Now then, if the title of this post seems like a double(triple) entendre, you’re right. It was absolutely meant that way.
Do we do it?
For the past year, whenever my patients sit down and see the onslaught of cute kid-pics I use as screensavers on the office computers, inevitably their first question to me is, “Are you having any more?” I always did my best to dodge the question.
“It depends on who you ask” was my typical response with a coy wink. To be very clear though, I held no illusions that I held any influence over that decision. In truth, although I wasn’t opposed to the idea of a third kid by any means, it’s fair to say that I was more comfortable with the idea of holding at two than my wife was. The math just worked out so much more conveniently with two. We had the right number of seats in the car, the right number of bedrooms in the house, the right parent-to-kid ratio. With three kids the whole calculus changes. Suddenly the car we had wasn’t big enough. Suddenly we have to decide if we add a new bedroom to the house, or if the new baby shares a room with an older sibling, and if so, which one, and since the bedrooms aren’t the same size, would that be fair. Suddenly we have to switch our strategy from man-to-man defense to zone. You can’t just assign one parent to one kid anymore.
In all honesty, I was comfortable. I felt like we had a good grip on the realities of our little family and that we were doing well. For the most part, we had it figured out. We had our boy. We had our girl. They were healthy. They got along. Why upset the apple cart? The other factor that is a little more difficult to admit is that I’m not as young as I used to be. When we started our family I was in my early thirties. Today I am most decidedly in my LATE thirties. It takes a hell of a lot of energy to parent (correctly) and I can say with total conviction that as far as energy goes, with the two kids that we’ve got, at the end of the day I have absolutely ZERO left in my tank. I’m lucky to stay awake past 9:00 at night. To put it plainly, I am not the guy I was 5 years ago. My (current) kids have seen to that.
But all that hemming and hawing are moot now. As the video plainly shows, the deed is done. We did it. There’s no going back now.
Do we do it?
Once you’ve done it, and the doing is successfully done, then you have to decide who you tell, and when you tell them. The big hesitation (apparently) is if something goes wrong, how many people do you want to have access to that information? How close to the vest do you keep the secret and for how long do you keep the information semi-private? For my part, I’m a shout-it-from-the-rooftops sort of guy. My wife, most definitely, is not. Until very recently she held the keys to that particular treasure trove, and she wasn’t comfortable going public until we crossed a certain threshold and passed a certain number of screenings. Thankfully, at our last checkup, everything was looking ship-shape, so she gave me her blessing to take the news public and we were off to the races.
One thing we both agree completely on is that you tell your immediate family immediately. Having a baby is of course an intensely personal affair, but if you’re lucky and you have a tight-knit family, your family members will feel personally invested in you and your child too. Heaven forbid something does go wrong, you’re going to need to grieve, and they are too. Apart from that, nothing is more destructive or hurtful to a close-knit family than secrets. You share your joys and your tragedies together; that’s what it means to be a family. However you define “family”, your family is your support system, so you bring your support-system along for the ride with you. After we found out ourselves we digested it privately for a day or two, brought our parents into the loop, and then our sisters shortly thereafter (neither my wife nor I have brothers).
From there we kept the information pretty much within the ranks of the family, although I have to admit, in my excitement the news may have slipped to a few safe, special people outside the immediate family. I suspect my wife would tell you the same.
Do we do it?
Telling the kids – now there was a concept to chew on. When? How? My kids are really young (3 and 5), and 9 months for a 5-year-old might as well be forever. Additionally, heaven forbid something does go wrong, that’s a pretty high-level concept that really young children arguably aren’t able to digest. As it was my son recently had his 3rd birthday and my daughter started kindergarten. We wanted to give those major events the attention they deserved. We didn’t want any distractions to take anything away from that magic. So after some discussion my wife and I agreed to wait a while before bringing the kids into the fold, settling on the first trimester threshold again.
We played around with all sorts of ideas how to make the conversation fun and important for them. One thing was for certain, I knew the reveal would be something we’d love to revisit any number of years from now. So this weekend we sat the kids down around the kitchen table because we had something very important we wanted to talk to them about. (They barely even noticed the two step-stools stacked on top of one another, with the point-and-shoot set to video-mode mounted at the top on a blob of playdough to get the right angle – much eye-rolling from my wife about that one). We showed them the ultrasound that was taken on Friday and let the conversation happen.
Sadly the most notable parts of the video were the fact that my son lost interest with the conversation in less than 3 minutes and wandered away to go play with legos, and that my daughter’s hair was covering her face the entire time, so every single one of her facial expressions and reactions were completely lost. Ah well, best laid plans…
So here we are, in full-swing baby-mode… again. The kids have responded extremely well, the family has adjusted to the news, and at long last we’re public.
Do we do it?
Assuming everything goes according to plan, abso-freakin’-lutely hell-to-the yes.