One Is My Happy Number

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Rachel Powell

For my husband and me, there was never any question. We did not agonize over our decision or worry that we were doing the wrong thing. We were going to try for one child. If we were lucky enough to get that one, we would be done.

It wasn't because I was older, which I was (35). It wasn't because I have had polycystic ovary disease since I was 17 and had been told that my ovaries would probably be too scarred to work correctly if I tried to conceive, even though that was true, too. It was also true that my husband and I had been happily married without children for 16 years. Sure, money was part of it, too. We were financially secure enough for one child, but we hadn't been able to buy a house until we were in our thirties, and two kids would have put a huge strain on our finances. None of these were our big reasons to have only one child, although all of them of course played their part in our decision.

Our decision to have only one was simple: We only wanted one.

I only wanted to go through pregnancy once. I only wanted to go through the baby years, the teething, the potty training, and all of that other "fun stuff" once. I wanted to be able to focus completely on one child and give all that I could give to him or her.

So, at 35, we decided we would try to conceive.

Six months later we gave up. We didn't consult a fertility specialist. We just sort of threw up our hands and thought, oh well, we tried.

Two months later, I got pregnant. It felt like a miracle, but it also seemed too good to be true.

My pregnancy was nightmarish. I was sick the whole time and the end of my pregnancy involved daily monitoring. On my due date, my blood pressure spiked to 170/100 and I was sent directly to the hospital to be induced. I won't go into details, but my labor was nightmarish. Once again, clarity: "I will NEVER go through this again!"

My son turned out to be an incredibly difficult baby. My husband and I were so sleep deprived that first year that we both felt like we might die. My son had reflux, constant ear infections, two bouts of strep-induced impetigo (one that led to scarlet fever), and numerous other issues that prevented him from sleeping. The only time he was happy was when he nursed, so the entire first year all I did was nurse him. "NEVER again!" was our constant refrain.

I can honestly say that we are good parents. I can also honestly say we would not be good parents if we had more than one child. Our patience, resources and time are already worn thin. What this says about me, I'm not sure. Some seem to think parents like us are selfish. Or they think maybe we are incompetent. Or that we want to have our fancy house and two cars and a boat and a summer home and are too selfish to give any of that up to give our only child a sibling.

I can tell you that I enjoy being financially stable. My husband and I both need to work; not to have a lot of extras and luxuries, but to have a modest two-bedroom home in a good neighborhood with an excellent school system. We want the same things for our child that all parents want. We want our son to be happy, to have friends, to be generous and happy and to live a good life.

When people tell me what a "gift" a sibling is to another child, I have to laugh about the many people I know who don't like their siblings. There is only one perfectly good reason to have more than one child. That reason is that the parents want more than one, period. Nobody should have a second child out of a fear of being judged by a society that values quantity over quality. No child should be brought into this world as a playmate, helpmate, or companion for another child.

Our family is small. We like it that way. The gift I give my child every day is the best one any parent, whether you have one or 21 children, can give: all the love I have.

Rachel Powell is originally from the Los Angeles area. She and her husband moved to Minneapolis 12 years ago. She works full-time as a quality auditor for a nationwide health insurance provider. She is 41 and her son is 5.


By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 5, 2007; 6:45 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
Previous: Are You "Done?" | Next: Women in Black & White - Results Are In!


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Thank you for your thoughtful entry. I too have only one child and wonder if I really want another. Your words have given me much to think about. Thanks.

Posted by: NAC | June 5, 2007 7:19 AM

wow, what a great guest blog. I suspect, that if you had another child, your love, patience and endurance would expand and you would cope just fine, but there is NO reason to have another child if you don't want to.

Ignore the critics. If they didn't have your one child to comment on, they would find something else to complain about!!

Only children are not the exception any more. They seem to turn out just fine.

Posted by: experienced mom | June 5, 2007 7:23 AM

Yesterday continues... I thought one was enough for me and if we never got the second one, it certainly would have. I wasn't prepared to love DD as much as I did, so I'm eagerly anticipating what #2 is going to do to my heart. The time management and budget will follow.
To borrow from yesterday's thread, saw no reason to buy a maternity bathing suit. A bikini works just fine. Rock hard "abs" here and it gives the kids at the pool a thrill to know there's a baby in there and see it move. Big as I am, there are men, women and children who have bigger bellies. But none more glorious, according to Stroller Daddy.

Posted by: Stroller Momma | June 5, 2007 7:24 AM

You are most certainly, most definitely, NOT being selfish. To the contrary--you are being incredibly UNselfish by doing what you know is best for your family. You have recongnized your limitations/wants and know what will and will not make you the best mom you can be. You sound like a fantastic mom to me and I applaud and admire your decision and your confidence in sticking with it!

Posted by: RLS | June 5, 2007 7:25 AM

Good for you and your husband for knowing what you want and not caving into pressure!

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | June 5, 2007 7:25 AM

You aren't in this world to satisfy or make everyone else happy. You and your husband have chosen what lifestyle is best for you. I applaud your honesty - and common sense.

I have two brothers, who I'm close with and couldn't imagine life without them. My daughter, however, is an only child. Her father left when she was four, and we divorced the following year. I didn't remarry until my daughter in in her late twenties so a sibling was way way out of the question.

I know of only children who are spoiled and obnoxious. I also know many more "only" children who are content, well adjusted, and have good self-esteem.

Raising a child is not easy, as you're learning. Raising more than one - whew! It must be exhausting. We know it's costly.

Good luck to you. And congrats on making a choice as a couple and not listening to everyone around you.

Posted by: itsagreat day | June 5, 2007 7:26 AM

Wow, this must be baby week. I also have one child. Although my husband and I go back and forth on the decision, it looks like we will always be raising one child. I think there are a lot of benefits to having one child. Like you, we both work and at the end of the day, it is nice to focus on our one child and each other. DD was a horrible sleeper. In fact, she was just diagnosed with a sleep disorder. So things should improve. But 3 1/2 years of no sleep is really hard for any family. I can't imagine, if I had to do it again. I also don't have a problem with the financial stability part. Some people criticize parents of only children because we want financial stability. What is wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with wanting a modest home, to pay your bills, and save for college and retirement. Good for you for listening to your heart and deciding what is right for your family.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 7:37 AM

Thank you so much for your thoughtful post. We are also only having one child, and I was just told yesterday I was depriving of my two year old son of the greatest gift I could give him, a sibling. What a crock! Just b/c they are siblings doe not mean they will get a long. Only having one child is perfectly reasonable, and some people can't have any more children. I'm so sick of the only child negtive perception.

Posted by: jodi | June 5, 2007 7:39 AM

Good for you. I have no idea why people worry so much about what others might think when it comes to extremely important personal decisions. The working mothers vs. stay at home mothers debate being my least favorite media plaything. Do you know how few people even have that CHOICE? I have one daughter and thought about having another child (since my pregnancy and her early years were relatively easy). But my husband slipped into alcoholism and I made the difficult choice to divorce him. The last few years have been difficult financially with one child, 2 would have meant living in poverty. He then passed away, leaving me truly single with a mourning 12 year old. We are a strong team and will survive. But I'm not sure I could have been as good a mom, or "single" mom, to two. You just have to decide for yourself, as best you can, without polling your neighbors, friends and coworkers for their opinions on your life.

Posted by: Lee | June 5, 2007 7:39 AM

Good for you. I have no idea why people worry so much about what others might think when it comes to extremely important personal decisions. The working mothers vs. stay at home mothers debate being my least favorite media plaything. Do you know how few people even have that CHOICE? I have one daughter and thought about having another child (since my pregnancy and her early years were relatively easy). But my husband slipped into alcoholism and I made the difficult choice to divorce him. The last few years have been difficult financially with one child, 2 would have meant living in poverty. He then passed away, leaving me truly single with a mourning 12 year old. We are a strong team and will survive. But I'm not sure I could have been as good a mom, or "single" mom, to two. You just have to decide for yourself, as best you can, without polling your neighbors, friends and coworkers for their opinions on your life.

Posted by: Lee | June 5, 2007 7:40 AM

I completely understand this - Please don't listen to critics.

The only thing that a child truly needs is loving parents.

Posted by: have two, and hoping for a third | June 5, 2007 7:52 AM

Good for you! My husband is an only child and he is a wonderful person. I know people who have several siblings who are the most paranoid, selfish people in the world. I see pregnant women dragging around three, four, five kids, like a set of steps, ready to keel over and I think of the woman in Houston who drowned her five kids. Those folks who call themselves "pro-life" work for Satan because they not only are not thinking about their wives, daughters, sisters, nieces, etc. they are against contraceptives and reproductive health for women. Moreover, taxpayers are paying for the unwed mothers, including those public schools, because of their stance on abstinence only. The Devil!

Posted by: Mimi | June 5, 2007 7:54 AM

Hear, hear!

*Standing Ovation for the Poster.*

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 7:58 AM

Great guest blog and a lot of food for thought. :)

Posted by: Shandra | June 5, 2007 8:08 AM

Your reasons for only having one are my reasons for having none. Thank you for your insightful entry and thank you for deciding how many children you could happily parent. If only everyone made that calculated decision, we would have far fewer unloved children in the world!

