Monday, March 16, 2009

On My Mind

Before we actually had Theo, we were 100% positive we wanted two kids. Each of us has one other sibling in varying years of separation (S. is 3 years older than her bro, me 7 years older than my sis), and we were sure we would want a sibling withint 2 years of Theo.

Hence our appointment with the RE tomorrow to talk business, particularly regarding doing a frozen embryo transfer with me as the carrier (Is that the right term? That kind of makes me feel like a pigeon!).

But lately, we've been the hell would we do it with two? We are exhausted constantly (blissfully so, but still, exhausted nonetheless). S. can barely make it out of the house with one. We go many places with Theo and it seems that adding to the pot would only make us pull our hair out more. We've watched as S's cousin with an almost-three-year-old and almost-one-year-old twin girls has been run around ragged by her brood. She handles them amazingly, don't get us wrong, but we know how exhausting it is. And she has a shitload of help with those kids and we really don't--it's our babysitter during the school day and that is really it for caretakers on a regular basis.

So, what are some pros and cons of having an only child? Well, as teachers, both S. and I do notice a difference with only children. They can be...well...I don't know...I do not want to sound off -putting, but perhaps only children are a bit more..entitled? Ach, it's delicate, I know. I am just speaking from experience, and S. has occasionally seen the same thing in her little kids. One of my high school friends that I shared the most drama with was an only and her mother's interference in her day-to-day life confounded me. It was like, jeesh, doesn't she have anything better to do?

Of course I know better now, in retrospect. At the time, not being an only, I didn't really get it. I get it now.

And then on the other hand, our neighbor is an only child, and she is Theo's future babysitter, remarkably smart, cute, and nice, and is super-close to both her parents. She is wonderful. And they have traveled all over the country with her from a young age.

Is it selfish to have another? We have so many more resources to give when there's only one to give them to.

So, what to do? Do we cut our losses and raise Theo solo?? He has plenty of cousins around to play with. We could be happy with just him. But would we be missing out on even more happiness by not having another baby??

This is just what's on my mind. I'll let you know how the RE appointment goes tomorrow. Yikes.


Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

I like to think I got the best of both worlds, being an only child for most of my childhood, and then only being a sib part-time, because my brother was with his mom during the week. I credit my independence and conversation skills with being an only child. I spent alot of time among adults, so I got to talk to grownups at an early age, but I also got to spend alot of time doing my own thing, because I usually didn't have a sib to contend with. On the other hand, I never would have learned how to negotiate or share, if my brother hadn't come into my life, so there's pros to being one of two, as well! It's a hard decision, I'm sure. Besides, Theo's so darn cute...your house might explode from all the cuteness if another one comes along! :)

The Nanny said...

From this nanny's perspective, my only children have been MUCH more high maintenance and demanding because, I suppose, they're used to so much one-on-one attention. (That's just my observation, though!)

A pro for having another (in my opinion) is that they'll play together -- and occupy each other! -- and Theo will learn sharing very early on. Plus the sibling's pretty amazing to witness.

Just my opinion! :-) Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I have learned so much from my sib's and I can't imagine growing up without them. It's hard to explain. My wife is an only and I love her SOOOO much but sometimes she is a little more needy than me. She feels as you say an entitlement of sorts - early in our relationship we spent LOTS of time learning to share. It's was hard for her at first beause there was never any competition for anything in her house so everything was hers ya know. Aside from that I would have to say sibs are a must - when you are little it's someone to build a fort with or tell ghost stories with...or to learn about handling conflict and a host of other life lessons that are learned with a sib. When you are older it's someone to share burdens with and help take care of parents and go on family vacations with AND it's more grandkids for you guys :O) I am def. pro sibs but I agree with Laura - the house just might explode with all the cuteness!

Anabelle said...

i struggle with this everyday... my daughter turns 3 in a few weeks.... Its just so hard to have an infant... and i figured as she grew older and needed me less I'd crave a baby again, but I don't. Instead, i'm having so much fun with her... and we're gaining more and more freedom as she gets older... bascially.. its getting easier.... do I really want to start over again?

