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May 10 2012

Top Things People Say When Told I’m Having My Fourth (!) Kid

By at 9:38 am
minivan

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Yes, that’s right, boys and girls! I am thrilled to report that I’m pregnant and we will be having a new Kveller blog subject little girl, all going well (pu pu pu) in October, who will with great fanfare join her older two brothers and sister. I feel unbelievably grateful–having met and married each other late in life, my husband Jon and I are making up for lost time as quickly as we can.

When I told my two boys that we were going to have another baby, they were incredibly excited: “Now we EACH get to have our own baby!” Yes, boys, that’s why we did it, so that now, you will each get to have your own baby. Just think–in some families, kids get hamsters.

It feels like only recently that I broke the news to people that I was having Baby G, after all. But I will say people’s reactions have been different with this baby “announcement.” Last time, everyone just said “Congratulations!” or “B’shaa tova!” or “Mazel tov!” and hugged me excitedly with a huge smile. It was a happy ending of sorts–a proclamation of joy in my new marriage.

I’m sure people are happy for me this time too, of course. But this time, here are a few of the things people have chosen to say instead or in addition to the “congrats!”:

1. “So the new one and baby G will be…how far apart? YIKES!!!”

We are not Irish, but apparently we now have total license to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. G and the new baby will be 15 months apart, hence making them “Irish twins.” Yes, they’ll be close to each other in age, but not too close for my comfort. My first two boys are 18 months apart–this is the only way I know how to parent multiple children. Yes, there are years coming up that will be a blur of diaper purchases, Babies R Us runs, pediatrician visits, sippy cups, and Purell. It will be a lot of physical work. My biceps were never better than they were when I had two little boys who needed perpetual diaper-changing: on changing table, off changing table.

But in my experience, kids that are close together age-wise become best friends and invaluable confidants. My two boys, when they don’t want to kill each other, are each others’ right hand man. With a sibling who’s near your own age, after all, you have a perpetual wingman–someone to play with when Mommy and Daddy are still asleep or haven’t scheduled a playdate. A close sibling is someone to laugh with at breakfast, and someone with whom to share jokes that no one else understands. Proximity of age leads to proximity of interests and empathy. However tough it may be, I know that I will be giving G the best gift she can possibly get…even if it takes her a little while to appreciate it.

2. “Wow–your house is going to be crazy.”

This one puzzles me–because I’m not really sure what gave you the idea that our house isn’t already crazy. Trust me–it’s nuts over here. You should see my morning ballet in the kitchen as I try to fill the coffeemaker, make two lunches and snacks for school, feed the baby, and prepare breakfast simultaneously. I’m jealous of octopuses. At least Jon corrects me when he sees that I’m wearing my shirt inside out.

But with each child I’ve had, I’ve realized that that feeling of almost-chaos will ALWAYS be true–in other words, it’s not at all related to how many kids you have. A mother of one can feel it just as acutely as a mother of six. As a mother, you always feel like you’re overflowing and at your limit simultaneously. But what I’ve learned is that your limit can always be pushed further to encompass everyone you love.

3. “Wow, Jon is a stud!”

Seriously, this has actually been said to me multiple times. I can’t help but feel that commenting on my husband’s sexual prowess seems to be the sort of thing that should be reserved for one party–me. And no, I do not lend or rent him out.

I also find it odd, while we’re on this topic, that not a single person has said, “Well, I’m not surprised you’re pregnant again–after all, how could he possibly keep his hands off you, you smoking hot suburban siren of sex?” Although I guess the variant on that is…

4. “Wow–you are a fertile Myrtle!”

I feel very fortunate that I have not had to deal with fertility issues. I have many friends who have, though, and I am not really sure how one is supposed to handle this remark gracefully (advice welcome). It’s so random, after all–I just happen to be lucky on this issue. I also have the proverbial “birthing hips,” but whatcha gonna do. All I can do is be grateful. For the fertility, if not the hips.

5. “Wow–you’re keeping us in business!”

This could be said by our kosher butcher, my local maternity clothes store, the Pampers or Lego corporations or perhaps even Kveller.com, but it was said by our elementary school principal.

Yes, it is somewhat amusing to think that due to the age spacing of our children, I will be doing pick up and drop off at that school for twelve years straight, until 2024. I am hoping I will have come up with more creative ideas for school lunches by then.

6. “Are you guys secretly ultra-Orthodox?”

Yes. Yes, we are.

No, I’m kidding. But I do feel pretty good about bringing more little Jewish people into the world.

7. “Well, you’re DEFINITELY going to need a minivan.”

There is a lot that we are going to “need.” We will “need” another crib, for example, plus another glider, another changing table, a double stroller (hey, guys… want to get me the group gift of the Bugaboo Donkey?).

But do we really need another car, honestly? We already have an SUV that could easily go into war in Afghanistan. But apparently we have breached the suburban code of conduct as parents of three kids, by not yet having succumbed to the lure of The Minivan.

One of the many things my husband and I have in common is that we both have a deep-seated, somewhat irrational aversion to minivans. I have yet to meet a minivan that doesn’t make me immediately think of just wearing sweatpants, never brushing my hair, and resigning myself to the sexless role of mom-chauffeur for the rest of my life. Whatever happened to the real Buick wood-paneled station wagon of days of yore? Now THAT’S hot.

But don’t worry. Each night, I look on eBay to see if anyone is selling a VW bus. If I have to give up my SUV, I’m going Partridge Family all the way.

8. “Well, NOW you’re done having kids, right?”

Isn’t this kind of an odd thing to say? Would you say to someone who had a full plate at a buffet lunch, “Wow, NOW you’re done eating, am I right?” Do I say to you, “Hey, isn’t that like the four billionth pair of Jimmy Choos I’ve seen you wear? How much do those bad boys cost again?” or “Do you think you’ve done enough pushups at the gym?” People without social disorders of some sort generally don’t ask these sorts of questions. Each person’s “enough” is different.

Maybe a more palatable question would be something like, “Wow…four kids! Does that make you nervous?” And of course, the answer is yes. Hell, yes. Let’s face it: I’d be a fool if the answer weren’t yes. Each kid is a separate universe unto themselves, with their own personality, concerns, worries, fears, delights, and tsuris. With each kid you have, your parenting universe expands not linearly, but rather, exponentially.

But I have also found that with each child I’ve had, my world has grown more complicated and more wonderful. I’ve become more tired, but I’ve also become more happy and grateful.

So I’ve just decided to tell people that Jon and I both love the movie The Sound of Music, and that we are not going to stop procreating until we have seven kids on our front hall staircase, decked out in lederhosen, singing “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodnight!”

Kidding. But I wouldn’t mind having five. (Shhh.)

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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