Monkey Man is an only child. It wasn’t really planned that way, but that’s what we got.
Joey and I got married when we were both 26 years old. And you know how you grow up with this master scheme in mind – married by 25 in a huge ceremony with 20 bridesmaids and that huge tiered almond wedding cake, brand new house by the time you’re 28, two kids (a boy and a girl, of course!) by the time you’re 30…..that was me. So at 26 years old, I was already behind the curve.
A few years went by and we decided maybe it was time to start trying to have a baby. In other words, instead of saving for an early retirement we figured it made more sense to have a baby as soon as possible! Of course! So we gave it the old college try. Over two years later, we still hadn’t gotten pregnant and it was time to take a stronger stand in the whole baby-making scene. Not to mention the fact that the whole infertility thing was making me just a little nuts, to the point where Joey would dread me meeting him at the door with a beer and a leer on my face. A few doses of Clomid later and I was finally pregnant with Monkey Man. I was just a few weeks shy of turning 32 when he was born.
Honestly, the first few years of Monkey’s life were rough for me personally. My nephew died unexpectedly six weeks after Monkey was born and I headed into a vicious cycle of trying to be everything to everybody instead of taking care of myself like a new mom should. I don’t regret a second of it because my family needed me and I was glad that I could be there for them. I think it was about a year ago when I finally snapped out of it and emerged from my self-imposed exile to regain The Being Formerly Known as Me. It hasn’t been an easy time – there are times when I feel guilty doing things for myself, but then the little devil on my shoulder sticks the pitchfork into my neck and reminds me that it’s OK to do things that don’t involve making homemade lollipop cookies for 30 kids after working 40 hours in three days’ time. Really it is!
The other issue was my job. Two years ago we were really on the fence about having another baby, and I ended up with an opportunity that required a possible two-year commitment on a project in which a year was to be spent out on the jobsite. There is no worse place to be when pregnant than out on a jobsite, trapped in a trailer with six men, two bathrooms, and nowhere to hide when you’re barfing into your trashcan. At times we didn’t even have working bathrooms, so you can imagine what that would’ve been like when baby is doing the samba on your bladder. So I decided to take the project on and it gave us a two-year respite from anyone putting any pressure on us about another baby. The stock answer was “I’ve got a two-year commitment at work and I am not hauling my pregnant butt out to a porta-john every 15 minutes.” Strangely enough, people stopped asking. I think it was the porta-john comment but I may be wrong.
Of course, for the past few months since my project ended we’ve been grilled by relatives, friends, coworkers, my boss, and even the preschool owners about when we’re going to have another baby. I think Joey and I both agree that it would be really nice to have another one, but we’ve reached such a comfort level with our life the way it is right now that we hate to throw everything out of balance. (Not to mention that I was possibly the most miserable pregnant woman on the planet with a birth story that isn’t exactly epic but scared me enough to order a chastity belt STAT.) Yet we also feel guilty about Monkey Man not having a sibling. As Joey told me recently, “You finally feel good about yourself again and I don’t want to mess that up for you. I’d rather do a fabulous job raising one child versus a half-assed job raising two.” Before we make a decision one way or the other, though, we have a few business irons in the fire that need to be resolved. And hopefully none of them involve a porta-john.
If you ask Monkey Man, he would adamantly proclaim no interest in having a sibling. No hesitation whatsoever – a flat out NO WAY. However tonight, a small glimpse into his mind that made my stomach churn just a little bit:
Me: Did you do anything interesting at school today?
Monkey: I drew a beautiful picture of you and me and daddy at school.
Me: You did? What was the picture about?
Monkey: Daddy was picking apples off a beautiful apple tree, and you and I were watching him. And I drew a baby in your tummy.
Me: Y-y-y-ou did? Why did you do that?
Monkey: Because I want a baby brother. Not a baby sister, but a baby brother because they are cool. Megan at school has one too.
Apparently he thinks you can just order these things. I guess with as long as it took us last time, we better think about ordering soon if we’re interested in having seconds. Let’s see, we’ll take one baby brother, hold the pickle.