Posted by: Heather | June 5, 2007 8:14 AM

And I was "punished" for not having a THIRD child....... one was exhausting.. two were more exhausting... why was it fair to me or the kids to have a third if I couldn't stay home from work and raise that child - in a non - poverty situation.... Or for their dad to help me out more with the kids.... I tried to be responsible and was punished. My husband left for a younger woman and had that third child... I hope they have two or three more - Let them experience all the work children are and the strain on your marriage. But I'm sure the new younger wife is a much better person than I and it will all work out good.

Have the number of kids you can take care of comfortably. There is no rule book.

Posted by: C.W. | June 5, 2007 8:14 AM

Seriously, ANOTHER blog entry about the number of kids you choose to have? You know, there's a parenting blog, too. Maybe it's hard to get someone without kids to post here, after the attacks launched on the last one, but parents aren't the only ones with balance issues.

Posted by: Only Parents Need Balance? | June 5, 2007 8:17 AM

Just so you know, your child will have the exclusive responsibility of caring for you and your husband when you are old and failing. That's a lot to do on your own. Additionally, since you were older when you had him he will likely be in the early years of his family and career on the rise when you begin to fail.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:18 AM

My wife was an only child who was adopted after her parents could not conceive naturally, and she said initially that if we had children, she would want two so they would not be lonely as she was growing up.

That was over 20 years ago. Now that we've (finally) decided to start a family, we're thinking that one child will be just fine...

Posted by: John L | June 5, 2007 8:24 AM

"Just so you know, your child will have the exclusive responsibility of caring for you and your husband when you are old and failing. That's a lot to do on your own. Additionally, since you were older when you had him he will likely be in the early years of his family and career on the rise when you begin to fail."

------------------------------------------

Unless, of course, the kid doesn't want to. Kids aren't some legal guarantee of a caretaker in old age. They may not want to do so. They may not be able to do so.

Trying to ensure that someone is there to wipe the drool off your chin is a stupid reason to have kids, or to have more than one kid.

Posted by: PA mom | June 5, 2007 8:24 AM

8:18, because they're only having one child, they can save more money for retirement and end-of-life costs. Which is a bigger burden: Having one child and being able to pay for your own care or having 6 kids and no savings so your kids are forced to pay for your care?

Posted by: Meesh | June 5, 2007 8:24 AM

"Just so you know, your child will have the exclusive responsibility of caring for you and your husband when you are old and failing."

I SO knew this comment was coming. And just so YOU know, anon poster, having siblings in that situation means absolutely nothing. I don't know why people assume (other than blatant stupidity) that more kids means more people to take care of you when you're old. Please. It just means more siblings to try to 'pass the buck to.'

Besides, the poster sounds like one smart cookie. I'm going to go ahead and assume her and her husband have already thought about 'when they get old' and have their financial needs in order so that their child won't have to bear the whole brunt of it.

Posted by: ilc | June 5, 2007 8:26 AM

Also, know that when your child marries, if it is to a person with a larger family, your child and any grandchildren will likely end up spending a lot more time with the in-laws and lots less time with your side. There will be more birthdays and occasions to celebrate with more siblings, more cousins for your grandchildren on the other side, etc. Your child will be very alone in the world when he is an adult. And left to care for both of you when you are old all alone on top of it. If you're lucky.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:27 AM

"Just so you know, your child will have the exclusive responsibility of caring for you and your husband when you are old and failing. That's a lot to do on your own. Additionally, since you were older when you had him he will likely be in the early years of his family and career on the rise when you begin to fail."

And if they'd had their child when they were first married, he would likely be starting to get elderly himself by the time his parents were beginning to fail. I've seen many obituaries for folks in their 70s who were survived by a parent -- even one for an 81-year-old woman who was survived by her 104-year-old mother!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:28 AM

8:18, because they're only having one child, they can save more money for retirement and end-of-life costs. Which is a bigger burden: Having one child and being able to pay for your own care or having 6 kids and no savings so your kids are forced to pay for your care?

I'd rather rely on someone related to me to care for me than on some facility employee who makes $10 an hour or at least have people who love me around me so that they can ensure that the facility is providing the proper kind of care. I'm not trying to be snarky, just wanted to point out the other side of the coin.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:29 AM

These anonymous posts are really full of it, IMO. You do not have children to "take care of you" once you're old; there's no guarantee that even if you had four or five kids that ANY of them would "take care of you".

Kids aren't some kind of retirement plan; in fact, they're probably the anti-retirement plan, at least on my part. When we do have a child I can see myself working right up to my 60's to pay for her!

Posted by: John L | June 5, 2007 8:31 AM

We have also chosen to have only one child for the same reasons, our age, our finances and our personalities. More than one is more than we can handle. I had an ideal pregnancy, a tubal with my delivery, a healthy baby who also nursed for just over a year and my mantra has always been, enjoy this one chance and we are. We have a happy child in part, because we are happy parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:31 AM

"Just so you know, your child will have the exclusive responsibility of caring for you and your husband when you are old and failing"

Yes, and since most of you claim to be raising future doctors, Nobel Prize winners, and the shapers of World Peace, your kids will be too busy and important to change your diapers in the old folks' home.

Are you raising your kids to be your personal nursing home attendants?

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 8:31 AM

Its not just about the financial burden which is apparently all the people here think about, but the emotional burden. Who is going to sit with mom in the evenings, who will take dad to his rehab appointment. There is a lot more than money involved in caring for an ailing parent and some things that you just can't or shouldn't just pay someone else to do.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:32 AM

Also, know that when your child marries, if it is to a person with a larger family, your child and any grandchildren will likely end up spending a lot more time with the in-laws and lots less time with your side. There will be more birthdays and occasions to celebrate with more siblings, more cousins for your grandchildren on the other side, etc.

Or maybe they'll consider you part of their family and invite you to their celebrations!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:33 AM

Are you raising your kids to be your personal nursing home attendants?

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 08:31 AM

Usually it's mainly the daughters and daughters-in-law.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:35 AM

Kids aren't some kind of retirement plan; in fact, they're probably the anti-retirement plan, at least on my part. When we do have a child I can see myself working right up to my 60's to pay for her!

OOOh, working up to your 60's what a sacrifice. In my family we have always taken care of those who have gone before us. I don't know what kind of family you come from. It is not a retirement plan, it is what you do when you love people.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:36 AM

Seriously, ANOTHER blog entry about the number of kids you choose to have? You know, there's a parenting blog, too. Maybe it's hard to get someone without kids to post here, after the attacks launched on the last one, but parents aren't the only ones with balance issues.

We have been over this before. Leslie wrote a book called the mommy wars and this blog is about working mothers. We love our non-parents here, but this blog will never just be about non-parent balance.

Posted by: please | June 5, 2007 8:38 AM

"Its not just about the financial burden which is apparently all the people here think about, but the emotional burden. Who is going to sit with mom in the evenings, who will take dad to his rehab appointment. There is a lot more than money involved in caring for an ailing parent and some things that you just can't or shouldn't just pay someone else to do."

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 08:32 AM

Well, thank god you're here. Clearly today's poster is incapable of long-term thinking and hadn't considered anything of the sort. Nor would she and her husband pay the slightest heed to the difficulties she had with pregnancy one, and the advice she was probably given not to chance it again.

But we have you, anonymous poster, to point out the deficiencies inherent in making a personal decision, one that the parents feel capable of handling; but no, they're wrong. In fact, we have you to tell her she should have had children when she was younger and neither of them were emotionally OR financially ready to raise a child!

Rachel, hurry it up and crank out another one! If it kills you in the process, well, at least your husband will have a guarantee of two children to care for him in his old age. We all know that nothing bad happens to anybody who has two or more children.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 8:40 AM

There's a crazy thread about this topic going on on the DC Urban Moms message board. Someone inquired about what to do when people ask when they are having a second child (and don't plan to). I am amazed at the self-righteousness and vitriol this topic brings. Why can't people mind their own business?

Posted by: CC | June 5, 2007 8:41 AM

Maryland Mother - let's call this the affirmation blog then where people will say what they are doing and we will all say how good and smart it is! If there is no debate or discussion of the issue at hand, what is the point.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:42 AM

OOOh, working up to your 60's what a sacrifice.

Well, some people are unlucky enough to be experiencing poor health by that age, even through no fault of their own. Some have jobs involving back-breaking labor. Others are just plain worn-out or burned-out by then. Still others are in fields where retirement is a bona fide work requirement, like police, firefighters and pilots.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:42 AM

Yeah, having kids just to create a blood related home health care worker is pretty lame.

You have kids so that you can love them and have them pass that love on to the others around them. The author is not selfish at all. There are alot of people who have children for the wrong reasons (i.e. as natural born insurance when infirm?? c'mon!) and who don't know themselves well enough to know what they are capable of providing for a child. Thank goodness there are people out there that procreate with care instead of with reckless abandon.

I come from a large family (grandmother had 12 children) and yes, the siblings did take care of my grandmother, but the only ones willing to do it were her 2 "favorites". She provided the bare necessities b/c there were so many of them, but she loved babies alot. Once they got older and not so cute, not so much then. So there were alot of unloved children and unhappiness when they were growing up.

Posted by: tlawrenceva | June 5, 2007 8:43 AM

"Leslie wrote a book called the mommy wars and this blog is about working mothers"

It started that way, but has long since expanded over the last 15 months.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:43 AM

This is a question for all the single child only or I'll be damned to unsufferable agony for the rest of my miserable life type of people.

What if you found yourself pregnant with twins?

