Within the last month and a half, I've had three different people ask me if I was pregnant. I find this disturbing, especially since I started working out regularly at Curves 2 months ago. I haven't lost weight, but I have lost inches. I've never been one to obsess about my figure. However, I decided I was at a point where I needed to be more active. Diabetes runs in my family. I know what that entails, and I don't want to have to live that kind of lifestyle with its accompanying risks.
So I wonder what it is that makes people think I've got a bun in the oven? Is it bad posture? Bad wardrobe choices? I'm not sure. We've got three boys, and I often get questions about whether or not we're going to "try for a girl." Why does that matter? Don't get me wrong--I think it would be great to have a girl, but I'd be perfectly content with another boy. I love my sons, and after three of them I think I have the boy thing down. But why is it that people assume that because I have three of one gender I must necessarily have this obsessive desire to have one of the other?
I suspect that timing is a motive behind the pregnancy questions. My "baby" is two years old now. Apparently, that means it's high time to add to our band of ruffians. Who developed this timeline anyway? Sheesh. Do I have to follow the perceived "Mormon standard" of kids two years apart just because I belong to the predominant religion in Utah? Do the math with my other boys and you'll see that I've rebelled against that standard. My first son was 3-1/2 when son number two came along, and son number two was 4 when son number three came along. If I continue that pattern, I won't be thinking of bottles and newborn nappies for at least another year or more.
My sons have been their own form of birth control every since they were born. Neither my husband nor I do well when sleep deprived. I can't be a good mom when I'm grumpy and tired. And unlike those few lucky parents whose newborns sleep through the night from day one, our babies don't reach that milestone until they're at least 5 to 6 months old. Do you know how long it takes to make up for half a year of lost sleep? Those first smiles and coos are a great reward, but they don't give your body the sleep it craves.
Our first son has been a real challenge from day one. First children are always challenging in some way because as new parents you feel like idiots. You have no idea what you're doing or why they let you come home from the hospital with this new little person. What if you feed him wrong? What if you don't put the diaper on right? And heaven forbid you should have to give the kid a bath--you might break him or something. It's really scary. But then you figure it out and the baby survives and you realize that you CAN be a parent--at least until the kid turns about 17 months old. (At our house, the "terrible twos" start early.) Overnight, it seems, your angel child turns into the spawn of Satan. Then what do you do?
I distinctly remember an incident with my first son, A--, when he was about 2-1/2 years old. We were living in Layton at the time, and our back fence (which had blown down in a wind storm) bordered the driveway of our neighbor around the corner. A-- and I were in the kitchen getting lunch ready. We could see out the back door into the yard and onto the neighbor's property. We noticed that the neighbor, an elderly gentleman, was outside getting the mail or something. On his way back up to his door, he bent down to reach something on the driveway. About 5 minutes later, A-- asked me why that man bent down. I told him I didn't know--maybe he picked up some trash or something. I hadn't been paying attention that closely. This launched A-- into a FULL BLOWN FIT! I had never seen anything like it until that point. He literally screamed at me, "YOU HAVE TO KNOW!!!!" He wanted me to go over to the guy's house and ask him what he was doing when he bent down in his driveway. Yeah, right. You can imagine how well that conversation would have gone:
"Um, excuse me, sir. I'm your neighbor to the west. My son saw you bend down in your driveway about 10 minutes ago. What exactly were you doing? He's two and he just has to know."
That was the first of many similar incidents. Once, he asked me, "What does a chair say?" I told him chairs don't say anything. He insisted otherwise, which started a long afternoon (and several weeks following) of kicking, screaming fits about what noise chairs make. Is it any wonder, then, why we waited so long to have another child? Who wants to deal with two out-of-control children at the same time?
So here we are with three kids and questions about when/if we're going to have more. I wasn't offended by the questions--mostly because two of the three people who asked are good friends and the third is one of the girls in my Young Women class. It's only that it made me wonder why they would ask. How do you respond to that question anyway? "No, I'm not pregnant, I'm just gaining weight. Thanks for noticing, though." Kinda makes you uncomfortable. It's one of those "forbidden" questions, like "Do I look fat?"