"What are you going to do about Charlie?"

So, my friend Judy – godparent to my children, one of approximately three people who have seen my entire nuclear family at its individual and collective highest highs and lowest lows over Sunday brunches and other occasions the past eight or so years – sent me a wee message a few nights ago on Facebook:

my stress dream last night: you had a 3rd baby (charlie) but you were bummed that he was interfering with the lovely dynamic that you had as a 4-some, so you mostly left him at home. (like, you would come for brunch and not bring him.) i spent the dream fussing about what to do about charlie and the million possibilities of what i could be/should be doing. you were so nonplussed about the whole thing. Oi. woke up exhausted and so wanted to write and say thanks for not having a third baby. xox. i told some people at work about the dream, and so now the code for any decisions i need to make about students is “what are you going to do about charlie?” ha ha

Now, we’ve been through this: it’s not like anyone around here was considering having a third baby. We are a house of big kids now, the rhythms and needs of babies and toddlers vague, distant memories. Pregnant women, women with babies, look so young to me now, so unbroken, so sweet with their strollers and their round-faced children with those tummies who don’t know how to open doors. We are a house wherein, most of the time, most people sleep through the night in their own beds and wipe their own bums. Etc. Simply put, we are a household that is — more to the point, we are two 40-plus parents that are —no longer equipped to handle the crazy that would be another baby, a third child.

And yet, there’s something slightly disconcerting when other people are having stress dreams about me having another baby. I mean, I realize that dreams are dreams and open to interpretation, but still. It makes you wonder about the kind of angst I must have projected into the world as the mother of infants.

Because, as I recall, there was some angst. Or, as Judy put it in our ongoing chat, “Can you imagine if you had another baby????? Oi. the sleepless nights the feeding the helplessness. i get panicky just thinking about it for you. or maybe anyone.”

So, the short version is: we are going to do nothing about Charlie. And yet still, there it was, there it is: a tiny part of my brain that immediately thought, “Oooh, sweet baby Charlie! Mama would never forget to take woodums you to brunch!”