I hear my 10-year-old pipe up from the back seat.
"Why can't you have another baby again? I'd really like you to."
I almost choke on my coffee. I think of how many children I'm parenting and list that number as the number of reasons I'm thinking it's a solid no.
Then he says, "But I could help you!"
"Please!" I say. "You can't even remember your lunch, and your room looks like a wolf den. Mind your business.
All of this stirs the younger ones to chime in: "I remembered my lunch. Maybe I could help. I know where milk comes from."
I say, "Uh, congratulations. You remembered your lunch, and you know where milk comes from — boobies you don't have." My mind drifts to breastfeeding the twins. They were aggressive. I had 11 months of this. I'm sure the mail man saw more than he cared to on a number of occasions. He seems nice.
Yeah, so let me think about it. No.
For people who are not sure if they are done having kids, I have a test.
Imagine you haven't gone out in a while. Imagine you are invited to party, let's say a barbecue, and your kids are all invited, too.
A. Excited. You've got the perfect outfit for everyone and can't wait for this glorified playdate.
B. You will go, only because that will count as dinner for the kids and maybe you can throw back a drink before all chaos breaks loose.
C. You get a sitter and go out to a nice dinner, then stop by this chaos of a barbecue and laugh at everyone else's drama.
If you answered:
A. You're not done having kids, and I hope you're next pregnancy produces multiples.
B. You're probably done. All of your feelings are justified.
C. You've been done for awhile and are living your best life.
If you need a list of reasons why there will not be a baby in your future, here you go (You can borrow these if your children are also asking this asinine question.):
1. There are a lot of you.
2. My personal life is complicated. Let's leave it at that.
3. I'm tired, and as much as you say you will help, you won't and even if you did, it wouldn't be enough. I can't handle any more right now and can't even think how I would cope with less sleep. I know this because I'm not a yeller and am yelling. My mom used to yell, "I can't take it anymore!" and my sister and I would make fun of her. I now feel very guilty. Well-played karma.
4. I'm older, and my chance of producing twins is even higher than it was. Considering the last batch almost killed me, and I tapped out at 220 pounds, and it took my body years to not quite recover, I'm thinking that I can't go back. I mean some things will never the same.
5. The last few bills and the run-up to Christmas has proved one thing for sure. You people are expensive. Like, how is everyone else out there surviving? Start packing your own lunches and looking into scholarships!
6. I love you all, but you guys have got too much going on with all of your activities. We live in the van half the time as it is. Any future children might believe that they live in a mobile home. Oh, and I would probably have to breastfeed everywhere, including your sporting events. And I'm not shy. I will literally wave at you, just like I did the mail man, while I do what I need to do. (I'm obviously not shaming anyone who publicly breastfeeds, I just know some of the kids are going through that awkward puberty thing where everything about bodies is weird or gross.)
Now, back off and refocus on taking care of yourself. Oh and you can't ask Santa for a baby. The rules of genies apply. They cannot end or create life. Santa has no power over my reproductive system, unless Santa is extremely good looking, promises me a live-in elf to pull up the slack and brings me that gin advent calendar I think that looks interesting.
Just kidding, it's still a solid no.