Monday, May 9, 2011

Ready... Or Not

"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit." - Elizabeth Gilbert.

I think I'm ready. Ready to have a second child. As ready as I'll ever be I guess. Why else would I make such a wild, impulsive purchase?

One morning after the Peanut's dance class, we popped in on our neighbor's newly-reopened consignment shop, which is right around the corner from the dance studio. There on the shelf with the other toys, games and baby supplies, was a mobile. But not just any mobile.

My impulse buy
This was a genuine, fresh in the box, Otto the Orange mobile. Otto being the mascot of my and my wife's beloved alma mater, Syracuse University. Yes, our mascot is an orange. Yes, it's completely ridiculous. But unless you went to Syracuse, you just wouldn't understand the love affair that students and alumni have with this adorable, fuzzy, walking citrus.

I made the purchase on the spot. Without even thinking twice. The best eight bucks I've spent in a while.

"What are we going to do with that?," my wife asked.

"Save it until the second comes," I replied while shrugging my shoulders, dismissing her preposterous and insulting question.

A second. The thought makes me shudder with terror and excitement at the same time.  Our life as two working parents of an active daughter is crazy as it is. We want to double the amount of children? The amount of responsibility? The amount of stress? The amount of chaos? The mountain of expense we already have?

Yeah... I guess we do.

Our daughter is certainly ready. She's been telling people that mommy is having a baby for months. Let me be clear: mommy is NOT having a baby. Yet. Not even close.

But when a friend dropped off a bouncie seat that she had no use for anymore... a fancy new one that their newborn loved... alarm bells went off inside my daughter's head. We explained to her that one day we're going to have a baby (God willing), that it will be in mommy's belly, and that she doesn't get to choose whether it's a brother or sister. For the record, she wants a sister.

Later that week, my daughter then went and told my mother-in-law, who was so convinced my wife was pregnant she actually called her at work and asked her if there was anything she wasn't telling her. She also told everyone at daycare... leading one of the other moms to approach my wife at our daughter's birthday party and ask her if congratulations were in order.

Of course we've talked about it. Talked about when we want to have one. Talked about when we don't want to have one. Of course we know that sometimes you can't control these things.

Ridiculous, yet beloved
Then again, when your alma mater's sports teams are led onto the field or court by a smiling, dancing piece of fruit... you're programmed to embrace the ridiculous, and expect the unexpected.

And now, with Otto safely tucked away on the shelf next to the stairs that lead to the attic, we're ready. Whenever it happens. If it happens.

And while we're closer than we've ever been, it bears repeating for the record: not anytime soon.

**My wife and I met at Syracuse. When the SU hoops team won it all in 2003, it was really special to us, for more than the obvious reason... I recently wrote about that here.

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