Saturday, October 16, 2010

two's company

I would say that Mack's powers of conversation now approximately equal that of a mid-level sign-language gorilla, in that it mostly consists of parroted phrases, a stock collection of food/toy nouns, and a selection of emphatic compound phrases mostly reserved for expressions of displeasure. ("I want to!" when we're preventing him from doing stuff, versus "Don't want to!" when the tables are turned, etcetera.)

Anyway, he's cute, is all.

Ever since Mack was born (oh man, almost two years ago--time marches on) people have been asking me when I was planning to have "the next one," or when I was going to "try for a girl." And let's be clear here, I have nothing against girls--certainly they lay claim to the lions share of cute clothes and accessories and I am told they are somewhat (though not absolutely) less likely to attempt things like base jumping off the kitchen cabinetry. However, as the oldest child in a family of three daughters, I have always found this societally ingrained push for parity in family gender balance puzzling. As though everyone expects us to take part in a family version of one of those reality show BATTLE OF THE SEXES and they just want the teams to be fair. It also makes me wonder--if Mack had been a girl, would I be getting quite as many queries as to the status of the next hatchling? Or would people more readily assume that we were done?

Let's just say right here that Joe and I have no immediate plans to have more kids. For one, we can't really afford it right now. For two (secondly?) we have more than enough on our plates at the moment. Maybe we'll feel differently when Mack is a little more self-sufficient, but in my opinion, there's no more effective form of birth control than a kid who requires adult intervention for every single bodily need in life, both consumptive and expressive. (Well, perhaps that's overstating things somewhat--he can breathe for himself. Has since birth. My little prodigy.)

We have not ruled out having more kids. We still may a few years down the line. But right now, we're good right here. We're fine with our two smelly boys. If we do end up having another kid, that'll be fine, we'll be happy. But if we don't end up having another kid, I think I can abide with these two. Right now, two is enough.


  1. Anonymous9:05 PM

    Makes sense! And now you have to answer the question of why you guys ended up staying in Atlanta. Plans for future relocation? I would have guessed a definite return to NYC.

  2. Oh, goodness.

    Michelle, I've been reading your blog ever since you were in medical school. I've commented a couple of times... but not very often.

    I'm older than you are - pushing 40 - and I'm also the mom of two boys. They are sixteen and twelve.

    When my husband and I were in the baby years, oh my heavens, life was INSANE. So hectic, so loud, so tiring. We were young, and perpetually exhausted, and yes, even poor. Between the craziness of life (and after a couple of pregnancy losses), etc., we were DONE. My husband had a vasectomy and we moved on.

    But now... now...

    Now life is different. Our sons are 16 and 12. They have complete control of themselves/ they sleep through the night/ they don't need parental intervention for very many things. My husband and I are no longer poor and perpetually exhausted.

    And, yes. At this point, I would kill for a daughter. I love my boys- I cherish my boys- but, in the end, it is starting to sink in that we will never have a daughter. And it makes me sad. At the time, when my boys were young like yours, this was barely a passing thought. But now, when life has calmed down...

    All this to say... your boys will grow. Your husband will no longer be in medical/fellowship/whatever-it-is training. As you age in your careers, you will be less income-strapped and less exhausted. All I'm saying is - keep your options open. Just as medical-school-Michelle would never have known what Atlanta-mother-Michelle would be facing and feeling, so it is with you, say, ten years from now. Or twenty.

    Many hugs from a very long-time reader and fellow mother of two boys!

  3. Anonymous11:11 PM

    I second wanting to know why you guys have stayed in Atlanta. It seemed so hard for you to leave New York, that I figured you'd be back as soon as Joe finished fellowship. Not that Atlanta is a bad place to live of course, but you seem to love New York so much.

  4. Anonymous12:47 AM

    Only an anesthesiologist would give her 2 year old credit for independent breathing. You're awesome, and you made coffee come out of my nose yet AGAIN.


  5. I never thought I'd have two after the first one, who was absolutely the worst crier, sleeper, everything. Now I have two, and I'm already wanting a third one, although we have similar concerns regarding money and too much on our plates. I think, as soon as you think it might be possible, somewhere down the line you'll want another one. Babies always grow and become independent, but that desire for those little feet and sweet toothless smiles never goes away.

