Monday, March 12, 2012

When are you having another baby?

I must get asked this question 5 times a day. Let me give you the short answer,


Why is it so hard for strangers to accept Olivia was planned to be an only child? I have felt like I have actually debated with a stranger *also family members and well-meaning friends* about siblings. Often, they want to reiterate to me how lonely Liv will be. How is this even possible? Do we live in an isolated mountainside in western Mongolia? She happens to have two awesome parents she sees everyday. If that isn't enough she has 2 grandmothers who request to see her everyday, 3 rad Godparents, hundreds of cousins on Antz side and tons of friends. I was an only child so I think I have the best understanding of what it's like growing up without siblings.

If I wanted to play with someone, *other than my Mom or my Grandma* I would go next door and play with my neighbor, Gabby. Even at the young age of 7, I grasped the knowledge that having siblings wasn't so great. When I went next door to play with Gabby, she would often be stuck babysitting her younger brother, Matt. Which often meant she would half play Barbies with me while screaming at her brother to get out whatever scenario of hurting himself he was in. I found it so odd that her mother *who worked nights so we had to play "quietly", never happened, while she slept during the day* would trust her 7 year old with a 3 year old. I guess she always had her 2 older children to help out but during school hours, it was just Gabby. She would miss tons of school to care for her brother, and when she did go to school, she would ask me for help with her homework cause her parents were never available. Then when her older sister Dina got home from school her Mom would leave for work and she would make dinner for the family. I think I saw her Dad maybe 3 times but I heard he was an alcoholic *which I had no idea what that was until I was 13* On the rare occasion I was allowed to stay overnight, I would marvel at how their household could function in such chaos. There was constant shouting, a line for the one bathroom was common and they never seemed to have milk or bread so Gabby would offer me dry cheerios and spoonfuls of pb&j which I would politely decline. It felt too overwhelming at her house and the siblings were always fighting *we would hide from her older brother George, who would break the heads off our Barbies and "borrowed" her bike for an entire year* I would go home to my own clean bedroom and feel grateful for my own space, the peace. I could talk to my Mom anytime I wanted. We had a routine that felt stable. I would go to dance and music classes. Every year I went to summer camp. I would ask Gabby to come to but she said her parents couldn't afford it. When we turned 12, I was sad to hear Gabby had to move and years later my Mom told me her parents divorced, then lost their house and they were renting an apartment in Orange county. Her older sister got pregnant in 11th grade and her brother *the psychopath* had been in and out of jail. I wonder what became of Gabby? I have people very close to me who have terrible relationships with their siblings. Their association is based out of obligation and it appears that they only communicate when they need something. How lame is that?

Now to be fair, there are plenty of examples of large families who prosper and aren't as dysfunctional *I don't know any personally but the Novogratz family seem pretty normal and over at Bleubird, it seems to be nothing but fun times with a family of 3 kids* but they are obviously raising their kids with a little more than love. It's expensive to have kids!!! How is that not reason enough? We spent a good chuck of change in medical expenses before and after having Olivia. Our monthly expenses are reasonable but in September *fingers crossed* the tuition bills will be rolling in and I wake up in a panic thinking of how expensive her school will be *did the math, it's close to $300k from pre-school to twelfth grade graduation* You may say, just send her to public school! HELL NO! I live in the Los Angeles Unified School District. There are about 8 schools out of 100 that are halfway decent *and every family in LA is trying to get into those 8*. I made the decision to have a smaller family so I can afford the best possible education for her. I also want to travel together, purchase a new home and participate in activities together. Bottom line is, I can't afford another child. Yet that's never a good enough reason for some.