Abort, give one up for adoption, or simply commit suicide after your sonagram detects 2 heartbeats?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:45 AM

We all know that nothing bad happens to anybody who has two or more children.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 08:40 AM

Except that lots of people ask them when they're going to have a third child. Especially if both children are of the same gender.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:45 AM

What if you found yourself pregnant with twins?

We're talking about a single PREGNANCY here, not strictly one child. It's just that most births are singles.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:47 AM

All this talk of having kids to help you when you are old just cracks me up. Seriously, that is just the dumbest reason to have children. In the span of the 30 years or so between when you give birth to the babies and when you need them to take care of you in old age, don't you think that about a million or so things could happen to prevent them from actually taking care of you? They could die a premature death. They could end up hating you. They could become incapaciated from an accident and need taking care of themselves. They could become drug addicts or alcoholics and be incapable of taking care of you. They could just become crappy people and not want to take care of you. They could move across the country and not be there to take care of you. The list is endless. Seems like a really faulty retirement plan to me. I think I'd rather rely on my 401(k) investments and long-term health insurance!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:48 AM

Anon poster - Just so YOU know, siblings are no guarantee of help when a parent's health, whether mental, physical, or both - goes south. I have four younger siblings, and only one of them is responsible (but lives far away). Having more children just to take care of you when you're old is no guarantee that they will, or that they will be capable of doing so, especially financially. We plan to have only one child, in part because of the financial burden placed on us caring for failing parents who did not save for retirement. Don't think about your kids caring for you later in life, just please save for those eventualities and look into long term care insurance. Living through this now, I know I will NEVER place that burden on any child of mine.

Posted by: Sandwich Generation | June 5, 2007 8:48 AM

Oh, please, Please. I didn't suggest it should be ALL about non-parent balance, just that it shouldn't be all about parent balance. And frankly, this entry and the previous one on the same darn topic have very little to do with work-life balance or working mothers.

Posted by: Only Parents Need Balance? | June 5, 2007 8:49 AM

1) Having multiple children does not guarantee care in your old age. I look at my parents and my grandparents. My grandfather had 3 daughters. And his second wife had 4 daughters. None of the adult children were needed (financially or physically) to take care of them. My step grandmother out lived my grandfather by 10 years. She took care of him and he was only very sick for one month before he died. My grandmother has great health care and long term elder care. She went into an assisted living facility at 90 years of age and died 2 years later. All 7 daughters visited as much as possible but none of them were needed for daily care. Being financially solvent helped them. Plus having the good luck of living long and healthy lives and short illnesses. As far as my parents go, my father married a younger women after the divorce. She most likely will out live my father and will take care of him, if necessary. My mother lives next door to my mother. My mother survived my step father. She took care of him for the two years that he was ill. My middle brother and his wife will take care of my mother. In return, for the work needed to take care of my mother, my brother and his family will get her house (completely paid for). BTW, my brother and his wife wanted to take care of my mother. My mother always had the option of moving to my home or my older brother's house but my mother did not want to move to where we live. So even though my parents had three children, only one of them will care for my mother in her old age. Both of my parents have enough money to support themselves in their old age. If they did not, we would chip in the money necessary to take care of our mother.
2)I don't know what kind of families that you are married into but my in laws and my brothers in laws would invite the parents of their in laws to celebrations. Also it isn't about the number of visits that you make as much as the time spent with your extended family. Even though you may go to more birthdays or celebrations with your in laws doesn't mean that a monthly dinner with your side of the family won't be just as meaningful. Besides if your not wasting half your weekends on celebrations, you might get to enjoy doing regular things with your other side of the family. Not to mention, your kids could move far away from you anyway. So you may not see them all the time, regardless of the size of the family of the inlaws.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 8:49 AM

I'm not talking about having children to take care of you, but if you do a decent job it is highly likely that they will want to take care of you and if you only have one child they will be forced to do that job by themselves. Of course all kinds of things could happen, but if you have one that ends up loving you, you guarantee they will have to do it on their own.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:50 AM

Love this guest blog. I started out thinking I'd have a big family but things changed. I have two and that works for us. I completely agree that you do not have another child to give the other one the "gift" of a sibling. You do it because you as the mom/dad want it. It sounds like you have great balance and are comfortable with your decision - good for you!

And, to the poster who wrote about how her one child will be saddled with her elder care - PLEASE! My parents are in the position of dealing with that for their parents now and the sibling cooperation is not happening. The best gift you can give your kids is socking money away in your 401K and getting long-term care insurance.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | June 5, 2007 8:50 AM

It's your choice to have one child, of course, and you should feel good about your decision. However, I am the youngest of three boys, and can't imagine how different growing up would have been without my brothers. We helped each other grow up, and they got me through alot of tight spots (and vice versa).

Not everything is about finances. There can be an incrediblre amount of love in a larger family.

Posted by: philly | June 5, 2007 8:51 AM

"There is a lot more than money involved in caring for an ailing parent and some things that you just can't or shouldn't just pay someone else to do."

"It is not a retirement plan, it is what you do when you love people."

Well, then why would the only child have a problem with it? I shouldn't want anyone else to care for my parents (regardless of health needs, apparently) because it's what I do when I love them.

So what does it matter if there's only one kid? He or she should be thrilled to do it!

You're contradicting yourself.

Posted by: Meesh | June 5, 2007 8:51 AM

I meant to say my mother lives next door to my brother.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 8:51 AM

My mother lives next door to my mother.

WTF?

Posted by: Huh? | June 5, 2007 8:53 AM

I am not contradicting myself Meesh, what I am saying is that if you are the only one who can sit with mom or dad then you will likely do it all the time to the detriment of your health and family life. If you split that with another child who also loves them, then maybe you can get some rest. You are a very very simple woman who just loves to fight. No wonder you don't count on someone else to care for you. Who would?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:54 AM

I was with you until that second to last paragraph where you seem to criticize those who do choose to have more than one. Then you seem defensive.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 5, 2007 8:54 AM

Not everything is about finances. There can be an incrediblre amount of love in a larger family.

Posted by: philly | June 5, 2007 08:51 AM

But it doesn't pay the nursing home bills, unless you can live with the idea of mom or dad in a crappy one, or them staying at your house after they're too ill for you to be able to care for them properly.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:58 AM

meant to say my mother lives next door to my brother.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 08:51 AM

My mother lives next door to my mother.

WTF?
Huh? I corrected myself right before your post.
Posted by: Huh? | June 5, 2007 08:53 AM

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 8:58 AM

"You are a very very simple woman who just loves to fight. No wonder you don't count on someone else to care for you. Who would?"

LOL! Wow, you've got me pegged. Yup, I'm the only one disagreeing with you. Well, it's clear that you've won this arguement through your stellar reasoning and logic. Congrats on not being able to have an intelligent conversation.

Posted by: Meesh | June 5, 2007 8:58 AM

I'm not talking about having children to take care of you, but if you do a decent job it is highly likely that they will want to take care of you and if you only have one child they will be forced to do that job by themselves. Of course all kinds of things could happen, but if you have one that ends up loving you, you guarantee they will have to do it on their own.


Posted by: | June 5, 2007 08:50 AM

Just so you know, your child will have the exclusive responsibility of caring for you and your husband when you are old and failing. That's a lot to do on your own. Additionally, since you were older when you had him he will likely be in the early years of his family and career on the rise when you begin to fail.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 08:18 AM

Yes, you are saying to have children as some sort of default insurance policy.

Here's a thought. Plan on getting older, even very old, and doing something to have a degree of financial security. In other words, be responsible for yourself.

There is no guarantee that any child will survive and thrive.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:00 AM

Well, here's one question my husband and I have been batting about a bit lately -- As children, we were both encouraged to be independent in the sense of going to college far away, pursuing career and job interests in other cities and so forth. None of my siblings lives within 1000 miles of my parents. (In my case, I grew up in a very small town and moving 'home' after college would have left with me very few career prospects.)

But lately my husband and I have been talking about how much we still want to be part of our children's lives as adults -- we wouldn't mind helping with grandchildren, seeing relatives on weekends and so forth. I suppose the problem is how you encourage a close family without being clingy and needy? IN other words, I don't want my kids to feel like they can't pursue any career because they have to spend their whole lives living close to their parents.

But i DO selfishly hope that maybe one of my three kids will still live near us when they're older. I think I'd have a really hard time with this as the parent of an only child -- what if that child wanted to join the foreign service or the air force or move to Africa to do research on immunology? It would be hard not to cling -- as least for me.

Also, it would be hard NOT to have some expectations of that one child. For example, what if you only child never married? I'd probably one of those annoying people who started pressuring for grandchildren. What if your one child doesn't want to go to college? Would that make you sad? Or do you just assume that with only one you have more control over the outcome? Just wondering?

Posted by: Armchair MOm | June 5, 2007 9:00 AM

"I wanted to be able to focus completely on one child and give all that I could give to him or her."

I can't think of a better strategy to raise an entitle kid. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 9:01 AM

The end of life care arguments are absurd. I am sure we can all think of numerous cases where people with siblings were the sole caretakers for aging relatives. My own parents who each had a sibling ended up caring for their parents without sibling support. My father's brother tragically died before either parent and my mother's sister chose not to participate. And my parents coped. Often my mother stated not having to come to a family consensus on all decisions was great for her. Clearly, my father was sad not to have his brother to help but because he misses his brother not becuase he wanted help. End of life care can be long and hard and drives wedges between lots of siblings. Perhaps, it will be less stressful for these singleton kids to care for their parents.

