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.
Oh, Squinkies. Fuckers.
I guess I’m in the “who’s too drunk to make solid decisions about sex and procreation” camp. AKA, four and done. But, really? One sounds LOVELY.
Squinkies sound wonderful!!!
Kate, that was hilarious. I’m glad you’re content with one. Oh and I read the post Ilana highlighted – wow, some people really have no sense of humor eh?
I thought we were one and done, and for about 5 years we were, and then all of our friends started having their second kids and it seemed like so much fun. I completely agree with all 10 reasons to be one and done, having number 2 has been every nightmare on this list, but it’s also been double every amazing thing on there too. Except we can’t have Squinkies, cos of the baby and all. Darn babies and their little throats.
And seriously I am so two and done I had my tubes tied. Know your limits people.
I just love your blog! Even though I’m a Mom, I don’t like mommy blogs too much, because my life is not all about my kid, although I am a stay at home Mom :))). I have other interests. But you’re such a good writer, I find myself here every day!
But on the subject, I also thought that I would have 2 kids. Joshua is already 4, and the 2nd baby is nowhere to be found. I haven’t made the final decision whether to have one more or not, yet, but it is really starting to bug me when all the people ask when is the second one coming? And they start giving me all the good reasons for having a second one. And I’m looking at their lives, most of them have 2 or more, and it’s pretty much pathetic (don’t mean to offend anyone here). They don’t go out without the kids, they don’t travel without the kids… one kid is kind of easy to pawn off to grandparents for a week or 2 while traveling, and on date nights, but 2? Nobody is going to take 2! Yes, maybe I am selfish, but I still feel young, and I want to have fun right now, especially now that Joshua is more independent and we have our parents to help us. But some days I find myself looking at little girls’ dresses… and I feel like I want one more, but one day, not just yet.
I have three kids, but OMFG the Squinkies, I can totally relate! I weep when they are all out of their little circle pods and on the floor—I prefer them to be tightly closed up. I guess the one good thing about multiple kids is that no one expects me to play with those little suckers with them—they have each other.
But, the single schedule, bedtime routine, etc? That sounds awesome. Juggling isn’t easy or that much fun at times.
And, BTW, my dad was an “only” child, and he was awesome.
Kate is hilarious and I love her blog! Squinkies… not so much.
yeah, uh, i WAS one and done until all this Squinkies talk. ;D
I am also unacquainted with squinkies. Is it a girl thing?
OMG–there are actually others out there with ONLY ONE CHILD? I am amazed. I thought my family was an endangered species or alien refugees or some other bizarre anomaly.
I am right there with you on many of your “real” reasons, but Squinkies scare the sh*t out of me. My Kiddo was given one by a friend. I was not upset when he decided it would be great food for his Lego dragon. Boys…
Must go check out your blog now. Nice to meet you. Cheers.
Sometimes I think we’re one and done… but I’m not sure. I need at least a few years, and if my body is still willing then… perhaps. I am an only child and my husband and I have zero family close by – so it’s just us. Makes it hard to juggle but it also makes us very close as a family of 3, which I love. My mother pretty much let my grandmother (her mom) raise me, and although I was well taken care of and loved, I vowed not to do that whether I have one or 10!
PS I hope my daughter doesn’t discover these Squinkies!
Squinkies have not entered our vernacular yet, amazingly. I know of their pervasiveness.
Ilana, you know I love this post. I relate to all of Kate’s reasons plus some (I’ve never had that, “My family isn’t complete yet” feeling), though I admit I’m not much one for hours of playing on the floor, especially Chutes and Ladders because the kid CHEATS EVERY TIME.
I was just thinking the other day about how most of my friends are one-and-done as I, too, am a one-and-doner.
You know that really is the first argument that has made me question having another. I hadn’t thought of how much harder it will be to pawn off two kids on my mom if Mike and I want to travel.
I love travel.
This made me giggle, because I realize it’s all relative. We have used that EXACT reason as an excuse not to have 3 – “It’s easy to pawn off 2 kids to grandparents for a week or two, but three? No one is going to take three!”
