Prior to this miraculous occurrence, my husband and I had been discussing the merits of adding a third child to our family for some time — me being for, him being against. I’m from a farming community in Manitoba, heavily populated by Belgian Catholics. Translation: no one stopped at a couple of kids. In fact, no one seemed to stop, likeever.Birth control and small families were for wimps. I vividly recall being a young child, standing impatiently on the steps outside of church, stomping my feet in the cold as I waited for my parents and their friends to wrap up their ridiculously long visit before heading home. It was during those conversations that someone would inevitably announce that they were expecting yet another child. The congratulatory sentiments were usually accompanied by a suggestion that the long, cold Prairie winter had something to do with it, causing all the adults present to roar with laughter. As a young child, I found this strange and scary. For longer than I care to admit, I was adamant that the chances of getting pregnant were somehow linked to the length and frigidity of our winter season, and nothing else. After the Vegas thing, I now know this isn’t true.
At any rate, in my mind families are meant to be large, erring on the side of chaotic; for example, if you didn’t have to draw a line down the middle of a room at some point in your life to declare your side,or creatively smear blame on a very deserving sibling, then I’m pretty sure you’ve missed out on the fundamental trials and tribulations of childhood. I also want enough children that I can totally get mixed up in regards to who’s who — then when I need something from any one of them, I can simply mash all their names together, release them in one big verbal discharge, with no regard for vowel or consonant order, and then shake my head in disdain when no one answers me. That, my friends, is called cheap entertainment.
In attempting to explain this to my husband, the allure of sharing a bunk bed with multiple siblings somehow got lost in translation between the girl from a family of eight kids, to the boy from the perfect nuclear of one son and one daughter.
Here’s a snippet of one of our many discussions on the topic. Please don’t judge.
Me:I think we should definitely try to have another kid.
Him:I don’t think it’s a good idea. We already have a boy and a girl. Life is perfect. That’s enough.
Me:You’re just saying that because it’s all you know.
Him:Well, whatever. All I know is that I’m going to be turning 40. That’s far too old.
Me:Uhm… you’re 37.
Him:Yeah, but eventually I’ll be turning 40.
Me:Quick question… should I leave the room and come back when you’re making sense?
Him:Look, the world is built for four — restaurant booths, hotel
rooms, vehicles, rides at Disney World…
Me:When did we last go to Disney World?
Him:You’re missing the point. We’ll be outnumbered.
Me:But if everyone in the universe subscribed to your theory, then I wouldn’t even exist. My parents would have stopped after the first two. (insert shudder here…)
Him:Three kids versus two is a huge deal, and I repeat HUGE. Our life will officially be over. It’s just not practical having lots of kids when you live in a city. You can’t just open the back door, kick them all outside and tell them to go pick stones in the field.
Me:Picking stones sucked, anyway. And what’s the big deal with having a third? You just throw another potato in the pot.
At this point, my husband left the room. He returned a few minutes later and handed me a photo.
Him:Here, look. Do you really want tofeellike this again?
Me:What do mean byfeel?Is
there an emotion being conveyed in this photo? Don’t you meanlook like that again? Because although I looklike a beached whale — I can’t recall exactly what I wasfeeling when you snapped the photo.
Him:Please don’t twist my words.
Now, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting my spouse, you will undoubtedly agree that I’ve been with childsince the day I met him. Clearly I’m already outnumbered. Although I must say that prior to this recent miracle, I was beginning to sway to his side, mesmerized and enchanted by his comprehensive, if not a little tedious lecture on how the world is built for four.
Upon hearing the news of our pregnancy, my sister declared, “Holy crap! Who would have thought that the two of you would be one-shot wonders at your age? That’s wild.” And although her statement made me feel extremely old and decrepit, I extracted from it the pearl of wisdom that I’m sure was embedded deep within the sentiment. That pearl being that this child is completely meant to be. Although entirely unexpected, it’s not at all unwanted.
Although my husband has slowly come back to his senses, he still wanders around the house, shaking his head as he measures where the bunk beds will have to go, stopping once in a while to calculate what our vehicle payment will be for the new minivan, pardon me, loser cruiser, we’re going to have to buy and making wild estimates at how old he’ll be before he can once again read a newspaper, uninterrupted, from start to finish. I told him to gun for 87, just to be safe.
JanitaVandeVeldegrewuponafarmnear Mariapolis,Man.Sheholdsabachelorofscience degreeinagriculturaleconomicsfrom theUniversityofManitoba,andhasworked forafinancialinstitutionsincegraduating. ShelivesinRegina,Sask.,withherhusband RoddyandtheirchildrenJackandIsla.Her firstnovel,PostcardsNeverWritten,was therecipientoftheSaskatchewanReader’s ChoiceAwardandalsolistedbyCBCasone ofthetopfunnybooksin2009.Shedonatesa portionofproceedsfromthesaleofherbook toWorldVisiontohelpthoselessfortunate. Formoreinformation,ortoorderherbook, visitherwebsiteat www.janita.ca
For longer than I care to admit, I was adamant that the chances of getting pregnant were somehow linked to the length and frigidity of our winter season