Posted by: Raising One of Each | June 5, 2007 9:01 AM

Huh? I corrected myself right before your post.

So you did! Our posts crossed in the email.

Posted by: To foamgnome | June 5, 2007 9:01 AM

Not everything is about finances. There can be an incrediblre amount of love in a larger family.

Posted by: philly | June 5, 2007 08:51 AM
I don't think anyone is doubting there may be a lot of love in larger families. I am sure there are in most larger families. But if it is not what they want, then that is all that matters. Also there are some large families where there is not a lot of love. One of my close friends who is one of 10 children said it sucked. She said there was never enough time, attention or money. Her parents wanted a lot of kids but they did not seem to want to take care of them. Her dad left her mother with 10 kids to support by herself and never paid a dime of child support. So yes, most large families are probably really great families. But not all large families are good ones. I am sure there are good and bad families of all different sizes.
To the poster who asked about twins. I think this is sort of silly. I doubt most people who want only one child would abort or give a child up for adoption just because their original dream was to have one child. I know lots of people who had gender preference. When they had a child of a different gender, they did not give the child up for adoption. You learn to adjust. Most naturally conceived pregnancies are single births. It is not a huge risk to assume you can choose to have one child.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 9:03 AM

The poster who pointed out that the only child will be alone in the world as an adult is right. I'm an only child, didn't have to take care of my parents as they aged (one died prematurely), and have always hated being alone. I had two children & wish I'd had more--not so that they can take care of me when I'm old but because family love is a special love to be cherished. The best part of my life has been having family dinners, taking family trips, and so on. We are there for each other, and I don't want my kids ever to feel the sort of aloneness I have felt for much of my life. I know other only children feel differently, so this is not a criticism of the guest writer's decision, but given the tone of the posts so far, my voice needs to be heard also.

Posted by: Arlington | June 5, 2007 9:05 AM

Armchair Mom --

I'm an only child, and my mom especially fits most of what you described. I moved back to the area after college. She and Dad had the good sense to move soon after because she "couldn't move away once there were grandchildren." She can only be so overbearing and overinvolved 5 hours away, so we all (including her and my wife) get along great. Sure, I don't get the frequent free babysitting from a grandparent, but we these relationships are balanced and healthy!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 5, 2007 9:06 AM

I was with you until that second to last paragraph where you seem to criticize those who do choose to have more than one. Then you seem defensive.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 5, 2007 08:54 AM

Completely agree, seems a bit judgemental. The "I have to laugh...." comment was unnecessary.

Also, is Rachel Powell the only mother that has ever had a difficult baby? Believe me, there are parents that have had it much worse with their first child and gone on to have more children, less money but a happy family.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:07 AM

What's with all the anonymous posters today? It just seems worse than usual...

Posted by: ilc | June 5, 2007 9:08 AM

Arlington -- I'm an only child too, and I completely agree with what you said. It was -- and to some degree still is -- lonely for me as an only child. It makes me so happy to hear my older two chatting and playing together in the morning before we all get up.

Maybe we'll bump into each other on the Arlington playground sometime!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 5, 2007 9:10 AM

What's with all the anonymous posters today? It just seems worse than usual. It also makes it harder to interpret (or distinguish) who's responding to whom or to what.

As a sidenote related to that, why is it Washingtonpost.com can't attached poster's ID (like when we were allowed to comment on stories before, apparently, the comments got too ugly)?

Posted by: ilc | June 5, 2007 9:10 AM

Arlington

"I don't want my kids ever to feel the sort of aloneness I have felt for much of my life"

There MILLIONS of people from large families who are desperately lonely. A large family guarantees nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:10 AM

Also, is Rachel Powell the only mother that has ever had a difficult baby? Believe me, there are parents that have had it much worse with their first child and gone on to have more children, less money but a happy family.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 09:07 AM

For crying out loud, stop trying to force more children out of her womb, or anyone else's. If you want them, have them. But your arguments in favor of more children in someone else's life and household are not persuasive.

Unless you are giving away huge amounts of legal tender. Are you?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:13 AM

I too respect the author's decision and her honesty. I will say that I did not enjoy being an only child and have always wished for siblings. We have one now and want at least one more. To me, based on my childhood, it's important that my son realize the world does not revolve around him and he learns how to share and live with other people. I also want lots of laughter and activity in my house, which I didn't have growing up. These are all things I have struggled with. Doesn't mean that yours will, but should be thought about...

Posted by: JDS | June 5, 2007 9:13 AM

Armchair Mom:

I think you and my parents are of the same mind. They raised all of us to be independent and to go for what we want, but long for all of us to move back home. Even though they wish for it though, there has never been any overt pressure. Three of us either stayed of have moved back and there's been talk of the other three doing the same. The lack of pressure, closeness we grew up with and the fact we all grew up not knowing any of our cousins if definitely an influence. It also helps that cost of living is about half in the Midwest vs. DC and Boston.

I think if you're honest with your kids and don't exert alot of pressure on them, you could get your wish.

Posted by: fed worker | June 5, 2007 9:14 AM

But i DO selfishly hope that maybe one of my three kids will still live near us when they're older. I think I'd have a really hard time with this as the parent of an only child -- what if that child wanted to join the foreign service or the air force or move to Africa to do research on immunology? It would be hard not to cling -- as least for me.

Also, it would be hard NOT to have some expectations of that one child. For example, what if you only child never married? I'd probably one of those annoying people who started pressuring for grandchildren. What if your one child doesn't want to go to college? Would that make you sad? Or do you just assume that with only one you have more control over the outcome? Just wondering?

Posted by: Armchair MOm | June 5, 2007 09:00 AM

To answer your questions.
1) Even if I had more then one child, I would hope my adult children would live out their own dreams and expectations of their own family. If any of my children wanted to travel abroad or live in a different country, I would support their decision. That is their live. Although I would miss them terribly, I don't want to hold them back from their dreams. I would use my money and vacation time, to go visit them.
2) As far as college, I don't think having multiple children will guarantee that any one of them will go to college. My daughter may not be capable of going to college. Although this makes me a sad and worried for her, I don't think having another child who goes to college will elevate how I feel about my daughter's life prospects. Having one child gives us the financial freedom to help set my daughter up if she is uncapable of going to college. If she can't go to college, we will provide her with some sort of technical school as well as a down payment on a house. I don't know if I could do that for three or more kids. We could probably do that for two but not three or more.
3) Grandchildren. That is a tough one. But having multiple kids do not guarantee that either. I know several families of two or more kids and none of them had children of their own. Either infertility or the desire not to parent has prevented grand children. Plus I have 5 nieces and nephews. My statistical guess is that at least one will provide a future relative. I would just love and spoil their children. I would not want to pressure my daughter into providing us with a grand child but I do think I would love being a grand mother one day.
4) you don't have more control over the outcome of your children. They become the people they were meant to be and want to be. But you may have more money and time to aid in different ways.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 9:14 AM

Armchair Mom:

I think you and my parents are of the same mind. They raised all of us to be independent and to go for what we want, but long for all of us to move back home. Even though they wish for it though, there has never been any overt pressure. Three of us either stayed of have moved back and there's been talk of the other three doing the same. The lack of pressure, closeness we grew up with and the fact we all grew up not knowing any of our cousins is definitely an influence. It also helps that cost of living is about half in the Midwest vs. DC and Boston.

I think if you're honest with your kids and don't exert alot of pressure on them, you could get your wish.

Posted by: fed worker | June 5, 2007 9:14 AM

Also, is Rachel Powell the only mother that has ever had a difficult baby?

She also had a difficult pregnancy which threatened at minimum her health. Another pregnancy could easily have threatened her life. Then her kid would've run the risk of not having a mother.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:14 AM

I was cringing when I saw this blog. We have one child, and after reading Rachel's guest blog I paused for a second and thought, "should I open this up and read the replies, or not." And through the first big batch of posts, I was glad I did. It reaffirmed our families choice to have an only...and we're very happy with our family of 3.

To the person further down who was saying that we'll be old and lonely because our child will be with his spouse's family, I don't think that's necessarily true.

My brother married an only child. We always include her parents in all of our family celebrations. So, I don't think her parents are upset that my brother has a sib, and she doesn't. We're just all one big happy family!

Posted by: kattoo | June 5, 2007 9:16 AM

I know a couple who stopped at one child for much the same reason as Rachel Powell. It was a 36-hour labor and a difficult delivery and the mother decided, "Never Again!"

Their daughter has turned out to be a real sweetheart, a good soul with a Ph.D and prospects of soon getting married herself. Then she and her husband will get to decide how many children to have.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 5, 2007 9:16 AM

My brother married an only child. We always include her parents in all of our family celebrations. So, I don't think her parents are upset that my brother has a sib, and she doesn't. We're just all one big happy family!

Posted by: kattoo | June 5, 2007 09:16 AM

Good point. Assuming everyone's a reasonably nice person (OK, so that's a leap for some folks), what sort of family would exclude their inlaws?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:20 AM

We all know that nothing bad happens to anybody who has two or more children.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 08:40 AM

Except that lots of people ask them when they're going to have a third child. Especially if both children are of the same gender.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 08:45 AM

I was being facetious.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 9:20 AM

"What's with all the anonymous posters today? It just seems worse than usual. It also makes it harder to interpret (or distinguish) who's responding to whom or to what."

