As Jack is now approaching the toddler milestone of two years old I, and apparently everyone who has a child near this age are considering the possibility of baby number 2.
I have very mixed feelings about introducing another Keeling-Smith into our home, I adore Jack and love everything about him (okay maybe not the tantrums!) but there are a few things I feel that I should consider when weighing up the pros and cons of adding to our growing brood of munchkins.
Firstly and most boring is financial. Now many people respond to me with ‘ah but you make do’, ‘you can make things stretch’, ‘you survive’. But if I am being honest, really brutally honest, do I want to ‘survive’? Do I want to make things stretch? As a Mummy who has chosen to reduce her working hours to spend more time with her child, things are already quite stretched and I am not sure I would want to spread them out any thinner. So is this selfish? Or is it practical? I think its actually a bit of both and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I also have Jack to think about, if we are so stretched that he can’t afford to do the things that I enjoy doing with him then is that fair? Our family fits squarely into the mid range of society where we earn too much to be on benefits but we don’t earn enough to be comfortable, there seems to be a massive mid range section of society and in my view, the ones who get screwed and squeezed the most, but hey ho, that is enough of my political soapbox moment!
There is the argument that Jack can’t be an only child. Quite frankly I don’t give this one much credence. I don’t believe in having another child to keep the other one entertained. I am an only child and with the brief exception of me wanting a baby brother called Benny following a storyline in the ‘Twinkle’ comic when I was six I have never really wanted a brother or sister. Most brothers and sisters I knew were forced to socialise with each other, couldn’t stand one another or in some cases, regularly came to blows. I never had to share my parents, never had to share a room or my toys. Am I capable of sharing? Yes I am so that skill has not bypassed me. I am sociable and am a fairly confident person, I have friends and very rarely do I feel the pangs of loneliness. Jack has me all to himself, I don’t have to divide myself and I think because of my own childhood, the idea that he would have to share my attention makes me feel guilty. For most that notion will be complete madness and controversial but perhaps that is because their own childhood was very different.
Sleep. Good God sleep. Surely that has to be taken into consideration?! Even at 23 months Jack rarely makes it through the night. I really do wonder how I survived in the early months of his life being up at all hours. I was like the living dead and really did look it as well. I permanently felt unwell, dirty and exhausted and time has really not mellowed my memories! Even being permanently attached to facebook did nothing for me at 2am when my little monster was screaming his lungs out for no other reason (nappy check, milk check, teething check etc etc) than to let me know he was there and awake! I found myself longing for the Asian Business Report in the wee hours just to have some sense of time and order. Yes I am afraid 2012 just passed me by in a blur. I am not a 4 hour broken sleep kind of girl, I enjoy 8 hours of undisturbed slumber and do I feel guilty about admitting it? Hell no!
Having a baby with a cleft is largely a random thing, it occurs once in every seven hundred babies approximately however having a second baby with a cleft occurs once in every thirty babies. Now our Jack is truly beautiful, he was before his surgery and is beautiful after. What really concerns me is knowing what another baby might have to go through, Jack is a fighter and he handled both surgeries to repair his lip and palate like a trooper and I burst with pride every time I look at him. But watching your baby go under anaesthetic for surgery on his perfect little face is horrendous and although our baby would be strong, I don’t know whether I could be again. It is food for thought when I weigh up the options for sure.
So there we have it, a very confused Mother who overthinks things the very end degree and wants to make the right decision for her and her family. Finances would be stretched, Jack would have to share his Mamma and sleep would once again be a luxury. Jack has just called me into his bedroom, one last ‘kiss’ and ‘cuggle’ before he settles. Oh what the hell, where is that damn chastity belt key again?!