Grownup Time

Since Joey was born, we have had sex by the Dan Savage definition, but not by the biblical knowingness yardstick—I haven’t done anything that could get me pregnant. Oh, sure, the baby is an excellent reason why not (I am always tired, and it doesn’t bother me the way that it used to, but it certainly has an effect), but he sleeps soundly for longish periods of time. People have done much more with much less, is my impression. So I circle back to the fact that I’ve avoided anything that could get me pregnant.

Our birth control method, post-childbirth, has been more or less nonexistent; I am breastfeeding, and attentive enough to my cervical mucus to be confident that I am not ovulating. We want to raise two kids (and how I am coming to hate the need to carefully phrase that one—I can’t just have like a normal person, I raise), and we want them to be close-ish together—I have an aunt who has three kids, each a couple of years apart, and never had a period until after her youngest was born. That sounds like a reasonable sort of model. Mr. Book has started to wonder what it might be like to have a daughter, my mother is excited about the idea of another grandchild, especially a girl, and I feel weirdly neutral about the idea right now. I do want another child, I know that I’ll love him or her just as much as I do Joey, and I want Joey to have a sibling; I heard a woman say recently that sibling relationships are the longest-lasting in a person’s life, and I had never thought of that, but it seems like a wonderful thing to me. And not to be excessively morbid, but my husband had no siblings around him when his father died, and when I try to imagine what it will be like when that happens to me, I can’t imagine getting through it without my sisters.

And. Joey and I are together almost his every waking hour, and most of the sleeping ones, too—much of the time, we’re alone together. And I love it. And I know that I’ll never have this again. Assuming we’re blessed with another child, that child will be loved and attended to and totally adored by me . . . but there will be Joey with us, needing a different kind of attention than the peaceful staring into each other’s eyes and small, stationary jokes that I’m enjoying with baby Joey. And it will be hard, maybe harder than this time, but also great. But as soon as I get pregnant, Joey and I aren’t alone together. Maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it; I don’t mean to make it sound as though I am a single parent. But Mr. Book is gone twelve hours a day, five days a week—and now that he needs to really study for the LSAT, he’s spending several hours away at the library on his days off. There have definitely been days when I felt overwhelmed, but recently (even through the teething), I’ve mostly just been happy to be with the snerks. He peed on the carpet for the first time; he has mastered peek-a-boo; he wants terribly to chase the cat. And I get to see all of it! I’ll almost certainly be there when he starts to crawl, walk, and say his first word—and I get to pay attention. I’m maybe not ready to lose being alone with him.

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8 thoughts on “Grownup Time

  1. Just a word of friendly advice~mom to mom. If you feel like you’re not ready to give that time up yet, don’t! You are so right about things never being that way again, and you have time. I had my older two children 2 1/2 years apart, and for me, two kids was a WHOOOOLE different ballgame than one. Not in the same ballpark even. And if you are alone that much with them, it can be very stressful. Balancing the needs of a busy toddler and a newborn can be exhausting. From the sounds of your posts, it seems that you and Joey have a very serene daily routine. I would hang onto that for a while. Now, when the kids got older I began to see the advantages of having them fairly close. We could play board games as a family, everybody had a partner at the amusement park, etc. But if I had it to do again, I would wait a little longer. Cherish the peaceful moments 🙂 Just some thoughts from someone who’s been there…..

    • yes yes yes yes. i love my daughter so much, but now that she’s here, i miss my (two-and-a-half-year-old) son, because it’s just not the same. we’re not co-conspirators any more. and i’m sad that i don’t get the one-on-one staring, cooing, cuddling time with her i got with him. on the other hand, even at 3.5 months, she clearly adores him, and he loves her, which is so much fun to see. unlike jessica, i don’t actually regret the small gap between them (i think), but it’s so hard, and there’s no reason to rush it if you don’t want to. you and joey seem so happy, and it makes sense that you don’t want to lose that yet. there’s plenty of time for a sibling!

  2. If you’re not ready for to give up that mama+Joey time, then don’t rush it.

    You know we didn’t have any real “say” in when #2 came along because it just sort of happened, but I’ll say you’re dead-on with understanding how different it is. Asher has never really had the sort of attention Julia got for her first year, and since he came along Julia hasn’t had that sort of attention, either. It’s wonderful, having two so close together, and they really are best friends, but I might have spaced them just a hair farther apart if I’d had any control over it.

    Whatever you do, it will turn out to be fine for you, I think. But I also think you’re wise to be giving it so much thought. xo

  3. I felt that “we won’t be alone together any more” feeling very acutely, especially toward the end of my 2nd pregnancy. It made me cry, even though that 2nd baby was totally planned for that time, and I was getting the spacing I wanted and everything was great.

    Then the 2nd baby arrived and the feeling was gone… at least until a certain level of exhaustion crept in, and then in what must be a hormonally-driven flip-flop, it was the older child I wanted to get some time away from so I could have that alone time with the baby.

    And so it’s continued to this day–I cherish the fact that my kids enjoy spending time together and do everything together, but I’m hungry for time alone with each of them, too. There’s likely to be twinges no matter what you do. That time to just stare and cuddle (or in the teen version, ride around in the car chatting) is crave-worthy.

  4. Your one-on-one time with Joey sounds wonderful, and you’re such a good mom. The maid of honor at the wedding I just attended was five or six years younger than her sister, the bride, and they have always been very close. It made me a little wistful because my mom miscarried when I was in kindergarten; if the baby had made it, then I think my sibling and I would’ve been the same ages as the bride and MOH. As an only child, I’m so interested in sibling relationships, spacing, how to foster closeness, &c.

    • I know it—I feel very fortunate, and grateful, and am failing to really respond properly because I’m in a Connecticut hotel room with a baby who doesn’t travel well. But I’m reading with much interest and appreciation. =)

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