One and Done

Me with a Baby Monkey. Yes, I have no idea what I'm doing.

We had barely walked through the door with Monkey Boy when people began asking us when we were going back for another kid. I would point to his diapers and tell people as long as there were diapers in my house, there would be absolutely no talk of other children. Time passed, life happened, Monkey Boy FINALLY got potty trained, but after discussions with Baby Daddy, we’ve decided we’re a one-kid family.

It’s been strange to me how people feel they are entitled to weigh in on this decision. Family members, friends of the family, daycare workers, the grocery checker and bag boy will tell me I should get a little brother or sister for Monkey Boy. Some days, I think it would be nice if he did have a sibling. I very much like having a sister. But for all the reasons Baby Daddy and I discussed, that’s not gonna happen. What’s baffling is people who have no business in my business make the case quite forcefully why they chose to have more than one child. Often they will go as far as to explain how I am actually harming my child by not giving him a sibling. Really.

This summer Time Magazine looked at the research surrounding the long-suffering, totally untrue Only-Child Myth.

Generally, those studies showed that singletons aren’t measurably different from other kids — except that they, along with firstborns and people who have only one sibling, score higher in measures of intelligence and achievement. No one, [Toni Falbo, a professor of educational psychology and sociology at the University of Texas at Austin] says, has published research that can demonstrate any truth behind the stereotype of the only child as lonely, selfish and maladjusted. (She has spoken those three words so many times in the past 35 years that they run together as one: lonelyselfishmaladjusted.)

It was nice to have a little academic backup for my decision, not that I actually needed it. I should also be clear, I don’t particularly mind the question. It’s usually just curiosity. I mind when people feel compelled to force their decisions on me. I don’t tell them having several children is a bad idea. I honestly don’t care how many children other people chose to raise.

Kylie & Monkey Boy

Sometime over the past few weeks, it occurred to me: I have the best of both worlds. Katy Kat’s friends have been coming by for end of summer visits. I’ve been cooking for college students and laughing very hard at their stories and antics. My home is filled with food, laughter, silliness and joy. They play with Monkey Boy like a puppy. He does some fun party tricks to keep them entertained. I get to offer semi-sage advice. They have a place to be mothered without being smothered. I get to have the noise and chaos of a large family often enough to get my fix, but my daily routine is just the Monkey Boy, which is plenty for me. It helps Katy Kat has excellent taste in friends. They say thank you and don’t give me any trouble about the house rules.

I am content with our family size decision. We are one and done… with lots of house guests.

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9 Comments

Filed under Monkey Boy

9 responses to “One and Done

  1. Jill Hartsfield

    Oh, you must have missed the memo before you wrote this. Parker is on your doorstep. (he’s totally not potty trained, but does like powder with his diaper. ) He also has a slight hitting problem. Good Luck.

  2. jen

    Oh we are really, really heading down the only child road. Carter is still in diapers and I originally said I wouldn’t even consider another until after that. But then when he was around 18 mos, I had baby fever so bad I nearly made an ob appt. But my husband wasn’t ready and so we didn’t. I mentioned to my family that we might be only having one and they hit the fan. Even my sister was like “OH NO YOU CAN’T!” Um, yeah, I really can. We are holding off on a final decision until next summer but it’s nice to know there are others out there making the same one and done decision (and getting the same flack).

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head. Having kids, not having kids, how many and such is really a personal decision. I too can’t believe how friends, family and strangers feel that they have any right to weigh in on this decision.
    Everyone knows what’s right for them. Everyone else just just mind their business.

  4. KatieMc

    Ah, opinions. Like a$$holes, everyone has them. It never ceases to amaze me how folks feel free to be intrusive. This is the conversation in my world.
    Them: So how many kids do you have?
    Me: None.
    (awkward pause)
    Them: Oh.
    (awkward pause)
    Me (if I feel like it): I cannot have children.
    Them: Oh. Have you considered adoption?
    Me: Yes.
    (awkward pause)
    Them (sometimes: And?

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! I can’t remember who told me a great response lately. I do believe it may have been you, my friend.

    “Oh adoption is out of the question. My record prevents it.”

  5. Yes, you said it – PERSONAL decisions are just that PERSONAL and individual. Just like the decision of what school to attend. These decisions are family decisions and are the ones you deem best for your circumstances. Good for you.

  6. JenOH

    I was in the process of writing a blog post similar to this one, though not nearly as clever.

    I actually had dinner with several (progressive and educated, I thought) couples last month who implied that we were selfish and short-sighted to have only one child: “Oh, we could never deny her the bond between siblings,” or “it’s just a short time to be inconvenienced by infancy.” Inconvenienced??? Your words not mine… Annnnyway.

  7. Have you considered asking Michelle Duggar to give you one of her kids?

    I’m not saying you have to, I just want to make sure you’ve considered ALL your options before you make a final decision.

  8. Before we had Charlie I was CERTAIN that we would have three children. Little stair steps.
    Now…. we might just be “One and Done”.
    Having another one just to provide a playmate for Charlie is not in the best interest of this family. My sanity is at stake here, and NOBODY wants me to lose it.
    Not that Charlie is a p.i.t.a. She’s the same amount of work as any other kid (maybe less), but I’m a little high maintenance and fiercely independent.
    She and I make a great team, an exclusive team. For now we’re not accepting new playmates.