Elsa: Mommy, are we going to get a baby?
Clio: Jaclyn has a baby, and Avery has a baby, and Owen has a baby, and Steven has two babies…” (These are all friends of theirs with younger siblings.)
Me: You mean a baby brother or sister?
Clio: Yeah. When are we going to get one?
And so, I said that mommy and daddy had decided that they weren’t going to have any more babies, that we were happy with two, and wanted to be able to focus on them. And anyway, it was a lot of work to have a baby.
I stopped just shy of saying I didn’t want to have another baby, because that seemed weirdly selfish or mean, given that I was talking to my children. But how do you tell your very young kids that, although you love them oodles and are thrilled to have had them you really don’t feel like you have room or energy or resources for another child in your life? (Despite the occasional, fleeting feelings that maybe it would be nice.…)
But I’d heard of twins lobbying for a sibling before, so I suppose I should have been prepared with a better answer. What they said next, though surprised me.
Elsa: But we want to be triplets.
How funny, no? Of course, I explained that triplets were three babies born all at once, just like twins were two babies born at once, so having a brother or sister wouldn’t make them triplets. But they didn’t seem convinced.
And they still wanted a baby.
So, instead, I started reminding them of the other babies in their lives, chiefly their cousin, Deklan (pictured, with Elsa, who really does adore babies, and is very sweet with them). Although, admittedly, they only see him every few months; my brother and his wife live in Portland, Maine.)
They weren’t really buying that angle.
Clio: We want our own baby.
I handed her a doll, and changed the subject.
PS — Please forgive me for a brief self-promo….it’s only six weeks until the publication of my novel, EDEN LAKE, and I’m getting very excited! Check out the new website for the book, campedenlake.com and, if you like, follow @campedenlake on Twitter for a taste of the Camp Eden Lake experience. (I’ll follow back.)
Photo: Emily Roper