kids. I had my first baby when I was 33. We had a plan to start “trying” when she turned two, thus, we had our second baby when I was 36.
What I wasn’t expecting was the feeling of complete terror once I was actually pregnant. Going from one to two kids was incredibly scary for me. I had never realized that I had no idea what a life with 2 kids looked like. I only really understood the relationship between parents and one kiddo. I had no clue how to handle fighting. I had no clue how it’s possible to love both kids the same, but differently, all at the same time. It seems so silly now thinking back, but at the time it was super real.
Fast forward to this year, when my oldest is 6 and my youngest is 3, and we are having the conversation over and over again to try for a third — adding another tiny person to the mix. I’ve always heard people say that going from 1 to 2 is hard and going from 2 to 3 is hard, but anything above three is easy. I’m not sure I’m up for another crazy transition and, honestly, I’m probably not going to be able to talk the hubster into 4, so, yikes! Another hard transition? Shoot. We are in such a good place. Kids love each other. Play nicely together without too much supervision and intervention. We can get seated easily when we go out to dinner (this is a real thing folks-my best friend said this was the hardest thing to get used to…a table for 5 just didn’t really exist)
Speaking of friends, if you start asking your friends who have kids how they made the decision, prepare yourself to hear this: “Oh man, well, you will be switching from man-to-man to zone defense.” To that just nod and smile and laugh a little unless you actually understand what that means. I did not. But Wikipedia did:
Man-to-man defenseis a type of defensive tactic used in team sports in which each player is assigned to defend and follow the movements of a single player on offense.
The alternative to man-to-man defense is Zone Defense, in which the defender is assigned a specific area of the floor, and then guards whatever offensive player enters his area.
Ok, now I get it. You’ll also inevitably hear your friends say, “Oh man, it’s just so different with your third.” I get that too. Just the change going from one to 2 was different. I’m pretty sure my first never ever touched the ground of any store without socks (nice white socks) and shoes on. My second rarely can find any socks, and takes his shoes off, which I never notice until we are already knee deep into HEB and he’s dying to walk. I assume with my third I may forget to dress him/her altogether. Who knows.
Some days hubby and I look at each other when the kids are screaming and fighting and crying and we mouth to each other…”what are we thinking adding another person to this craziness.” And other days when it’s heavenly at the house and the kids are happy, we think, “let’s have 2 more.”
The only thing I know for sure is that, at some point, one of my kiddos will be my last kiddo and that’s going to be hard. Who knows, maybe we’ve already seen our last “1st Steps.” There is no doubt that one day we will be looking at the last baby tooth lost. No matter what happens, I’ve decided I need to start focusing less on these “last moments” and start looking forward to the journey ahead. Once I was sad when my daughter was about to turn 2 and I was lamenting to a friend who told me that she felt the opposite. That each year had been better than the last, watching the kids become people with opinions and preferences etc. etc. Because getting to know your littles will never get old and seeing them grow up can be fun, and not sad, if you change your perspective.
So that’s the plan-look ahead and not behind, and, who knows, maybe I’ll end up with 12 grandkids one day.