It’s January 2013, roughly four years after Max and I first found out we were expecting twins. We survived the panic of not knowing how we were going to take care of two newborns. We successfully trained our kids to sleep through the night and poop on the potty. We gave away our two high chairs, two exersaucers, and two infant car seats to make room for the myriad of little kid toys that multiply in our apartment like rabbits. We can finally sit on a Sunday morning and watch TV or read the paper while the kids entertain themselves for at least an hour at a time. We went for our first week-long vacation with the kids to Jamaica, had a great time and actually felt somewhat rested. Despite the challenges that three-year-olds bring, life is good. It certainly is much easier than it was one, two, three years ago. We have arrived.
Entering this new phase of parenthood opens a world of opportunity for us. For starters, we can go out on a Saturday night without worrying about how the kids will go to bed, or if they’ll wake up at 5 AM the next morning. It is no longer terrifying to think about traveling abroad as a family or planning a ski trip. But instead of reveling in our recaptured freedom by partying into the night and booking flights, we locked the handcuffs back on and threw away the keys for another few years. I’m 17 weeks pregnant and due July 3rd.
As my belly expands and the reality of what’s to come sets in, I am amazed that pressing the reset button hasn’t given rise to panic attacks and heart palpitations. Quite the contrary, I am over the moon excited to expand the family. Why am I OK with three more years of diaper changing when I finally can’t remember the last time I hallucinated from the stench of the Diaper Dekkor? Why do I shrug when I think about the first few months of sleepless nights that will render my brain even cloudier than it already is? Why do we want to have another child when so many studies say that parents are less happy than adults who don’t have kids?
When Max and I talked about having a third kid, we acknowledged that the earlier years might be rough but figured it would be worth it to have a big(ish) family later on. We picture the kids having a blast growing up together, on family vacations together and being there for each other through those angsty high school years. We envision large, fun family gatherings on holidays that grow as the family expands over time. Yes, there is a daily grind that comes with raising children, and presumably the more kids you have, the more you feel its crush. But the joy that family brings seems to always transcend the temporary discomfort and frustrations. The smiles and giggles stay with you infinitely longer than the tantrums.
At a more granular level, watching our kids grow from tiny babies to little people with their distinct personalities has been a complete wonder. Addy and Zack spend almost all of their time together, yet so many of their talents and interests are entirely unique. Addy loves art and babies. Zack loves technology and music. But most often, rather than playing individually with what they love, they share their interests with each other and join them in a way that makes their days more interesting and fun. We often comment on how much we love the dynamic between them, and among our little team of four. How could this chemistry not get better when the two of them become three and the four of us become five?
So this is why, after finally finding some semblance of a normal life, we are headed back to square one with baby number three. Over the last three years, I’ve realized that even though they can make you want to jump out a window from time to time, having kids is pretty awesome. But don’t hesitate to remind me of my excitement today when, a year from now, I’m sleep deprived, knee deep in sh-t diapers and arguing with my preschoolers about what they can and cannot wear to school.