“Honey, When Are We Going To Have A Baby?”
It took exactly one month after our wedding ceremony for us to hear the question; “So when are you two going to have kids then?”
My mum has asked it, her parents have asked it, her aunties and friends have asked it, the people on the street who know us have asked it, my colleagues and my wife’s colleagues have asked it, and I’m sure if I could understand them, even the Soi dogs have probably barked it.
It’s just one of those inevitable questions that married couples seem to always get asked, in fact, for some odd reason, people (usually females I may add) seem to believe that the only reason someone would get married is to start a family and have kids…
“What about companionship and friendship, surely that’s a reason too?” I would ask…
“Yes, but then you should have got a dog is often the answer”…
Anyway, what all these enquiries did was to expedite the thinking in my wife’s head and no sooner had the questions evaporated into the atmosphere when the inevitable conversation with the missus reared its head:
The missus: “Honey?”
Me: “Yes dear?”
The missus: “would you like to have a baby?”
I looked up from my book and said, “No thanks I have just eaten my dinner, maybe later… besides you know I can’t eat a whole one…”
I got a pillow in my face and a glare for my troubles…
The wife started the conversation again: “Would YOU like to have a baby?”
I think, oh dear, it’s going to be one of THOSE conversations… I put my book down and rest it on my lap for a second and look up at her.
Me: “Ok… when?”
The wife: “Soon…”
Me: “How soon?”
The wife: “Just soon would be nice…”
Me: [thinking…] “Hmmm tum te tum… how about we have one next year then…”
The wife: “Bpee Na eh! Hmmm ok! Are you sure?”
Me: [unenthusiastically] “Yes dear of course…”
She goes away humming and is happy and leaves me alone to my reading. Phew! Thank goodness for that, I believe to myself that I have simply stalled for another year, but I also started to think to myself and it wasn’t long before I realised that my thoughts where edging more towards the ‘what on earth do I want to be doing starting a family for at my time of life’ kind of view. To be honest, I am not sure I want kids at this stage in my life, and I figure that I simply have too many things I want to do with the busy life that I already lead to be able to fit them in. Some people may suggest that maybe I am keeping myself busy with work, research and all the extra study I do as well as all the other things such as writing submissions to Stickman as a way to fill in a void that my not having kids in my life brings… but I am not so sure about that argument. Anyway, I figure to myself that I am just being sensible and use such rationales as not wanting to be an old parent who is going to look like some Grandpa look-a-like as I turn up at the school gates to shuffle them back home again… I mean come on, would I be taking care of my kids’ safety on the way home from school or would they be looking after mine? In my view of the world, kids, like war, are a young man's game and although I am only 39 with a wife 10 years younger than me, I figure that having kids at my age is at least 10 years too late. Unfortunately the wife is at that age when kids are now becoming a target on her radar screen and I’m beginning to hear the fallopian tubes time bomb beginning to tick away already… but personally I don’t need the distraction and besides I am probably too selfish a sod to want them anyway (or so my twin brother tells me).
Don’t get me wrong though, I do love kids, they are fun to have around and bring a refreshing perspective into your life and also help to keep you young (well at least until they become teenagers that is). I have also been told on many occasions (usually by my mum) that I would be a good father, and kids seems to concur with this view by sticking to me like glue whenever I am around, or rather the sliver of snot on their top lip emanating from their nostrils gives that sort of effect. I like to also think that kids are a good judge of character, but it could also be argued that kids know nothing of character anyway, so who am I to judge such a thing, but I guess then that it must be because I have a personality that portrays kindness and a generous heart, but then again, it could be argued that kids don’t have much taste on this either. I do know though that my nieces adore me for some odd reason or other, and I am often referred to as ‘their favourite uncle’ but that’s probably because I am never around to bother them too much and when I do I come bearing gifts, or perhaps it’s simply a case of absence making the heart grow fonder… already though my wife’s niece has decided to adopt me as father number 3, with her grand dad being father number 1, her real dad being number 2 and me as number 3.
