Thoughts on the Scissors.

It wasn’t until I was in my twenties, that I learned I was a mistake.

I was sitting at my parent’s dinner table. We were just chit-chatting about life, school, and other, you know, normal, non-life-altering conversations that could make you re-think your entire being, when it casually came out.

“A mistake?” I said.

My dad looked at me like I had ten heads. Then, in his thick Italian accent, and very matter-of-factly, he said: “Well, we had-a four boys. Then, we finally had your sister – our girl!” He paused, put his hand on mine, looked right into my eyes and said: “Why de fack would we want another one?!”

I stared at him blankly, wide-eyed and slow-blinking. My mother piped up, in her strong New York accent: “But we’re so glad you’re HEA!”

Umm, what “de fack” just happened?!

Anyway, I’m thinking of this a lot today because I am 18 weeks pregnant, and yesterday was the day we found out what’s cooking. Turns out, it’s a BOY!!

One of the first things people have said to us over the last 24 hours after hearing the news is “Yay, now Greg can go get snipped!!!” I think this is funny, and totally get why people say that – it makes sense that someone would want a boy and a girl. Maybe we never looked at it like that because I am the youngest of six children; 4 boys, then my sister, then me. My husband is one of four children; an older brother, a twin brother, and a younger sister. So I guess our parents kind of took the concept of a “complete” family and ran with it. And this extends beyond our parents; one aunt and uncle had six kids, and another had four. There were so many first cousins running around on any given family party that I don’t even know how anyone kept track. Our families didn’t have babies, they had litters.

In our case, our choice to have another baby was not a mistake; we knew we were ready to grow our family. Truth be told, Greg actually wanted another girl, and we both really were convinced that a girl it would be. It’s not that he has anything against boys, it’s just that he is a little worried about what kind of boy he would produce. Him and his brothers were off the walls growing up, so he is a bit terrified.

But it doesn’t matter – we’re having a boy! A little boy!! So yes, one and one. For now. Because we never even talked about, you know, the snipping. I mean, what if we’re not done yet? What if, after another year or two, I’m not ready to hang up the ‘CLOSED’ sign? What if our upbringings get the best of us and one day, after I finally begin to feel like myself again, and the two miraculously are sleeping and eating and on manageable schedules, I drink too much cheap wine, go bat-shit crazy and decide I still want to birth a litter under the stairs? THESE ARE THE THINGS I JUST DON’T KNOW YET.

I have no idea if that will be the case, or if it would even be possible. Maybe two is our magic number. I do know that, after having Penelope, as much as I love her, there were moments where I couldn’t even imagine entertaining the idea of having a second child in the first place because WHAT WAS I TAKING CRAZY PILLS?! I thought of women who had multiples and was in awe. I still am. Because babies are a lot of work. I mean, I knew it, but you don’t reeeeeeally know the ins and outs, the messy, tired, repetitive, taxing parts of it until your little one is here. Of course, you made the decision to have a child. Of course, you are going to do your best to take care of this tiny human with a fierce kind of love and determination you never had before, the kind that trumps getting poop on your finger, spit-up in your hair, and makes you constantly second-guess if you are even doing this right, for crying out loud.

My mother had all six children within eight years. That’s not a typo. Let’s just say it – she is a special kind of crazy. I often ask her, “What were you thinking?” and each time, she shrugs her shoulders and her response is always the same: “I wasn’t!” When I ask her how the heck she handled all of us, she just says that she still has no idea, and that you just do it, you don’t have time to think about it.

My aunt Angela had an entirely different response than the norm when I shared the news. Instead of reaching for the scissors, she said: “Yay! Then next time, whatever it is will be a sibling of the same for him or her!”

Wait – what? Next time?! “We’ll see how two goes first,” I said, “I don’t know how you guys did it!”

But she gave me the best response. She said: “All I can say is, if you like it, it works, no matter how many there are. Don’t think of it as work, it was a lot fun. Nothing is like a house full of little kiddies. I would have had two more.”

At this point, I’m just thankful for happy and healthy. I feel so content with Penelope, and all I can think about is watching this tough little cookie give her little brother a run for his money. This, to me, right now, feels complete, but we will see what the future holds.

My point in this little rant in which we run to put the scissors away, is this: a “complete” family is exactly what that is – to you. Maybe it’s a boy and a girl. Maybe it’s two little girls, or two little boys. Maybe it’s one child. Maybe it’s ten. Maybe it’s none. Maybe it’s you and your husband, maybe it’s you, your wife, and two dogs; maybe it’s you and your non-wedded partner for life; maybe it’s the two of you, your pet iguana named Fred, and a boat. Maybe it’s simply, beautifully, YOU, living your life to its fullest and doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

“I would have had two more. Don’t think of it as work, it was a lot of fun.” I’m raising my non-alcoholic beverage to you, putting the scissors in the drawer, and saying that, no matter what your situation, let’s make it fun.

