Sunday, March 8, 2015

Multiple Children

I'm sitting in the playroom at the JCC, and I'm listening to some mothers talking about multiple children. I'm struck by the language that they're using to talk about it. "I'm pregnant with my second." "You SHOULD be scared about it."


I mean, parenthood is, ultimately, about fear: the daily fear of being able to take care of your children; the monthly fear of being a supportive, kind parent that will fill your kids' emotional needs without causing too much therapy; the long term fear of school and education and bullies and girl/boy friends and what kind of world am I bringing kids into anyway?

That wasn't what they were referencing, though. As I'm considering it, my negative judgment might be retreating. What does a second child cause?

Loss of social life: with one kid, you can take turns being a parent and being an independent human being.

Difficulty of travel: You can travel easily and stay at any friend's house. One kid fits in a normal guest bed with parents. Two doesn't.

Sick time gets extended, as colds pass from one to the next and back again.

They never have sleepless nights at the same time.

They never nap at the same time.

They go from playing to brawling in a moment.

Bedtime takes an order of magnitude longer.

Meals are more complicated, and if one kid is a picky eater, the other???

On the other hand:

They will play with each other and look out for each other. There will be moments when they snuggle each other back to sleep, and they will provide significant comfort to the other (in between fights) as they grow up.

The travel time is more precious because it takes more effort and planning.

Your friends without multiple children, while they might never understand, are a source of vicarious living, occasional babysitting, and Christmas presents.

The sleepless nights, long term, are wonderful bonding moments for your baby and you, once your love affair with coffee is resumed.

Bedtime is a relaxing affair that will help you get to sleep as much as it helps them.

Having the team help prepare a meal, set the table, and clean up is a great thing.

Okay. My hackles are down. Not such a bad thing, to be afraid of baby number 2.

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