What's with your hangup about anonymous posters?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:22 AM

"My husband and I were so sleep deprived that first year that we both felt like we might die."

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 9:22 AM

Armchair Mom, i understand what you are saying, but i plan to be the "Stalker Grandma" that moves to wherever her grandchildren live. Africa, foreign service-- none of these would keep Stalker Grandma from being with her beloved family! If I have several sets of grandchildren (G-d willing) I will move around the world to be with them. OF course, I would only do this with the approval of my children-- if they want to live near me, that would be even better, but I really want my children to fulfill THEIR dreams (where ever they take them) but I also want to be close to them-- and this plan seems the best way to resolve it.

This is all way down the road though!

As for college-- I really don't care. I just want my children to contribute to society as their abilities allow and TO BE HAPPY!

Marriage-- I confess that the only thing I wish for when I blow out my birthday candles is that my child(ren) find good spouses. I figure you can handle anything life throws out you as long as you have a strong partner at your side, but if you have a bad marriage, nothing can fix it.

PS--I'm sure gay marriage will be legally recognized by the time they are of age. So I don't fear homosexuality in my children-- Mary Cheney is proof that you don't need to be hetero to be a parent.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 9:24 AM

Don't assume that in-laws come with intact marriages, which makes including them in family celebrations much simpler. When parents with only children divorce and remarry, they will be much less likely to spend time with their children as one family, leaving the only child with a particularly fragmented set of issues to deal with.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:24 AM

"My husband and I were so sleep deprived that first year that we both felt like we might die."

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 09:22 AM
No, my daughter was just diagnosed with a sleep disorder. For years (3 ), we listened to veteran parents telling us that this was normal. All parents are sleep deprieved. Sometimes, there is a real problem and people try to make it out like your some kind of wimp. Her son may have had a serious sleep disorder. It may be a medical condition that needs to be addressed.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 9:24 AM

"My husband and I were so sleep deprived that first year that we both felt like we might die."

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?

+ + +

Isn't sleep deprivation one of those things that the longer ago it was, the less you remember how awful it was?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 5, 2007 9:25 AM

I was being facetious.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 09:20 AM

Me, too. My only point was that self-appointed experts hassle folks of child-bearing age no matter what they decide.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:25 AM

Don't assume that in-laws come with intact marriages, which makes including them in family celebrations much simpler. When parents with only children divorce and remarry, they will be much less likely to spend time with their children as one family, leaving the only child with a particularly fragmented set of issues to deal with.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 09:24 AM
From my experience with my husband, divorce actually increases the visits. Because we end up visiting both of his parents equally. I think divorce, in general, has a way of fragmenting families, regardless of how many children are involved.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 9:27 AM

Don't assume that in-laws come with intact marriages, which makes including them in family celebrations much simpler. When parents with only children divorce and remarry, they will be much less likely to spend time with their children as one family, leaving the only child with a particularly fragmented set of issues to deal with.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 09:24 AM

It's not any better when there are multiple children.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:28 AM

While my wife said she would have liked another sibling while she was growing up, that was mainly because her parents were so paranoid about anything happening to her. She always felt if there had been another child that she would have had someone to talk to and share experiences with, instead of being told what to do/think by her mom.

My wife was smart enough and strong enough to break free of this kind of controlling influence, and eventually her mom began treating her as an adult and not as a dressup doll to show off to everyone, but it took many years of separation to accomplish this.

Posted by: John L | June 5, 2007 9:29 AM

Also, is Rachel Powell the only mother that has ever had a difficult baby?

She also had a difficult pregnancy which threatened at minimum her health. Another pregnancy could easily have threatened her life. Then her kid would've run the risk of not having a mother.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 09:14 AM

How do you know there was a threat to her life with another pregnancy? There were not many details. I know plenty of women that had difficult, even life threatening pregnancies, and gone on to have more children.

Rachel elaborated on the lack of sleep and sickly baby not the "threat to her life." I can sympathize, I didn't sleep for years either. Our first was a preemie that had problems in infancy and it was very hard. My second pregnancy was life threatening and was planned, we made that decision. I just don't mock people that make the decision not to have another child, like Rachel did, with those that made the opposite decision. Again, the "I have to laugh" comment was snotty, it served no purpose but to make herself feel better.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:30 AM

Why on earth would it bother someone if a person only has one child? That seems bizarre. Not being given "the greatest gift" of a sibling is hardly abuse. Big families aren't for everyone. Same goes for couples who choose not to have kids. How does this cause society to breakdown, exactly? My sister does not have kids and won't be having any, and she's an awesome aunt. She loves it that way. It's what I imagine being a grandpartent is like: all the fun and none (or very little )of the work.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 9:32 AM

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 09:22 AM


Our family is small. We like it that way. The gift I give my child every day is the best one any parent, whether you have one or 21 children, can give: all the love I have.

Based upon Rachel's writing, no. She sounds as though she is being honest and open. Being a parent isn't a stroll in the park. Not only is it not easy, sometimes it is horribly hard.

I almost broke my hand one day punching a plexiglass window rather than my very difficult younger child, who had decided to give me 3 hours of unrelenting crap and topped it off with kicking me in the shin and announcing that life would be better if I were dead. This child is not a teenager, we're years away from that. (And yes, you may rest assured I am on top of the issues [therapy is our hobby when it's not a job].)

This was in response to being told that there was no way in the world I was going to BRIBE the child to do school homework. You EARN rewards for DOING homework. You should bear witness to the Kumon wars.

I'm no martyr, but I am not going to sing the praises of parenthood either. It's a crap shoot. You do the best you can. You rarely know if you did a "good" job of it until much further down the pike.

Let's just say that this child would never have done well on the delayed gratification test that the older one took at the age of 5. I don't know how well the kid would do now, either. I don't think the child is dangerously impulsive, but definitely leans towards that end of the behavioural spectrum.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 9:33 AM

How do you know there was a threat to her life with another pregnancy?

Maybe the pre-eclampsia with the first labor was a clue.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:34 AM

wow, an intelligent woman, how different, if we omly had 100 million more we could solve the over population problem.

Posted by: mcewen | June 5, 2007 9:34 AM

About holidays - my brother also married an only child (of an only child). We now include her mom and stepfather in our family's celebrations and it's lovely.

As far as who's going to take care of parents - we're wrestling with that in regard to my mother-in-law who turns 80 this year and is starting to have some health problems. One of her 4 sons lives near her and will probably be saddled with the most responsibility until things get serious enough to start using the long-term care insurance (which we all share in paying for her).

I am fortunate to get along well with my brother, but we detested each other when we were growing up.

Posted by: MaryB | June 5, 2007 9:34 AM

"But lately my husband and I have been talking about how much we still want to be part of our children's lives as adults -- we wouldn't mind helping with grandchildren, seeing relatives on weekends and so forth. I suppose the problem is how you encourage a close family without being clingy and needy? IN other words, I don't want my kids to feel like they can't pursue any career because they have to spend their whole lives living close to their parents."

My parents also encouraged us to follow our career interests and desires to live in different places. As a result by the time were were all in our late 20s I live in VA, my brother in Nebraska, and my sister in Northern California while my parents were near Los Angeles (where we grew up). We are all pretty settled with no plans to move elsewhere. So when it came time for my parents to retire they considered all the locations where we kids live and chose the one that was the best fit for them for their retirement -- near my sister since the lack of harsh weather was important to them. They also bought their retirement home in a great community with a lake, pools, golf course, etc. So it's a great vacation destination for the out-of-state kids. They come to VA to visit several times a year and we make a yearly 2 week trip to visit them. My brother (only one who is single/no kids) tries to coordinate his visits with mine to CA or with my parents to VA so we can all see each other more.

My sister and BIL benefit from lots of childcare help from my parents -- she works FT, BIL works FT odd hours, and she's in grad school which wouldn't be possible w/out my parents' childcare help. Sometimes I feel a little jealous of that but realize that it will balance out in the long term since my sister will end up bearing the brunt of their care in later years. My parents are well provided for with lots of savings plus long-term care insurance. However, there still needs to be someone to help navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and various care options. Since my sister is a nurse with lots of experience in geriatric care it's probably for the best that she will end up being the point-person for that.

I would hope that my kids will stay in the DC area near us, but if they move away I would strongly consider following my parents' choice and moving near one of them when we retire.

Posted by: Suzanne | June 5, 2007 9:35 AM

Father of 4

"Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?"

Not sure about the martyr thing, but it's a safe bet her kid will get ice skating lessons!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:36 AM

I just wanted to support Arlington who posted at 9:05, that she had her kids for family love, not a retirement plan or for society.

Is there a study out there that looks at how many kids adult onlies have relative to adults with siblings? My guess is that it would be statistically indistinguishable from adults with siblings, but I thought I'd ask.

Posted by: Arlington Mom | June 5, 2007 9:36 AM

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?

****************

You have GOT to be kidding. Why so hateful, Father of Four? You're the one who, upthread, made some obnoxious comment about entitlement too, right?

I have an only, and my husband and I are very happy with our decision to stick with on. DD is a great kid. She shares better, quite frankly, than most kids with siblings I know. She knows we love her and value her - if that makes for an entitled kid, well, flame away.

BTW, my child has also had major sleep issues - none resulting in a diagnosis - but the early years of her life have been exhausting.