 

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OMG-I can just hear your mom and dad’s voice in that conversation….lol
Great article Ali, you’ll do just fine.

Hey, and of course congratulations! Great article, very funny as always, but you know what else is funny? The first thing I thought of when I saw the title of your post, I expected to hear about The opposing views on circumcision ha ha ha ha I have a feeling that one will come up sooner or later though

Hmmmm… That’s strange, the rest of my comment was not registered, anyway I also wanted to tell you that I have a coworker who reads your blog and she thinks you are hilarious.

Oh, awesome Rula! Thanks for passing my blog along, I’m glad I can make your coworker laugh 🙂 I’m totally with you on the ‘mistake’ idea. And OMG, now that I look at the title it totally does sound like it’s going to be about circumcision HAHAHAHA

Damn what is going on today? Is there like a limit to how much I can write here? Okay here’s the The last line, ” Last but not least, there are no mistakes, only the idea of mistakes.”

i just had a post on Huff Po Parents last wk, about my large family. (10 Things Not To Say To A Large Family if you’re interested)

We have 5 kids at home. 6 in total. Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, boy. Ages range from early 20s (one not at home) to not quite 2.

Everyone has an opinion. Apparently, according to Huff Po commenters, having more than 2 kids = destroying the planet. So, I made tshirts.

I am cringing, waiting for someone to say that! Ugh…. Congrats on your big family!! 🙂 And yes, totally interested – going to read!

Yay yay yay! Congrats! I also thought it was going to be about circumcision so I suspected boy as well 😉

Yeah I didn’t think that one through HAHA…thank you!

YOU WERE NOT A MISTAKE! You are the baby and you will always
be my baby! So proud of what a great mother you have become and all your creative ideas and receipes and articles – keep them coming!

Haha thanks mom 🙂

Mazel Tov from Michael (now in Milwaukee!) on your wonderful news! Greg will adore his mini-me! So what is he so worried about? With big sister Penelope to show him the ropes, little jr. will have it made! Plus sons are great for moms because you get more say over how this new man in your life turns out! My mom had me 3 months before my dad got out of the Army, and then my brother 9 months after his discharge (sorry for the pun-my bad!) and according to her she wouldn’t do anything differently. Enjoy your family! PS did you get the Vitamix? Now you will really need it!

Thank you!! I’m going to read your comment to Greg when he gets home later. He’s just worried because as kids he and his brothers were a little nuts, and he doesn’t think he’s ready to handle it. He’ll get over it. He doesn’t have much of a choice. HAHA.

HOW ARE YOU LIKING MILWAUKEE?!?

I love my little boys….they are messy, exhausting and SO MUCH GOOD STUFF!
I am also a big fan of large families. I am not sure when family planning choices became such an accepted topic of casual conversation. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about how she had to defend her choice to have an only child.
Congrats!

You’re right, it really is crazy! I’m really looking forward to having a little boy around here! Thank you 🙂

It’s funny how people want to fill in the next step for you – I think overall people are just impatient for what’s next! Enjoy the the moment your in and try not to worry about what’s next.

Thank you!! Yes, doing just that…we’ll see what the future holds!

We had two “oops” after number 1. Best. Mistakes. Ever. 😀

LOVE IT Tracy! 🙂

When I turned 44 my mom told me I was a mistake. I asked her what that meant and she said they got pregnant before they expected to.

I thanked her for sharing that news with me. Don’t know that it really made a difference in my life, but it was…different.

Yeah I agree – it wasn’t a huge impact, but just funny to view it that way. I had just never really thought about it up until that point, but it was like a light bulb went off – made total sense! That’s funny she told you on your birthday!

Congrats! As an only child, having a second was a huge deal for me and I’m still amazed by the dynamics of having more than one kid around. We’re definitely done…but I sometimes think, if I was younger, then maybe…

Thank you!! That must be a change seeing yours with a sibling – you have to come back and tell me how two is going! Good bad and ugly, I need details!

I seriously felt like someone made you write this for me to read! My daughter will be 3 this summer. Lots of pressure to make a decision about whether to add another to the mix or not. One works for us. I’m afraid of what I might be missing out on if I don’t have another…and your aunt is right. It IS fun…a house full of kids makes for great memories! Congratulations on your boy! 🙂

Thank you! I’m so glad you can relate to this and congrats on your little girl!

I agree! I thought I wanted three then maybe I could get the ol snip…but now that I have 2 and think about another I’m unsure. Getting a dog just isn’t the same as a change of life baby lol. I figure the more I have the more likely one of them will be to have enough money to afford the good retirement home.

Sarah that is an EXCELLENT POINT. Besides, someone once told me that anything after 2, doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 10, it’s all the same. HAHA

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