For New Year's, my close friend M from high school drove from Utah to Huntington Beach with four kids in her minivan, one of them her nephew. The trip took 13 hours. I dared to ask her what raising three kids was like.
"It's chaotic," she replied, her tone dropping on the last word, very matter of factly. I asked her eldest kid, eight, what it was like with two siblings.
"Sometimes daddy gets stressed out," she said.
"What does he do when he's stressed out?"
"He yells," she said; her tone echoed her mom's exactly.
Sara and I have an ongoing discussion about the possibility generating a third kid, and the impact it would have - or rather, the havoc it would wreak, upon our lives. It has been very stressful this past 1.5 years since Thomas was born, since we have the equivalent of twin toddlers.
If you don't know, toddlers are the worst. They live on the edge; they push the limits of what they are allowed to do, to try to understand their role in their family and the world. They are fast enough to run out onto the street, yet don't fully understand they could be run over. No wonder we as parents must remain ever vigilant, and ever exhausted.
I have been mulling the pros and cons over in my mind over past half year, wondering if I could be a dad to three kids. When they are older and can lean on each other, as only siblings can, it could be a big advantage. On the other hand, we will be even more inward-focused than ever, and I'm not sure if I want that. I've already cut 95% of my personal interests out of life; I don't feel I can give much more without losing myself, not to mention my relationship with my wife. I just enter a loop when I think about it, and I get depressed thinking about it.
Why have a third kid?
M explained why precisely, in that offhand and straight-shooting way of hers:
"I love him so much, I can't imagine what our lives would be like without him."