Like I’ve said before, I have a gaggle of friends with newborn/very young babies. If I were a true girly-girl, I’d be all over those newborns with snuggles and kisses, reliving every delicious moment of having a small baby. But I was never a girly-girl and I’m selfish enough to admit that the only babies I ever really gushed over happened to expel from my own womb. Y’all can blame the leg-humping from my own insistent toddler and/or persistent preschooler for my benign ambivalence for all the newly born Small People.
Friends—it’s not that I don’t think your new babies are just precious, beautiful and sweet. It’s that newborns scare the hell out of me now. Why?
One, I don’t—in any way—want to have another baby.
Two, holding new babies makes my uterus hurt, and I think about having another baby.
Considering those two statements are in direct opposition, I can sense your confusion. Let me try and explain. Biology is a bitch and I’m still in my childbearing years. Hormones, they do run amuck. Like all suckers, er…I mean, moms of multiple children, I understand how the smell of a new baby is designed by Mother Nature to propagate our species. Honestly, if women didn’t feel the tug from their fallopian tubes in their ovaries, no one in their right mind would have more than one child.
Thankfully I am completely equipped to deal with these occasional tugs by avoiding prolonged skin-to-skin contact with new babies. Oh, and my two walking birth control advertisements—because where newborns might cause cravings, toddlers and preschoolers can (often) have the completely opposite reaction.
My youngest child more closely resembles a little boy than a baby now. My oldest child lacks only height and weight to define his future manly-man features. Lately, I’m barely staying ahead of my almost-4-year old, and my almost-2-year old told me recently that he’d like to “Jump out of Awero-pwanes (airplanes). Sooommm-eee—ddaayy”. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that my parenting capabilities are stretched to my personal maximum.
Maybe all mothers go through this—that day when they wake up and think, “YES! I kept them both alive long enough for them to start killing each other. My job here is done.” Followed by the treacherous voice whispering, “oh, but they seem so grown up now…one more baby would be SO sweet.”
It’s surreal for me to think that just a mere two years ago, I was 9 months pregnant with Elliot and managing to keep up with a two year old Zach. I was there for all of it–obviously–but I apparently blocked out the reality of parenting a two year old. A first-time Mom gets all of the awe in those new accomplishments, the total devotion to Mommy, the dependence on you to make sure their environment is safe, yet stimulating. The second-time Mom finds it less awesome and infinitely more annoying when she realizes that the littlest one can get himself onto the kitchen counter. My friend put it perfectly, “it’s like constantly vacillating between being impressed by them and pissed off at them.”
When I was a thousand months pregnant with Elliot I was too busy trying to figure out how to use my shop vacuum to speed up my delivery date (my pregnancy glow is anger, not joy) to truly process Zach’s developmental growth.
Yeah, I don’t remember.
Perhaps the same phenomenon that allows women to forget labor pains worked to make me forget toddler pains. I don’t remember as many of the tantrums, the throwing of self to the floor, the overt and obvious defiance. Realistically, I know all of that happened, but the frequency of those occurrences is one big blur.
I realize how difficult and overwhelming life must be when you are barely 34 inches tall. I sympathize with the frustration of not being able to communicate your thoughts well enough to be understood by those who control your environment. I think in pictures, but I can’t draw—seriously, I GET it. But the relentless whining and pleading? The grabby/snatch “MINEs” and the “NONONONONONOs”. The “DON’T LIKE ITs” and the “Goldfish Cracker, please…GOOOOLLLLDDFISH CRACKER. PLLLLLEEEEAAAASSSSEEEs” make me want to fucking scream.
At 2 years old, they are defiant and learning about independence, without the words to express their heartfelt desires. At 4, they have both the words and the comprehension to negotiate for their cause, without any of the logic required to fulfill their long-term plans. The reality of my right-now is what allows me to reminisce about the sweetness of the newborn baby; the no-discipline required, no difficult conversation having-ness of an infant.
So ladies, when I absently pat your newborn on the head and go refill my coffee cup, please do not think it a reflection of my feelings for you, or your children. It’s just a self defense mechanism against my internal idiot…otherwise known as the biological clock that takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
I also think it’s time to send my husband’s urologist a thank you note–you know, for removing most of the possibility that the internal idiot will ever win the argument.