Thursday, February 12, 2009

One of Those Days When Nothing Went Quite Right.

I skipped the gym this morning because I was going to run in the park with the girls. We were on the street, all dressed, zipped up, tucked in and ready to run. Until I felt the 60 mile-per-hour gusts of wind. It was intensely powerful wind. I severely underestimated it. “High wind alert” on a website seems so quaint. But it was knock-you-down wind. We turned back because there was no way I would make it to the park, let alone up those hills, with that wind resistance.

After the run I was supposed to get the car and then go visit a friend and her kids for a Playdate in the Country. But she is sick, so that plan got squashed. Well, “sick” might be overstating the case, but she has a bad cough and is sneezing, which means it might just be a cold. Part of me thinks, whatever, if the girls get sick, it’s okay. But then the rational me says, what, are you crazy? Two sick toddlers would bring me to my knees, I’m sure. Actually, I think I am more afraid of me getting sick, because it is no fun parenting two toddlers when you feel like you were hit by a bus. The girls tend to not let little things like fevers slow them down.

So instead, I packed the girls up again and pushed them against the wind to the car and drove out to Ikea. Of course, I got lost and had to call Nicole at work to Mapquest me though the final leg of the trip. It was worth it: What a paradise for parents Ikea is. We had breakfast in the café (French toast and applesauce) and then shopped for crib pillows, crab seat covers and a play tunnel. I resisted the urge to buy 100 tea lights and cork boards just because they were cheap.

Then I took the girls to the promised land: the ball room. I told the girls all about it as soon as we got in the store. As we passed it, I taunted them with “Looooook, ladies, the baaaaaaall rooooooom.” I promised them we would go after we finished shopping. And I kept my word. I was at the front desk trying to figure out how to sign them in when I saw the sign: Must be potty trained. I thought about lying, but knew the diapers would give it away. I was devastated, as were the girls, who could see the room and slide, filled to the brim with balls.

I then pushed the girls a quarter mile through a giant parking lot to go to the toy store. It seemed easier to do that then to take them out of the stroller, strap them into their car seats, collapse the stroller and drive the quarter mile. But no. It was so windy that I almost choked on a pretzel goldfish I swiped from the girls snack bag. I literally opened my mouth to chew (ok, so I was chewing with my mouth open) and the wind pushed my lips back in a centrifugal force sorta way. We made it, wind blown. I wanted to take them on a toy-buying mini-splurge. I planned to walk out with several big bags. But as I walked up and down the aisles, overwhelmed by the selection, it all just seemed like so much quantity and no quality. The more I saw, the less I wanted to buy. I mean, how many electronic alphabet-song singling toys do two girls need? I was annoyed with how there were “boy” aisles and “girl” aisles. Gender-stereotype much? And how much pink there was in Girl Land. Then we came upon a tower of balls and the girls lost their minds. That was my cue to wrap up quickly and leave. They ended up with a couple of books and Cookie Monster slippers, which, it turns out, don’t fit because apparently my children have huge ankles.

Not surprisingly, my Octopulet mom comments generated some commentary. I see both sides of this mess, I really do. I just have a hard time calling her crazy for wanting children. Who gets to decide what is a rational number of children to have? She claims that six embryos were transferred into her: My first IVF doctor transferred four into me. He said given my history and the quality of the embryos, even one baby from four embies was a long shot. And how many stuck? Zero. Yet, I guess I could have been mom to six (if two embies split into twins). And people would probably call me crazy. But all I wanted to do was fulfill my particular family desires.

For most of us, fertility circumstances and financial circumstances dictate the size of our family. If we all sat down and figured out how much it costs to raise a child I think most of us would not have kids. College alone, in 18 years, will most likely run us 200K per child. Minimum. So that is 50K a year. Per kid. (when I went to college in 1990, it was 30K a year.) And that is just undergrad. I look at families like the Duggars and think, how do they do it? One way: They don’t send their kids to college. That saves a bundle. They don’t ever pay for child care. That saves a lot too. Still, the other expenses, it has to add up.

