Closing up Shop

For the past week, I’ve been organizing KT’s remaining baby clothes and accessories for our annual garage sale. As I smell the last remnants of baby lotion and touch the teeny-tiny pink ribbons before stuffing them in the Rubbermaid, I’m sadly reminded that once I close the lid, I’m also closing the chapter in our lives when we were surrounded by babies.

I’m blue about, but comfortable with, this turning point until Mr. P pipes up, “Are you sure you really want to get rid of this stuff? We could always have another one.”

Dammit.

As confident as I’ve been with my decision to stop with two children, it’s comments like that which make me question – how do you really know when you’re done having kids?

Becoming a mother has been the single best thing that’s ever happened to me. So if two little girls make me happy, wouldn’t three kids make me feel 33% more fulfilled? And how fun would it be to add a little boy to the mix, a brother KT and MJ would fawn over and dress up in tutus like Mr. P’s sisters did to him?

I want to relive those first few days in the maternity ward. When all we did was snuggle with a newborn while drinking unlimited berry smoothies from room service and watching Law & Order SVU marathons. I think half the reason we conceived KT was so I could enjoy a second getaway at Casa de Missouri Baptist.

I questioned our choice again at my ob-gyn this week when I stopped by her office to get an ultrasound on my ovaries. As I sat in the stirrups and watched my lady parts flash up on the screen, I thought, “Well this isn’t as nearly as exciting as watching a baby swim around.” It was upsetting knowing I would never see my husband’s face light up again when the technician reveals the gender or scour baby name books for the perfect moniker.

(Although I did name my ovaries Helga and Inga to make myself feel a little better. If you look closely, Helga has the same nose as Mr. P, and Inga has my cleft chin.)

But when it comes right down to it, for our family, for our girls and for me, two kids is the right number for a number of reasons:

  • I know you can’t put a price on your kids, but with MJ entering kindergarten soon, there’s a light at the end of the daycare tunnel. Mr. P and I constantly fantasize about what we’ll be able to do with the hundreds we’ll save on childcare costs – like hoard for the kids’ college or get wicked matching tribal armband tattoos.
  • While KT’s birth was in no way traumatic, it was slightly scary. The sheer thought of having my arms tied down and striking a pose reminiscent of The DaVinci Code for yet another C-section gives me the heebie-jeebies.
  • That sweet smelling, adorable little baby that slept on my chest? Well, she has morphed into Courtney Love if Courtney Love was fed nothing but Red Bull, Pixy Stix and Ecstasy. KT finds it enjoyable to strip naked in inappropriate places and throw forks in restaurants and scream “S**t!” at the top of her lungs (ok, she’s really telling us to “Sit!” but the correction goes over her fuzzy little head). At 30, I could easily manage a rambunctious toddler; at 34, her antics drive me straight to bed by 8:30 at night.

Above all, it was only recently when I knew in my heart our family was complete. In my arms I held a beautiful newborn little girl. One all soft and cuddly with the sweet little baby sighs and sweet baby smell that in the past five years would have set Helga and Inga into a tango.

But this time they didn’t hit the dance floor. Helga and Inga got into position, took one step and then collapsed into a hammock with a box of wine.

So this weekend, I will finish saying good-bye to the incredible experience of welcoming new children into our little family and start looking forward to all the amazing experiences I will get to enjoy with my growing little girls, feeling eternally grateful for everything we’ve been through.

So tell us – how did you know you were done having kids? Or, how did you know having a third (or fourth or fifth) was right for your family?

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, Tuesday through Friday, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

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