Thursday, 29 December 2011

Three's A Crowd

My husband wants a dog. He’s done with pro-creation.

I refuse to get a dog. I’m undecided about babies.

I hate dogs. Huge jumpy ones, ratty handbag ones, fictional ones called ‘Spot’ that hide in baskets – the lot. Show me a picture of ‘cute’ puppies and you might as well be presenting me with a photo of a Rottweiler chewing a human leg. I feel nothing. Man’s best friend? No best friend of mine would bark at the postman, pee against a lamp post and hump everything in sight.. oh wait a minute…

However, bringing a third child into the world, purely to prevent my other half from arriving home with an abandoned mutt, would probably be classed as a little drastic. And wrong.

As would, my other secret idea, that I could use my experience to write a no-holds-barred pregnancy book. Because when I was pregnant with my first, I really don’t remember reading any advice on how to stop yourself freaking out, that there’s a real human being with fingernails trapped inside your body. Or how you can be certain that the family sized bar of Dairy Milk you just scoffed, won’t overload your placenta and give the baby a sugar rush. Or at what point during full-blown labour, it’s acceptable to start ignoring your mother’s texts.

No, if we decided to get busy with number three, we would have to have a really good reason. Like a feeling that our family wasn’t ‘complete’ without a third screaming infant in it.

We did originally plan to have three kids. I’m one of two and frankly, I found it a bit boring. However much I tried to persuade my parents to have another and preferably a sister this time, for some reason they seemed content with me, my brother and two moulting cats. Luckily I had cousins I was close to, which occasionally made me feel like I was part of a bigger, livelier, family. We had fun.

But some people assume that because I have one of each, there’s no need to try again. And there is some logic in that. Certainly, that’s how my other half sees it. We’ve replaced ourselves with two Mini-Me’s, there’s an heir and a spare, job done.

And then there’s the car issue. Anyone with two humongous child car seats wedged into the back, understands that a car is designed for the average 2.4 children (one kid in each seat and a third child folded in half in the middle). I love our car. But we’d have to swap it for one of those seven seater buses. As someone who’s been driving for 14 years and still breaks out in a sweat at roundabouts, there is no way I’d be able to drive a car the size of our kitchen, without putting lives in danger.

Actually, the average UK family now has 1.7 children, apparently. Because that was another worry of mine – the overcrowded population, stretched resources, the future of the earth etc. But then if lots of couples are choosing not to have kids and I have an extra one, can’t I just see it as using up their quota?

Because I’m banking on my kids being useful members of the population. Our three and a half year old son wants to be a shopkeeper and an astronaut, which suggests he could potentially make a useful contribution to both the economy and science, while our 21 month old daughter is a dab hand at building towers. Who knows what skills a third one could bring?

Look, if I’m really honest, I just don’t know if I can be bothered to go through it all again. Nine months of nausea, incontinence and saggy bras, followed by at least a year resembling a zombie, while pureeing carrots, with puke down my cleavage. Not to mention the excruciating bit, where I squeeze the little darling out of my nethers.

And I’m really not sure I could cope with three, physically or mentally. Even now, when I’m driving along in the car, I have to do a sudden head count, to ensure I put both children in the back.

I just don’t understand how you hold three hands when you’re crossing the road? Or how you push one on the swing, catch another coming down the slide and stop the third peeing by the tree in the middle of the playground? How on earth do you give all three the love and attention you’d give just one, when you can’t afford a nanny to give some for you?

And if two little people whining ‘Mummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!’ from 6am to 7.30pm, sends me heading for their secret stash of chocolate buttons, what would I be like if there was an extra little whiny voice – especially if it’s whining at three o’clock in the morning?

The trouble is, my son starts school in September and my daughter is off to nursery in a matter of weeks. It’s finally time to re-enter the world of work, where there are adults who talk about matters other than which schools their kids have applied for. Where you can go out for lunch, without having to crouch down on the floor when no ones looking and pick up half a bowl of cheesy pasta, 37 sugar sachets and 5 forks. A place where you can write an email to your boss, without anyone jumping on your lap, tapping in ‘iraeiowhprawjsalfgjlasgnlhiovhaoivrji’ and pressing ‘send’. Do I really want to forfeit the return to me-dom and the chance to rebuild a career I feel I only really just began, in order to wipe another child’s arse?

I mean what if it was twins? Or triplets? Or if the worst happened and there was something wrong with them? Shouldn’t I just stick with the two I’ve got and be grateful?

But money and stress and stretchmarks aside, I guess it would be nice to add another little giggle to the gaggle. Another playmate for our little best mates. And let’s face it, more kids means more chance of grandkids and more people to take care of you when it’s your arse that needs wiping.

Because I’ve seen how my parents and their sisters pull together when times are tough and they do create two indestructible teams. Splitting everything three ways rather than two, takes the pressure off - whether it’s catering for a family dinner or supporting a sick relative. If one is feeling weak, the other two bring them strength.

And when I look at friends who have two siblings rather than one, I do notice the additional noise and the extra drama, but most of all I hear the added laughter.

I guess it’s just hard when everything you planned for since being a little girl - marriage, babies, free access to the wine rack - becomes something you’ve done, rather than something you dream of doing. To declare that my childbearing years are over, makes me feel old and past my best. Nothing has ever made me feel more useful, than carrying an unborn child. But then again, it’s not about me anymore.

So, right now, my maternity clothes are stashed in the drawer under my bed, the Moses basket is wrapped up in the loft and the highchair is folded up behind the sofa. One day, I’ll stick the lot on eBay. But I’ll leave them be for now – just in case…


  1. oh debbie..u've hit the nail on the head there! another awesome blog..well done xx

  2. Brilliant as usual, I guess i had better hold onto the cot, highchair ect from your biggest fan grandma Linda

  3. Thanks Emma!Are you in the same boat?!

    Haha! Thanks Linda - yes, don't let your son put them on eBay!

  4. Beverley Wasserman30 December 2011 at 12:01

    Debbie, i really laughed out loud this time! You really say it like it is. Good luck making a decision! X

  5. If I was feeling broody before then the " Nine months of nausea, incontinence and saggy bras, followed by at least a year resembling a zombie, while pureeing carrots, with puke down my cleavage" has at least dampened those feelings! Haha, I'm still a zombie with a 15 month old, just psyching myself up for number 2. Not sure I could go for a third!!

  6. The trouble with 3 is .......,. a few months down the line, you see everyone else with their dogs and you start thinking about 4!

  7. Deborah Weinstein31 December 2011 at 09:20

    Hilarious! Love the bit about going out for lunch, definitely rang true! Looking forward to discussing your big decision further...but until a third one starts taking up your extra time MORE BLOGS PLEASE xxx

  8. Sorry if I put you off Katie! haha! I think it's good to still be a zombie when you have number 2, because then it's less of a shock to the system! I'm coming out of the zombie stage and I'm not sure I could go back!!

    Anon - lol! no chance!!

    Debs - thanks!I'll do my best! xx

  9. I love this, we would have gone on having little bundles for as long as possible, but health said No!

  10. Thanks for having a read TheMadHouse!I know I'm very lucky to be having this dilemma at all.. I took a peak on your blog and the little bundles you did have look gorgeous! x

  11. Fantastic post! So funny! I have been a brilliant contraception for all my friends. We were happy with one but kind of wanted another and yes we had twins, and yes it was a shock. Let's of people who always said they might have a third suddenly no longer seemed keen.