“I can’t smell the cunt!” said our daughter, feeling left out. We could all smell it. There’s nothing like the pong of freshly killed skunk. Being only two she still struggles with her ks and sks. Her parents, being only four, find it hilarious.
The Dimple didn’t realize a family of skunks had built a basement apartment under a container. Since the massacre of the chickens we’ve talked about a new pet but can’t quite commit to a dog or cat. We’ve been fobbing off forest creatures as pets – quails, cougars, bears, stags, chipmunks, owls, bobcats and squirrels – hoping Daddy doesn’t accidentally murder them. Or vice versa.
With Christmas coming, our pigs just had their final supper and the conversation of a proper pet came up again. Until I was three weeks late.
It was my turn to cuss. I was thinking a kitten, maybe. Not a baby!
Having only suspected twice in my life I was pregnant and both times being correct, I recognized the symptoms, plus the unofficial one: not wanting to drink wine.
A pharmacy was an hour away and a trip to town wasn’t planned for four days, during which time the bombshell took on a life of its own.
First, was the numeral problem. I hate odd numbers. Fi, Megan, Mel, Cindi, Annalise and Tracy (MH), you all chose three but I like two. Two adults: two kids. Nice and even.
The Dimple was thrilled, “It’s more of a family.”
He comes from four, he would say that. It’s just more sleepless nights, more diapers, more noise, and more pumpkin poo up the back at 2am in my mind.
He made jokes about his Killer Sperm. I moaned about the inevitable killer back pain, heart burn and sunset sickness.
The Dimple calculated June on the calendar: start of summer Camp, when he’s really busy. “You could have it in New Zealand?” he suggested unhelpfully, forgetting heavily pregnant woman can’t fly for 13 hours and what to do with the other two children and wouldn’t he want to be at the birth of his third child for fuck’s sake.
The thought of the ‘Dactyl, our current baby, as a middle child, grated. “She’ll love it, a baby all of her own to mother,” said the Dimple. Also unhelpful and far too positive. “And I’ve already decided it’s a girl.” Amazing how men think they can do that.
If anything we were going to have another boy. At least boy girl boy sounded even.
The only thing to do was stomp my worries through the woods. Trudging past the wooden playground, memories of Bob and the ‘Dactyl’s squeals on the tire swing tried to temper my mood. As I clomped over the swinging bridge and looked at the river we spent all summer in, heaviness lifted.
I marched by our woodshop and looked at the latest creations Bob and the ‘Dactyl have made – submarines, spaceships, planes, houses – remembering millions of dollars are donated every year so not-so-lucky city kids can spend ten days in this place.
Ours have freedom, wonder and space all year, enjoying a large house and ridiculously huge backyard. If we added another one, nothing would have to change. Except my goddam attitude.
Recent reports on children’s education all say ‘More Nature’.
Nature was laughing at me. Deal with it. Don’t be so perfect: one mom, one dad, one boy, one girl and one more. Live with three. Fiddle dee dee.
At least, I conceded, I’d get those nice boobs again.
By the time I got home I announced I could deal with a boy. The Dimple hugged me and said we’d make it work and I loved him back really hard in that hug because that’s what I needed to hear.
The answer arrived in the pharmacy bathroom. Blood all over the tiled white floors.
Tears dripped down my cheeks when I told the Dimple that night. He cracked open a bottle of Mendocino Pinot; we both felt like a glass.
“I thought you’d didn’t want a third,” he said.
I didn’t, but that third little nugget, a mix of fear and wonder carved a small hole in my heart. There’s room I realized, for more love and a tiny bit more commitment.
We’ve chosen a silver grey cat from the animal shelter. Based on our luck with pets, the forest may take this too. “That’ll solve what to do when we leave,” said the Dimple.
Bob has the perfect name for it. Third. Or if we’re speaking ‘Dactyl, it will probably end up Turd.