Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One Plus Two

I am an only child. My parents and I took pride in the fact that most people would say, “I can’t tell you’re an only child.” And then we would immediately take offense, because a) we’re stubborn like that, and b) seriously, what’s wrong with being an only child?

My parents would have loved more children, but that never happened for them, and that’s part of why they never “treated me like an only child.” That big box of Barbies my grandmother claimed made me “spoiled”? I bought those with birthday money and what I earned by doing chores, pet sitting, and more. The private school education that made me “not understand what school is really like”? My parents both worked overtime to pay for a better education than our neighborhood schools could provide at the time.

While I did turn out to be a reasonable human being (and, ironically, a public school teacher), my husband and I decided that we wanted two children. We have no delusions that we are providing our son with a best friend for life, but at least he’ll have what I didn’t, the chance to argue about who has the biggest part of the backseat, who got the best birthday presents, who has to set the table, or…? What do siblings argue about? I. Don’t. Know.

And there’s the rub. Even though my parents raised me to function in a world populated by siblings, I didn’t have them. I had cousins who went home after a few days. I had neighbors who went home every night. I had friends who asked me what it was like to not have to share a room or if I got lonely (for the record, I love my personal space, and yes, often).

So, weeks away from giving my son a sister, I am left pondering the very real fears I have about being a singleton raising siblings.

1. Loving two kids​­ I know. I’ll love them both. But will I love them both equally? My son is the beat to my heart, and deep down, I know that I’ll feel the same about my daughter, but the very thought of splitting my affections terrifies me. To be honest, I have a feeling my own mother (currently the mother of ONE daughter and ONE grandson) has the same fear...even though we both know better.

2. Managing Time​­. We are constantly busy managing work, home, family, friends, the works, and I worry that this second child will tip the balance from organized chaos to chaos alone. How will I juggle the varying needs of two kids? How will I drop both of them off at daycare and preschool when I can’t leave a child alone in the car? Will we ever have a date night again?

3. Handling Sibling Rivalry. ​­ I’ll compare the kids. I already compare (oooh, he was 90th percentile at 20 weeks, and she’s 50th), and one of them is still in the womb. Will I be able to see these kids as two independent, individual humans?

4. Dealing with the STUFF.​­ I’m already looking into getting a small SUV to handle dual car seats, a double stroller, etc. What about when baby girl has different toy tastes than her brother? How will I keep an orderly house when I have two sets of kidlet interests to balance?

5. Staying Sane.​­ The most glaring only child trait I do possess is the need for alone time. I already have to pee with a toddler and a tiny dog in the bathroom with me. When will I get the head space I need to stay me?

Luckily, my husband and all of our parents had siblings and can offer wisdom if needed. For now, I’m going to shower my son with attention and use the bathroom with only two other living creatures with me.

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