From painting to babies in three easy steps
2005-10-13 - 3:40 p.m.

Just as I was heading upstairs this afternoon, the doorbell rang. Mario, one of the guys working on my mom's house, wanted me to come over and take a look at the ceiling paint first coat. He was worried that the colors might not be what Mom envisioned, so he wanted us to check before the second coat goes on.

Now that the primer is up, the house has a whole different feel to it. It's back to expectant. For a while, it just felt sad in there, abandoned, dusty, ignored. Now, there's energy in its walls again. Almost like the house is saying, "Soon, soon!"

The upstairs ceiling is a pale, pale blue, like a pastel sky. The downstairs bathroom is a pretty, soft purple hydrangea. Tomorrow, pending her color approval, the second coats go on, and then the walls get their coats of white. Christmas is not entirely unattainable.

Should she be through the doors by Christmas, it will be the best present my family could get. We all love each other, but our living arrangement is wearing thin on all of us. She needs her own space--her one tiny room (the hovel, as she calls it) isn't healthy for her, and she's so unhappy. And Kirk...well, lest's just say that men are not meant to live with their mothers-in-law, and leave it at that.

Will is the only one among us who appearsunphased by our close quarters. He was three weeks old when we moved into her old house after the condo sold, three months old when we moved into this house. As far as he knows, Nanas always live with you. Poor little guy--her moving is going to be very hard for him. Thank goodness it's not a long move.

He's developing at such a rapid rate right now. Each day is something new. This weekend, he added the words "clock" and "kitty" to his repertoire. Unfortunately, they come out "cock" and "titty," but the general idea is there...

Trucks suddenly go "brrrm brrrm" as he moves them across the floor. Pressing the button in the middle of his little bike, he lets out a "beep beep." Sentences are appearing--"More apple." "Car go." "Daddy home." "Poopy," he announces, and grabs our hands to lead us to his changing table.

In the car on the way home from New Hampshire this weekend, I remarked to Kirk that it didn't seem possible that he would be two in a month. Two! Such a big boy! Kirk smiled rather slyly and said, "So, what do you think, Will? Do you want a sister for your birthday?"

Seeing my surprised look, he reminded me that I said we could talk about it when Will was two. And so, with his second birthday fast approaching, the subject was on the table.

I find myself so very divided on the idea. On one side, I am so incredibly satisfied with my little family the way it is that I can't even imagine bringing someone else into it. I'm a little selfish, too. We've gotten through the hardest part, and the fun part has really hit. It's a huge sacrifice of all the Jennifer parts to go back and start over again right now. And logically, we just don't have a place to put another baby right now.

The other side of me questions whether I'm satisfied enough to close that door. None of my concerns are unworkable. Except the satisfied part.

My cousin and her husband had one child. They tried for several years to get pregnant again and ended up going through in vitro (successfully in the second round). Just before their daughter turned five, the twins were born.

She wanted those babies SO MUCH that it took over her life. Now, as much as she loves the twins, she talks wistfully about the days when there were just three of them.

I always--ALWAYS--said that I wanted more than one child. That having been an only child, I didn't want to create an only child. I had many cousins--my kid wouldn't, so I would need to make sure she had that built-in family.

Of course, I said that before I had a child. Before that "she" turned out to be a "he." But even the prospect of there being a "she" isn't enough to make me gung-ho about a second round of motherhood.

It isn't the prospect of pregnancy, either. The truth is that, with the exception of minor complaints and one big scare, I *loved* being pregnant. That part I have no issue with. It's the two years after that that give me hesitation.

I don't know how to explain any of this to Kirk, either, and I don't know how to get myself to some sort of resolution. I do know, however, that I need to do one or the other, if not both, on a pretty close timetable, because come Christmastime, or whenever it is that our family of four becomes a family of three with one very close neighbor, the subject is going to come up again hard, and someone in this house is going to be looking to ditch the pills and get busy. I don't want to be indecisive at that point.

Not that I was sure I wanted Will when I first found out there would be a Will, either. Perhaps the answer is that I'll *never* be ready to jump in and try for #2, but that I should forge forward anyway? That feels a little risky to me. It's not like buying a sweater. I can't return the baby if I change my mind about having one.

Now I've thought myself into a hole. Damn hole. Time for a new cup of tea and a fresh perspective.


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