Leanne and I know a lot of folks who are only children. Some of them are good friends. All of them turned out to be wonderful people, despite what society thinks they should be as only children. As a parent, I know how easy it is to spoil your one and only child, but I have learned to reject the notion that somehow, only children turn out to be spoiled adults. All the people we know who are only children are kind, humble, outward-looking individuals who really care about making a difference in their community. None of them give credence to the stereotype surrounding only children.
Knowing these people gave Leanne and I a lot to think about as we debated having another kid. Olive is wonderful. A sibling would be nice, having a gentically similar playmate doesn’t necessarily guarantee she will grow up to be a good person or eliminate the possibility that she could grow up spoiled and/or self-centered.
So why not just have one kid, we thought? Apparently, having a single child is a trend among our generation -- probably because it makes a whole boatload of sense. Certainly, a single child is cheaper, easier, lets you get more sleep, and provides more flexibility in your life than having multiple kids. At the very least, having one kid means you can use both hands to restrain them and both eyes to watch them and make sure they don't touch knives or electrical sockets or fire. It was tough for Leanne and I to think of reasons to have another kid.
Except when we looked at Olive.
When we watched her play and eat and smile and cry. When she started saying MAMA and DADA and TANKOO (that’s thank you). When we looked at pictures of her at 1 week and 1 month and 6 months old and remembered how much fun, without forgetting how much work, it was at each of those ages. When we watched her give her cousins kisses or give the little boy at the playground hugs. We would look at each other and know that we wanted another child.
That all the work and worry and exhaustion was worth it in spades. Parenthood is a drug and we are junkies. We also knew, despite the temptations of additional time and money, and despite the living, breathing, well-adjusted only children that we knew, that we wanted Olive to have a brother or sister.
Both Leanne and I have siblings. Her – an older brother. Me – two older brothers and a younger sister. Neither of us can imagine our childhood, or adulthood, without what they brought to our lives.
Also, we realized it might be nice to have a back-up kid in case Olive ends up on the pole.
The reasons may be silly, they may be trite, but they are our reasons. And they are the reasons why Leanne and I are expecting a new little one this spring.
Yup, Olive is going to have a little brother or sister.
Okay, truthfully, I have no idea what we were thinking. Parents who have more than one kid are probably having a difficult time reading this right now between their fits of laughter (“Oh my God, they are having another kid? They have NOOOOO idea what they are getting in to).
I am at once terrified, excited, nervous, panicked, and overjoyed – go ahead, put all those words into the thesaurus, write down what you find, and I’m probably all those too.
Once we decided that we were going to try for number two, we also decided that we wanted to “get it over with” – i.e. we wanted Olive and her brother or sister to be close in age. Lots of reasons for this: They get to go to high school together. We don’t need to put the diapering stuff away and drag it back out in a year. We want our kids out of the house by the time we are 50.
This little “development” will obviously change the blog. This is now going to be the “Education of a New Dad and the Re-Education of the Expectant Father.” I already have some blog entries that I wrote during the time we were trying to get pregnant (not while we were actually trying to…well, you get it) and over the first couple months of pregnancy that I will be posting over the coming weeks. I’ll also probably be talking about the pregnancy as much as I talk about Olive and the challenges of figuring out how to raise a toddler. This is going to be a fun six months and beyond.