Depends on the grandparents, I guess!
I was a one and done…then came my second UNPLANNED. Then I was like OK two and DONE…then came my THIRD unplanned….and now I’ve discovered condoms. So three and done?!??! For goodness sakes I hope so! (didn’t mean to sound like a whore here…FYI I am married and these children aren’t bastards)
Hubby and I were just coming to the decision that we would be one and done, and I was becoming comfortable and at peace with that decision (we’d always said we’d have two), when SURPRISE! I’m only 10 weeks pregnant with #2 and already having nightmares about how I’m going to manage this.
At the risk of sounding humorless…I thought I wanted one, but then we had another, and I am SO glad we did. I don’t feel like we are any less close or have any less fun because of it. Sure, it’s more work, and there is jealousy, etc., but you adjust.
Fortunately, we have not been introduced to the Squinkies.
I’m 99.999% sure I’m one and done. And after a bit of obsessive soul-searching, I realize I’m OK with that. For all the reasons you said, plus a few more that I plan on putting in my own blog post about one-and-doneness someday. But basically, my daughter was an awesome baby who’s turned into an awesome toddler and, really, why would I want to tempt fate by having another one?
Besides, we’ve so far managed to avoid Squinkies. Again… why tempt fate?
I have never heard of Squinkies before today. At first I thought you meant a new snack food variation of a Twinkie.
If we had them, my two year old daughter would eat them.
End of squinkie reign.
I always wanted two kids, but I do wish I’d had the girl first and the boy second. We have a lot of tackling issues.
But it means my girl is quite tough now…
I was a one and done parent but not by choice. I had my daughter out of wedlock unfortunately and her dad and I split up when she was 2. I never wanted an only child but now that she is 16 and I have married, we decided we didn’t want to start all over again with the little ones and we’ll just wait to play with the grandkids one day (hopefully). We can spoil the hell out of them and then give them back without having the financial and disciplinary responsibilities 🙂
I have to admit, I always wondered as my daughter was growing up, how those parents who had to split their time between sports and school events with 2 or more kids did it? It was hard enough toting my one around to all of her extracurricular events and getting there and all that jazz. I admire those with more than one but am glad that my motherhood life turned out the way it did.
If we are “one and done” (which is still not a for sure decision), it would be a decision made for medical reasons. I was on bed rest for 3 months with my daughter and then didn’t sleep for 23 months. I don’t think I can handle that much bedrest again (without going insane) and I don’t think I could lose that much sleep again (and I DID go insane). Daddy doesn’t want “crazy wife” to return… so he is the one withholding the “goods”.
Of course I had to read Kate’s blog because you told us to AND the comments because you told us NOT to. Blog = hilarious; comments made me roll my eyes so much I now have a headache.
And PS, I am soooooooo “one and done.” I love life with just my one little guy.
Good points that were well made in the post. Went to the Squinkie well three times too often.
My daughter was the miracle child in our family. She’s pretty, she’s funny, she babbles cute things and takes people by the hand to play with her. I’m worried that if we get another child they’ll just be her less attractive, lamer younger sibling.
The joys (ha!) of having a baby were enough one time around for me thankyouverymuch. The sleep deprivation is still WAY too fresh in my mind. I look at my friends with more than one child and innocently ask myself, “How the hell do they manage?” I couldn’t imagine. I am an only child and always thought that I would never have an only child. Now? That doesn’t seem so bad to me. My little one is two now and I feel that we have overcome so much (infancy) that I question if I should really start over with a second. Maybe I’ll get a dog instead. Hmmm.
I just got my only child out of diapers, zipped up my college jeans and made a reservation in a little french bistro. Call me selfish, but YES, I am done.
I’m hoping that Squinkies have peaked and will be good and gone by the time Mazzy is old enough to play with such a thing. Or many many multiplying things, as the case may be.
Kate, thank you for making me laugh until I got a tear in my eye about Squinkies, and for the tip to never, ever buy Squinkies for my daughter.