I seriously cannot believe (okay, well, I've read your posts before, Fo4, so maybe I can) that you would take someone's honest statement about why having one child is right for her and decide that (1) she likes to play the martyr and (2) because she spends quality time with her son, lets him know he's loved, etc - she's raising someone "entitled."

Yep, that's right, giving one's child lots of quality time is a GREAT reason to attack her.

Posted by: Happy Mom of Only | June 5, 2007 9:39 AM

Hey Mimi,

Having one child is fine, for those who have more than one child doesn't necessarily follow that we are unhappy with our decision. One decision does not negate the other. If you agree with the decision to have one child why must you demonize the situation of having more than one? "paranoid" - what is that all about?
Your husband may be fine, but you sound unstable.

Posted by: evkoehle | June 5, 2007 9:41 AM

ArlingtonMom: The few studies that I have seen mentioned say that only children actually fare better then children with siblings. Particularly better then children who were NOT first born. The theory is that the time, money and attention that only children get equip them to be better students, professionals, and leaders. They do score similar on measurements of loneliness, social skills, cooperation and sharing. Of course we all know cases of the spoiled only child. We also all know cases of spoiled children in multiple kid families. I also know some wonderful only children. My best friend is an only child and she is the LEAST spoiled person I know. She also admits to have never wanted a sibling. She actually doesn't even understand the joy that comes from a sibling relationship. But her husband has one brother who he seems to hate. So she doesn't get to see many great sibling relationships. That is the only major draw back that I see to onlies. It seems that they have a hard time understanding the love that siblings may bring to your life. Of course it is hard to understand something that you never have experienced.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 9:43 AM

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?

__________________

Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that you can be a jerk?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:48 AM

Not all sibling relationships are wonderful. Some are terrible to start with, and only get worse in adulthood.

Posted by: Been there | June 5, 2007 9:50 AM

How do you know there was a threat to her life with another pregnancy?

Maybe the pre-eclampsia with the first labor was a clue.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 09:34 AM

Sorry, she never mentioned pre-eclampsia. If you are talking about spiked blood pressure apparently is happened on her due date. She was "monitored" during her pregancy because she was 35. She joined the club of 10's of millions of other women over 35 giving birth.

Women that have 3, 4, 5 even 6 children have varied and difficult pregnancies. And yes, labor sucks. Again, Rachel can join the 10's of millions that have had difficult and horrible labors and pregnancies.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:51 AM

Suzanne it sounds like the ideal situation! Is that what you are thinking you will do when you reach retirement-- long, long down the road, I'm sure!

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 9:51 AM

Wow, people can't win. People either scream that people who can't afford it shouldn't have kids. But when someone actually chooses not to have a kid to maintain financial responsibility, she is attacked. I don't know why people would attack a person for making a financially responsible decision.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:51 AM

I had an only child by choice 30 years ago. I am one of four offspring and my husband is the youngest of six. His mother would bug me about having more children and I would answer I got it right the first time. My daughter in law is also an only child. She wanted two children because she was lonely as a child. Unfortunately, health issues prevent additional children. My son thought being an only child was great and sees no problems for his son. My unscientfic survey has found women who were only children want multiple offspring. However, every women I asked had come from an unhappy home. While men were content as only children and want to repeat the experience. Perhaps because they were the prince. I would like to see an actually study to find out if there is a true difference.

Posted by: Grammy | June 5, 2007 9:52 AM

"Anybody else get the sneaky feeling that Rachel's child will grow up in a 2-martyr family?"

No, I'm not a slime ball who gets sneaky feelings....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:53 AM

A very interesting guest blog. For me, the decision was not so clear. I am now at home with a two week old, my second child, and I have to admit that I was pretty ambivalent about getting pregnant again. But, my husband really wanted to have another child (he is an only child, and really wished he had a sibling or more). In the "con" column for me were 1) my age, 37, 2) the difficulty of the early years (did I really want to go through another pregnancy, maternity leave, breastfeeding again?), and 3) the short-term impact on my career and the long-term financial burden of 2 kids. In addition to meeting my husband's needs, in the "pro" column were the long term considerations, and doubling the joy and adventure of bringing another child into the world. I wasn't sure it was the right thing for me, but I took the leap.

In his two short weeks, our second child has brought us several unanticipated joys. I didn't know that I could love another child the way I love our first. I had a very difficult first labor, but I enjoyed this shorter and easier delivery very much. So far, baby care seems easier than with the first, perhaps because we know more what to expect. I have been taking better care of myself, using our family and friends to make our lives easier, and generally am feeling much more confident and competent this time around.

For me, there is no right or wrong about this decision. I just hope that my husband and I can rise to the additional challenges that our expanded family will bring.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:54 AM

"How do you know there was a threat to her life with another pregnancy?

Maybe the pre-eclampsia with the first labor was a clue."

I actually had pre-eclampsia with my first. My OB never insinuated that another pregnancy would be life-threatening. He did indicate that any pregnancy would be monitored carefully, but had no concerns that my life was in danger.

Posted by: been there | June 5, 2007 9:55 AM

Women that have 3, 4, 5 even 6 children have varied and difficult pregnancies.

Ah, the old woman-as-brood-mare scenario.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:55 AM

Another only child chiming in. Some of the posters above mention having felt lonely as a child; I never experienced this, because my parents both came from large families so there were always cousins around to play with (and these days I think the kids of close friends can play that role if you don't live near your extended family). I admit that I sometimes envy the closeness my friends have with their siblings, but on the other hand I've always felt that I had a closer relationship with my parents than others might have. It's all kind of moot anyway, because the point (as is the original author's point) is that one kid was the right decision for our family - my mom is diabetic and pregnancy was high-risk for her. (Admittedly, I think she would have been happy to adopt me a sibling, but one of my very wonderful dad's few quirks is that he has a weird prejudice against adoption - dunno if that's a Polish thing or what.)

As for caring for my parents when their health starts going downhill, I know it won't always be easy alone, but I embrace that duty with open arms because of the years they devoted to caring for me. (And as others have noted, having siblings certainly DOESN'T necessarily make this any lighter a task - I saw my dad, the oldest of six, end up with most of the responsibility for caring for his father, and my mom, because she's a nurse, get the heaviest burden of caring for her mother.)

Posted by: gmg | June 5, 2007 9:57 AM

I actually had pre-eclampsia with my first. My OB never insinuated that another pregnancy would be life-threatening. He did indicate that any pregnancy would be monitored carefully, but had no concerns that my life was in danger.

Oh, well as long as it's only a woman's health at stake and not her actual life, then she has no excuse.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:59 AM

"No, I'm not a slime ball who gets sneaky feelings...."

I'm not a slimeball either.

However, you have to admit to being a gutless coward when you post anonymously. :-p

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 9:59 AM

"Oh, well as long as it's only a woman's health at stake and not her actual life, then she has no excuse."

So, I'm supposed to have more faith in a snarky responder than my MD who is familiar with me and my health? I had that second child with no recurrence of pre-eclampsia so get over yourself.

Posted by: been there | June 5, 2007 10:02 AM

However, you have to admit to being a gutless coward when you post anonymously. :-p

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 09:59 AM

Or maybe we just don't like being bullied by holier-than-thou types who don't believe in artificial birth control and considering the timing of pregnancies to be immoral.

Posted by: Another gutless coward | June 5, 2007 10:06 AM

I think the guest bloggers story was interesting and having only one is fine for anyone who chooses. Actually, one, two, ten or none is fine.

I was responding to the idea that having pre-eclampsia automatically causes the next pregnancy to be life-threatening. That is simply not true.

Posted by: been there | June 5, 2007 10:06 AM

I agree that having one child only can be a wonderful arrangement for some families. My son has been an only child for the past 7 years, and we have been very happy that way. And I know that if we never had another, we would still be happy as a family of 3.

You don't have a second (or third or fourth or fifth....) child to care for you in your old age, or to be a companion to your existing child. You have one because you long for one. Because you think you are competent enough to handle the work involved. Because your marriage is stable and you know your spouse will help you through it. Because you think that you might just barely be able to afford it. Because you love the thought of another little person in your family. You do it knowing that you will be sleep deprived, exhausted, worn thin, and possibly broke for a few years, and with the more important knowledge that you can ride out that wave and come through it intact and happy, as a family. At least those are my reasons for going for a second child.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 10:06 AM

Father of 4

"However, you have to admit to being a gutless coward when you post anonymously. :-p"

Yes, I'll admit to being a gutless coward on the NET (WTF), but my kid got skating lessons.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:08 AM

I had that second child with no recurrence of pre-eclampsia so get over yourself.

Posted by: been there | June 5, 2007 10:02 AM

I'm glad you had no problems. But what about women who might have more serious problems with later pregnancies? Do you dismiss their decision not have another child?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:08 AM

Rachel-

Thank you for your wonderful and honest piece. Ignore the nasty people posting on here. No one has the right to second guess your family's choices.

ps. I have a 9 month old-and for a multitude of reasons, he will also be an only!

Posted by: Mindypoo | June 5, 2007 10:10 AM

Stroller Mama - Totally agree on the bikini idea. Perfect maternity bathing suit. Much better than post-maternity. That's when we really need a special suit...

Posted by: Leslie | June 5, 2007 10:11 AM

"I'm glad you had no problems. But what about women who might have more serious problems with later pregnancies? Do you dismiss their decision not have another child?"

