Camille and Charlotte “practising” on our walk around the Mont Saint Victor this morning.
So to sum it up, our initial plans to have a third child following quickly on Camille’s heels was delayed by our exhaustion and by what my friend Andrea terms as “that nutbar phase” that many women experience at some point along the motherhood path.
By the time we were seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel our plans to move back to France for a few years were well underway. Franck and I had often talked about the possibility of having the girls go to school in France for a few years to really learn French properly and to appropriate their father’s culture in a way that just can’t be done on vacations, and it was finally going to become a reality.
Before we had lacked a framework for our stay in France, but on our last trip we had convinced the mule-ish owner of what has since become La Maison de la Vieille Vigne to sell the cottage to us after years of phoning him every time we were in France to see if he was interested. We knew we had to be in France for at least a year to transform the unused, dark, and nonfunctional little house into the vacation rental in our dreams.
So just when I was getting to the end of the tunnel we undertook a major move with a two and a four year old in tow. Although the move was our dream there is no doubt that it took us a good year to get set up and to get in a position of being able to enjoy life over here. That may seem like a long time, but in my experience it more or less always takes a year to set up a work routine and a network of friends – two things that for me are absolutely essential to enjoying myself no matter where I am.
So time marched on, and Camille and Charlotte got older, and the gap between them and a hypothetical third child got wider and wider until both Franck and I started to wonder if it wasn’t prudent to just stop where we were. Besides, things became so much easier. We no longer had to put out backs out hauling backpacks full of baby food and diapers on our frequent trans-Atlantic flights, the girls started to play together for hours, leaving us to work or veg out on the couch with a book (paradise!), and we also got very used to sleeping a solid 8 hours every night. Yet I still couldn’t shake the feeling that there was still another child of ours out there and that our family wasn’t complete without him or her.
If I had stayed in Canada rather than France I’m not sure I would have, at this relatively late juncture in the game, thrown my dice back in again. There was no doubt about it – logic and reason were clearly stacked against the decision to have a third.
For one thing, we bought a smallish three bedroom house shortly after our arrival here in France (the interest rates were too ridiculously low for me to consider renting, but we have been living in a bit of a dump for the past three years while we create lovely places for other people to stay in, but I’m getting off track…). The girls share one bedroom, our office takes up the second, and Franck and I sleep in the third. Let’s just say a baby and all its attendant paraphernalia is going to make things more than “cozy”.
Secondly, while running three vacation rentals is something Franck and I love doing most days, the path to material riches it is not. Buying a larger house or adding to this one in the foreseeable future is out of the question. Then there’s the cost of diapers, formula, and that fifth airline ticket when our newest addition hits two to consider.
Also, this time around I know for certain that getting this baby out of me will require, not to put too fine a point on it, having my stomach cut open. For Charlotte the Cesarean came as a total shock, for Camille I had the luxury of holding out a bit of hope until the end that things would be different, but this time I can harbour no such illusions; two C-sections automatically means a third. Having been through it twice I knew exactly what I would be getting myself into, and if you can breeze into abdominal surgery without a tremble then I’d like to borrow some of your courage please.
All of these factors seemed like good reasons not to have another child and yet, yet, yet…I still had that nagging instinct that twenty years down the road these reasons wouldn’t seem as good as they did in the present; living in France encouraged me to trust this little voice.
To be finished next time!…