Thursday, August 9, 2007


While I harbor definite neatnik tendencies, having two children requires a laser-focused diligence to keep the clothing, toys, and paraphernalia down to manageable levels. The baby stage is especially difficult to remain uncluttered in, because the little buggers outgrow things so rapidly that every corner of the house tends to store something recently indispensable but now obsolete. This wouldn't be a big deal if baby items were small and cute, or if I lived in a mcmansion the size of Walmart. But the gear tends to be over sized and designed by the same people responsible for casino carpets. And we are keeping it real here in Oakland, living in a tiny two-bedroom 1950s-era house that doesn't have space for extra crap.

In the past few months I have been reasonably good about dragging unused items down to the basement and garage, but quite bad about getting them completely out of the house. At first I chalked it up to lack of time -- going to Goodwill with a carload of boxes is a pain when you've got two kids to cart along. But the other day a friend said she was trying to conceive again, and I know that in her first pregnancy most of her maternity clothes were borrowed from a sister who took back her things when she recently got pregnant again herself. So here is an obvious situation where my friend could use some free maternity clothes, and hey, I've got boxes of them in the basement. While I'm at it, I should also give her the infant stuff Little A has outgrown so far. Yet in the basement everything remains. I just haven't been able to utter the words, "come pick them up" yet.

So, I guess the clutter in the basement is about lack of time, but not in the way I originally thought. I'm just not ready to let go of pregnancy and babydom. Not yet. I only just started down this path in life three and a half years ago, and now I'm done. How did that happen?

With Big A, when I finished a big stage all the related physical items that went with the era got carefully packed away. Sure, I might have felt a little misty at how fast she grew while I did it, but there wasn't anything truly sad about putting stuff away. I knew pregnancy and infant care were cycles I'd loop through again in the future. That bouncy seat was still needed someday. So were those stretchy pants. Saving everything was an affirmation of the dream of a bigger family. Saving things was fun.

But now every time a onesie is outgrown or the baby loses interest in a toy, it just reminds me that there is absolutely no need to keep those things. There will be no more babies for us, ever. Saving things under these circumstances is stupid, and yet that's what I've been doing.

Probably we would have stopped at two kids even if pursuing the second one hadn't turned into such hell. We are out of bedrooms in the house and out of money for raising more. But the fact that my uterus ruptured in Little A's pregnancy just makes accepting this more difficult. Because there isn't a choice anymore. We were told by several doctors and too many nurses to count that my rupturing at home was an amazing case of bad luck/good luck: Terrible for it to actually occur, but freakishly fortunate that Little A wasn't brain damaged from lack of oxygen, and that I didn't bleed to death. In light of that, it's just too dangerous to ever try again. In fact, DH got a vasectomy recently. Because we knew that if we accidentally got pregnant, we would want to try to keep the baby. All rational reasons regarding safety and fairness to "The As" (who deserve to keep a mom) would go out the window in a real pregnancy situation. So best to avoid all chance of it ever happening, we decided.

Oh, the heart is a greedy, irrational thing. It always wants more.

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