Absolutely not. Everyone makes their own decisions about what is best for them. See my 10:06 post if you missed it.

Posted by: been there | June 5, 2007 10:14 AM

Or maybe we just don't like being bullied by holier-than-thou types who don't believe in artificial birth control and considering the timing of pregnancies to be immoral.

But you do believe in safety in numbers, which is why gutless cowards like you attack when in groups

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:15 AM

Am I the only one who is uncomfortable seeing pregnant women in bikinis beyond the fourth month? Not saying it's rational, but I really don't like to see it.

Posted by: anon for this | June 5, 2007 10:16 AM

"Why on earth would it bother someone if a person only has one child? That seems bizarre."

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 09:32 AM

For television watchers: Have you ever seen a TV reporter walk up to someone's door, stick a microphone in her face, and ask, "How do you *feel* about the (crime, auto accident, IED) that just killed your (son, brother, husband)?"? You may have wondered, ¿what kind of viewers is this interviewer aiming for? Since when are *feelings* news?

The answer is that there are evidently millions of people out there whose own lives are absolutely dishwater-dull. So, they get their excitement, such as it is, vicariously, by living other people's lives for them. If someone's own life is dull and meaningless, he can break the monotony by *feeling* bothered if some other person has only one child, or has twelve children, or is suffering from Runciman's Disease or Blinkus of the Thinkus or Acute Ptomaine Ptosis of the Ptummy, or whatever.

I suspect that it was in response to such people that the language coined the phrase, "Get a life!"

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 5, 2007 10:17 AM

"Blinkus of the Thinkus"

Good one :-)))))))))))

Posted by: To Matt | June 5, 2007 10:20 AM

"Blinkus of the Thinkus"

Good one :-)))))))))))

Posted by: To Matt | June 5, 2007 10:20 AM

I hear there's a lot of that going around lately.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:21 AM

Umm, isn't this just more of the same from yesterday?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 10:22 AM

Umm, isn't this just more of the same from yesterday?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 10:22 AM
I think yesterday was talking about having children later in life and deciding when to quit after having one initially. Today is focus on only children. I would like to see a large family represented. Especially talking about how to manage and find balance with a large family. BTW, to the childless poster, we have already had two days of why some people choose to be childless.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 10:25 AM

Just a note of reassurance for the poster and other moms of one -- for every only child you hear that says they were lonely or now want a big family, I think you could find another only (like me!) who was perfectly happy growing up that way, and just as inclined to have only one child themselves. People are varied, and there's no clear way to extrapolate from any one person's experience to what makes sense for another. I'm really close to my parents, they have always encouraged my independence, and I love my husband's sibs without ever wishing I had any of my own.

Posted by: Only and Ok with it | June 5, 2007 10:26 AM

Are we there yet?

Posted by: the Fonz | June 5, 2007 10:27 AM

I put the over/under on when this blog goes completely off topic at 12:30 est.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 10:29 AM

I always planned to have at least two children, since I had been so lonely growing up as an only child. And then...I became a parent I'm young now, so I could definitely have another child. However, childbirth is not something I want to go through again. Neither is teething, neither are sleepless nights and exhaustion, or taking a whole month to read one novel. The poster finishes by explaining how she is not choosing to have only one child so that she and her husband can be well-off and afford "luxury" items. Why is that justification necessary? My husband and I anxiously await the day when we will be able to afford international vacations, a "luxury". Yes, that has indirect benefits for our child, who will have interesting experiences when/if he comes with us. But we would want to do it regardless. Why does becoming a parent seem to signify to so many people that your personal desires/wants have to be sacrificedif they aren't directly tied to child-rearing? What is the effect of that attitude on the children? What kind of role-model are they seeing?

Posted by: didi | June 5, 2007 10:32 AM

I always planned to have at least two children, since I had been so lonely growing up as an only child. And then...I became a parent I'm young now, so I could definitely have another child. However, childbirth is not something I want to go through again. Neither is teething, neither are sleepless nights and exhaustion, or taking a whole month to read one novel. The poster finishes by explaining how she is not choosing to have only one child so that she and her husband can be well-off and afford "luxury" items. Why is that justification necessary? My husband and I anxiously await the day when we will be able to afford international vacations, a "luxury". Yes, that has indirect benefits for our child, who will have interesting experiences when/if he comes with us. But we would want to do it regardless. Why does becoming a parent seem to signify to so many people that your personal desires/wants have to be sacrificedif they aren't directly tied to child-rearing? What is the effect of that attitude on the children? What kind of role-model are they seeing?

Posted by: didi | June 5, 2007 10:32 AM

After reading some of the terrible posts about the fate that befalls only children, I felt compelled to comment. My husband and I are both only children, and I would like to think that we are both happy, well-adjusted adults. We have great friends, love our parents dearly, and are by no means lonely adults. The fact that we are both onlies has actually made our relationship work in ways that earlier relationships did not. We understand the need and desire for alone time, we are able to entertain ourselves, and we have very similar attitudes about respecting each others space.

As for being forced to bear the burden of caring for elderly parents, fortunately we are not quite there yet, but it is something that I have discussed with parents. We do not live in the same city and my parents understand that I will not move back to the small town where I was raised and they still live. There is an understanding that I will provide what support (financially and emotionally) I can, but they do not expect me to take care of them. They raised me to be independent and live my own life and have no expectation that I will some day drop everything I've worked so hard for to come care for them. I hope that doesn't sound cold or uncaring.

Posted by: No longer in DC | June 5, 2007 10:33 AM

"Or maybe we just don't like being bullied..."

Just because you are such a whimp that you are afraid to put a name behind your thoughts and ideas doesn't make me a bully.

it does, however, make you a gutless coward.

And of all posters, you shouldn't be afraid of me. I'm quite harmless, really.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 10:34 AM

Maybe you could invite your parents to move near you in their old age. Just a thought. I agree you should not have to drop everything but if they need help, it might be a solution that works well for everyone.

Posted by: To No longer in DC | June 5, 2007 10:37 AM

I always thought only children were sad. Never really kids, because they were around grown ups who really are boring and not interested in kid stuff. My daughter and son live in their kid world. Every time we go to an only kid's house, they seem like someone let out of jail. they want to play until they drop.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 10:44 AM

One is also my happy number. I am happy to be in the age of wonder but also happy to be done with diapers.

DD age 5 1/2 says she likes being an only child. She wants two daughters for herself but I will not hold her to that statement.

I am having lunch with DD in about an hour. She and I decided to wear pink today and we were quire noticeable on the metro.

Posted by: shdd | June 5, 2007 10:44 AM

One is also my happy number. I am happy to be in the age of wonder but also happy to be done with diapers.

DD age 5 1/2 says she likes being an only child. She wants two daughters for herself but I will not hold her to that statement.

I am having lunch with DD in about an hour. She and I decided to wear pink today and we were quire noticeable on the metro.

Posted by: shdd | June 5, 2007 10:44 AM

"Why does becoming a parent seem to signify to so many people that your personal desires/wants have to be sacrificedif they aren't directly tied to child-rearing? What is the effect of that attitude on the children? What kind of role-model are they seeing?"

I do think that when you have a child, you have to give some things up. Perhaps not forever, and perhaps not everything, but you cannot expect to live the exact same life you lived before. In fact, I think that if what you want is an exact replica of your childfree life, it is best to remain childfree. It is hard to travel the world with a baby or a toddler. It might be fun when the child is older, but you are going to have to tailor your activities to the interests of the child also. And if you want more than one child, you will have to give up more. Raising children is a hard and demanding job. If you aren't willing to give something up, then it is best not to undertake that particular endeavor.

My feeling is that when people have kids, they willingly give up some things they had before, because they are seeking a different kind of gratification with their children. As the kids grow and become more independent, the parents probably go back to some of their hobbies and interests, but the dynamics are different with children. I don't see it as a martyr thing. I see it as a choice that parents willingly make.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 10:46 AM

"Blinkus of the Thinkus"

Good one :-)))))))))))

Posted by: To Matt | June 5, 2007 10:20 AM

I hear there's a lot of that going around lately.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 10:21 AM

Blinkus of the Thinkus: A mild form of amnesia, brought on by stress. See "Back to the Klondike" (Carl Barks, 1953).

Runciman's Disease: An AIDS-like plague that kills most of its victims. Those who survive are horribly disfigured by pock marks. See "The War in 2020" (Ralph Peters, 1991).

Acute Ptomaine Ptosis of the Ptummy: A type of food poisoning that incapacitates its victims and turns them green. Brought on by eating hundred-year-old square eggs. See "Lost in the Andes" (Carl Barks, 1949)

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 5, 2007 10:49 AM

Thanks,Rachel for the lovely article.
It is nice to see such honesty. Some have pointed out the drawbacks to having one child on the child. I would like to point out the drawbacks on the children when parents of multiple children are overwhelmed. The children may be neglected because their parents simply don't have the wherehithal (energy-wise, financially, emotionally) to really bond with and work with each child. This does not make them "bad parents" just individual people who are doing their best which is perhaps not quite enough. Hats off to Rachel and her husband for having such foresight and caring about their whole situation for everyone in the family's sake.
Still, as a third of four children, however, I'm glad that my exhausted overwhelmed mom had me -- and thanks mom, for doing your best.

