I had a dream a little while ago about my imaginary third child. There were the other two, and there was a baby as well. It was nice. I wasn’t sad when I woke up, exactly; just a little wistful. My third child will always be no more than imaginary, but I think it’s possible that she/he’ll always be there in my head too.
I took Mabel to the dentist yesterday, and Dash came with us to wait in the waiting room, since it wasn’t his time for a checkup. The dental assistant looked at me quizzically as we came in and said “Are you missing one?”
“No,” I said.
“Oh,” she said, puzzled and a bit embarrassed, “I thought I remembered you had a baby as well…”
“No, no. Only in my imagination.”
In the car the other day Dash was coming up with some elaborate solution to a problem of sharing or something. He said we needed to adopt another baby, or just have one, so that then there’d be the right number of what ever it was to go around.
“We’re really not going to have another baby, Dash. Or adopt one either.”
“Oh. Well.” He had to think of another idea.
I’m really fine with it, and I’m not protesting too much. We’re moving on and it’s great to be past the baby stages. It’s just interesting to me that I still think three is the “right” number, under some hypothetical definition of right. I don’t know where that comes from – my Dad is one of three and so was one of my friends when I was small, but most other families I grew up knowing had more than that. It just looks like not too few or too many, theoretically.
But un-theoretically, for us, here, now, in this iteration of my life, it would be too many and it will not be happening. Maybe I’ll get three next time round.