26 June 2014


Growing up, I had heard people, mostly women, talking about biological clocks and how those clocks tick, typically at older ages. No one to my knowledge has ever spoken of a biological clock ticking at the age of 7. The most popular ticking biological clock discussions in my listening and learning experiences have been related to adult women in their late 20s to late 30s, some in their early 40s, wanting children.

In my experience, I did not want children – I craved my own little people. It happened just after I turned 30. I wasn’t expecting it. Paul and I had discussed the likelihood of having children in late 2010. We began to plan for the child-bearing years in our late 20s after we were both established in our careers. We decided to wait another year and then we would see what may happen. What happened? We moved to Singapore.

We turned 30 when we were in Singapore. And then the cravings started.

I can crave chocolate; I can crave burgers. I never in my life expected to crave children – the having of them and them being around, not the eating of them. Just clarifying.

When I was 30 and one month, my whole inner being started craving a little person. I did not desire to be pregnant; I did not want to hold, smell or kiss an infant – I had an urge for a full-on toddler. I started to imagine a little version of Paul or his sister, Alexis. I didn’t really envision a little me person, but I did like the thought of a little Paul or Alexis.

I hid the craving from my husband for a whole month before my women friends made me spill the beans. Nic told me the same thing I told her when she was freaking out about not living in England anymore: “Grow a pair.” I had to tell him.

When I approached Paul one evening, I didn’t just throw out there that I suddenly desired to have his babies like a crazy woman. No, I was beyond crazy. I made the situation as awkward as possible, drawing out the “I have something to tell you” silence well beyond it’s needed, awkward and then unbelievably-awkward length before blurting out something like, “I know you don’t want to hear this and I really can’t help it but something inside me is craving a kid and I’m not saying that I want to actually have one right now but my body is going through something and I just thought you should know.”

I think he laughed at me.

Then he told me something I never expected to hear: that being in Singapore actually worked as an advantage because the hired help was so cheap, so it would make sense to have a baby while we were living in Singapore. Thanks. That was exactly what I wanted to hear in that moment.

Then he explained that he would never feel the same way that I did in that moment – that he would never come to me and say, “Hey there! I want to have your babies. Let’s get started!” Instead, he threw out an analogy.

“When I was a kid,” he began, “my mom wanted me to play baseball. I didn’t know if I wanted to, so she told me to just go to one practice and see what I thought. I went, and I liked it. I played baseball for years.”

I launched at him with arms spread wide.

I threw my right arm in his direction, palm up to the sky. “Baseball…” I said as I then moved forward my left arm, palm shooting to the sky. “Baby.” I replied and began to move the opposing scales up and down. “NOT THE SAME THING, PAUL!” Then I explained that we could not just have a trial run at parenthood, give the baby back and see what we thought of the experience.

Little did I know, we actually could. Isn't God good? He gives us exactly what we ask.

Once upon a time when I was living in Papua New Guinea, my best friend in the whole world called me, semi freaking out about her situation. She had had a baby in January, went back to work in March and in mid-April, she was still without a nanny. Her mother – we all love her – had been staying with my friend for four months after only planning to be away from her home and her husband for one month while my friend and her husband got settled into their new life. While the mother loved her daughter and her first grandchild so, so much, she also loved her husband who was three states away.

After several attempts to find a nanny through local agencies, my friend’s parents decided to relieve her of her stress. They decided to pack up their things and move closer to the grandchild so that they could provide the care that was so desperately needed. The only hitch? They actually needed time to move.

“Their lease ends in June,” I was told, “so now I just need to find someone to fill in for the seven or eight weeks over the summer while they move,” she said more confidently. 

My brain took over my body, and I began speaking my thoughts: spend the summer in America with my friend, take care of a baby, any day outside PNG is a good day….”I will be your nanny! My husband wants to spend a chunk of time in the U.S. and if he does come back here after training, I won’t have to. I should be around for a couple weddings, so if you can work around two family conflicts, count me in. Of course, I need to discuss this with my husband before I commit, and you should definitely take some time to think about my offer, but I am game if you are.”

Paul agreed, not-so-secretly hoping that I would get my baby fix and be done.

For approximately six weeks this summer, I am booked on what I am now calling my trial run. In the next six weeks I will determine whether or not I am cut out to be a mom, whether or not I can care for a child all day every day (well, at least five days a week) and figure out if this kid thing is something that I really want to do for the rest of my life.

I admit that there are times when I do want a child for a million different reasons: producing a product of my husband and myself; seeing a little version of the two of us; learning about the actual meaning of life, not just the perceived meaning; learning how to be a little less selfish. And then I think about the financial requirements, the amount of time and effort it will take to get a child out the door, the teenage years, all adding up to the life-long commitment and suddenly I find myself thinking “maybe not.”

Saturday morning, in old-timey style, I boarded a train with my suitcase, a carry-on and a giant bag of pastries from the famous Carlo’s Bakery and found myself in Nannyland by lunchtime.

Today is day three of my Six-Week Mommy Boot Camp. Day two went better than day one, not that day one went badly at all. I went to bed last night grateful to be back on my own personal schedule (exercising, eating healthy, getting a little bit of personal items accomplished) and having every muscle in my body ache. I was exhausted.

I last night confessed to my friend that I was having a great time and that I was learning a lot, but in that moment, I could not see myself wanting to do this every day for years to come. I also told her that I am curious to see if that mentality changes in the next 44 days. 

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