Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Girl Who Came to Stay

A funny thing happened on Easter Sunday...

No, this isn't the set up to a joke. Well, it could be. And the punchline would be how I had to unbutton my pants on the way home from the family gathering because I deluded myself into thinking I could wear my pre-baby skinny jeans. But that was really more sad than funny.

In any case, what happened was that Chris and I more or less decided we'd be open to having another baby. That sounded so business-like, didn't it? Charlotte and me on Easter. How could you not want another one of her?

We are willing to negotiate with any theoretical children. Please have your lawyer draw up a proposal. We will review all offers carefully and will make our decision based on various factors, including, but not limited to: severity of morning sickness fetus plans on inflicting, propensity for kicking mother in ribs or vital organs, punctuality, etc.

Seriously, though, we decided while driving home from a family function on Sunday, that we are ready. THAT actually is a joke, because we are nowhere near ready. I need health insurance, we need to get out of our house, we need more money, and so on. Add to that the fact that my body hasn't, shall we say, "resumed regularly scheduled programming", so it's highly unlikely we're even physically ready. And for some reason, all of a sudden I'm not as eager to wean Charlotte as I thought I would be.

So, basically, don't expect any baby from me anytime too soon, but the biggest obstacle has been overcome. Namely, my husband. He's been traumatized ever since we had the baby. Anytime I would even talk about having another one, he'd cower in a corner, crying and twitching. And I'd be like "Man up! We're doing this." and he'd be all "But it's too haaaaarrrrdd. She never sleeps, and the pregnancy was too stressful, and YOU. CAN'T. MAKE. ME." And no one wants to have sex with a quivering, sobbing mess, and THAT was how he delayed this whole process.

Clever, he is.

I've been thinking a lot about what this will mean for Charlotte, whenever it happens. Provided we don't have the kind of trouble we did last time, we will probably have kids that are about two to three years apart. My sister and I are two years apart, and maybe I'm just looking at our childhood with rose-colored glasses, but I had a BLAST growing up with her. Nose torture, aside. Which reminds me of how she used to call me "Strawberry Nose" due to my ruddy complexion and blackheads. Ah, sisters!

It was so wonderful to always have a companion on road trips, because back in OUR day, we didn't have DVD players in the car, nor did we have iPods,and neither one of us can read in the car without a bucket. You know, to throw up in. Oh, you got that? Okay, then.

We shared toys, we shared friends, we were always together! What could we possibly have complained about?

Oh, right. Sharing toys, sharing friends, ALWAYS being together. Togetherness at its finest!

We did fight. We fought a lot. Constantly. I remember being so mad at her that I chased her down the hallway until she ran into my parents' room (the only room with a lock) and locked me out. I pounded and pounded on the door, demanding that she let me in so I could kill her.

She didn't, of course.

I remember how even when she started a physical altercation, she would invariably get hurt and cry, which pretty much guaranteed that I would be the one to suffer the consequences. I remember fighting over toys. One Christmas she got a Cabbage Patch baby doll, and I got a watch. I begged her to trade, I cajoled, I threatened, I harped, until she finally agreed to share the doll with me. You can imagine how well that worked out.

And then there is the infamous blanket. The Strawberry Shortcake blanket. MY Strawberry shortcake blanket. Except it isn't mine. It's Allison's. BECAUSE SHE STOLE IT FROM ME! Actually, it's even worse. My parents gave it to her. Apparently, she needed a blanket to take to preschool for nap time and there weren't any other blankets in the world, so they had to give her mine. And, just to gloat, she became super attached to the blanket. It was her "blankie", and she was always snuggling up to it and smirking at me while rubbing it against her cheek.

Okay, so maybe I made up that last part. The point is, we were so close in age, that we wanted the same toys, wanted to hang out with the same people, and to do the same things. This was a blessing and a curse. The bright side was that we always had each other. On vacations, in the car, out to dinner. We each had a built-in best friend with us wherever we went. We liked to do the same things, and we shared a lot of friends. But, obviously, we competed with one another, fought over play things, and just generally bugged the crap out of one another. "You're going to steal my blanket, aren't you?"

I could blame the age gap, but I really think no matter how far apart kids are in age, they will bug the crap out of one another in some way or another. My dad's brothers are about seven and ten(?) years his senior, respectively. And they tortured him mercilessly. I think, especially, my Uncle Bob, the middle brother. My dad recalls Uncle Bob pinning him down on the ground and hocking up a loogie that he would let dangle over my dad's face before finally sucking it back up. And then he'd do it all over again. And then there was the time my uncle threw some sand right into my dad's face at the beach. My dad cried and was given a Coke to cheer him up. Uncle Bob looked at my grandmother, quite seriously, and asked, "Hey! Why didn't I get a Coke?"


I hope that we are able to have a sibling for Charlotte within the next year or so. But, if not, we'll keep plugging away. The important thing is that she have a sibling to fight with and generally make miserable. Whether they fight over the same boy or because Charlotte doesn't want to babysit, is immaterial.

Because, the truth is, my sister and I have fought many a battle, but where we are now is so cool. I always say that my husband is my best friend, but she was my FIRST best friend, and that will always make her special. We can laugh now about how she stole my blanket and how I tried to kill her. And even though at the time, it wasn't funny at all, I can laugh about how every morning I would pick all her crap up from the floor of the room we shared and toss it onto her top bunk, only to have her throw it all on the floor as she clambered into bed every night. Can you believe that little nerd turned out to be a million times cooler than her big sister?

I think these memories will always bind us together in a special way. We've been through a lot together: our parents' divorce, the loss of our grandparents, the death of pets. She was my Maid of Honor (and I'd better be hers) and one of the first people to hold Charlotte in the wee hours after her birth. I watched with pride as she graduated from college with a map taped to her hat, like the other geography majors. San Francisco State Alum, baby!

I'm so happy to have a sister to talk to on the phone almost every day, to share a beer with when she's in town, to laugh and reminisce with, and to call my friend.

And all I hope for is that Charlotte will have a sibling she will love just as much.


  1. I almost spit Cheerios all over my laptop screen reading the bit about Chris. So funeee...

  2. Love this. I thought for sure Isabelle (our oldest) would be an only child. Partly because I am so old. Partly because I only have one ovary (should insert sordid details of my emergency surgery to remove massive ovarian tumor that occured mid-way through my pregnancy with Isabelle - that was a fun week; but will spare you the details). Mostly because I was afraid of being that tired again.

    I had even begun preparing my speech for Isabelle for when she got older and asked why she didn't have any siblings. The speech went something like this: "Because I was too tired".

    But then, as people predicted, we forgot about being so tired. And thought, meh, why not try. Then went on vacation alone. And immediately got pregnant.

    It was a great decision. Yeah, I got really tired again, but that's behind us now. It would have been fine either way, but I'm just really glad we tried and played our cards. And I'm glad my two monkeys will always, no matter what, have each other. And believe me they will need each other when I am old, senile, and living in one of their basements.

  3. I would like to say that my wife takes creative liberties with her posts and the events above may not have happened exactly as described. There was a lot more crying, many more sleepless nights, and an untold amount of wetting of one's self during the first few months after Charlotte was born. And for that, I apologize. Having a baby is hard you guys. No one told me.

    That being said, Megan and Allison's bond is nothing short of outstanding. Their complex and often amusing relationship makes me wish I had the desire to be close to my brother and sister. But I don't. What are you gonna do?

    Beautiful writing as always sugar pop. Any post that emasculates me is a good one and by that standard this is one of my favorites.

    I love you.