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Thursday, November 16, 2006

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Crash into me

This afternoon I took the baby to a new pay-and-play facility here in town. It was a rare outing for just the two of us. No big brothers to chase around, no girlfriends to talk to; just me and Crash.

I call him that sometimes, because that's his style. My older sons are mild and gentle as little boys go (recent biting episodes aside), but this one is belligerent. He swaggers. He bellows. He punches and throws things. He's got an arm on him a Howitzer. He likes to stay up for hours past his brothers' bedtime, singing and staggering around like the last drunk at a party. He sticks his hand up my shirt and slaps me if I try to move it. If he were my boyfriend, we'd have broken up long ago.

I tell him that to his face, and worse besides. "You're wearing me out," I say to him. "Do you think you could stop following me for just five seconds?" I turn on the television and I sneak away to my coffee and the computer.

I feel bad for not being more gracious, but he just showed up here uninvited. That's the other reason I call him Crash.

I remember vividly the moment I decided that two children were enough for us. It was New Year's Day, and the two I had already were four and two years old. The three of us were taking a little nature walk behind the hotel, letting Patrick watch his football game. The four year old wanted to explore further, but it was too hard to manage the trail with the toddler. I had been lugging babies around, inside and out, for nearly five years. I was exhausted. I looked at my boys and thought how ready I was to be emancipated from the carrying, wiping, changing and nursing so we could move on to the fun stuff. I loved my babies wildly, but babies are work. Kids are too, but there is more give-and-take, more companionship as they become more physically independent and capable. I was ready for the long hikes, the campfire songs and the board games. The bouquets of dandelions and the mother's day breakfasts in bed.

I was 98 per cent sure. So I went with a birth control that had 98 per cent effectiveness. Ever wonder about that other two percent? Wonder no further. That would be me. The odds were even more fantastic, considering that I was still nursing the two year old, both kids were with us in the bed on most nights, and we were going through a rough patch. I was astounded to learn I was pregnant a third time. I still haven't completely gotten over it.

I remember telling my mom and her crying, remembering that she was also a surprise baby, the uninvited guest in her family.
She told me what her mother had told her, that there would come a time I would never be able to imagine my life without this baby. She was right. I weaned the toddler, bought bunk beds, and fell in love all over again. And then again, with Crash.

Hardly a day goes by when I don't look at him and say, "Where did you come from?" With the other two, we knew right away we'd conceived. This one got by us somehow, without either of our permission or consent.

I'm so glad he did. Sitting on the floor today playing with him, I felt it had already been a hundred years since I used to get to do that with my firstborn. The longed-for time of campfires and board games has arrived, but so has the time of weekend sleepovers and all-day school. It goes by so fast, and I am always rushing to the next thing. Sometimes nothing short of a full-on collision can get me to slow down.

You wreck me, baby. I love you.

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Blogger JKC said...

Children are amazing creatures aren't they? What a gift! Although somedays I would like to put mine in a box with a sign "Free to good home". It's a fleeting thought on the more challenging days! I am not usually a fan of country music but I heard the Dixie Chicks sing "Lullaby" off of their newest album. If I was computer savvy I would produce a link, no such luck. Check it out if you don't know it. To me it says everything about being a mom.

Jen K-C

10:31 PM  
Blogger peefer said...

Wow. You expressed so much of where my wife and I are at with our thoughts of parenthood. The idea of the third child frightens the hell out of us, and so we've been taking Botox injections in our private parts. Effectiveness is pretty close to 100%.

But mostly, what a well-expressed post. I enjoyed that.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crash describes my son perfectly as well, I loved the part about being the last drunk at a party . Although he drives me to the brink on many days my life has changed for the better.

Love your blog, I read it daily.

12:53 PM  
Blogger jen lemen said...

damn woman--this is the kind of thing you should send to mothering mag. it's perfect.

11:20 PM  

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