  6. Anonymous8:31 AM

    Maybe I'm not the most neutral in this regard. I just gave birth on Saturday to my second - a girl - and I have an almost three year old son. I struggled with mixed feelings about having a second. At times, I was so happy with having just one - whether nate had been a girl or whatever. But at other times, I thought a second would be nice. But I was going to draw the line at number two regardless of whether number two was a girl or a boy. it didn't matter to me at all. Our lives were exhausting and expensive with just one, it would increase exponentially with number two and quite frankly, the biological issues surrounding pregnancy and delivery and post partum life were things that I am and will be more than happy to avoid in the future. I think that I feel the same way that you do and if I ever decide that another addition to the family is warranted, I am seriously considering fostering to adopt or straight adoption.

  7. Anonymous11:37 AM

    Hmm...all I can tell you is that I have four, and I honestly think it got easier after the first two. Going from one to two was hard, but after that, you start to feel a bit more experienced at this parenting stuff. Three and four honestly just sort of flowed into the family unit and managed just fine. We have three girls and a boy (and no, the boy wasn't the last one), and it is fun having some of each. There are experiences that are harder to come by if you don't have some of each gender.

  8. I have two boys. One is 4 and the other is 11 months. Honestly, being 41, I should stop thinking about having a 3rd. My husband and I got married later than most (mid-30s), so we didn't have much time to think about waiting to have a baby. If we were much younger starting out, I could wait a year or two to see if I want another. At this point, we really cannot afford another unless my husband gets a substantial raise or we win the lottery. But we're still not counting out the fact that we might just think about it. Oh how I would love a little girl but if we do have a 3rd and the baby is a boy, I'll be happy too! I love my boys! Makes being the only female in the house special! :)

  9. Outre5:08 PM

    I like the exif data on your pics... gf1!

  10. For the first three years of my son's life, I had zero desire for another one. I was surprised at how quickly and thoroughly that changed. I have no idea how I'll feel in a few more years about a third kid. I think we'll be done after #2 (also a boy), and certainly the expense and time/energy commitment is daunting, but I guess we'll just wait and see.

  11. At least for me, things were definitely different having one of each right away. I almost never got the, "when are you going to try for #3" but nearly always got the, "Wow, one of each, now you can be done!" Equally strange. Why assume such a thing? People were truly shocked when I went ahead and had a third anyway.

  12. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Oh, the pros and cons! I had 2 boys, 4 years apart. Took lots of fertility drugs and two miscarriages to accomplish. Then lo and behold, 5.5 years later, at 35, at the appointment with my ob/gyn where I had gone to talk about a tubal ligation . . . he laughed and said "not this year, you're pregnant!" No drugs, no charts, no planning. Just pregnant. That pregnancy was a breeze, the birth was great . . and there was my daughter. She's 16 now and I have to admit she's more demanding, more costly, and much higher drama than both boys put together. But the text messages alone are worth it .. LOL .. "mommykins, can Laura spend the night? . . I love you mommy! ... mommy, I'm starving! never been fed!" (never been fed is an inside joke).

    So .. while I'm sure that my 2 boys would have made me completely happy, my daughter is a huge bonus.

  13. Too bad adults aren't allowed to say MYOB when people ask nosy questions!

  14. Canadian Jenn2:23 PM

    I have three - a girl and two boys - and I have to agree with Anonymous that it does get easier after two. Sure we are busy and it is very noisy sometimes, but there are also times when they are entertaining each other and my husband and I can enjoy a coffee together and actually talk. We will probably even have a fourth...but why people always need to know the quantity of offspring we plan on producing is beyond me, and why it should be determined by gender is even further beyond me. I think it falls in line with the "how many weeks pregnant are you" and "are you sure you're not having twins! You're huge!" sorts of comments that people often make during pregnancy.
    Your boys are so cute (even without a sister alongside them LOL!).

  15. Anonymous11:04 PM

    "both consumptive and expressive" this is why you have a book coming out - dang you are a good writer... also, Stay here with us in Atlanta! We love you guys! Plus we have those falls every year! :>)