Thursday, May 11, 2006


Baby jones

I have, as you know, two preschoolers. Two kids under the age of five. I am constantly exhausted by their demands, their neediness, their loving clinginess. Although there are still not enough hours in the day, and only barely enough hours of sleep at night, things are finally getting easier. One is potty trained, and I can only assume the other one will be someday. They go to bed with only minimal intervention, they feed themselves, they can entertain themselves for stretches sometimes exceeding four whole minutes, and they can even load their own DVDs into the DVD player.

Life is good, right? And yet, I am jonesing for a baby. I have baby fever now almost as bad as I did when we were working through our infertility.

I see babies everywhere and find myself staring inappropriately, often turning my head appreciatively to watch them pass in a manner alarmingly similar to the way I used to watch guys walk past in another lifetime. I linger in the baby supplies aisle at the drug store, eyeballing little jars of food and teething rings with nostalgia. I come across old onesies tucked away in the corner of a closet and marvel over their size, their softness. And socks, which I never seem to pack away and instead just pile the next largest size into the drawer as well - impossibly tiny baby socks that were already too small for Tristan at birth.

I must be nuts. Certainly, my husband thinks so. He thinks I’m certifiable, and gives me a big hairy eyeball roll every time I mention in passing how wonderful little babies are, how cuddly and cute and adorable and harmless. Which I seem to be saying with alarming frequency these days.

Now I’m sure some of this has to do with the whole frostie thing coming up. (For those of you keeping score, after pushing me within a day or two of buying a stick to pee on, the visitor in red finally showed up a week late. A week late!) But I think it’s more than that. Maybe because this is the longest I’ve gone without being pregnant, because Simon arrived a scant 23 months after Tristan did. I became a new person the first time I brought a new baby home, and that person has always had a baby around. It seems like something is missing now.

I know I can’t keep having them. Like cute puppies, babies have the rather troubling habit of growing up in disproportion to growing out of their neediness. And really, I had only ever expected to have two children in my life. But there is something delicious about babies, about the baby phase, that I miss. The drool, the brilliant toothless grins, the way they twitch their arms and legs to warn you that you have about two minutes before an all-out wail is on its way - and the blissful way they relax when you meet whatever need has overwhelmed them, the way they give themselves over so completely to the joy of the bottle, or the breast, or the cuddle they wanted.

It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, turning my babies into preschoolers. But it’s been the best thing, too. Babies.

It’s not so crazy, is it?