Friday, March 22, 2013

All of Them

I want to write on a topic near and dear to my heart, and I hope it comes across as I want it to! I can't always convey sentiment perfectly through writing. If I could, I'd be rich.

I want a big family. By big, I mean 6 kids (give or take), not quite the family of 9 kids that I was raised in. It's a commonly discussed topic among LDS women: their children, because they are our past, present, and future. Our children are everything to us.

I've been surprised at the responses I've gotten after mentioning my desire for a big family. I don't bring it up randomly; I'm usually answering the direct question of, "How many kids do you want?"  It's an innocent question, right? I don't mind answering it, but when I do, women start recounting their current children's awful behavior, their horrible pregnancies, limited finances, or an unwilling husband as the reason(s) for the number of children they currently have. For my current circle of friends, that number is generally 1-3.

Why should it have to be that way? Should my answer really cause such responses that suggest both defensiveness and guilt?

First of all, I don't HAVE 6 children. Not yet. I don't know for certain that I ever will. I do know for certain of at least 3 of them (announcement!), but any number of things could happen after this pregnancy. I won't recount the possible tragedies, because that's not my point.

Moms of one are great moms. Moms of 10 are, guess what? They are still great moms, and not any greater than moms of one. Who in the Church determined that more children means more righteous families? That moms with fewer children have less faith or gave up too soon? Or that big families really are outdated and foolish in today's world? I feel that the prejudice goes both ways.

The choice of how many and when to have your kids is up to you and your husband, but God gets the final say. I didn't understand that at first, because everything seemed to work out perfectly with my timing and exactly what I wanted. Trust in God, but don't cast aside your own desires; they matter too! But be careful, and don't let your own desires drown out anything the Spirit has to say. When your will (and husband's) line up with God's, that's when everything falls into place.

If I planned everything "just so", my kids would be exactly 2 year apart, never born in winter, and in alphabetical order, but it doesn't work that way.

I now find myself expecting  a baby in October only 18/19 months after Kenny was born. I've had this baby on my mind for a while, but I still felt surprise and a little shock when the pregnancy actually came to be. I started to fear a little about the timing, what others will think of me, etc.  Logically, of course, it doesn't make much sense to have another baby when you already have 2 in diapers and 1 still nursing, plus a small Corolla as the only car. Fitting 3 car seats in it might be a joke.

But logic aside, I'm happily taking this leap of faith. Somehow I feel more confident in the the timing than ever before. I guess it's because we left it entirely up to God this time. Like I said before, I personally wouldn't choose October! We will have to wait on buying a house and maybe another car, because our savings will go toward paying for the baby, but perhaps I haven't learned all that I can from this ghetto apartment. There are blessings to be found in washing dishes by hand and moldy windows.

I'm barely starting to grasp the lessons that God has in store for me. Each child is a new set of lessons. I don't know how many children our family will have when it's all said and done, but that is irrelevant.

The Lord gave his servants 5 talents, 2 talents, and 1 talent. His servants' final reward - everything - depended entirely on what they'd done with the talents, not how many they'd been given in the first place. How many talents those servants 'wanted' is not even relevant to the story. They took what they'd been given, then doubled it.

How many children do I want?

All of them.

Boy or girl, mild-mannered or strong-willed, planned by my timing or God's, I will take them at a time.

One final note: If you do end up expecting a child that you really didn't plan for (a complete surprise!), please be careful how you word that on Facebook. Sometimes it can come across as a little harsh if you don't sound completely happy about a pregnancy. The same goes for saying that a particular baby is your last. I have seen a few posts that have made me cringe recently, but I give those women the benefit of the doubt. I know they are loving mothers, just surprised at a new arrival or very relieved to be on a last pregnancy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Boys

I used to be better at updating about them, well, about Joseph, but life got busier when I had Kenny. I stopped blogging twice a week so I tend to forget some things.

My little guys are really different from each other.

Before Joseph was born, I'd been thinking about him for many years, as long as I'd ever thought about having kids. Once he was born and I looked into his eyes, he I felt that I'd met a kindred spirit. I'd been waiting so long to meet him, and that day finally happened in May of 2010.

In many ways, I see myself in Joseph. He is a pretty quiet, even-tempered child who loves to play by himself. He has a great sense of humor and also like to clean things and put them in their proper places. He even loves routine. His aptitude for words excites me, because I suspect he will love reading as much as I do. He already loves books, and he's bossy when he really wants something. He wants to do things by himself, but he forgets that he can't: he's too short! He is a careful eater and never once has put food in his hair. He was always asking me to wash his hands when they got sticky and he wasn't quite adept at a fork.

When I first met Kenny, he seemed like a total stranger to me. He looked like James but not much like Joseph (at first). After the first few months of mostly sleeping, his personality began to emerge and I was just amazed.

Kenny hates being left alone, even for a second. He used to cry when I'd leave the room, but now he just follows me. He was a very devoted Mama's boy but is finally growing out of that and will go to James. (Phew!) He's a strong-willed child. Instead of quiet obedience, like Joseph, Kenny laughs and pretends to do again what I told him not to, i.e. sticking the object right near his mouth but not in it. When no one is paying attention to him or he needs something, he screeches at the top of his lungs until he gets it...and he's taught Joseph how, the child who's never yelled in his life! He's definitely one of the loudest kids I've ever met. He's always making noise. He doesn't care about being dirty. He'll shove as much food in his mouth as humanly possible, not caring how much ends up on his face.

Both boys love to be tossed around, snuggled, and read to, just not at the same time! Kenny sits on my lap and Joseph next to me as I read, and they can almost share the book. If Kenny can't touch the book, he cries.

They are still learning how to get along, but it definitely makes me laugh to hear Joseph yelling, "No, Kenny! Shut the cabinet door!" or "Stop pulling books off the shelves!" (I never say those things myself, because why ruin the baby's fun?) Nothing can convince Joseph that Kenny isn't doing something wrong.

Sometimes they're at each other's throats, but my little boys are becoming good friends, even at not-quite-1 and not-quite-3. I love it. They keep me busy.