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Oct 08

Apologizing in advance

One of my biggest pet peeves is parents of only children, excusing some indulgence or another by saying “Hey, I’ve only got one.” Like having only one means you love him/her that much more than those of us who have more than one child. Just FYI – having more than one doesn’t mean that you like them any less, doesn’t mean you want any less to spoil and indulge and do whatever you can to make them happy. The only difference, as far as I can tell, is that it’s not as easy to buy whatever the latest toy is, cater to their dietary needs or whatever else it is. I love and worry and agonize over both my kids, and I’m sure that I’ll be the same way with the next one. It’s perhaps not as easy to accomodate everyone, and there are times when one has to suffer to indulge the other one. When Sam is screaming and I say to Jess “honey, I can only handle one crisis at a time, you’re going to have to wait” or when Jessie is sick and I’m holding her and rocking her sleep and Sam announces he’s “rumbly in his tumbly” and needs food asap – he’s going to have to suck it up and suffer a little. This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel enormously guilty, that I don’t wish that I could be the very best parent all the time for both the kids – but the fact is, when you’ve got more than one, you can’t be the everything everyone wants all the time. With just one – you’ve got a shot at being able to pull it off, or at least you don’t have to balance completely equal needs and totally valid requests for attention and love. Nobody has to wait while the other one gets snuggled, for example, if at that particular moment he/she would like to be cuddled. When it comes to buying balloons or toys or special treats – when it’s a matter of paying $10 for one child – or $40 to get each of the four kids something – it’s a tougher decision – and WAY harder to say no. This doesn’t, in any way, mean that it’s easier to say no to four children than it would be to say no to one.

I’m a bit grumpy today – for no real reason. I’ll blame pregnancy hormones, I guess, because that’s always an easy excuse. But I’ve had a couple of people randomly say that to me lately “well, I’ve only got one” as though it makes it harder to be strict and tough and fair. It’s not – if anything, from my perspective, having only one should make it much easier to parent. Looking back, having only one was a breeze. It wasn’t always easy, but it was a lot easier than having two, and I’m sure having two is got be easier than having three. But I love having children, I love having a LOT of children, and wouldn’t trade the balancing and the guilt for anything in the world. I just wish that people understood that you don’t love them any less because you have more than one.

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