Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One is just fine, thanks...

One of the reasons I mentioned Cathy as being a super-cool chick and all (in the post after this), is that parts of this might fall under the "well, that seems a bit mean" category.

What got this particular hamster spinning in the wheel was something that Owen's Mom wrote the other day. Seems she's preparing to have the second spawn (a tip of the hat to Vicki's very funny "spawn" post of last week). The theory being that if you're going to have multiple kids they should be relatively close in age (OM's hubby has, in the past, expressed a desire to have six or seven children. If that still holds it means OM should get used to the fact that she's not having another good night's sleep this decade or the next. I'm not optimistic about the one after that, for that matter). OM, and others, believe that siblings grouped around the same age interact better with others, learn better social skills, share more and are generally mentally healthier.

Mentally healthier than what, you might ask? She doesn't say it in the post, but she has to me in the past. So has Cathy. Healthier than only children.

Only children are damaged goods. This has been said to me. Now, it's mostly in teasing and I laugh it off. If you're an only child, you've heard most of the jokes. "So they had you and decided not to risk anymore." That sort of thing (The rebuttal, by the way is "No, they had me and realized you can't do any better than perfection.")

I've met only children who have been the life of the party. Very sociable and outgoing and the theory is they're overcompensating for not having any brothers or sisters to play with. Then there are only children who are loners, and the theory is they're like that because they didn't have a brother or sister to play with and didn't develop social skills.

I don't know, honestly. I never gave it much thought. I didn't have any siblings and that was just fine with me. Too many of my friends growing up had siblings and couldn't stand them. I was considered "lucky" because it was just me. I wasn't spoiled. My parents certainly had no problem saying "no" to me if they felt I was being unreasonable. Do I tend to be slower making friends than others? Maybe. It can take me awhile to warm up to someone. Can I spend lots of time alone and not go insane? Absolutely. I enjoy time by myself.

But I think I dealt with this a lot in adulthood. You don't get to be a journalist and be shy. You won't last long in the business. Anti-social writers go by another name - authors.

Is this because I'm an only child? I have no earthly idea. And at the risk of getting loads and loads of responses from friends with anecdotal evidence to the contrary, I don't think I'm that screwed up. I'm an only child, and I'm just fine. Undamaged, as it were.

I mention all of this because Cathy has stated that IF...…

Note to family, friends and other pests: That's a big freakin' IF you're seeing there. There are no immediate plans to have children. The Five Year Plan is still firmly in effect. We work and live in Iqaluit, save lots of money, travel to cool places and then at the end of it, decide what we want to do next. Kids are not part of the Five Year Plan as they will hamper the trip to Australia. Travelling is much more important to us than kids right now.

Inquiries on if we are pregnant or thinking about it will be met with mocking and disdain.

…...anyway, if we decided to have children, then obviously we're going to have two of them. Because - see the above theory - only kids are damaged. Why she married me then, I do not know. Perhaps she wanted a fixer-upper...

I'd just as soon figure out if we (mostly me) can handle having one kid before leaping into the whole "more than one kid" thing. For all I know, two kids might just mean twice the fucking up on my part. Two kids can end up just as damaged as one if you don't have a clue as to what you're doing. Lord knows there's enough proof of that out in the world.

Then again, who knows, maybe I could do it. Some of my friends were drunks and boarderline criminals (as are most aspiring journalists, I hasten to add) when I met them 15 years or so ago. Now they are respectable parents. Anything is possible.

Currently Playing
Echoes - Pink Floyd


vickyth said...

I have two younger siblings, both within two years of me (they're twins). I prize my solitude, love spending time by myself, enjoy the company of others, have only one child, plan on having only one child, have very close friends and in-laws with children, and frankly can't see how my personality would be all that much different had I not had siblings. Really. I actually don't see them that much and am closer to my sister-in-law than my sister.

We've talked about having a second child and, frankly, that would require giving over another three years of my life to babyhood. I love Katherine to bits and love being HER mother, but motherhood as a general concept is more of a pain than anything else. There are good bits, but it's mostly misery until they get old enough to do things with.

You are smart to wait (watch the ill-wishes of your friends and family fall on my head now!). Having kids changes your life. It's not worse, but completely different and certain doors, while not shut, are much harder to open when your hands are full.

If you do have more than one, have them close together. The misery is accentuated, but the relief comes quicker. Do have a look at your bank account, though. The financial hit to having a child is actually greater than most people make out. Not in terms of clothes and stuff, but in terms of lost income, childcare, dietary change, discretionary spending on outings because another darned minute in the house with that rat will kill you, stuff like that. Money is one of the reasons we're stopping at one. We need my income (and I need to be something more than a clear-upper of bodily fluids), but can't afford full-time childcare (and wouldn't want that for our child if we could).

I've heard all the arguments about multiple kids versus single. Before we had Katherine, we had planned on having two. Katherine is actually a well-mannered, self-sufficient, happy, sound-sleeping kid, so we have no real reason not to have another other than simply not being able to face life with a baby again. And she was a good baby. No colic, rarely ill, liked to play on the floor near me, etc.

