Friday, July 1, 2011

He Says, She Says, Baby Edition.

No, I am not pregnant.

I am, however, old and grouchy.

Things have thawed quite a bit between Tom and me. That is, they HAD thawed until we broached a touchy subject on last night's after-dinner walk.

For those of you who have been around a while, you know that a 3rd child never materialized in the See household because Tom and I couldn't take the plunge. To give you an idea of how long it takes us to make a decision, we have friends who have fallen in love, gotten married, and gotten divorced in the time it takes us to choose a new TV set.

So instead of having a 3rd child, we talked, and hemmed and hawed, and made Ektorp appointments, and canceled them, and hemmed and hawed some more, and aged, and adopted an annoying dog.

The "should we have another?" dance started as soon as I had my head above water after kid number 2.

At which point we had THIS annoying conversation:

Me: This stay at home mom thing is brutal! I would definitely consider having another child if you could commit to waking up once every night to feed the baby a bottle of breast milk or formula.

Tom: No, I just can't do that. I'd be too tired for work.


At which point my baby-maker clamped shut with the force of a steel bear trap and the conversation halted for a few more years.

Later, we started thinking more and more about adding to the family. We discussed health insurance options. We had lovely conversations like this one:

Tom: Well, I'd consider having another one if I could stay home while you worked.

Me: Silence.

In my head: Does this guy really think we could survive on my measly salary when he makes 7 times as much? It would be a mistake to further procreate with this person. He is obviously really bad at math and has dubious reasoning skills. My sparkling personality will only get a baby so far...

A few years later, we started talking more and more. Things seemed to be bubbling up to baby-dom.

Until we spent a week at the beach with our close friends. One night over drinks I mentioned how Tom and I had caught a case of "baby fever."

At which point Tom looked at me blankly and said, "I really have no idea what you are talking about."

Embarrassed silence by our friends. Pissed-off silence by me.

Now if there is ONE thing I hate more than anything, it is being second-guessed by my spouse in public. I do NOT like feeling unsupported. I want someone to stand up for me-- ALWAYS.

This goes way, way back to my childhood and watching the relationship of key people in my life. I have shared with Tom time and again that I need him to back me up on things. If I am telling a great story and I say something happened 8 years ago, I don't want him saying, "Well, actually, it was 10." I am also trying to teach this to Jake, who is a nit-picky, semantics-obsessed corrector if there ever was one. God bless whomever he dates...

And it's not as if I was making this baby stuff up, Tom and I had been talking about it every day! Okay, every OTHER day, if you are reading this, Tom.

Back in our room, as I glared at him and told him how hurt I was for his claiming to have no clue as to what I was talking about, he said:

"Oh, you meant we'd been talking about BABIES? Sure. I was just unfamiliar with the specific terminology "Baby Fever."

Dear Lord. At which point I lamented marrying someone with the emotional and people skills of a Vulcan. Needless to say, no Vulcan/Human baby was forthcoming.

Which leads us to last night. Our neighbor's beautiful 5 year old was out riding her bike.

Anna: "Too bad we never got our act in gear. We could have one going off to kindergarten with little Beatrice."

Tom: "Well, it's not as if we didn't try."

In my head and on my face and coming out of my ears: TRY? TRY?????????

We never decided to try! There was no official decision! In the 10 years since my daughter was born, we have had unprotected sex one time! Once. Uno. Where I come from, that's called laziness, or Margarita Night, not TRYING.

Believe me, I am a type "A." If I had known we were "trying," I would have put a little more of myself into it, Tom would have gotten a lot more action, and we very likely would have another child.

So there you have it, a 41 year old woman wrestling with ghosts of the past. The truth is, if I had ever really been sure, I would have pursued the baby thing more wholeheartedly. But I felt tired, and often annoyed, and, well, un-sure. Do I wish we had another? Absolutely.

Do I want to do anything about it at age 41? No.

Do I wish Tom and I were better communicators? Heck yeah. I am quite hopeful the next 20 years will bring progress in this area, although if our pre-marital counseling goals are any indication, we are in for a wee bit of trouble.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

By the way, my old eggs and I are starting to research new kitchen appliances. Tom is not on board yet. I'll let you know when they get delivered, which should be shortly before hell freezes over.


Ellen aka Ellie said...

Well, you know, with appliances, as soon as you buy one, something better comes out.

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

You absolutely crack me up. Especially since the husband and I frequently discuss the possibility of a # 3 (ok, actually, I discuss the possibility while the husband ignores me.)

= )

Good luck with those appliances. Haha!

Anonymous said...

When I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I was surprised by some of the rude comments I got.
I wondered if it was because we lived in the 'burbs where there was an implicit limit to 2 kids. But most likely it was because I was obviously pregnant and obviously traveling with 2 toddlers already.
I could see people look at me and start working the math... and trying to determine I'd missed sex ed the day they explained where babies come from.
One day a woman I knew very casually saw me in the store... looking swollen and weary and about 6 months pregnant trying to keep up with little ones. Without thinking, she crudely asked about whether I'd made a mistake. I wasn't feeling very patient... and crudely responded... Some people may have the luxury of time, but I did not. I was faced with surgery that would eliminate all possibility of future children... my husband and I had a deadline. We didnt have time to think very deeply about the size of our house or car or budget in the future. I thought of it as a decision of the heart.
But perhaps it was a decision of greed... we wanted to get a little bit more while we could.

If I am challenged to be totally honest, I still question our rationale for having any of our children. Who were we to believe that we could handle this awesome responsibility?!

Jill said...

I always knew I wanted a third and pretty much told my husband that we were going to ... which was all fine and dandy until it just didn't happen.

