are you there god it's me katie

A letter to myself, to be opened on the night I turn to Ryan and say, "should we go for another one?"

Oh, honey.

I know. It sounds like fun. 

The excitement! Knots in your stomach as you wait for the little + sign to appear on the test.

The thrill! Hearing that heartbeat for the first time at the doctor's office.

The glow! Everyone you know saying "congratulations! Amazing! Wonderful! You look GREAT!"

The pride! Being the only pregnant lady at the gym. You're not just some chick watching "How I Met Your Mother" reruns on the elliptical anymore - you're an AWESOME pregnant lady who's totally kicking ass, the kind of pregnant lady all the not-yet-pregnant girls want to be when they get knocked up.

Even the morning sickness, in hindsight, has a sweet glow to it. "Those four months you couldn't get out of bed without choking down a slice of dry toast, crumb by crumb," has become "those four months Ryan brought you breakfast in bed every morning."

You're remembering the beautiful birth experience, the empowerment, the way you and Ryan worked together seamlessly, the way it increased your faith in your marriage and yourself. And don't forget the gorgeous gilded photographs showing you haloed in the dawn light like Mother Mary.

You're remembering all the moments Chicken touched baby Buster's face so sweetly, so softly, his toddler hand like a bird resting against Buster's pink cheek.

You're remembering all the times you read the boys "The Little Red Hen," and they both looked up at you with their big brown eyes from their pillows on the floor.

Yes, all of that happened.

But sweetie?

Before you pull the goalie and send in the strike team, let me just offer you a spoonful of perspective. These things happened too.

You spent 4 months sipping ginger tea with nausea sweat on your upper lip.
You looked bloated and chubby before the egg even made it into your uterus. All belly? HA.
Eating enchiladas was an aerobic activity. You panted. Heavily.
You did not sleep more than 3 hours at a stretch for the first trimester. Or the third trimester. Or the first year of Buster's life.

I am writing this letter to you from the bedroom floor.

I smell like sour yogurt and baby shit.

Buster was one month old before I was able to have a normal bathroom experience. One month before I could wear a thong. That's right. For a month I was wearing yoga pants and bunchy granny panties with big old institutional pads stuffed into them. It was a look.

Chicken pooped on the rug tonight. Then he stepped in it. Then he walked across the living room, into the kitchen, and across the kitchen floor to where I was setting the table for dinner. "Mommy? Poop!"

I had to praise him for pooping on the rug and then walking on his little poop foot. Because it was legitimately an accident and I don't want to fuck him up about pooping when he needs to go poop. "What a great job you did, Chicken! You pooped, and then you told me that you pooped!" I crowed from the living room floor, where I used a baby wipe to pick up the still-warm, rather festive red-pepper and corn-kernel dotted turd from the rug that was a wedding gift.

As I'm writing this, I can hear Chicken's bath time screams. There's this grating, sizzling quality to them tonight. He really brought his A-game. Like he's trying to inspire a mass suicide. Ryan talks and I can't hear his words, only the clipped, wire-tight quality. That's how our life feels right now, clipped and wire-tight.

Most nights I go to bed and think about how much easier my life was with one child. I went to the gym 3, 4 times a week. I had a weekend afternoon all to myself at least a couple of times a month. We were free to channel Chicken's bottomless energy without having to worry about anyone else's needs.

I remember the night I turned to Ryan and said, "should we go for 2?" He shrugged and said "sure, if you're ready." Fool that I was, I said, "well, we've already done it once."

No we hadn't.

We'd parented one child, which is not the same thing as parenting two children.

We'd parented Chicken, which is not the same thing as parenting Buster.

Future Katie, I'm not saying that you shouldn't have that third child.

I'm just saying you shouldn't have that third child UNLESS you have a full-time life coach, chef, and au pere so that you can respect the unique challenges of becoming a parent to three children, which is not the same thing as being a parent to two children.

So basically, snap out of it.

Don't just remember the sweet little boy smiles, big brown eyes and little red hen.

Remember poopy footprints, bath screams, the hours of crying that you voluntarily submit yourself to the night you decide to sleep train your baby. (No, we don't use the cry it out method, but there is still crying. More on that later.)

Remember the clipped, wire-tight snapping between you and your husband, followed immediately by lethargic hugs and apologies - "I'm just so tired."

Then watch The Blind Side and adopt a polite high schooler.


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