Yes, 14 is waaaaay too many kids, given her circumstances and her extremely limited financial limitations. Yet I say that she is propelled to procreate by her love of children, and that is what drove her to have more. Brad Pitt and Angelina have six, and say they will have many more. I guess because they are married and rich, we think nothing of it? Or Mia Farrow? I think she has over 14 children, and several have special needs. But she is rich, so no one calls her crazy. So is that it? If you have a husband and money you are sane. Single and poor and you are crazy.

And these poor (literally) kids, who will grow up and know how they are mocked. These kids who will never know what financial security feels like, who will never know what it is like to shop for new clothes. They will most likely live on welfare their entire childhood. And yes, California’s taxpayers are footing the bill for their birth, but these are children? Do we turn our backs on them because their mother is “crazy?” The vemon ad anger I hear in some reports on the news and read in the papers: “Why do WE have to support THEM?” Because they are children. And they didn’t ask to be born. Ad they are here. Turning our backs is not a very Christian/democratic/pleasant option.

The Duggars sure make big families look fun and carefree. But most families of that size don’t usually end up in the black on family finances. I still say that a cell phone company approaching the Duggars and asking to rent land is luck. But that is just one type of luck. Some luck we make and some luck we land in. I am living my own combination of luck: Two healthy babies, born even after I was told that my chances were slim, after years of trying. With all that I have seen in the fertility realm, that is indeed luck, times two.

A three-day weekend is on the horizon, since Nicole has Monday off. That is very exciting.

Today, at dinner, Avery and Madeline ate hummus with a spoon. Avery is saying “oon” for spoon. And she is fond of saying NO NO NO if we try to feed her. But I think my favorite word moments are when Madeline crawls into my lap to read and book and says “uck” (duck) and “tweet.”

Pictured above, Avery in her tunnel. And Madeline the little bookworm.


Carey said...

For the record, I don't think the octo-mom is 'crazy' for wanting a bunch of kids... I think she's crazy for other reasons :)

Based on the little I've heard, her reasoning for wanting so many kids makes me think therapy would have been a good thing for her way back when... maybe she'll get some insight in her 'counseling' program.

On another note... isn't the tunnel so much fun?? The Boy loves it all closed up too, it's his 'boat' and he puts all of his toys in it and sits in it.

Jennifer said...

I should be more specific: It is the media and the people they choose to interview that are calling her crazy. Not you all!

And I STILL say that she has some LONG nails for a mother of 14! And a lot of Botox. I have two kids and if I can get out to get a manicure once every two weeks, I am lucky!

I don't know much about that Jon and Kate, but I did see one episode: The one when someone gave her free plastic surgery to "fix" her stomach. And she asked for a breast lift and some other stuff! I was so glad that doctor turned her down!

ms.bri said...

Not to depress anyone further, but college costs $50K NOW. My college was 28K when I started. It's now 54K. Private, of course. Public is not going to be cheap for long, either, and the cuts make it impossible to graduate in 4 years there anyway.
-Stepmom to a high school senior

Jennifer said...

Bri, you're right: I think the 50K estimate was for PUBLIC college. I think NYU is up in the 50s too at this point. Side note: I remember that dorms at NYU were 8k a year....from sept to may. So over four years 32 K was thrown away. Why oh why that wasn't used instead to buy an apt. in the then-cheap Chelsea, I don't know. Hindsight.

can you imagine sending 8 to college at once?? It isn't possible.

calliope said...

I think the stuff about Octo-Mom that troubles me is that she keeps saying that she wanted a large family because she didn't feel loved enough as a child largely because she wasn;t "given" siblings. I also think it is wonky that she is obviously not being honest about a couple of things. She denied getting money from the government when there is evidence that she does (& I have no problem with that at ALL- just be up front and honest), and then on that dateline she totally denies having had any 'work' done when it is CLEAR that she has. I don't feel like she needs to be this perfect person- but at least don't try to paint yourself as a saint.

As a single gal with a non-income earning job SO much of the media coverage has me flinching.

K J and the kids said...

Why I like her, because she flat out said...if anyone offers help, I'll take it. :) ha ha

LOVE the bow. You can't see the mullet at ALL ! She's such a sweety...WHY wouldn't she let me hold her :)