A year or so ago my friend Melissa and I were talking–very hypothetically at the time–about the prospect of adding a third babe to our respective families. This conversation can go, as you probably know, in a million different directions: spacing between kids, family finances, the fuzzy and hard to pin down notion of feeling “ready” or “done” and the often much less fuzzy opinions of husbands who may or may not be on board. All of these factored into our conversation, but Melissa had one question that I still think about all the time:
“But where would you put another baby?” she asked.
I didn’t really get it at first. (I mean, THE CLOSET, obviously.)
“Don’t you sit with both kids on your lap when you read to them?” she went on. “So where do you put a third kid on your lap?”
I kind of love this question for a thousand reasons. It’s hard to conceptualize an additional imaginary kid when the ones you have are so…PRESENT and in-your-face, with their messes and kisses and questions and the physical weight of them on your lap during storytime. When you go from one baby to two, it’s hard to imagine how you’ll divide your attention and multiply your love and subtract even more sleep and OMG somehow it all works out. You just kind of make more room on your lap. Right?
And I sort of assume that going from two to three will be the same. Yes, it seems totally terrifying in certain ways, but in my experience motherhood demands that you rise to a new fitness level every once in a while. What seemed impossible once becomes a new normal, and the old normal seems so incredibly easy in hindsight (just ask any parent of a toddler and a preschooler what was so hard about having a single slumbering newborn…and yet, it WAS difficult, undeniably so).
So I wouldn’t say I’m nervous about adding a third in this metaphorical, abstract way. I know there is enough of me to go around; I know that love multiplies exponentially and budgets adjust and toddlers learn to put on their own shoes and that it’s possible to nurse while chasing older kids around the playground.
But I still sometimes think about Melissa’s question, because she’s totally right: there is a literal way in which we will need to make room for this third babe. We had to get a bigger car; we’re knocking down closet shelves; and the last time I checked, I still only have two arms and just one lap.
And already the lap real estate is dwindling. Girl Powers nestles her 4T bottom next to my ever-wider one, and Boy Powers squirms into position on what remains of my lap, his little back right up against my front. I shift him sideways to make room for the belly, and he lets out a kind of frustrated sigh and moves right back to his preferred position, seeking the familiar and finding, already, a new distribution of mom.
I have to trust that there is room. Where we felt full before, then came this:
and then this:
and for them we made room. For her we’ll make room. (But maybe we need a bigger chair?)
Did you–or do you–feel worried about making room for more? How was going from one to two (or two to three, or zero to one) different for you than the other motherhood transitions? HAVE YOU FOUND A WAY TO HOLD THREE KIDS IN YOUR LAP?