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.
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.