For me kids are great though, I adore them, but it’s also even more wonderful when you get to hand them back at the end of the day as well, especially the ones that are donning smelly nappies, have dribbles coming from an over hanging lip, snot bubbles and who are incessant cry babies. Perhaps the best kids for me are the ones that are already four years old and who are entering into that interesting stage of discovery and can chat to you about what Hippo did today at kindergarten, and perhaps I should just let the wife have her kids and then find work several million miles away so that I can be a visiting father for the first four years instead… it certainly has an appealing aspect to it.
In fact while I am on this subject of being a distant father, for those of you who remember my submission titled “Indonesian alternatives”, you will know that I left behind a delightful girl in Indonesia because I couldn’t find a way through the Indonesian bullshit and blood line rules, nor did I want to become a Moslem and lose half of my foreskin either. Anyway, the lady I left back there has left me with an interesting ‘open’ offer to be the sperm donor father of her future children. She has asked me to seriously consider this request because she believes that she will never get married and as it also turned out that she cannot have me either, that this suggestion is what she believes to be the best compromise position she can make. Well it certainly would resolve my having kids without not really having the responsibility of having kids so to speak… unfortunately the sperm donation would have to be in the form of a left hand, dirty magazine and test tube variety type, and this is because she is a good conservative Moslem girl, and good conservative Moslem girls don’t have sex before marriage, although how she would explain getting pregnant away would be an interesting thing to see. It’s nice to have options in life though eh? Just don’t tell the wife!
Anyway, one year later, the conversation comes around again.
The wife: “Honey?”
Me: “Yes dear?”
The wife: “It’s been one year, when are we going to have a baby?”
Me: [Uh Oh!] “I told you, bpee na, next year!”
The wife: “Yes but you said that one year ago… “
Me: “Yeah, but we are really busy right now and you have your MBA studies to do for the next two years and I have just started my own studies and will be tied up with other research stuff too. Tell you what, how about we make it two years when we have finished so it can be a joint graduation present.”
The wife: “hmmm Honey, but I am 29, I’m getting old now and it gets dangerous to have a baby after 30…”
Me: “Eh! Naaaa look at that woman on TV the other day, she had a baby at age 63 in the UK… what’s two years anyway you are still young…”
The wife: “Yeah but she’s in England, this is Thailand and here you need to have a baby no later than aged 30 or within a year or so for it to be safe…”
Me: [thinking ‘what bullshit!’ but I smile up to her sweetly]: “Well yeah but it’s too late now because I have paid for your MBA fees, and you know I want you to finish this two year course first. Besides you know I won’t be impressed if you flunk it and fail to finish… You should have told me all this before agreeing to do your MBA and most certainly before I paid for it.”
The wife: “Flunk it! Arai na?”
Me: “Never mind… anyway, I am not sure I want kids just yet, but if I did, I would love them to be just like your niece because she is just so cute and lovely and has a great personality…”
The truth of the matter is I would adopt her niece in an instant because she is the nicest kid I have ever met. She is a half Thai / Taiwanese 4 year old, has a brilliant personality, adores me, has never cried and just has one of those quiet happy go lucky demeanours about her. Also for some odd reason her parents are both living and working in Taiwan with their other daughter and this lovely one got sent back to Thailand instead. There is a story there for sure, but no one is telling the Farang what it is.
The wife looks at me for a few minutes and says nothing. I look back and say nothing back because I’ve said all I want to say on the subject and we will only go around and around in circles if we continue. She knows this and so do I. Clearly she is thinking about things and then she seems to have reached a decision and turns her back, skulks off into the bedroom and mumbles an “ok, I won’t ask you about this again…” from the distance.
Phew! As I watch her back depart into the other room, I distractingly wipe the sweat from my forehead and convince myself that I have managed to secure another two years reprieval… or so I thought… To be continued…
Now this is going to get interesting… If ever there was something that could put very serious strain on the relationship, then this is it! I do feel though that if you do not want kids at all, it might be best to get it out not. Not my business, but assuming you really do love and care for your wife, be open about it. Even if it is upsetting for her to hear, I think this is one thing that is best discussed openly. Good luck – I get the feeling you are going to need it!