Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Babies

This is definitely the year of babes in my group of friends. Three of my girlfriends from home have had or will be having a baby for the first time before the new year (although it wouldn't be a stretch if one of them held out into the first day or two of 2009). Having a kid was never something I ever aspired to do. That is, if one does aspire to bear children. I always swore I'd be single and childless at age thirty, living the great single life in a big city, doing as I please, answering to and for no one but myself. Funny how things change, isn't it? It's still sometimes strange to think that I'm married, that I am a wife. It's even stranger to think of myself becoming a mother. Generally, I've always gotten along well with babies and kids, kind of like I have with cats and dogs. When my nephews were born and I swaddled them in my arms for the first time, my heart swelled with love unlike it ever had before. Is it even possible to share such a full heart with a kid of my own?

Before getting married, Gui made it clear to me that he wanted to someday become a father. I've never had the "baby fever" that it seems everyone else gets, but coming from a large family, it still feels natural to think of growing a family. Over the past few months I've become really curious about motherhood, and I've found my mind drifting off into my hypothetical life as a mom. I see moms with with strollers on buses and metros and I think of how exhausting it must be to be a mom in this city. I notice young kids waiting at the bus station or hopping on the metro alone and I admire their independence yet question if I'd ever be able to trust my own offspring to tackle this big city alone. I walk by the kids in the park with their mothers or their nannies and wonder if we'll have to hire a nanny. I read the blogs of expat moms in bilingual families and speculate how we might one day communicate as a family. It's all stuff that I never pondered before, things that seemed so far off in time they weren't worth even thinking about. It's rather exhausting to consider all the possibilities, all the logistics and energy that must be go into being a parent. Can someone ever really be ready? I guess if we want to have a kid in three years, it might be a good idea to start our research and preparations now.

Although Gui and I aren't looking to add to our family today or tomorrow, I feel that "someday" is quickly morphing into "soon," and that makes me both curious and anxious. We've gone as far as thinking of names (boy names are so hard to come up with), but we haven't settled on how many kids make an ideal family (I have a feeling we won't settle on this until after we successfully have one). We've also talked about where the best place would be to raise our hypothetical kid(s), which is proving to be a harder question to answer than it seems. I can't imagine being pregnant without the massive support system of friends and family that I have in the States. Not to mention the physical challenges I'd have to overcome if we're still living in Paris. And, what about health care and education and language and cultural activities? So much to consider. So. Much. But, thankfully, I still have some time to do my homework and pick the brains of my girl friends back home. I'm sure by the time we're ready to take the plunge into parenthood, they'll be old pros and will have a fair share of advice and knowledge to share with us. And, then during their prepubescent years, we'll be shipping our kids off to each others' homes for a yearly cultural exchange of sorts. Although, maybe it's still too early to start planning how I'm going to get rid of my adolescent kid.

16 comments:

Candy said...

i can't wait to be an Auntie!! oh, and i am so ready to be pregnant again.... let's see....... baby in
'03, '06, and '09??? Hopefully.

Fned said...

Oh my gosh... the B word is ALL I hear and see around me right now. Every single one of our couple friends have turned over to the "dark side" (aka becoming Mommy & Daddy) in the past 3 years (it started right around the time I turned 26...). The last couple we knew are having their little " 'bout de chou" this December.

I can't say I'm anxious or in a hurry to expand our family. I like the independence that our couple has right now.. .to be able to travel, to be slobs during the weekend, to eat and sleep and watch TV at unconventional times... bref... be the selfish people we currently are.

Yet, it's true that I don't want to be 50 when my kid is graduating from Elementary school either...

Yikes!!!
Great post girl!!

Fned.

Josephine said...

Baby!Baby!Baby!Baby!

:)

Grammy

The Big Finn said...

I'm putting in my vote for a French boy's name: Hugues. I LOVE that name! I guess Hugo would be the anglicized version.

Adam said...

Paris is a brilliant place for kids, and France even better. You're never ready for it, but afterwards you wonder why you waited so long.

Voodoo Child said...

