Between you and me, there have been times over the last twenty-five years where I’ve wondered whether I was actually certifiably insane.
One time when I clearly remember questioning my sanity was while lying in a darkened room watching the flickering and fuzzy picture of my unborn child on a black and white screen. “Congratulations!” the nurse said, “You’ll be pleased to know it’s another boy!” I squinted at the screen to try to confirm for myself that this was, in fact, another male child, but I couldn’t get a clear view past the head of my ever-bouncing one-year old.
Curiosity may kill a cat, but a toddler can come pretty close, too, and I figured out pretty quickly that unless I was very, very careful, this particular toddler would be lucky to survive his childhood years. With the single-minded slipperiness of an octopus trying to escape through a narrow pipe, he would head straight for exactly what I least wanted him to grab with incredible speed, usually the most dangerous thing within a five mile radius. He seemed to have this innate ability to tap into the Quantum field and instantly go from one spot to another without actually passing through any of the intervening space. Being in a hospital room with him, with all it’s interesting technology and equipment, was the antithesis of a relaxing, stress-free atmosphere.
Unable to keep the toddler happy and out of trouble in his pram while I had the ultrasound (even at that age, he could get out of pretty much any restraint), I sat him on my chest while the nurse belched the cold gel from the bottle and onto my stomach before pressing the camera onto my stomach with such enthusiasm that it brought me out in goosebumps.
I tried to focus on breathing my way through the discomfort and releasing every desire to strangle or cause pain to the nurse for putting that amount of pressure plus a dollop of that very cold gel onto my overinflated bladder. My toddler, delighted with his new play area, bounced on my ribcage with the energy of a chimpanzee on a sugar high, roaring like Tarzan screaming through the jungle, and did his very best to launch himself off the table to try to get his hands on all those enticing-looking cables, utensils, flashing lights, and shiny things in metal containers that make great noises.
I grabbed hold of his arm with a grip worthy of an Olympic gymnast on the high bars, and half sat up to get a good look at the screen, desperate to confirm for myself that I was indeed presenting my husband with his second male heir. Yup, there was no doubt about it, it was definitely a boy. The picture clearly showed him contentedly floating around in the womb, one thumb in his mouth and the other hand hanging onto his future manhood like it was about to fall off any second.
“Am I mad?” I thought to myself? “What possessed me to get pregnant a second time? With another BOY?” I looked at the toddler who was using my chest as a trampoline, the one who behaved as though his purpose in life was to stretch my boundaries and test my mental and physical stamina, the one who never slept more than seven hours a night and who didn’t sleep at all during the day, and tried to imagine life with two of them. Two! When I decided I wanted another baby, it was because I wanted a contrast to what I currently had. I adored my little boy, but I wanted to experience what it was like to have a nice, quiet, charming, thoughtful, empathetic little GIRL. A cutie with curly hair and a happy disposition. I didn’t need another ferocious, testosterone-fuelled ball of noise, dirt and energy; adore him though I did, one of them was enough. I’d put my order into the universe and the universe had got it wrong. Only this wasn’t McDonalds and I couldn’t take my order back and demand a refund.
“I must be insane.” I thought, “Totally and utterly certifiably insane. And if I’m not now, I will be in a few years’ time.”
A few months later, I found myself mother to one ferocious, testosterone-fuelled ball of noise, dirt and energy (with a lust for life that was to stand him in good stead), and one nice, quiet, charming, thoughtful, empathetic little BOY. A cutie with curly hair and a happy disposition.