Welcome to the third installment of "If And When To Have A Second Child". Perhaps you didn't pass last week's pop quiz or perhaps you have grave concerns about the future of our planet or perhaps you like your editorial fair and balanced (what are you— a socialist??) Or maybe, just maybe, the idea of gaining 50 pounds, pushing a human out your ladyparts and then not sleeping for the next one-two years is something you are not so quick to attempt again.
Whatever the reason, you may be wondering if you belong to that small faction of the population who call themselves "ONE AND DONE".
In the interest of any or all of the above, I am giving the floor to a very special friend. No, she is not my lesbian lover on the weekends. She is my very first real life twitter friend. Her name is Kate and she writes an incredibly funny blog called And Then Kate.
Well, funny to some. Not funny to people who have no sense of humor, as made evident by a recent post that involved her daughter's teacher and her husband's obsession with COCKTAILS. Read it. It's hilarious. But skip the comments. They will make you lose faith in humanity.
Anyway, my friend Kate is "ONE AND DONE". Why? She thinks life is better that way.
Allow her to explain.
When my daughter Aura was born, my husband and I just expected we’d follow her with another child. We have extremely little in the way of extended family and we’re both only children. How stupid would it be for two only children to have an only child? we’d say, laughing heartily at the insanity of the very notion. Two only children! Parents to another only child! Utter ridiculousness!
Five years later, Aura is the only child of two only children. But somehow that’s okay. And I will tell you why.
TOP 10 REASONS TO HAVE AN ONLY CHILD
10. The closeness. As a family of three, our dynamic seems close to perfect most days. Even at only four years old, Aura knows the nuances of Mommy and Daddy, and Mommy and Daddy can almost always predict precisely what she’ll do next. We’re happy in each other’s presence; we know what to expect. We’re content.
9. The fun. Without a brother or sister to play with, Aura is often dependent upon me as a playmate. We play Restaurant. We play Hair Salon. We play catch and we play hide-and-seek and we make our own Play Doh. And we play a lot with Squinkies. A lot-lot. Actually, if you pinned me down and forced me to answer, I’d say we play almost exclusively with Squinkies.
8. The flexibility. I look around at other families with two or more kids and I shake my head in wonder. How do they do it? With an only child, you have one schedule to learn and that’s about it. One nap schedule. One meal schedule. One sleep schedule. To say nothing of the one college fund. Fin.
7. The Squinkies. Have you played with Squinkies? They’re tiny. Like, find-one-on-a-floor-and-99%-of-the-time-you-think-it’s-a-colorful-maggot tiny. And they’re made of this very slippery rubber that surely can’t be found anywhere in nature. They have a smell about them, too. Very Chinese-factory mixed with possible-carcinogen. They’re hard not to hate love. We play with them a lot.
6. The opportunities. Since I don’t have to divide my attention among multiple children, I can tailor my areas of concentration precisely to Aura’s needs. I know when to practice more with scissors, or when to move on from sight words to phonics. There’s time for both learning and pure playing.
5. Those Squinkies. Speaking of playing, I’m not sure if I mentioned how much time we spend with Squinkies. The other day? We spent a full HOUR playing musical chairs with the Squinkies. And since they’re so very outrageously small, they kept popping out of their outrageously small chairs and falling under the couch where the dust bunnies didn’t eat them despite fervent and loud prayers coming from somewhere near my direction, which is fine and good because Squinkie play between an only child and her mother is a priceless fantastical thing that should last forever. And ever. AND EVER.
4. The increasing ease. You know how people always tell new parents, “It’ll get better!” Well, it kind of does in the case of an only child. When potty training is over, it’s over for good. Same goes for switching from crib to bed, transitioning to preschool, moving on to kindergarten. Do it once and it’s done.
3. OMGTHESQUINKIES. Between just the two of us, I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m dealing with an obsessive kid here. I mean, other four-year-olds must want to watch a simple TV show now and then, right? It can’t be Squinkies 24/7 in all other only-children households, can it? Last night, I actually had a dream about a Squinkie (the weird-looking baby one, all wrapped up in his little weird-looking swaddling blanket with his weird-looking serial-killer eyes) that came alive and ate all the insulation in the attic. It was about to make its way downstairs to devour me when I woke up just in time to drink an entire bottle of wine doused with Xanax.
2. The pure, unadulterated love. I know, I know. All parents are supposed to feel this for their child, no matter how many other children they have. But could I? Could I truly feel this way, this incredible happiness, this constant, overwhelming love, for anyone else? I’m not sure. I’m really not.
1. For the love of all that is holy, forget everything I just said. Aura is brilliant and wonderful and perfect, really she is. But…the Squinkies. They are taking over my life. I used to work and have adult conversation and, you know, shower. And now if I shower there’s probably a Squinkie on top of the shampoo and another cavorting on my razor and and yet another eyeballing me from the towel rack waiting to play when I get out and GOOD GOD AURA NEEDS ANOTHER PLAYMATE I’M THINKING A SECOND CHILD.
Are you "ONE AND DONE"? Now's your chance to make fun of the parents who want to go through it all again…
EDITOR'S NOTE: Never before have I heard of Squinkies. I will retreat back under my rock now.