As I sit in bed with my 2 month old sleeping blissfully in my arms (making typing FUN), I have to say nothing prepares you for motherhood...everyone's pregnancy/birth/mothering experience is so different, but each one is glorious in its own right.

I used to think my job was demanding, but this is by far the most demanding thing I've ever done, and it's by far the MOST rewarding. Nothing beats that toothless grin that's all for you.

I'm on twitter too: charlobo

lulu said...

Alright, I'm 8 months prego and still not ready. lol

IT is so fun to dream though isn't it? Don't worry, just dream. Have fun with it and let your imagination run wild. Whenever you are ready, reality will set in as motherhood approaches.

You have plenty of time and no pressure. Let that thought help you enjoy your independence with Gui even that much more.

You two are going to be wonderful parents wherever you may be. I'm up for the exchange. Heck - even if you don't have kids in several years- I'll still send you mine. ;)

misplaced texan said...

candy: '09? That's soon!!

fned: Thanks! I totally feel you about loving our coupledom right now. Once there's a kid in the picture, there's no returning to our selfish ways. Definitely a little scary!

thebigfinn: Thanks, I ran that by Gui and he wasn't a fan. But, if he has his way, we'd name our hypothetical son after a character on Family Guy or something. Maybe it'll grow on him! ;)

adam & voodoo child: Thanks for the reassurance. I imagine a child raised in a city like Paris gains more perspective (among other things) than others. Becoming a parent must be the most fulfilling experience a human can have; I think I want a piece of that!

lulu: Thanks, girl! I can't wait to meet my new practically-nephew over the holidays. And, if you don't watch out, I might bring him back with me sooner than later! ;) Miss you!!

jadie said...

it seems to me that the question i should have really answered carefully before we had our kids (who are early 20's now) was how I WANTED OUR FAMILY TO FUNCTION. Everyone has an opinion to offer, but reality is all yours. I so wish i'd been determined not to give in to the "make welfare of kids top priority" mentality that was sweeping my social class at the time. kids are so much more adaptable than that, and i'm sorry i spent so much of their lives hauling them around to all the Must-Do's of the time. private schools, athletic extremism, etc. i believe it is possible to define how to do it your own way...

lulu said...

Sorry Misplaced Texan... I'm stealing advice that was meant for you.

Thanks Jadie! ;)

misplaced texan said...

Jadie: That's seriously the most insightful and refreshing advice I've received about raising kids. It really got me thinking about all the self-produced pressures to live up to some sort of standard and how I think that has something to do with the difference between French children and American. It's so amazing how independent and in-control I find many French children to be. That's not to say that they're raised "better," but it seems like parents here don't evolve their lives around keeping their child up to a certain standard. Thanks for your great comment!

lulu: Steal away...it's damn good advice! ;)

Irisa said...

Ok...first of all...You're not allowed to have kids before me. Second of all...you're not having kids without me being at least in the same continent. ;-)

Not to be anti-France...but seriously...your kids should grow up in the States! You can teach them Spanish AND French...and English of course...Besides, with Gui being so Americanized anyway...your children would grow up completely confused if they were raised outside of an American culture! Hahahaha....Sorry Gui...

misplaced texan said...

Irisa: All good points. I'll talk to Gui and see what he thinks. ;) Yeah, now I'm thinking that our kid will be raised wherever we are happy, regardless of the other stuff.

Irisa said...

I know I know...but I gotta pull out any strings I can to get ya'll back here! ;-)

La Mom said...

Speaking as a Paris mom, raising kids in the city can be tough -- but it can also be extremely rewarding. And what better way to improve your French than with your kid as a teacher!

Check out the "Mommy Profiles" on my blog to find out about some of the more over-the-top Parisian mamans...

La Mom
An American Mom in Paris

T and T Livesay said...

Great post ... enjoy your time without babies -- when they come they come with a vengeance (speaking from my own experience) and you cannot go back ... your life sounds like a huge adventure - I LOVE LOVE kids ... I just know that being young and free is fun and if you can do it for a few years, I would ... I found you on expat blog