I am a responsible person. I pay my taxes, don’t litter, and take the grocery cart back into the store instead of leaving it in the parking lot to drift on its wobbly wheels like a slow pugilistic metal bastard only to hit some innocent random vehicle with its cruel dent-inducing edges. I think about things, generally, before I do them. I go through the pros and cons, I reason things out, and come to some kind of a logical decision. And then I, generally, just do what I wanted to do in the first place, confident that I have my back-up argument in place somewhere in my “ALREADY REASONED OUT” files.

One of these things thought about was how and when to have children. This was something I had wanted to do since forever, but had enough self-control, self-esteem, and functioning brain matter not to be on episode #1,933,220,443,322 of “Maury”-- “MY 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WANTS A BABY AND DOESN’T CARE WHO WITH!!!!” No, no, no. I had seen enough around me of the horror show that was having a baby too young or at the wrong time or with the wrong person: welcome to welfare, trailer life, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and the devastating knowledge that you had not only screwed up your life, but someone else’s as well. People got out of this life sometimes, tried to do their best, but why make an already-difficult task harder? Avoiding this was in my control. Waiting was GOOD.

So that is what I did. Until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Age 30 was looming, and I had baby fever in the extreme. Baby fever suspends logic, as seen above, and even I, Logic McSmarts, was not immune forever. Which is why I finally chose to get pregnant at age 29, with my husband and I both in the middle of full-time college, not a lot of extra cash around, not really knowing how this would impact everything. How can you know? That stupid saying: “Having a baby changes everything.” DUH! DUH! Of course it does, but you have no idea how much, or for how long until you are in it, and in it for awhile.

Baby #1. My goodness. He was something else. He was so something else that there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to have another baby, or at least not very soon afterwards. Ha ha. And that is not at all to say he was a nightmare or anything, not at all. Well, alright, he didn’t sleep much and demanded constant attention and was terribly annoyingly bright and active, which sometimes seemed like a bit of a nightmare when all I wanted to do was CHILL OUT FOR JUST A SEC. But all in all, he was exactly the kind of child anyone would hope for, and a delight. It was me that needed time, a lot of it, to gear up to what being a mom really was.

It took me five years after Baby #1 to want to have a Baby #2, and then it took another year-and-a-half to get him into existence. Six-and-a-half years between kids is a long time. You are essentially starting over and re-learning all that early stuff. Baby #1 spent his days at school, and Baby #2 was raised almost like Baby #1, an only child, with all that one-on-one attention and focus. Big Brother #1 liked his role as the benevolent infant overseer until Little Brother reached about three-years-old, could talk back, and started messing with BB #1’s stuff. Then the age gap became too much for BB #1. His younger brother was always going into a stage that BB#1 had just left, and it made it difficult for him to relate to his smaller brother because he found him embarrassing rather than charming. They turned out to have very very different temperaments and ways of relating to the world, and never really connected. I knew that there was never any guarantee that family members would be all Brady Bunch – I knew it completely, and didn’t expect it. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a disappointment.

Ten years after Baby #1, I sat with my husband at Roy’s restaurant in Denver on my 39th birthday and carefully laid out my reasoning behind trying to have a Baby #3. He was fairly appalled, and reasonably so. He reminded me that I already had a lot on my plate and that I was always running around stressed out, which was true. He reminded me that he was a lawyer with horrible work hours, and simply could not be around as much as he would like to be for me and the kids. Yup. He reminded me that starting over with an infant again meant years more of no sleep and unreasoning toddler outbursts and never going to restaurants or movies or traveling easily. I agreed. Everything he said was true. My only real argument to counter was that I didn’t feel ready to leave this place in my life and that I had more love to give. He said he’d think about it, as I finished up my seared ahi lunch and smiled.

Baby #3 was born about 18 months later. She inherited brothers 11 and 4.5 years older, a giant dog, two elderly cats, and two parents in their 40s. She charms and tortures us, determined in her role as the baby of this motley group that she outshines us all or at least gets her pick of what to watch on television with some regularity.

I now am mom to a 5’10” man/boy with whiskers on his face, a girlfriend who drives him around in a Lexus, and who has a deeper voice than his dad; a pre-teen who wonders aloud how he is going to deal with all this change in his life coming up; and a little bug of a 1st grader who still needs to be sung a lullaby every night at bedtime and still drinks from a pink sippy cup. The gaps between them have never been more evident, and my role never so spread out or strange to navigate. The longest diaper change ever, pros and cons duly noted.