The baby of the house is a bit of a con artist.
We went to a barbeque yesterday. (That’s ‘Canadian’ for cook-out.) It was blazing hot by my standards (the car-van said it was nearly 90 degrees) so I holed up in the shade with the little man perched on my lap. And he pretty much just sat on my lap for two hours. Contentedly. Prompting friends to say things like ‘does he ever cry’ and ‘he’s the most chilled baby ever’.
And then we got home. And it was eight, then nine, then ten o’clock. (At night.) And he was screeming (screeching/screaming) – a sound that approximates the howl-growl of a cat on the prowl and the wailing-weeping of an injured bird inside the cat’s mouth. I considered capturing the sound on video, just to prove that he isn’t necessarily the most chilled baby on the planet. But I didn’t want to be known as the cruel mother who made sound clips of her children crying.
But of course such material would come in handy during those nano-seconds when you think bizarre things like ‘they’re so cute! Such gems! We should have six of them.’
Actually I don’t really think things like that. But the professor, during a weak moment, a few weeks ago looked at his littlest spawn and said something crazy like ‘he’s so cute, it just makes you think you should have another one, so as not to deprive the world of such cuteness.’
Luckily I knew he was not serious.
I was at a gathering of friends a few days ago and the discussion turned to family expansion. As it inevitably does when women of childbearing age gather together. And no matter how many children one has, the question always arises: ‘are you going to have another one’.
To which I always reply with a vehement shake of my head and a resolute ‘no’. ‘How do you know?’ someone asked. I was in the middle of answering the question when my cell phone rang. With a ‘screeming’ baby on the line. So I bolted from the merriment and hightailed it home.
All while pondering the ‘how do you know’ question.
Once, out of curiosity, because I’d heard the [lie] ‘once you have three, you might as well have four’ many times, I sought the advice of a friend with four kids. I said something pathetic like ‘so, four…..not much different than three, huh?’ And I fully expected her to nod her head and mutter something about how you’re already crazy with three so why not add a fourth to the mix. But instead she looked at me and said something like ‘ARE YOU KIDDING? With four you’re pretty much guaranteed that someone will be in a bad mood all the time.’
I hadn’t considered the laws of probability.
It sort of sealed the deal for me. Along with my newfound inability to remember the names of the kids I have. Along with being tired and grouchy all the time. And the growing fear that I will not be able to feed these boys who finish a meal and ask for a snack 3.5 minutes later.
I arrived home from my gathering and the littlest one had calmed down. As if I’d imagined the whole crazed phone call scenario. It was shortly after 11 before he was back in his crib, asleep. And I was lying facedown on my bed – horizontally. Because the bed was covered in (clean and folded) laundry. The professor took a look at the bed ‘do you really want me to sleep here or can I just go sleep on the couch?’
When I awoke the next morning, I was covered with yellow threads from the disintegrating tassel of a knitted hat that shouldn’t have been laundered. The house was freezing because we’d left windows open all night. The kitchen door was unlocked. And the lights were on.
That’s how I know.