February 7, 2012

On Having a Second Kid

I drove down a street in our neighborhood yesterday that I don't normally drive down. I remembered a walk I took T on when he was about 9 months old.

It was hell.

He wanted to stand in the stroller, I'd forgotten the Becco/Ergo/Carrier, and when I finally let him "do" his thing, he wanted to sit on the ground and play with garbage. If I picked him up, he would do the back arch/scream/evil thing. It was a no win situation and I was stuck, four blocks from home, and I couldn't figure out how to get my kid home.

That being said:

I always assumed I would have two kids.

All my friends with babies T's age are starting to try for their second.

I think they are nuts. Don't they remember?

Bubbs and I used to joke that we didn't want another one, but as T gets easier and easier, I realized that I might not be joking anymore.

In pregnancy, I threw up every day for 5 months and spent every moment before and after the vomiting - totally nauseous. It ended when I had him. But then I had the itching. For the first two weeks he was born, my entire body itched. SERIOUSLY. I couldn't use topical stuff because it was all poison. It was like torture.

Breastfeeding was actually easy for me, but I didn't have the patience to "enjoy" it like I was supposed to. Plus, for a period of like three months, he would only nurse laying down and he was exclusively breastfed. Which was awkward to say the least. And breastfeeding is So messy.

The fluids that get everywhere.

Especially those first two weeks.

Our relationship was HARD when T was a baby. Bubbs got a little depressed from all the changes, my family got a little weird, and we truly didn't sleep. My body still hasn't recovered (take pictures of your boobs pre-baby, ladies - you'll forget what they looked like).

When T was like 6 months old, I started to get the craving for another. I chalk that bought of insanity on hormones.

And recently, I realize WHY other people have kids now. The ones you have now actually play with other kids, they want to play with YOU and you certainly don't want to put money in the coffee can all day - so they need a playmate - one that can be there at 5:30 in the morning. Plus, this is the time when you forget the other stuff.

We don't particularly have the money to pay for childcare for two.

We have a two bedroom house, so I'm not sure how that will work out.

I know there are a ton of techniques some parents use to make it work, but I'm not sure I like them.

I adore my kid. He is funny and sweet and I would give everything to make him happy (sometimes it feels like I already do). He's a joy to be around and I'm proud to be his mama.

But does he need a sibling?

Bubbs and I really like ours. We have great relationships with them.

And what happens when we die - doesn't he have a right to some immediate family left?

What happens when we go nuts - doesn't have a right to have someone to talk about it with?

I have an only child friend who said that Christmas mornings were totally sad because she had no one to play with her.

Being an aunt is one of the greatest joys of my life, would I really deprive him of that?

Is having a second kid the greatest sacrifice of all for your child?

We're obviously not tying any tubes at this point or getting out the laser pointer, but I want to make an informed decision about another one and be sure if we pass up the optimal time frame that it was on purpose and not something we regret later. I'm pretty sure if anything happens it won't be for at least two more years...but are they then so far apart that it defeats the purpose?

Why do people have second ones? How do you cope?


  1. I really relate to this. I think that I want little R to have a sibling, but as things get easier with her, contemplating months of sleep deprivation sounds less and less appealing. This is especially true as little R is an "easy" baby: what if I don't win the baby lottery again and end up with a colicky, "intense" child?

    On the other hand, having little R has really brought a lot of joy into my life, that I didn't even know existed. Maybe having two children is a little bit like that, as you see them interact with each other for instance. And I really love having a sister, for so many reasons. (Though of course there are a lot of people who don't like their siblings.)

    It's a tricky decision I think.

  2. This is a tough one. With Harps (or rather pre-Harps) I REALLY wanted a baby. Like, it was all I could think about and was so happy when cc was on board to try. (A whole 8 months after we got married ha.) I got so confused when peeps were like "I just can't decide" because again -- it was ALL I could think about.

    So this deciding on #2 thing is a much weirder experience. I know I want a second (I can't imagine life without my brother, even if he drives me nuts, and I just feel super strongly that siblings are a major, major gift in life), but it doesn't feel super natural to try? Like, I LOVE this age she's in. I love how much attention I can give her and how much fun we have out and about everyday. We're such a team. The idea of being sick (I had a bad pregnancy, too) and then being super sleep deprived and not being able to take her out to all our daily things all day? It seems super sad and weird.

    At this point, Harps and said sibling will be about 3 years apart and I think that's GREAT. I don't really understand the current trend to have kids so close together lately! Seems wacky. My bro and I are 4 years apart and always got along great, still do. Didn't defeat the purpose at all -- we have all our crazy family memories together and were total pals.

    Anywho -- I say don't rush it AT ALL, enjoy this phase because it's great, and revisit it in a year or so! xo

  3. I made it sound like current sibling exists? I just mean...if we start trying soon, and it happens fast again, they'll be 3ish get it. Ha.

  4. So, I'm already pretty much on Team No Kids for Me, but one thing that has occurred to me recently is that my parents really, really seem to enjoy having adult children. There isn't anything about raising children that appeals to me, but I'm worried that I'll wake up and be 60 and wish I'd had a couple.

    Which isn't really the same as what you're thinking through, but maybe one day you'll wake up and be 60 and wish you had TWO adult children. And then all the trouble it took to get there will just seem like part of the journey?

  5. I just stumbled across your blog today and am really enjoying reading your posts! I thought I would chime into this discussion with some insight from an only child.

    Firstly, my experience growing up is very much summed up in this post:

    But to address specific points from your post:

    I have an only child friend who said that Christmas mornings were totally sad because she had no one to play with her.

    We don't have any extended family where we live, but we have tended to team up with friends for holidays. These days it's tradition to spend Christmas afternoon and evening with my best friend from high school's family, even though she's moved away and often isn't down at the time. So there are ways to create family and traditions without needing siblings.

    That said, there's no denying that loneliness will be part of an upbringing as an only child. But on the other hand, my husband and his sister really didn't get along all that well until they were adults, and my husband remembers lonely times from his childhood as well, so I think that no matter what you do there will be hard times as well as good times in childhood.

    Being an aunt is one of the greatest joys of my life, would I really deprive him of that?

    I am an aunty to the daughter of my best friend (the same one whose family we spend Christmas with). She calls me Aunty Kissy and it is the most adorable thing ever. I also have other very close friends and I will be aunty to their children too. I believe that family is about more than blood relation, so I don't think not having siblings precludes you from being an aunty or uncle. Also, your son's spouse may have siblings with kids.

    Is having a second kid the greatest sacrifice of all for your child?

    I have no answer for that. It really depends on what is right for your family. Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing about my childhood, not the good or the bad. Another question that I would ask, though, is that if having another child is something you consider a sacrifice, is it really going to benefit your son or your hypothetical future child?

    If it really is something you feel isn't right for your family, then it may be fairer to settle in to being a one child family and making it as awesome an experience as you can for your son, than to bring another child into the world just because you think you should.

    Again, I definitely would never tell you what to do or what not to do, but I just thought I'd add my 2c :-)