Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Nosiest Question Parents Get from Strangers

We know each other extremely casually. Our paths cross a few times per week, usually for a couple minutes at most. Why would you think it’s OK to be so nosy? Do I ask you about that prominent scar on your forehead, which must have an interesting story behind it? Do I ask you how much money you make? No. So please stay out of my bedroom.

Having almost made the mistake once, I would never consider asking a woman who is not my wife if she is pregnant. Even if she is currently crowning while in stirrups, you can never be too sure and rather than risk embarrassing either myself or a female I don’t know well enough, and by well enough I mean biblically, I know better than to wonder – at least out loud.

But for some reason there’s a tangential subject that people have absolutely no hesitation about asking: are you going to have more kids? I wrote a while back about people asking if we were going to "try for a girl", which is a very presumptuous subject, IMO, as we're perfectly thrilled with our two boys and don’t need a girl to “complete” our family. The same goes for a third kid.

So I usually tap dance around this more-frequent-than-I’d-like query with a non-committal answer like "You never know...", but I'm pretty sure I know. 

Would our duo sound better as a trio?
I’ve been thinking recently about why this question from people who don’t mean much to me gets me so worked up and I think I’ve finally figured it out. It’s because the truth is that I 
don’t know if we’re going to have a third kid and that makes me a little sad.

I’ve long considered parental age to be an important factor in many facets of parenting. This year my boys will turn 6 & 3 years old while Mrs. Dude and I round 3rd on our 30s and slide into the abyss that is 40. That’s old. Well, it’s not old, but it’s old. Betty White is still going strong at 90-something, but then again she never had children.

40 isn’t as old as it used to be, like 150 years ago when the average American's lifespan was about 45 to 50. But 40 isn’t 30, no matter how badly we might want it to be. In retrospect do I wish I’d started having kids younger than I actually did? Yes! And no. I was trying to carve my life's path during my 20s and early 30s, all of which led me to where I sit today: stuck in this quandary of what to do with the rest of my life, however long that might be.

My mother passed away at 65 and a year later her mother departed shortly after passing 90. Tomorrow is promised to no one, which might be why I’m feeling nervous about my current situation with two small boys who I need to carefully help mold as they progress through school and life.
My lap is currently featuring seating for two.
Since the Littler Dude recently turned 2 ½, it’s not lost on me that my wife and I may have unknowingly smelled the last new baby smell of our own varietal. That scent is indescribably perfect and unique to every child ever born, even when it’s stinky and needs a new diaper. Now we are in the stages of sand-filled socks and still about seven or eight years away from tween boy B.O.  For that, I’m in no rush.

I’m already feeling anxious that I’ll be well into my 50s when my boys finish high school, probably because my parents had three college graduates by that age. It’s absolutely a different time and place now from when I grew up and despite TiVo and iPhones it’s not necessarily a better one. 

I always thought I wanted three kids because I’m a third kid. Mrs. Dude always wanted two because that’s how she was raised and people are often drawn to situations reminiscent of those they were raised in. While I was growing up, my 4- & 7- year older siblings were generally too old to be my playmates.  It wasn’t until during, or more likely after, college when we finally reached the same social stratosphere. If my wife and I were to have a third, he would be almost exactly the same age difference younger from his brothers that my brother and sister are to me. Beyond just the age gap, we’re almost out of diapers and I’m not sure I’m ready to dive back into the Diaper Genie again. I think we have a solid family dynamic with our quartet right now, so is taking a chance on a wild card worth it for us at this point in our almost-40 lives? Or are we missing the jewel of the crown? I don’t have the answer, but the clock is ticking.

So where does this leave me in regard to my nosy acquaintances? Unfortunately not much further ahead than before. All I can say is that if I have something to announce, believe me I will. This decision is grueling enough without your random piqued curiosity. All I ask of you is that next time you see me, please feel free to ask me how my day is, about the weather or the score of last night’s game. Please just don’t ask if we’re having another kid. Those other questions are much simpler, and inifinitely less stressful, to answer. 
Four is the perfect size for man-to-man defense & theme park rides. 

If you like the pictures in this post, and why wouldn't you, come follow me on Instagram where I post some of my favorites daily: instagram.com/dudeofthehouse

1 comment:

  1. We had some of these same issues. When my wife was into it, I wasn't. By the time, I was, she wasn't. We met later, started having kids later and so time was not on our side. I'm very content with my children and love them dearly. I can't say I'm disappointed but I think both of us thought three was the right number. Of course, our two exhaust us so I guess 2 in the end was right.