I have noticed something interesting, though. When people can't have another kid for medical or other reasons, we leave them alone and rarely do folks talk about how much nicer the child they DO have would be if she/he had a sibling. When folks choose not to have more kids, they're nailed for screwing up the ones already existent. So kids who can't have siblings are in no danger of being wrecks, but those who could have had siblings are somehow emotionally scarred... Odd old world.

Heather Patey said...

Ironically enough, my terrific relationship with my brother (and the sister-in-law posting above, by extension) influenced our decision to have a second child, but they've got only one. Now who's screwed up?


Jason Bartlett said...

Yes Craig, I hear much of this theory from my own wife that only children are "damaged, social misfits." Also when it comes to our little girl, again my wife wants us to have another lest she become the scarred emotional disaster that her father is.

My own theory on only children being misfits is that its crap. Sure like you c I like being alone and I don't go insane.Sure making friends takes time. Yes natural revuslion to sharing. Is this because I'm an only child, no people suck. They talk too much, they whine, they sneeze, they sink too. Go smell a person at random (never your spouse of course they always smell nice)they reek. And I can tell you, you can go half way around the world the same, people stink. They are full of germs as well.

In terms of our daughter, yes I'd like her to have a sibling but purely for selfish reasons. I'm a collector. I collect things. I want the whole set. I have a daughter now I need a son. My wife wants three kids total but I don't know. That third one what's their gimick?:)Maybe if they came with a vehicle or parts for a larger figure hmm.

Well back to work hope that was helpful.

Terri Lynn said...

I think only children get a bit of a bad rap. I mean sure it seems nice to have two kids, so they can keep eachother company, but I don't think having a single child dooms that child to the life of a social freak. I think it really just comes down to the parents. I know only children that were are spoiled as kids, and ones that are completely well rounded people. Their parents were the ones who decided how to raise them, and can take some of the blame for how they turned out. People can focus on one kid, or strech theirself thin on seven, either way it comes down to how they raise the kids, not how many they have.

Mireille Sampson said...

"We" cannot get pregnant, only Cathy...when you are capable of having a fetus play soccer with your bladder you can say "we';)

I think all those psych theories are garbage. I'm the oldest of seven and you are far more mentally stable than me! I like the psych theory that says the eldest child is most risk-averse while the youngest is most likely to go out on a limb. I've taken more risks than is usually sensible and fortunately none of my siblings has followed suit.

I think that if parents want sanity they should make sure they outnumber their children. When you have two kids, even though the numbers are even they have more energy - so it feels like they outnumber you. That said, my parents would have had more of us if they could have afforded it. Gluttons for punishment.

towniebastard said...

Let's see...

1. Vicky. We actually receive no pressure from the families regarding kids. They all know that Cathy has some severe allergies and asthma that require medication to control. Thus, there are a lot of problems to be solved if kids ever become a more serious thought than they are now.

I only mentioned it now because the whole "only child is damaged" theory is something that sort of sticks in my craw.

Also, we're far too methodical for our own good sometimes. I assure you, we'll have sat down and figured out all the angles and expenses long before decided to take the plunge.

2. Jason. Yes, you are scarred and emotionally damaged. If people ever band together and launch a class action lawsuit against the Muse for emotional damage, the settlement could be the millions.

Oh, and the third kid comes with a special, limited edition foil cover. So obviously you want one of those. ;)

3. Mireille. As I have no desire to have anything done with my bladder, I renounce the "we" part of the pregnant. Cathy can have it all to herself.

Btw, thanks for mentioning how weird you are. I can just turn to Cathy and say "Yeah, but just imagine, if we have more than one kid they could end up just like Mireille..." ;)

Could be worse though...they could take after Uncle Dups...(shudder)

pat the wench said...

Onlies versus sibbies is crap pop psychology, probably perpetrated by the Catholic Church. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I want to have another kind because I have six Rubbermaids tubs full of baby stuff in the basement that is in mint condition. I want my money's worth out of that stuff dammit!!

Although I have a sibling and am PERFECTLY WELL-ADJUSTED so maybe I prove the theory ...

Owen's Mom said...

Well, yyou know my theory about this - board games are just much more fun when you have siblings - about the only thing I can guarantee you is that when I get together with my sib's, someone alwasy refers back to the infamous 1990 Pictionary incident.

My theory is that only children do not handle confrontation and negotiation as well as kids with siblings. If you do not get hard core training in childhood that trading Park Place for Marvin Garden's is not a good trade, even if they throw in the electric company, you've missed a crutial lesson, IMO.

Also, unless you've gone ten rounds with a sibling over the remote control (or the channel, back in the day) you've missed something.

Once you can get into a knock down drag out screaming match with a sib, and a half hour later be faced with sitting across the diner table from them, you learn to drop grudges, etc.

Except the Pictionary thing. He *was* cheating - there are no gestures in Pictionary.

towniebastard said...

Pat, I've known you for the better part of 10 years, including our time in Clarenville together. Even if you clicked your heels three times and say "there's no place like normal" it still will not do you any good. You're quite mad. I have expert witnesses.

And Lorie, I will counter that only children tend to be more self-sufficient because they have to do it themselves. Oh, and creative. Because really, you have no brother or sister to blame things on. Your mischief must be exceptional if you want to get away with it.