So let's delve further into my reasoning. I am fortunate to be a stay at home Mom so I spend close to 24 hours a day with Olivia. She wears me out. I can think back to how easy those first 6 months were when she was immobile. I take my hat off to the Super Moms who handle a toddler and a newborn and keep their sanity. It sounds horrific to me. I enjoy having my 30 minute nap in the afternoon with her. I can carve out time to blog and surf the web and my wonderful hubby who is an energetic morning person who has a routine with Liv that includes breakfast and first morning diaper. If I wake up before 8 am I am a grump monster. I know you're thinking, what a spoiled brat! You are damn right. I deserve to have a life that is comfortable and satisfying. Before having my daughter, I felt the yearning of wanting a child. I would see other people with their children and say to Antz, we can do that, it would be so much fun. I feel more than lucky to have this incredible kid. She is extraordinary. She brings us so much joy and happiness. Watching her grow has been one of the best experiences of my life. I admit, I am biased but I think my kid is fucking rad. I have my best friend who is an awesome partner to raise her together. Yet I don't define my life as having kids. I enjoy time alone with my husband, my family and friends. I enjoy socializing and Liv is just a perfect addition to that. I feel like the dynamic we have is perfectly balanced. Can I be honest here? Children come with baggage that I had to adjust to. They break shit. They are loud! They poop the second you change their diaper *Boo!* If you want to leave the house by a certain time, may the force be with you because they will not put their shoes on no matter how much you beg and bribe. There is a dark side those adorable children that people without kids will never understand. We are now the couple at the restaurant I used to roll my eyes at cause their kids is screaming and making a mess. I laugh it off and shrug my shoulders but I've had moments with her where I've wanted to cry for my Mom. Olivia is the first kid I have ever spent more than an hour with. As someone who waited until I turned 30 to even consider having a kid, I was not fully prepared for everything that encompasses parenthood. Raising a kid is pretty tough. I'll be happy to only go through this "terrific twos" phase once in my lifetime. Excuse me, Liv is pulling Lola's tail...okay, now do you understand that One is the magic number?

And my last point, let's factor in reality. When you turn on the news *very seldom I do* all you hear is child molesters, kidnappings and this awful economy, how is it even a good idea to bring kids into this screwed up world? Back in my day, you made it through by the grace of God. No one wore seat belts, I don't even think bike helmets were invented yet, and McDonalds was a food group. I remember people didn't lock their doors and I was allowed to ride my bike alone anywhere I wanted as long as I made it home before dark. Mothers smoked and drank during pregnancy. I don't remember going to the pediatrician unless I broke my arm *because my Mom was self-employed, we didn't have medical insurance* In America we have such scary, contradicting politicians that I worry for Liv's future. Will she afford to buy a house? Will she spend $250k for a degree and work a minimum wage job *please, please, please no!!* Will some religious zealot take away her access to birth control or raise her taxes while they pay next to nothing in taxes for the country they "love and want to preserve" I worry about her future everyday. The population is growing, everything is so expensive and the Earth is so mistreated. I get sick to my stomach watching Teen Mom or Toddler & Tiaras, why do so many people think it's awesome to make more assholes for the world? I am going to be 35 years old, married for 10 years and I still feel immature and emotionally selfish, how the hell are these kids having kids and the parents don't lose their shit??!! I don't get what is up our country's sensationalism of watching stupid people making stupid decisions.

Teen Mom: a synopsis. Be 16, love boyfriend, get pregnant, cry, go to school occasionally, complain about boyfriend to friends, cry, break up, cry, have baby, cry, complain, make up with loser boyfriend, bitch at parents for providing unconditional love, support and economic means, cry, then scream at boyfriend and baby about how tired they are, make 100k per season. Entertainment!

Jersey Shore's Snooki is knocked up...this must be the missing piece to the prophecy of the end of the world! This is why I fucking love Jon Hamm!

Well, I suppose some folks just won't take no for an answer. I sound like a broken record but for the billionth time, I am happy with the size of our family. I wouldn't ask a stranger who is struggling with 5 wild kids in a grocery store "Why do you have so many kids?" yet its perfectly acceptable to question my choice to have one.


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