The two big arguments I always hear about having more than one child are, “It will be easier because they’ll always have someone to play with,” and, “I don’t want my child to feel lonely.” I always find these arguments hilarious. Why? Because OH MY GOD PEOPLE WITH MORE THAN ONE CHILD do you not hear or see what goes on in your own home?
When my daughter was an only child, and I had to stick around for playdates with friends who had more than one child, I always left feeling like I had just escaped a war zone. I remember one friend specifically who has two children. She wanted two children for the exact same arguments listed above. She thought her kids got along brilliantly and kept each other busy, or so she always professed. Even when they were in tears because one just took the other one’s sticker.
I was always like, “Fuck me! Your kids spent the last two hours yelling at each other, slamming the doors on each other, or being jealous of each other. How come you can’t hear or see this?”
I sort of understand why. Who the hell wants to ADMIT their children don’t get along, or don’t like each other. (Obviously,there’s a difference between love and like.)
One of the most oft questions I get asked nowadays is, “So does your daughter love being a big sister?” Actually, it’s more of a statement than a question, because people always ask with this hopeful glint in their eyes, as if the question is moot, because OF COURSE my daughter MUST love having a brother. But I’m quite blunt.
My answer these days is, “No, she doesn’t particularly like being a sister. She actually, I think, would prefer being an only child. She could take or leave her brother.”
It’s kind of funny to watch people’s faces fall in shock, disappointment, and pity, as if I’ve just told them their favorite shampoo they’ve used their entire adult lives has now been discontinued.
Recently I ran into an acquaintance at a sushi restaurant and she was enjoying one of her last meals…as a pregnant woman. She already has a 3-year-old and she, too, asked me if my daughter loved being a big sister. Now I didn’t want to burst her shining bubble, and looking back, I shouldn’t have but I did answer, “Well, not really.”
Her face fell as if I had just told her she would be having a 78-hour labor. I quickly added, “But maybe because there’s such an age difference between them and yours will only be three years apart.”
I didn’t believe it, but she bought it and went happily back to her glowing pregnant self.