Why have more than one?

My child is approaching 2.5 years old. As avid fans of KT know, people feel compelled to start asking you when you are going to have a second before your stitches even heal. I mean – this question drives me up a wall and makes me want to poke the question-asker’s eyes out with a dull fork.

Why do people feel like they have the right to ask? And furthermore, since when isn’t one enough?

So now that we are busy parents with an active, talking, walking, sentence-speaking toddler, anyone who isn’t blind is quick to ask us about having a second. I’m not even safe from the stupid BabyCenter emails that tell you what your child is doing this month. The most recent one I received and actually bothered to read, included a link to how many parents are starting to consider a second now. Even if that is true, and frankly, the only way I’d consider a second is if they are at least three years apart, why are we parents bombarded with the need to have more than one?

So, as my husband and I have debated whether or not we want to, feel compelled too, or even have the desire to have a second, I asked my mom.  She had four kids. I explained that I feel very fulfilled with my child, she’s exceeded my every expectation, so why in the world would I want to go through this all again? Unlike new moms, I don’t somehow think my baby will have his/her day or nights confused. I actually know now that they come out thinking night is day and day is night. There actually is no confusion there on the part of the baby.

Last time, I was naive. This time, I suffer from too much information. So really – why? Why in the world would we do it again?

My mom just laughed and said “I’m not touching that.”

Hmm. Not helpful. Wasn’t the answer I was searching for really this “Because don’t you know, honey, all second children are not only perfect but they come out sleeping 12 hour stretches and never get sick.”

Then my husband and I concluded that we are each the second child, so if our parents just stopped with our elder sibling, then we wouldn’t exist. So isn’t that reason enough to have another?

I’m a believer in not making things more complicated than they need to be. I like existing. Seems like a good reason.

But see, any talk of having a second inevitably leads to a conversation on how “only children are weird.”

Don’t pretend like you haven’t been a part of this conversation. Especially if the only reality you know is like mine, that of a big family.

Now – like you – I have many friends who are only children and I’m always quick to think “Well, only children are weird except X”

You know who you are.

So really – ARE only children weird?

So then the next question is this – are PARENTS of only children weird?

Now this one, I’ve wondered many times. Again, coming from a family of four children, I have parents who, well, let us get away with murder. Was it because by the time my youngest sister rolled around, they’d seen and witnessed it all, so we had more than paved a wide open highway for her to roam free? Or was it because they were so dog tired and beaten down, we could go out partying until the wee hours and get away with smelling like a beer hall in Church on Sundays? Or was it cause if, god forbid, something happened to one of us, there were still three more left?

I mean really – isn’t that one thing all parents worry about?

Regardless of why, the truth is, people marvel at parents of only children. Why did they have only one? Why didn’t they want more? Is the only child a holy terror so they couldn’t face another? Are they freaks?

Admit it, you’ve heard this. But WHY – why is this the case?

A friend of mine made it clear from the time she was preggo with her first that she would have one and only one. The thing about me is, I like people who are straight up. I don’t have time for nuances and well, I really like knowing where people stand and so I liked her even more for being so up front.

She then went on and had her baby, he’s almost one now, and because we are close enough, I knew I could ask her if she’d changed her mind on only having one. She was so matter-of-fact and just was like Nope.

Again, I dig it. She knows what she wants and she’s happy.

But see – will people just leave her be? This piece in today’s Washington Post suggests that they wont but they really should:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/24/AR2008022401750.html

Right now, I am the mother to just one child and I am fulfilled, happy and feel like my circle is complete. Why can’t everyone just leave singles alone?

3 Responses to Why have more than one?
  1. mother of one half asian kid
    February 25, 2008 | 4:54 pm

    kitty, you couldnt have said it better than I would have said it myself… X seems to have turned out ok and my little guy will be just fine as an only child..

  2. selfmademom
    March 6, 2008 | 2:38 am

    I totally agree. However, I adamantly disagree that babies don’t know the diference between day and night. clearly you didn’t spend enough time with my child as a newborn!

  3. only child and happy with one one child
    April 9, 2008 | 11:13 pm

    I don’t know how I stumbled upon your blog, but as an only child (and mother of one child) I enjoyed what you wrote. My parents have never regretted just having one and I grew up secure, successful, married a great guy and now am completely happy having one little 8-month old girl. I didn’t grow up weird or selfish because my parents taught me from a young age to help those less fortunate… Because I had all their time and attention and because it was positive, it allowed me to not grow up the “stereotypical” only child. I don’t want another baby because my childhood as an only child was so great and I want to give that to my baby girl. Hope that helps with not feeling pressured to have another!

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