“Will You Have More?” || Loving the Last Baby

My last baby. As my youngest child approaches her second birthday, I find myself getting increasingly emotional.

You see, I have three children. Boy Child was born two weeks short of Big Girl’s second birthday. Then, when Boy Child was about two and a half, Tiny Girl came along.

And now? There will be no more little creatures forthcoming, and that is really getting to me. We made a rational decision — we are in a three-bedroom house, and good heavens, I’m already at the edge of my sanity as it is — but doggone it, whenever I see a sweet little baby, my ovaries start a riot.

Will You Have More?

And as if the disagreement between myself and my ovaries wasn’t difficult and persistent enough, everyone and their brother seems to think they know more about my reproductive future than I do. {What business is it of mine, you may ask? Well, I’m sure I don’t know.}

Not that it’s anyone’s business, but people sure seem to think so. What an intensely personal question, but complete strangers in the parking lot want to know when I will be having more children, and what is happening right this moment inside my uterus. And when I assure them that three is a crowd, while inside I’m sobbing, the intrusive person always gets the most insufferably smug look and says something unthinkable like, “We’ll see, won’t we?” or “You’ll change your mind!” or “You never know!”

Actually, yes. I do know. I am in a unique position to know. Other than my husband, there is no one on this third rock from the sun who is in a better position to know.

Why Have a Third?

This is, of course, leaving out the disgusting people who felt it was their duty to be insulted that I would even consider having a third child at all. “You have a girl and a boy. What else could you need?”

Please, allow me to justify my family planning to you, Stranger Whom I’ve Never Met Before.

I understand, I really do, that the “ideal” American family has now shrunk to Mother, Father, Sister, Brother. If you have two of the same gender, you’re “allowed” to “try for a boy” or “try for a girl,” but if you have one of each and keep going, you must be some grotesque aberration that belongs on her own TLC series. Or live in some baby-making cult.

And the greatest part? These ignorant people are more than happy to share their ignorance with you. Insultingly. And loudly.

I’ll Tell You Why.

Because even with the hormones and the postpartum depression and the agony that is breastfeeding, pregnancy and having a sweet new baby is, hands-down, the greatest joy I have ever known. Big Girl and Boy Child have grown faster than I ever thought possible, and Tiny Girl is on track for the same thing.

But this time around, I’m trying to be intentional about savoring every. Single. Thing.

The hilarious way she calls a cat a “neow.” The way her soft baby hair smells. The fat little dimpled knuckles on her hands. Every time that she yells, tornado-siren-style, “MAMA!” in the car, her way of “requesting” a pretzel. The way her fat little diapered bottom wiggles while she lurches down the hallway. And the startling way she started nodding and shaking her head long before she could talk to let us know what she wanted {or vehemently didn’t want}.

Every milestone is so bittersweet, when you know your baby is your last. Luckily, my sweet little Toodles {a nickname granted her by my husband} has not been in an enormous hurry to meet milestones. She marches to her own drum. Rolling over and sitting up were on track, and she could crawl like the wind, starting just about on time. But she took her sweet time and didn’t walk until she was about twenty months old.

And you know what? I was not in any hurry for my Final Sweet Baby to walk. The longer she crawled, the longer she could be called a baby, at least in my mind.

It is possible that God will have the last laugh, maybe once my children are quite a lot older. I’m not ruling anything out. However, as things stand now, my Tiny Girl is my Last, and I plan on loving her all the harder.

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