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Friday, October 3, 2008

Want 'Em, Don't Want 'Em

Greetings, Poop Elves!

We've come a long way since our lives were totally dictated by society. Ah, this lovely and horribly stress-inducing thing called "choice." As my friend Annette puts it, our stress levels are exponentially higher the more choices we have, as indicated by studies of stress-chemicals in the brain while browsing your typical modern-day cereal aisle. You know, eight different varieties of Cream of Wheat, four types of bran flakes. What's a brain to do. Oh, and Annette's one of the smartest people I know, so I believe her.

Now we turn to the thought of kids, and here's how my brain works: want 'em, don't want' em. Want 'em, don't want 'em.

Remember feeling pregnant - five months, six months, seven months - knees and elbows pressing against my insides, becoming a mother, serenely pleased with my pregnantness, lap-swimming with other mothers, all of us floating in the slow lane like manatees. Wickedly cool feeling: purpose! Belonging! Want 'em.

Then, screaming children at the mall, moms with taut faces, working moms at my school racing around like madwomen to pick up their ungrateful kids from this and that AND juggle work AND maintain sanity AND try to keep up reasonably satisfying personal lives. Who's to say my own Zachary wouldn't have been a total shitheaded teenager. If he was anything like me as a teenager, he most certainly WOULD have been a shithead. Don't want to be that taut-faced mom. Blegh. Don't want 'em.

Then, kids' birthday parties. Babies. Happiness. Love unlike any other love one can feel. Pods of stroller-pushing women walking purposefully around Green Lake, talking about their Hummer-esque strollers and their babies, totally excempt from bringing in money or cultivating hobbies or doing anything other than this all-important womanly job of raising their children. No questions of life purpose, for the purpose is there: motherhood. They just look achingly happy. Want 'em.

Then, five week backpacking vacations to far corners of the earth with K. Beer and kebabs and sex and writing and life. Returning to a job I love, worked hard to get, and am reasonably successful at doing. Wondrous, self-centered, childfree life. Don't want 'em.

Today, it's don't want 'em, so I'm going to go onto each of our two frequent flyer accounts, which contain enough miles banked for a round trip ticket to anywhere in the universe, and book our flights to western China next summer. From there, to Ulan Bator via smokey train filled with old Chinese men, and from there into the windswept plains of Mongolia - number one on my list of places to travel.

Somehow, I've managed to convince K that he wants to go to Mongolia too, so I'd better book our tickets now before he realizes he's been duped. Or worse, before I accidently get knocked up.


Kristen said...

Just make sure your return trip (or outbound trip) is through DC so we can have a reunion party that you'll actually come to. ;-)

Monica LeMoine said...

Ha ha! Yes, we'll do that. Just let us off the hook if we both look all dirty and unshaven and gross.

Kristen said...

Only if it's on the return trip... ;-)

Michelle said...

That sounds like it would be an AWESOME trip! I have a friend who just got back from China and she said it was a fantastic trip!

Rebecca said...

I don't know how you manage to do it, Monica, but you seem to frequently be reading my thoughts...sometimes ones that I don't even really admit to myself, and certainly don't say out loud!!

Monica LeMoine said...

Ha ha, Rebecca! Great minds think alike.

julian + jen said...

oh, sure to blog again so that i can travel vicariously through you and K.

for the record, the "want 'em, don't want 'em" feelings don't change much once you actually have them.

sharonvw said...

Hey Mon, I'm in the same place as you. Swinging between wanting and not wanting. And sometimes I even question whether when I'm having a wanting em day, if its really cos I want em, or because I want to feel like I belong and show the universe that I can do that to. Who knows, I guess one day we'll figure it out!

Monica LeMoine said...

Jen/Julian -
well I'm relieved, I guess, to know the feeling doesn't end after you have kids. Or maybe I'm not relieved. I'm not sure what I am.

Shaz -
yes, it's funny how the human mind operates.

Nora Dalasta said...

Yesterday was a "don't want 'em" day because baby smeared black beans in his hair, in Rilo's fur, on his clothes, in his ear, and flung some on the wall behind him; crying all the while. Later, he ate a piece of plastic and some magazine and then screamed when I took these "foods" away from him, held him upside down, and gave him a good WHACK! on the back to make sure he wouldn't choke. As a finale, he bit me twice.

Perhaps you can interview Mongolian women about "want 'em, don't want 'em" and see if this translates across cultures?

Monica LeMoine said...

Ha ha! OK Nora - I'll look into that as my next research project. In Mongolia though, it's probably sheep arse fat that gets flung.