I don’t do well with numbers. For many years, I swore I was dyslexic mostly just to mask how ridiculously awful I am at math. The other day I bought a coffee and the smart ass clerk rung me up at “103 pennies.” I started to sweat. Yes, that’s how bad it is. (I blushed for a second, but did whip out the $1.03 the a-hole asked for.) If in a hurry or under pressure, it’s not uncommon for me to forget my own phone number. When we were first married, my husband insisted on balancing my checkbook because I would make hundreds of dollars worth of mathematical errors. Whoops. And word problems still look like this to me:
However pathetic my math skills, I am able to solve this equation:
1 son + 1 daughter + any more kids = outnumbered parents
A few weeks after Ella was born, Zach took our dog to the vet. In response to his announcement that we wanted even more children, the lovely woman who expresses our pups’ anal glands warned Zach that 3 or more kids requires a change from man-to-man to zone defense. This would put us at a clear “mathematical disadvantage.” May I remind you that my husband is a math teacher and although wicked intelligent, lacks a bit of common sense sometimes. The fact that 3 kids is more than 2 parents was “DUH.” to me, but had never really dawned on him. Until the Day the Veterinarian Interfered. He may try to deny it, but I know that woman planted seeds of doubt in him that grow each time Brady refuses to go to bed or Ella cries because her favorite blanket is in the wash.
There is hope, though: even after the big mouth vet’s words, Zach has admitted, “I like round numbers; let’s have four kids.” To be fair, I should point out that the night he said this, we were at a wedding where the gin and juice was flowing and I was obsessing about having three kids. There is a slight possibility that he was being derisive and just wanted to shut me up…
I know many families who have 3 or more kiddos and their homes and lives are filled with more chaos, more busy days, and more demanding schedules. But they are also filled with more hugs, more laughs, and more love. There are certainly days when the zone defense comment echoes in my mind (namely right now since Ella is boycotting her nap–SLEEP, CHILD!), but a friend’s advice always seems to drown out the cacophony of doubt: I’ll never regret having more kids, but I could regret NOT having more. I know Zach worries more about the monetary side of things, but because that requires me to think about numbers, I usually gravitate toward thoughts of sleepless nights and lopsided boobs. But let’s be realistic here: the fun bags have already met their demise and by the time our kids are ready for college, Penn State will only be, like, $20 a year, so what the hell? Let’s procreate!
Other factors are certainly contributing to my thoughts, but when I watch my son and daughter play together or witness Ella’s face light up when Brady greets her in the morning, my heart feels so full that I can’t resist the urge to listen to country music or snuggle something fluffy. Of course, there are also days like this:
I just tend to focus on the fluffy stuff.
I’m curious to talk to other parents in my same position or those who have braved the waters of 3+ kids. I don’t usually ask anything of my readers, but if any of you would be willing to share your words of wisdom or experiences, I would sure appreciate it. We could make a game of it: he/she with the best advice will be the namesake for my next child. Okay, probably not, but it was exciting while it lasted.
We stopped at two kids for this very reason. If two kids gang up on us, I cannot imagine the havoc that three would wreak. Great post!
Shel, I completely understand. After I hit “publish” yesterday, my kids morphed into demons. I kept thinking, “Is this a sign?!” Thanks for your comment AND your kind words about my post!
Rebecca R says
We are done having kids. 1 boy and 1 girl, I’m happy with that. I am content with 2 kids. Though, for me, getting pregnant again scares me. We have 2 angel babies and with the littlest of the two I had to be on progesterone the whole time in order to sustain the pregnancy. But the thought of any more kids scares me too because I know how stressed I feel some (most) days with these 2 and cannot imagine adding any more kids. I’m happy and content with two kids 🙂 we figure if some day we both decide we want any more kids at some point, we would look into adopting. I always said I wanted 2 or 4 kids, I like even numbers 🙂 but I feel like God is telling me our 2 earthly kids and our 2 babies in heaven are all that are coming from my body and I’m fine with that 🙂
I wish I were as convinced as you. I just feel like I’m not done yet! Thanks for your comment 🙂
Rebecca R says
Oh I totally understand not feeling like you are done. It wasn’t until after #2 was born that the feeling of wanting more left me. I honestly never ever thought I would feel this way, especially how strong the desire for more was between the two kids! and I have been scared that the desire for more kids would come back as she outgrew various stages,but it hasn’t, which again has surprised me! That’s how I know for me it’s a God thing and that He is telling me we are done. I pray that when you have as many kids as He wants you to have, that this peace of being done fills you too!
And with number 2 being my little dare devil, i’m surprised I have any hair left at this point 😉
I replied to my comment, not yours. D’oh! I pray for that kind of peace for myself, too, because sometimes I can’t tell if I want to be pregnant again or if I want more kids. I’m insane. I know.
I pray for that peace, too! I often wonder if I just like being pregnant so much that I THINK I want more kids!!!!! I know that’s insane.
This is just coming from an Aunt, but I’ve been watching my brother’s 4 kids a few days a week this summer to help them out – plus I love those kids! They have a 9 year old boy, an almost 8 year old girl, and 4 year old twin boys. The one thing that makes the chaos slightly diminished is the age gap between the older two and the twins. Just an observation incase you’re thinking of rounding out those numbers someday. 😉
Missy, I think you’re onto something. We need a few years reprieve before #3…or #4 🙂 Thanks and enjoy those kids 🙂
You and Zach sound like me and Jared. He worries about the financial side when all I can think of is a house full of kids laughing and playing together in harmony. It’s difficult to believe that could happen when I’m arguing with Lily about every.single.thing. But I’m hoping to expand the population soon. Hopefully by eventually having three, but we will see what happens. It’s nice to know that we are not the only ones struggling with these decisions.
Teri, you’re a girl after my own heart! Good luck with the expansion!!! 😉
This is a great post! I have 5yo twin boys and 18mo boy. The 3rd threw us for a loop because of the extreme schedule change – the twins did everything together and now we had different naps times etc. But, now that the baby is older, and he plays with his brothers, I wouldn’t change anything! The older two are playing chase and the little one is always about 6 steps behind, trying desperately to catch up. The older two are great at being big brothers, and Im still gaga for a girl, so Im willing to give it one more go. (Im an accountant and like round numbers too:) My biggest considerations were age gap, and companionship: I wanted them close enough to play together, but not too close as to drive me crazy with a million and 1 diapers. The money thing bothers me a little, but I know whatever happens – we can do it! Though the idea of everyone participating in a different team sport at the same time is a little daunting. Still have yet to cross that bridge. lol
I say we go for it, Lynette! You go for the fourth, I go for the third, and when we finally lose our ever-loving minds, we’ll have to meet up and live together in a lovely institution with padded walls.
Only if they promise to serve the red jello. Can’t stand the green kind. 🙂
I think you just aptly described my lack of math skills perfectly. I usually just give my husband a “HELP!” look whenever change of any sort is required at a transaction. You’re a brave soul for even having more than the one kid. I’ve got a soon to be two toddler and already I’m wondering how the heck I’m supposed to make it through the next 16 years. Loved this post and best of luck with the next chapter of your lives 🙂
Thanks so much for your luck, SassySass! Lord knows I’m going to need it and a lot of wine…
Also, I’m so happy to hear I’m not the only one to suffer from ISM, I Suck at Math 😉
Thank you!!! (We’ll need it!)
Going from two to three kids was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done. It was and always will be the most rewarding thing. I have always wanted three and know I would regret it if we hadn’t. It is very hard but entirely worth it, in my opinion…even if I often want to take the bridge!! I highly recommend a bigger age gap though!!