I do suggest if you feel any inkling towards two, you do it now, get the insanity over with, and then enjoy when they're both older... :)

Laurie said...

I was an only child until I turned 16. I can distinctively remember growing up wishing I had a brother or sister. I felt like I was missing out. I don't think it's selfish at all to want more than one child. Whatever you decide will be wonderful and Theo will still be amazing!

Jean said...

There are total pros and cons. We kept Charlie and Sam right at 3 years apart and I think this is great spacing. Charlie will play by himself and is easily distracted to allow me time with Sam, and he is helpful when I need something. But the downside of a second child is that everything is compounded. If one is sick, your best bet is that they both are or will be. Sleep when the baby sleeps is not really an option. So when you are up 4, 5, 6, times a night they next day is hard, and you tend to be snappy with the older kid and then you feel bad about it. But on the plus side Charlie could not be anymore excited to have a brother and I know that in just a short time they will be the best of playmates. He is already planning himself a baby sister next. I would say if you always thought of having two, then have two and you will adjust to two kids, there is no preparing for it, it is just a giant learning curve that you have to fight your way through, but eventually you get it and it will be great.

The Baba said...

Am I the only "only" to post so far? According to my lady, I am some kind of unicorn-only who knows how to share and didn't grow up spoiled and stuff. (I guess it's hard to be spoiled on minimum wage?) I spent my early childhood wishing for a little brother, my teens glad that I didn't have a sibling all-out trying to kill me and ruin my life (like my friends all seemed to have,) and thus far my adulthood has been a study in neutrality. I can't even imagine all the ways (good or bad) my life would have been different with a sibling, but I'm happy with the way things turned out. Also, I think it just allowed me to make closer friends, because I didn't have a built-in friend at home. So, there's my two cents. :)

Amanda said...

I'm all for following your gut instinct...If now is not the right time, then maybe a different baby is meant to be born a little farther off in the future? I know that you have to work with uncertain timing, but perhaps you could wait for a while?
We are so glad that we have waited this long to have another child...E will be 3 1/2 when baby #2 arrives. We are SO THANKFUL to have had all of this time alone with has been very, very precious.
and I am relieved that he is potty trained and so self-sufficient and independent. I think it will make dealing with a newborn much easier.

I think there are definite pros and cons to BOTH situations....follow your instinct - it won;t fail you.

Raene and River said...

Definitely go with what you feel...if you don't think at this time that you can handle two, then really don't try it, b/c most likely it will be harder than you might think.

That said, I'm an only child and have always been bitter about it. No one to play with, parents worked a lot, etc. I swore I'd have 2+ kids.

Now I have a 5 yr old with one on the way. I can tell you that waiting 5 yrs wasn't the best for my daughter b/c she is as you described..."entitled" or as I can say, spoiled, self-centered, etc. She is going to have a much harder time transitioning to the big sister role than someone younger who hasn't been an only child for so many years. I wish the timing had worked out to have a second one earlier, but...things don't always work out as we plan them to.

jessie said...

This is stuff I think a lot about too. good luck tomorow!

Anonymous said...

this is so very much on my mind as we are getting ready to start ttc#2. i've always wanted more than one (i'd have 5 if i could)! but, as i am getting frustrated with the process i have thought "maybe just one..."

i also feel like we are only just not able to start thinking about it and Mr. E is 14 mos. the entire first year was such a haze/transition/adjustment.

i wish i was being more helpful here...i guess i just wanted to let you know you are not alone in this struggle. at the end of the day, i know deep down i want more, but i am so very thankful for my son, that if it is not meant to be, i hope i will be able to accept it.

thank you so much for the comment on my blog - i will be in touch! :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm an only and wish that I weren't. My daughter may well end up being an only despite my best attempts to bring her a sibling. Yikes.

When I started commenting yesterday, I realized that I was hijacking your comments with a mini-novel. So I wrote my own post here instead.

I hope that your appointment went well!

Anonymous said...

I heard something the other day that's stuck with me. The relationship you have with your sibling(s) is likely the longest relationship you'll have in your life. It's pretty profound to go through life with someone who shared the same parents, grew up in the same household, and, presumably, knows you nearly as well as you know yourself.

