Thursday, August 12, 2010

To Three or Not To Three

My husband and I are somewhat torn. When Sock was born, who is in reality a fairly easy baby with few quirks, we looked at each other in a quiet draining realization that we simply could not do this again. Quite frankly I think everyone goes through that in the newborn stage. Probably like getting your first bikini wax. I remember distinctly thinking that with Peanut who was supremely easy and saying if she wasn't our first, she'd be our last.

But time goes on and we knew that. Hence our wrestling with family planning. We initially blithely planned to have 3 children. Well, sort of -- I originally said 2 or 3, depending on how the first 2 went. But I was easily swept away by Mr.P's enthusiasm. And both of us being from families of 3, well, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Until we had 2.

The work of 2 is not just double -- it's oddly enough some exponential multiplier that varies according to the draw of the day. Like PowerPlay. To begin to imagine the work load of three had me in hives.

Plus, there were the results of our informal survey. We hungrily questioned every parent we found of 3 -- neighbors, coworkers, my hairdresser, a flight attendant on a flight to my grandfather's funeral, our doctor. Basically, if you remotely mentioned you had 3 children in either my or my husband's vicinity, you were fair game. I would ask with a panicked spark in my eyes whether they preferred 2 or 3 children.

The results actually surprised both Mr. P and me. I would say easily about 80% (probably skewing lower rather than higher) said wearily that while they loved their third child beyond belief and wouldn't trade him/her for the world, stop at 2. For the love of God, stop at 2. (Okay, I added that last part but it seemed implied by a lot of them.) Reasons varied but there were some common themes. World is designed for a family of 4. Costs. Schedules. Someone was always left out. Kids ganged up and it was always 2 against 1 for something. You only have 2 hands. The chaos three involves cannot be fathomed. There is no downtime, alone time or couple time. And my own personal concern -- the older I get, the more of a roll of the dice it is in terms of health both for the baby and me. And the thought of a newborn at 40, to my lazy bones at least, is exhausting.

All of these reasons echo our own thinking of the moment, which is why we are fairly certain -- I'd say 85% -- we are done with two, barring some huge lottery windfall that blesses us with a full-time live-in nanny.

But the family planning decision is never one made by logic (see e.g. the Duggars). It's an emotional, damn the torpedoes decision. Which is why we are leaving that 15% in there to discuss down the road...

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