I woke up one morning with a terrible cramp in my neck that hung on for days. I tried to solve the problem by ignoring it, so for a while, whenever I wanted to look to my right, I had to turn my whole body. (Who says there isn’t always a workaround?) But eventually I caved and went to get a massage.
My masseuse was a calm, relaxing woman who never gets neck cramps.
“You brought me a lot of knots today,” she said in her soothing voice. I wasn’t sure how to respond. “You’re welcome?” Or maybe “thank you.” After all, it’s not easy to develop a neck cramp so severe I can’t turn my head for a week, given that I’m living in the First World with a loving, healthy family, so it was nice that she appreciated my talent.
“How old are your children?” she asked me.
“Four and seven.”
“Hm. So you’re not still carrying anyone.”
That’s sort of not true.
Actually, it’s a medical marvel that Annabelle’s muscles haven’t atrophied beyond use because, in four years, her little legs have almost never touched the ground. My mom always says that she can hold a baby on her hip forever, and I can too, as long as I never need to see anything that happens to my right.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to admit this, though, so after a little pause, I said, “Well, I maybe kind of still carry my daughter just a bit.”
“She might be my last one!” I said.
“She really likes to be carried.”
My masseuse had to stop hmming then because my back was starting to resemble a game of Whack-A-Mole with new knots popping up everywhere. (“You’re welcome?” She didn’t praise me this time, so maybe no “thank you.”)
When Colin heard about my neck pain, he kindly volunteered to help by giving Annabelle piggy back rides. At first I wasn’t so sure, but he insisted, gentleman that he is. And perhaps it was good for him. Nothing builds character like a few knots in the back.
But the truth is that I want to keep carrying Annabelle for as long as she wants because in another year, she’ll be in school. My last baby will be in school. When I tell her I don’t want her to go, she says, “I don’t want to go either, Mommy, but I have to.” Which is so disturbingly logical.
Sometimes Annabelle says she’s worried about me being all alone while she’s in school, and she advises me to have another baby. Andy’s not sure he wants one, but Annabelle says, “If Daddy doesn’t want one, you should just have one anyway.” Perfect logic again.
Colin usually pipes in here with his rant about the endless abyss that is the school system: “You don’t want to go to school, Annabelle. Once you start, you have to keep going for 13 years, and then you think it’s done, but no. You still have to go to college, which is more school. And then you have to work for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.” It’s a pretty accurate summary, so none of us contradict him.
I’m still debating whether I should take Annabelle’s advice and have a third. Andy says that he doesn’t want another but that it’s my decision. Sometimes when he says this, I hear, “I don’t want another.” So that’s a no. But sometimes I hear, “Blah, blah, blah, Kirstin, you have supreme decision-making authority in our household.” So that’s a green light on a puppy too.
If I have another baby, I’d want another Annabelle. Colin is everything that’s perfect, but when we’re talking about babies, we’re talking about sleep, and Annabelle is an incredible napper. When I told a friend this, she said, “You’re not going to have another Annabelle.” But she would say that. She didn’t even have one Annabelle.
When I got home from my massage, Annabelle said in her cute little voice, “Mommy, I’m sorry your neck hurt.” It was the sweetest. Then she asked me to hold her. So I did. Looking to my right is overrated anyway.