We had two of my closest friends, Michelle and Kristin, and their families, over for dinner last night. They both got started with their baby-raisin’ days a little later than we did. Our oldest is seven, and our youngest will be four in early March. Michelle’s son is a year and a half old, and she is pregnant with their second child, and Kristin’s little girl was just born in early December. It only takes spending a little time with little bitty kids to remember why we decided to stop at two.
My hat is off to all of you with big families - - or hey, with more than two kids for that matter. For awhile, we tossed around the idea of one more little one. Then we started really thinking about it and woke up from that pipe dream. For starters, when Aleita was a baby and she and Maggie were in daycare at the same time, we spent just over $13,000 in daycare expenses. That is not a typo - - $13,000 for two kids in daycare. If we were to have another child, we would be right back in that same situation, at least until Aleita begins kindergarten in August of 2009. In addition, we would most likely have to look at two new cars - - I don’t think my little car can handle three carseats in the back, and Chris’s car is starting to get some age and miles on it and it is only a matter of time before it gives up the ghost. We also just recently purchased and fixed up our new home, and we have no plans of leaving anytime soon - - but with only three bedrooms, two of the kids would have to share a room (I know, not the end of the world, but still a consideration.)
Beyond financial considerations: Until you are around tiny infants again, you forget how demanding and stressful having one really is. The thought of having to get up at all hours with a newborn is something I definitely do not miss. Likewise, as I watched Kristin lug in the bulky infant carrier and Lucy’s diaper bag, I had a little smile at knowing how nice it is now just to be able to throw everybody in the car and go and not have to spend 20 minutes making a pack that is roughly the same size of those used by climbers to scale the Himalayas to simply sustain the needs of a newborn 10 pound baby for two hours away from home. Kristin even balanced Lucy on her lap as she ate supper because she knew that putting her down in her car carrier would result in her waking up and screaming until she was fed. I cut my kids food up for them, but beyond that, they were totally self-sufficient for the entire meal.
Michelle’s 18-month old, Nathaniel, is a bundle of energy. He also requires a large pack, though his is perhaps the size of someone who plans to do some climbing the Rockies. Having somewhat older kids now, it didn’t occur to me until they walked through the door that my house is not even close to baby-proofed. As he ran through the living room, I quickly grabbed and moved candles out range. I then looked around at my exposed outlet covers, fire burning in the fireplace and two open staircases and said a silent little prayer that he’d make it out unscathed. Also, having not eaten with a toddler in awhile, I had forgotten how much fun to them the game of throw the cup (or spoon or fork or bowl or napkin) can be.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved being around both of my friends’ kids last night. It was so nice to hold and feed a tiny little baby again, and playing with a sweet little toddler was really enjoyable. . . . but so was getting a full eight hours of sleep last night after they had gone home.