I can't imagine life without my brothers and am so glad I wasn't an only child. I think I would have been so lonely since I spent so much time with them... and they were my stable, permanent friends in a family where we moved every two years.

My opinion of all this might change when we're run ragged with a little one... but I am definitely rooting for sibling(s) for our first born. I'll struggle through the insanity knowing it's a temporary stage - a fleeting chapter of my life.

I definitely don't harbour any feelings of judgement towards people who choose to have only one and I think it's a decision we can only make based on what we can handle mentally and financially... taking into account the nature of our child and what is best for her/him and the family unit as a whole. Best of luck to you in your decision making. I hope you come to some clarity soon - either way.

Liz said...

Gotta throw in my two cents here on this one. I enjoyed being an only child, and think I turned out pretty darn good (aka not needy or entitled). Guess all my parents had something to do with that...Did I miss having a sibling? Not really, since I had no idea what I was missing out on, being that that type of relationship is so unique. I've always had plenty of friends and, growing up, one of my best friends was also an only, so we were each other's "siblings." Best of luck with the of the more difficult (but exciting) ones to make...have no clue what we'll do whenever we get there...

Lyn said...

My wife was/is and only, and is wonderful, but she does have memories of some pretty extreme loneliness from her childhood that are part of why she really wanted two kids. That said, I think lots of that may have had more to do with how much her family moved around and the personality of her parents than her "only" status.

I, on the other hand, was middle of three girls, and have many of the negative characteristics associated with middle children. But I love my sisters and we have good relationships as adults. I'm also really glad our kid(s) have cousins. I not-so-secretly want to have three, but my wife will likely put some serious brakes on that desire (mostly financial).

Even though we were both on the same page for having two, we were definitely on different time lines and different levels of desire once we had the first (we have 2 1/2 y.o. and another on the way). I was chomping at the bit for "my turn" to get pregnant, and my wife was more content to give it more time. I second the comment that you really don't have to decide now. You can give it some time.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I'm really glad you posted this. You bring up such wonderful points honestly and carefully. I guess for me, the responsibility of caring for my parents (sick mum) in the years to come is a lot easier to bear having a brother. We weren't close until we lived in seperate homes as adults, though I believe having him made my life more lively and fulfilled all those growing years. When my mom told us she had cancer, we all talked positively and hopefully. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and not a minute later my brother walked right in. He knew I wasn't on the loo, but crying so hard the only thing that helped was his hug. We cried together and didn't have to say a word. My wife and dad were outside and had no idea what was going on. Having a brother means that I have someone that has been a witness to my entire life with my mother. If I didn't have him, there would be no one that can truely understand. He's been there, good and bad, and will be beside me even when my parents die. I realize I'm really rambling here, but this is exactly why I'm having more than one kid. It can be monstrous ttc for us and the idea of doing it again (hoping I can get it to work just a first time) is nauseating. But I'm not having two (+) kids just for me and my maternal desire. I'm doing it so that they will always have each other and will be able to share the joys and heartbreaks that will come in our family together.

More than my 2 cents.

nutella said...

My wife and I each have a sister. She is the younger one in her family and I am the elder one in mine. Both of us are about 2.5 years apart from our sisters and neither of us got along with our sisters growing up. Now that I am an adult, my sister and I get along and talk often, but growing up was rough. We were never close, we were always fighting. We made each other and my parents miserable. My wife and her sister were the same way and to this day they do not get along.

As a couple, we have always planned on having only one child. We get a lot of judgement on stating this opinion. And yes, I have seen some wonderful sibling relationships but for us, one is enough. We are looking forward to learning who our son is, what his personality is like, and instilling in him the values and qualities that we prize in others. And I do not think for a moment that he will be "deprived" because he will be an only child.

Anonymous said...

Give the kid a sibling. He has to have someone to fight with, to cry with, and to call when he no longer has the two of you. Heck, you could even give him 2 in your own time. Life is hard. It is nice to have a lot of people to complain to.