Deciding whether to have just one more baby plagues many parents. And in this house, the kids have started campaigning, too…
My children have asked me to ‘grow another baby’. At first I was surprised they’d want another sibling to compete with for affection and attention, then I realised why they’d asked.
There are two certainties in life when it comes to parenting:
1. When you buy a house your children will ask for a dog;
2. When someone in your family has a baby, your children will ask you to have one too.
There are two new babies in my family, two girls and two new nieces for me. My children are aged 4, 5 and 9 so they are quite taken with their little cousins. At first they keep confusing their names and had trouble telling them apart. Still, they begged to go and see them. And the novelty hasn’t worn off.
Each baby has a totally different personality and my children understand that screaming with excitement in the face of one will cause laughter and doing the same to the other will cause hysterical crying. They fight over the babies, wanting to play peak-a-boo and touch their heads, their feet and their legs.
It was at the movies while waiting for Free Bird to begin when my five-year-old son Giovanni whispered, “Mum, where do babies come from?” Hmm. Not exactly the question I wanted to answer while eating a Magnum waiting for a movie to start but because he’s 5 I got away with this answer:
“Mummies grow babies in their tummies.”
He sat back for a moment to digest this new information. He then leaned over and said:
“Then can you grow one?”
My four-year-old daughter Caterina joined in, “Yeah, grow one mum, but grow a girl.” My nine-year-old son Philip started laughing. He wants another baby in the family too, or a dog, I think he’ll take either.
The only reason their request has left me reeling is because I really and truly do want another child. When my mum asks me if I’m serious, her eyes wild with the panic of a grandmother who already as 9 grandchildren, I assure her that I am serious. Then, to ease the tension (9 grandchildren!) I say, “I never buy fruit in uneven numbers. I need one more to make it even.”