Down the Mountain

By Anna Mitchael

With eyes wide open(ish)

I can tell you where this whole “let’s head for labor & delivery” thing began. We were on an adult-only ski vacation last January when one of us — and I won’t name names, Andrew — brought up the idea of having another child.

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, I was immensely relieved. I had been thinking the same thing, but this way I could blame him for the suggestion when the sleepless nights with a newborn were upon us. Plus, three years had passed since I had to say the word “meconium” with a straight face, and I am always up for a challenge.

We both knew our investment in baby equipment was doing nothing but depreciating in the attic. If you subtract the fact that a college education should cost roughly a bazillion dollars by the time today’s infant reaches his freshman year of college, it makes good financial sense to go ahead and have another baby before our Ergobaby carrier is more than half-eaten by moths.

Carefully, we crafted a list of pros and cons, just like our mothers had taught us to do, and then we presented the napkin — with chicken scratch and frosted edges — to the woman who manned the martini bar on the ski mountain. Other people call her a bartender, but we like to remember her as an assistant family planner.

“Right on, guys,’” she said. And then, maybe because of the marijuana laws in Colorado or maybe because she had misunderstood the point of our list, she announced to the other people sitting around the bar, “These two are having a baby!”

Of course, the people started congratulating us until they noticed the alcoholic drink in front of me. And then, because of signs the surgeon general has posted in bathrooms across America about alcohol damaging baby brains, conversation got really awkward really fast. Obviously, the surgeon general doesn’t get out much or there would be a sign posted as a warning for adult brains as well.

Yes, ‘twas a blissful, responsibility-free day when we decided to take on this massive charge that will last as long as our days on earth. Some people may say it seems like a strange time to decide to have another child. But I think it makes perfect sense that once your head clears from the fog of all the toddler tantrums and picky food demands, of course you would be reminded of the larger benefits of having a child, such as tax write-offs, and then you would be more open to procreation. Plus, we had reached that point in an adult-only vacation where you start coming up with fabulous ideas for internet companies. And do we really need more internet billionaires running around the planet? No. Obviously, what we need are more peanut butter-faced toddlers who are wired to do the opposite of what everyone tells them to do.

Wait a second. Am I describing the billionaires or the toddlers? Now I’ve confused myself.

Either way, times have certainly changed since I took that last sip of martini, clicked on my skis and headed down the mountain. I’m due to have a baby any day now, and even though I’ve been here before, I still have that feeling you get when you stand on top of a brand new slope. All signs indicate you have the skills to make it to the bottom, but still there is the factor of the unknown.

I’m always torn between leaving my eyes open as I start or closing them to feel the thrill of the ride more fully, the rush of the wind and the speed.

What is it people say as you embark on an adventure when there’s no turning back? “Cheers”? Oh, no. That’s wrong. It’s “I think I can, I think I can.” Or maybe it’s “meconium, meconium, meconium.”

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