And F you for totally showing up my “should you have a second kid?” post.
As you were.
I’m three weeks away from the due date of my first child, I’m 34 years old, and throughout this pregnancy people were asking “so when will you have baby #2?” First of all…WHUCK? Can I please concentrate on this kid first?
Second of all, due to our ages and the fact that he is an only child and my brother is over a decade older than me, my hubs and I are pretty sure we’re happy to be a one-kid family. When I express this to others, the general reaction is one of shock and pity. My grandmother *gasped* when I told her that we only want one child and treated me like I told her that I was thinking of going on a second-trimester drinking binge. I guess I never understood that if you make the decision to become a parent, it is implicit that you will be a parent to multiple children. Well, sorry, society, but I prefer to focus on quality over quantity.
We had our two close together, so a lot of the issues of juggling different milestones and schedules routines didn’t apply to us.
I’ll admit it was crazy having what were essentially two babies at the same time; but now that they are older they are a constant support-system and built-in companions to each other.
My kids are only one year apart in school, they know all of each other’s friends, and they both do karate at the same studio.
For us, school and extra-curriculars all follow the same routine/schedule. Even their bedtime is the same (and later than ours now that they’re in middle school. crap).
My kids are each other’s best friends (but that’s not a guarantee, I know). But because ours ARE close, no one else will have the same life-experiences they do; or the same bonds. When I get old and become a pain in the ass (maybe) they will hopefully have each other to lean on.
Having said that, I know singletons make their own close-knit friendships and their friends are like siblings.
But for us, I couldn’t imagine not having Jack for Karly and Karly for Jack.
I suppose most people feel that way about the choices they make for their families. We can all only do what feels right for us; what works for the individuals whom we love.
So hooray for family! Whatever form it takes…
I’d place Squinkies with you and Aura anytime. Probably.
The Hub and I were “one and done”, but we had a whoops moment and now I’m due in Lete Feb.
Squinkies have chairs? Squinkie chairs? Thank goodness my daughter doesn’t know about this yet. Don’t tell her, ok? Her Squinkies live in a bucket. On a high, high shelf.
You know, you were way more smiley in this post than I expected.
I do not know these Squinkies you speak of. I know of the Zhu Zhu and the itty bitty Lego, and they both make me homicidal.
Great post, and thanks for the intro to the hilarious Miss Kate, Mommy Shorts.
At least with the squinkies you can throw them away or hid them if you get tired of seeing them laying around. Can’t do that with a kid.
Hate Squinkies. Love Kate.
This sounds like deja vu! I did a similar post – title and all! http://bibsandbaubles.com/babies/
This conversation is happening in my house as.I.type. I am an only child and I think I’m ready to start thinking about a sibling for my little guy. There are great reasons on both sides.
Ummm well I have three boys so I’m in the 3 and done camp! Does that count?
I don’t have a single Squinkie in the house, but I have legos up the yin-yang. Stepping on those in the middle of the night may cause you to make up fake swear words!
I was an only child until I was 18. Actually, my brother was born 10 days after I turned 18. I then went away to college when he was less than two months old. If my first child had been a girl, I would have very happily been in the One & Done camp. But we had a boy first and then had to try again for a girl, which we got the second time around.
I am usually a baby, like if accompanied by a toy duck
I fall into the ‘one took six years to happen and the we have a better chance of winning the lottery than of having another baby’ category. I’d always hoped to have two kids, both my husband and I grew up with siblings, but now, I’m okay with Little P being an only child. I like our schedule, our lifestyle, and how my body is finally on the same page as me. I look at all my friends who have three or more kids and think ‘how the hell do they do it?’. We don’t have family here (mine are in Australia, his in Upstate New York), so when we want a little ‘grown up’ time we rely on the kindness of our friends and a fantastic (and incredibly cheap) babysitter. Would I like another child? Some days I think yes, but most days I’m just thankful we got our baby girl. One and done? Most definitely.
LOL! Number 9 though is the reason I consider a second child.