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on booties and babies

booties on the steps

booties for upcoming babies

I have two friends with babies due in the coming months, so I spent a week making booties. Each will be presented with a set of ties in blue and another set in pink. It gives me a warm feeling when other moms wait to find out the gender of their child. I didn't find out with both my pregnancies, but then our choice of treatment was such that it excluded ultrasounds. Still, there are good reasons to wait other than the ultrasound place is way across town. When I was pregnant with Harvey, a woman in the grocery store (after accosting me by saying "OMG YOU'RE SO HUGE! IS IT A BOY OR A GIRL?") told me, "I liked waiting to find out with mine. There are so few surprises in life."

Upon reflection, this is water-spittingly false. So few surprises in life? Whose life are you leading, lame-o? My life is FULL of surprises. What will my family be like in one year? In five years? How on earth can I know? When I think about it, what's stifling is how few things I can actually PLAN. So to prospective parents I say: don't find out the gender of your unborn child. Let the lack of foreknowledge prepare you for the wild ride of uncertainty that is parenthood.

Speaking of "planning" and "families," in my master plan for my life I was supposed to get pregnant this month. We were supposed to conceive all our children two years apart, stamping em out, until we get a girl, cough-cough gag, I mean, until our family is the perfect size that Jesus intended.

I say this last line a little sarcastically. I hold in tension two opposing views of conception, one that God has a plan for each life he wants to bring into our family, and two that this is what crazy rabbit people say when they are being crazy about not using birth control. Seriously guys, life may be an amazing miracle from God, but we're not really in the dark about how it happens, are we? A good portion of my brain is the rational cause-and-effect part of my brain, and that part says unprotected sex results in babies. Period. If you have unprotected sex you are making a choice. As God is your witness.

Because I have this curse of rational thinking, we are not getting pregnant this month. A midwife costs $3000 and we don't have that kind of cash on hand. Also my health has been poor recently and Zion's baby-ish behavior makes me worry he's not quite ready to be a big brother. All good reasons to put off conception. Economists everywhere, you may now rejoice that poor people sometimes behave rationally.

Yet when it strikes the desire for a baby is rather strong, isn't it? Or is it just me. I'm torn between labeling this a "normal biological imperative" vs "crazy Leah type of bullshit." The truth is I find my desires a bit scary and uncontrollable. (I'm not talking in a cagey way about sex here - those desires mostly bore or irritate me.) When I feel like I really want to do something, like dreading my hair for example, the desire sweeps in like a cold front, like a force of nature. It consumes me waking and sleeping until somehow I find a way to make it happen. Sometimes I think this is a good thing - I must have a strong ability to feel the leading of the Holy Spirit and that's why I can't let something go when it feels important. Sometimes I think it's more likely a bad thing, like undiagnosed bipolar disorder. And I should remind myself that not every crazy desire is a mandate from Heaven that THIS. MUST. HAPPEN. Over the summer my urge was impossibly strong to move out of our house and live something somewhere else for a while, but that thing didn't pan out and the world hasn't collapsed as a result.

Anyway, yeah. Baby booties. A little bit sad and a little bit relieved that they aren't for my baby. I don't know if or when the next baby Archibald will be needing booties. For now I'd better get to work on those big boy sweaters.

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