Gathering around the dinner table to share a meal and conversation with my family is one my favorite things we do together. With children ranging in age from 8 years old to 20 years old, the range of topics is wide and sometimes changes quickly.

The conversation around the dinner table the other evening took a major turn. My family went from talking about sports (mostly baseball, of course) and other casual topics, to a much more serious one.

We had all finished eating but were lingering around the table talking. My husband got up to do something and I went to the kitchen to refill water glasses. I came back to the table and three of my girls collectively said, “We want a baby brother.” It’s like they had some official vote or secret meeting in the two minutes it took me to walk to the kitchen and back. How did they do that so fast? How did I not hear them?

For a minute, I did not say anything. My teenage son took in the conversation around him, looked at me with a serious expression on his face and said, “No, I think we’re good.” Then he paused and said to me, “Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell us something?”

All I kept thinking is, “Who are you people?” and, “why does your dad always miss these kinds of conversations?” Where in the world did he go? I had not even contributed to the conversation and it was quickly getting away from me. I needed to say something immediately.

“Umm, well,” I stuttered. “If you really mean that you better start praying. I’m not getting any younger.” Then I recalled how, when I was pregnant with my youngest child, I was considered a “geriatric patient,” and that was over eight years ago. I quickly started to offer other solutions.

“Maybe we could just borrow a baby boy and then when he starts teething we could give him back.” I think my 8-year-old thought I was serious. I continued, “Or we could keep the baby until it needs one of those extreme diaper changes. That’s when nothing actually goes in the diaper, just everywhere else – like up the baby’s back and down its little legs. It usually happens when you’re out and about and have two baby wipes left in the container.” No one said anything.

I considered changing the topic. I decided to start clearing the table and listen to where the conversation went on its own. Two minutes later when I went back to the table to pick up more dishes, they had unanimously decided they wanted a hamster instead. I say we borrow one.

Lisa Baniewicz is an Atchison resident and mom with five children ranging in age from 8-20 years old.

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