Full disclosure: I have a brother. My husband has a brother. Basically everyone in my friend group has brothers, actually, now that I think about it. That’s… pretty weird, actually. Where the sisters at? Anyway, the point is, I don’t come with a lot of built-in experience about only children, other than presuming they’re automatically self-centered, awful people, and suspecting that most CEOs were once only children. And also psychopaths. That too. Are most psychopaths only children? I think, somewhere in the back of my brain, I sort of thought so? Not that I thought psychopathy was a guarantee if you didn’t reproduce more than once… just that it probably upped the odds.
OBVIOUSLY I’m a super thoughtful, fair-minded human being who really thinks through all my opinions.
So here’s the thing. I’ve gone and reproduced once, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. No, seriously, let me repeat that: THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE. I pretty much lost three years of my life, almost four if you count the pregnancy from hell. My brain is usually on delicate footing to begin with (though my old Roommate can tell some genuinely hilarious stories about the time I was tripping balls off brain meds in the grocery store), so for some reason enormous physical, psychological, and practical upheaval of everything I know to be true about myself was slightly troubling. Who’d have thought? They should really warn you about these things.
This is where I should admit that I actually said out loud that I was ready for my life to be completely uprooted and overhauled, that that was actually something I wanted.
Stupid, naive Past Me. When will you ever learn?
The point here is that the spawn is in school a few hours a week, and he’s capable of speaking in more or less complete sentences, even if I can’t always understand what they are. We’ve got a schedule and a support system and life kind of sort of a little bit worked out.
**KNOCKS ON ALL THE WOOD WITHIN ARM’S LENGTH**
But. But. The time is looming when we’ve got to decide if this is it. Is this the only little cretin we’re going to bring into this world? Which makes me sound like I want another, but I’m not sure that I do.
The child is the only child, only nephew, and only grandchild. He thinks he’s the center of the universe because, in all fairness, he basically is. He went trick or treating rolling five deep in his posse of adoring adults taking pictures of his every move. So yeah, I kind of see how some of my stereotypes about only children could come true. I mean, sure, I can say till the cows come home that we’ll try not to make him the center of existence, to make sure he knows he’s not the only person in the world, but let’s be clear about one thing: I am not capable of actually doing that. Having to share Mommy with a sibling would teach him that he’s only 50% of the galaxy, which, hey, at least that’s progress!
We already know how to handle a baby. Sort of. A little. Okay, we know nothing, but at least I probably wouldn’t cry and think s/he had a concussion after a minor head bonk? Maybe?
When we’re old, there would be two of them to deal with our ever-mounting list of unreasonable old people demands. I plan to be a completely obnoxious, eccentric old lady with an extensive hat collection.
I really like having a brother. I know not everyone does, but I was lucky, and I’ve got a rad little brother who I genuinely enjoy hanging out with. Being a Big Sister is an important part of my identity. I can’t think of anything sarcastic to say about this one.
I’m going to repeat my point from earlier, because it’s kind of the biggest one for me: Having a sibling might make you less of a dick. Or at least make it easier for me to raise less of a dick, which is basically the same thing.
Ummmm… I almost feel like they don’t need to be listed? I mean, come on! Babies are the worst!! I know, they smell good and can be pretty hilarious and cute, but they also need you 100% of the time, while literally draining you of life force via the boob, and generally refusing to contribute to society.
I’m a terrible mother, aren’t I?
Everyone I talk to says a second kid isn’t 2x the work, it’s 10x the work. And I can barely keep up with 1x the work as it is! Do you know the last time this place was vacuumed? Because I sure as hell don’t. I also really enjoy the fact that I can still sit down and have a cup of coffee and write terrible thoughts down on the internet for all the world to read. I think that tiny, minuscule sliver of freedom goes out the window with another person to keep alive.
How do people juggle two schedules? I don’t even understand how you can have a baby’s sleep schedule and a preschooler’s sleep schedule, at the same time. That makes no sense to me, and I’m pretty sure everyone who claims it “just works out” is lying.
Pregnancy sucks monkey balls, and I would literally rather train for a marathon than go through that again. If you knew how deeply I loathe running, you would understand.
Childcare, yo! Honestly, I think I could deal with all the stuff, if I knew that after the first year or so I could put the offspring in daycare at least part time, for all of our sakes, but have you SEEN the cost of childcare? We would be paying for two kids to be in school at once, and god dammit, I don’t even know how that’s mathematically an option for people.
Most importantly: what if the second kid isn’t as stunningly awesome as the first? What if s/he doesn’t want to curl up and read about dinosaurs and Norse myths for hours on end? I don’t even want to know what it’s like to parent without the Vikings to back me up.
So there we have it. A whole series of relatively irrational points, with little to no cohesion, and no system for balancing them out. Instead I think I’ll just go and obsessively lose sleep, thinking in circles about it without coming up with any new thoughts or conclusions.
That seems like the healthiest option right now.