There are undeniable benefits to any number of children that complete your family, as well as drawbacks. When we had our first daughter, my boss with three children would laugh as I went on in detail about the most minute aspects of parenthood, like fussy napping or figuring out how to shower when just she and I were in the house alone. He told me having one is like “playing house.”
Then when we became pregnant with our second and learned it was going to be a boy, a friend of the family said, “The perfect family, one of each…a real millionaire’s family! I would feel proud with my swollen belly and glowing cheeks, and my beautiful blonde daughter in my arms. I felt wrapped in the warmth of a growing family and enjoyed the excitement of having “kids” instead of a baby. There was just something that felt official about this second on the way, and I liked it! Then he came, and it was BUSY! A 22-month-old who didn’t like sharing, and this little fella at the breast. Our friends without children would stop over and marvel at the carnival act we had going on. In the space of 200 square feet we had a high chair, swing, bouncy seat, carseat and playmat. But we weren’t out numbered yet. We could still manage things with a fair and equal team effort.
I just began to settle into this new life and decided to embrace motherhood like a seasoned vet. I was excited about one day adding another to the clan, and the sooner the better. When my darling boy was around a year and a half, we discovered we were expecting AGAIN! It was Christmastime, so I put the test into a long, gold jewelry box, wrapped it and gave it to my husband one evening. When I handed this unusually timed special present to him, he had a worried look on his face. I didn’t think he could possibly know…so I asked him what was wrong, and this is what he said: “Well, I’m just a little nervous to open it, it looks expensive and money is really tight for us.” Little did he know this would be the gift that would keep on giving…in diaper bills! But of course he was thrilled and reminded me we would now be out numbered. My mother-in-law couldn’t wrap her brain around the fact that trips to Cedar Point and Disneyland would be disastrous with an uneven number of kids to pair on the rides.
And of course after that, unending comments from every direction would remind me of the chaos I was about to enter. The old boss was delighted to see I was no longer playing house. The perfect family friend couldn’t understand why. WHY? She wanted to know why we would go and mess with a good thing. You’ll be outnumbered, you’ll be outnumbered, YOU’LL BE OUTNUMBERED!
When a dear best friend of mine told us she was pregnant with her fourth (in 5 years), my son had the mother-of-all-takes on the number of children in a family. He said that one’s too easy, two’s for wimps, three’s for quitters but four is just plain CRAZY!! Secretly I envy this friend, because in my experience, three has been crazy.
We are outnumbered. We can only go to Cedar Point with another family so no one get’s stuck on rides without a buddy. My daughters are complete rivals (read: three bedroom house, three kids). There is constant ganging up on someone. Three has been a charm in terms of my ideal number of children to fulfill a need for a “fuller” family without going bonkers, but it’n not without challenges.
There is, however, one way in which my number of three comes in handy to be the absolute perfect number when taking votes, which we do everyday, all day long, about everything. Because with three, there is no chance of a tie, it’s either unanymous or TWO BEATS ONE!
Settles everything without holding me accountable!
And when I think about those early years when my husband and I had to field comments from this person or that one, I remember how proud we were of our family and how we would look at each other and not give a fiddler’s fart what they were saying. We were on the same team and had plenty of confidence on the matter. Two beats one!