No, I don't actually want to eat a baby, a la Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal, but I am definitely craving the having and holding of one.
I've said before that motherhood is irrational. I suppose it has to be to ensure the perpetuation of the species. Pregnancy sucks, childbirth, even with an epidural, wasn't the most fun 9 hours of my life, a newborn, especially my newborn, wrecks havoc on your emotional and physical well-being, and my nearly 18-month old continues his negative effect on my finances, the dark circles under my eyes, and my ability to enjoy a nice conversation with my husband before 8pm. And less dramatically, I feel like our life is really good right now. We have lots of family time, lots of relaxing time, and lots of play time, and a big part of that is because Landon goes to bed at 8pm. I can come home from work and jump into playtime with him because I know that in a few hours I'll be able to sit and indulge in something selfish like reading a book or watching TV. I can't imagine adding a demanding new baby to the mix.
And yet, I spend an increasing amount of time thinking about just that: When would we want Landon 2.0 to be born? When should we start trying? What if we wait until the absolute perfect time but I miscarry and we have to start over? (with 9 pregnancies and 4 live births between our two mothers, that is a thought I have often) When will we move Landon to his big boy bed? (feel free to provide me with some insight on that one) What names do I like? Will I be as excited about a girl when I really want another boy? How do I want to decorate the nursery? Time spent hypothesizing about this matter is not billable and it is definitely not helping me get through the 3,000 documents I need to review. Not to mention the fact that we actually can't have another baby right now. Childcare for two would be $2,200/month at Landon's daycare and we absolutely cannot afford that until JP is bringing in some money. I'm not even sure I really want another one now. I think we're doing a good job making time for everything, but it's a precarious balance. Luckily I can recognize this as the craving that it is- it's like my brain has picked up on this idea and now can't stop fixating on it. Maybe it's my lack of big upcoming events in my life- I've graduated, taken the Bar, and started my job, apparently I need a new big change to look forward to at all times.
But part of it is real- I do love being a mother and I want to hold and love a newborn again (preferably one without reflux and colic, but obviously, we can survive almost anything- though I have a feeling I'll never be able to convince JP to have a third, right now I'm working the "there is NO WAY the next baby will be as difficult as Landon" angle pretty hard). I love watching Landon play with other kids and I think it will be wonderful to see him with a sibling. It wasn't long ago that I thought it would be at least five years before we had another, I just couldn't imagine dividing myself into more pieces without breaking. But over the past few months Landon has required less and less of me and I can imagine giving of myself to someone new in a way I couldn't over the summer. At 18 months he's obviously still a huge drain on my energy and time, but he also plays, smiles, and dances, and he generally gives as much as he takes. He's also increasingly able to play on his own and tell us what he wants (not that he always gets it, but crying is easier to bear when I know what I'm denying him). I understand why so many families have kids spaces about 2.5 years apart, it's a major change from totally dependent baby to walking, independently playing toddler.
The financial issues are real. I know I make a lot of money, but my house, loans, grad school attending husband, and daycare attending child take every penny. And when I think about the practical aspects of a human family of four (and mammalian family of seven), I'm not sure I could handle it in a way that won't force someone to sacrifice more of me than they should have to. But on nights like last night when Landon is running around the living room alternating between imitating his dad watching football on TV (leaning back on the couch, hands across his belly, staring placidly at the TV- with little sideways smiles towards JP to make sure he's doing it right), dancing to the music from commercials, and throwing himself onto a pile of pillows in a fit of giggles, all I can think about is having another one. I'm not a baby person- I have never voluntarily reached out to hold one, but the other day when my co-worker brought his new baby around the office I immediately held out my arms to snuggle him. I didn't do that even six months ago.
We'll see, maybe in another year we'll be on the baby path. For now I suppose I'll have to make do with holding my friends' babies (one due tomorrow, another due in May). Maybe facing reality of a newborn and the probable flood of suppressed memories from Landon's early days will be enough to make me content with our longer timeline. But this urge has not been known to obey reason.