2 years and endless fertility treatments later I finally had the pregnancy that stuck ... and ultimately we had our 3rd AND FINAL munchkin.

It isn't easy having kids when you're older - I now know why so many people do it in their 20's ... not that I had that luxury. :) I'm pooped, exhausted, pretty much done at the end of the day after running after my 2 YO.

BTW - bless you for actually knowing how often you've ever had unprotected sex ... that's a pretty amazing factoid to remember! *wink*

Anonymous said...

LOL great story i just had my fourth and smile endlessly at him. my other three are 12,8 and 5 baby number fourth was one of those aww would'nt be great to have a baby again i looked up and hubby was naked and ready to go.... after that i knew i had to tie my tubes hubby is way to willing and every few years i get baby fever, so i decided to save me from myself and the hubby :)

Heidi said...

I have 2 like you and I'm content. About a year and a half ago I wondered if we should have had another. But now...I'm really happy we didn't. What we have works for us.

I completely get what you're saying about the support thing - to be backed up. I am right there with you.

I love your honesty. It's refreshing.

Anonymous said...

You are very funny, thanks for sharing!

Christy said...

I know you've thought about this a lot, and I'm sorry you wish you guys had acted earlier. ugh! The clock was ticking for us, so I get a lot of those looks when I'm out and about with my two year old, one year old, and my five month pregnant belly. I expect the next few years to be the hardest of my life...but I think we'll make it?! :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I LOVE this! Vulcan! Hilarious. I often relate to your descriptions of Tom and preference for avoiding conflict - but I'm with you on this one. Drives me crazy when people get so stuck on semantics and nit pick! Although - full disclosure - I do that to Chris all the time when he's telling a story. But only because he is notorious for changing pivitol details - often about ME! Kind of like Tom saying you were "trying." That is a total Chris move if I ever heard one...

katie said...

GREAT post. I have felt that same "baby fever" creeping up on me...but getting re-married is first on my list. ;)

That same scenerio happened to me last night as I was telling a story. Trevor looked at me and annoyingly said "I have nooo idea what you are even talking about." Same disgusted look from me and the same awkward silence from those areound us.

What do u do? At least I know that I am not, we are not the only ones with this communication problem. ( I DID know what I was talking about and after a lengthy spat, he realized that he too knew what I was talking about. Oh my hell.....)

Mrs. Martin said...

I love your blog! I just found it through younghouselove. Not only are you a great writer, but your comedic timing is right on. Your relationship reminds me of my own. I have been married for five years and sometimes the communication between my husband and I can be awkward. We too are thinking about having another baby, (or I think it's just me) and we keep putting it off. I know my mom regrets not having more (she has four). She said when your kids get older, you miss them and wish that you had more. She told me not to make the same mistake.

Unknown said...

I had 4 kids in 5 years--I was 24 when the last one was born. My mother once commented that I got pregnant every time my husband took his pants off. I remarked that I thought he just had to walk into the room! After baby #4, I had my tubes tied. Then 3 years later, I got baby fever. I just knew we should have another. It took a while, but I finally got hubby on board...until I mentioned that I might possibly probably would want a 6th and 7th. There was no way he was going for that. So we just have the four.

We used to get the looks and comments. Baby #4 is now 28 with 3 children of her own--the oldest is 5. She gets the comments, too. When someone asks if all those kids are hers, she smiles and says "yep, aren't I lucky!"

Anonymous said...

Wow. I think my husband is your husband in the communication department. Maybe they took the same courses in college? Plague your Wife 101? Witholding Information and Feedback 212?

Be happy you have 2 kiddos tops. Or get busy! 41 is not too late.


Ellen said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time too, since finding the link on Young House Love. I too love your humor and writing style. My 3rd was born 27 yrs ago when it was nearly unheard of to have more than 2 kids. My husband was working on his undergrad degree at the time and still had seminary ahead of him. Friends and family thought we were nuts to have another baby in the midst of all that. We went on to have #4 while he was in seminary. When our youngest bio daughter was 5 we adopted what would be the 1st of 5 children who joined our family through adoption. Our most recent addition (#9) joined our family only 2 wks. ago, a 12 yr. old Haitian boy. When we first heard of this child's need for a family we were certain we were too old, already had enough kids and not sure we were prepared to parent a child adopted at an older age. But, we committed to pray for the perfect family for him. No one else stepped up and eventually we realized we were praying for someone else to do the very thing God was asking US to do. Our newest son amazes us everyday and we're so glad we didn't let our ages (52 & 55), fear, or family size keep us from the joy of his presence in our family. Our 9 kids range in age from 33-11. We also have 8 grandchildren with another due in October. Just last week 20 of the soon-to-be 24 of us vacationed together at the ocean. It is loud and chaotic when we're all together, but we wouldn't have missed this life for anything in the world. It is definitely NOT what we thought our family would look like when we married 35 yrs. ago, but it's a wonderful adventure and we're certain God was in it. It is not too late for you to add to your family, either by birth or adoption!

Ellen said...

Just to be clear....I'm not suggesting my large family is right for everyone. I'm simply saying have the family YOU want to have. It's not too late and you are not without options!

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who calls it "the dumb gene." It surfaces in all men after marriage and kids..
Speaking of which..I had my 1st at
40..2nd at 43...married late..thought my eggs were gone. They weren't. I think you should go for's exhausting, don't want to hit 45 and say.."we should have tried."
Like your husband..but what the heck,
he thinks you already did! -ann

Alexandra said...

I hear you, and I say: you can still do it.

You can.

I decided to try and 5 mos shy of turning 44, I had my baby.

You can still do it.


I love my baby.