Posted by: Diane, Baltimore | June 5, 2007 10:49 AM

"As for being forced to bear the burden of caring for elderly parents, fortunately we are not quite there yet"

And you may never be there. My mother got sick and died three days later. I never had to "bear the burden", which I think of more as a responsibility than a burden (we don't think that taking care of our children is a burden - it's just something we do).

During those three long days in the hospital and the process of making funeral arrangements, going through the funeral itself and subsequently cleaning out Mom's home I received tremendous support from my husband and children. However, there was nothing that helped me through as much as being able to go through this with my sister. We had experiences and memories and understanding of our Mom and family history that no one else had. My husband tended to our children so that I could concentrate on other things. As wonderful as he was, it was my sister who was there when memories arose and brought tears to my eyes.

This is just my experience, not a condemnation of only children. My friend who is an only child who handled her mother's death on her own said that on some levels it was hard, but on the other hand, it was much easier than trying to make decisions with siblings who may not see eye-to-eye.

Posted by: just sayin' | June 5, 2007 10:51 AM

And of all posters, you shouldn't be afraid of me. I'm quite harmless, really.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 10:34 AM

Except for your refusal to use protection.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:54 AM

pATRICK -- I was never a sad child. I had a wonderful childhood with my parents all to myself. I was never envious of my cousins with their siblings because they had to share everything and I had my own room, toys, etc. I wouldn't say I was spoiled because my parents didn't have the money to spoil me with "stuff," but we did spend a lot of time together playing and doing "kid" stuff. I spent a lot of time with adults, but my parents were so young that they didn't really make a distinction between me as a kid and them as adults. We were all a family, played as a family, did chores as a family, and made (age-appropriate) decisions as a family.

Posted by: No longer in DC | June 5, 2007 10:54 AM

Personally, I wasn't comfortable in a bikini until I looked pregnant, not just chubby. I still contend that an exposed belly carrying a baby is infinitely more visually appealing than an exposed belly lugging fat. Not to worry, I'll cover up my post-baby belly until it's flat again. But I'll make up for it by breast feeding in public :)

Posted by: Stroller Momma | June 5, 2007 10:56 AM

Father of 4

"And of all posters, you shouldn't be afraid of me. I'm quite harmless, really."

Rest assured that I am not afraid of a bully the likes of you. I am concerned about the children you and your wife popped into the world.

I'll probably be supporting at least one of them down the road. And who will pay for the therapy that will so obviously be needed?

Posted by: spineless wimp | June 5, 2007 10:56 AM

"Or maybe we just don't like being bullied..."

Just because you are such a whimp that you are afraid to put a name behind your thoughts and ideas doesn't make me a bully.

it does, however, make you a gutless coward.

And of all posters, you shouldn't be afraid of me. I'm quite harmless, really."

How do you get bullied on a blog? F of 4 really is harmless, don't fear the reaper.;)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 10:56 AM

Response to Emily:

When I mentioned traveling the world, I mean that it will be in the future when my son is older (he's 11 months old now). I started following my parents to various conferences when I was 8, and those were some of the best experiences of my childhood. Like you said, some things have to be given up after having children, and that is acceptable to me. However, some of the parents I have come in contact with seem to give up all former hobbies, and, working comparable hours with a child of comparable age to mine, they look STRESSED. I can't imagine that lifestyle. Then again, since I'm younger than most of them, maybe I just have more energy to do these other things that I want to do after my child is off to bed for the night...

Posted by: didi | June 5, 2007 10:57 AM

"I had a wonderful childhood with my parents all to myself. I was never envious of my cousins with their siblings because
they had to share everything and I had my own room, toys, etc."

Ah, yes, happiness through selfishness.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 10:59 AM

Father of 4

"Ah, yes, happiness through selfishness."

You should know. Everything is about YOU, YOU, YOU and your booze!

Have you checked out AA yet?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:03 AM

Father of 4 -- I like to think of it has happiness through lack of conflict rather than selfishness. I couldn't be consciously selfish because I didn't know anything different, but I knew that I was having a better time than all of those people with siblings because there was no fighting, yelling, or arguing over time/space/things.

Posted by: No longer in DC | June 5, 2007 11:03 AM

We have 2 boys, the same age difference as my brother and me. And I tell our sons that MY brother was my best friend for 22 years...until I got married, and I now have 2 best friends: my husband and my brother.

Personally, I've never really understood why people only want one. Of course, I understand medical-limiting reasons, financial-limiting reasons, etc. But only WANTING one...although I respect your decision, I've never entirely understood it. This blog got me a little closer to understanding your decision.

Posted by: JBs Mom | June 5, 2007 11:07 AM

"Rest assured that I am not afraid of a bully the likes of you. I am concerned about the children you and your wife popped into the world.

I'll probably be supporting at least one of them down the road. And who will pay for the therapy that will so obviously be needed?"

Why do you think you will be supporting his children? Just because his financial picture doesn't fit your definition of what it should be? I don't think there is an obvious need of therapy. It sounds like one of the more happy, well-adjusted families around.

For those of you who feel that you must fully fund your children's education, I will share the philosophy of those who are not financially able to do that. Our responsibility to our children is to show them the value of education, and the value of being an independent, self-supporting adult. I feel obligated to see that my children receive an education, but not necessarily obligated to pay every penny. the children can work themselves, or earn scholarships, or take loans, or go to less expensive schools, or work for a year or two and then go back to school, or work full time and go to school part time.

We do the best we can, and raise our children the best we can. We don't obsess over our lack of money, college funds, number of children, size of house or car nearly as much as others do.

Posted by: xyz | June 5, 2007 11:07 AM

"I had a wonderful childhood with my parents all to myself. I was never envious of my cousins with their siblings because
they had to share everything and I had my own room, toys, etc."

Ah, yes, happiness through selfishness."

Father of 4 - Sometimes you are quite funny. Today you are not. Maybe you should just listen today or find something else to do. You deserve the responses that your getting, like the one below.

And of all posters, you shouldn't be afraid of me. I'm quite harmless, really.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 10:34 AM

Except for your refusal to use protection.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 10:54 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:09 AM

Fo4 - You do sound a little defensive today. I am sure your large chaotic family is very happy, but does that make it necessary for you to disparage smaller families? You are being somewhat snippy, and hiding behind the "I'm harmless" act does not excuse you. I expect better of you. If you want to snark, than by all means snark. But don't then backpedal and play the victim when confronted.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 11:10 AM

No longer in DC, there are a few disadvantages of being a single child. Like for instance, when there are cookies missing from the cookie jar, you don't have a brother or sister to blame it on. :-)

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 11:13 AM

Emily

"Fo4 - You do sound a little defensive today. I am sure your large chaotic family is very happy, but does that make it necessary for you to disparage smaller families? "

If Father of 4 and his family is so happy, why is he such an unpleasant person?

Posted by: impotent | June 5, 2007 11:13 AM

He's not usually unpleasant. This is an aberration.

But at least he's not impotent.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 11:15 AM

Father of 4 -- Missing cookies were always blamed on my dad. As were most things that would have otherwise been blamed on a sibling.

Posted by: No longer in DC | June 5, 2007 11:22 AM

Defensive? I was trying to overcome my poor self image and be more assertive.

I can't even do that.

Oh, well, self-esteem blown all to hell once again.

Emily, I think what I really need is another good spanking.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 11:23 AM

We always blamed the missing cookies on the dog!

Posted by: adoptee | June 5, 2007 11:23 AM

We have one daughter almost a year old. Before she was born, we hadn't really come to a decision on how many kids we wanted. We are older parents, and tests showed I had an elevated risk of Down syndrome, which brought some worry, etc., into the pregnancy. (Baby is healthy.)

Now we're considering whether or not to try for another. In a way it would be neat for her to have someone to share her life--but I am afraid (for the baby and for all of us) that the new baby would be severely disabled, and of the effects this would have on all our lives--the baby's, ours, and our daughter's. I have heard it said that siblings are the best gift ever--but at the same time, there would be such a cost to her too--in fun things to get to do, in time with Mom and Dad, maybe in having a carefree life (and being obligated to care for an adult incapacitated sibling).

Anybody else find that the fear and uncertainty of the process of having a child actually made you LESS eager to have another?

Posted by: Momof1 | June 5, 2007 11:24 AM

Defensive? I was trying to overcome my poor self image and be more assertive.

I can't even do that.

Oh, well, self-esteem blown all to hell once again.

Emily, I think what I really need is another good spanking.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 11:23 AM

No, just go away for today. Sometimes everyone needs a break. You need a break from this blog. You can't be "on" all the time. If you can't hold back once in a while, then the poster accusing you of always being all about YOU YOU YOU is absolutely right. Give it a rest.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:27 AM

"Also, know that when your child marries, if it is to a person with a larger family, your child and any grandchildren will likely end up spending a lot more time with the in-laws and lots less time with your side. There will be more birthdays and occasions to celebrate with more siblings, more cousins for your grandchildren on the other side, etc. Your child will be very alone in the world when he is an adult. And left to care for both of you when you are old all alone on top of it. If you're lucky."
-----
Are you kidding me? I am a 35 year old only child, a happily married woman with one child myself who sees my parents more than the inlaws because they live closer. I don't think it matters how many people are on "the other side" of the family. I have never once in my life felt "lonely". My parents are my best friends (aside from my husband). You make time for your family regardless of how many there are or where they live, if that is what you want to do. I certainly do not feel as though I've been pulled away from my family since my husband has a sibling. Good grief. Some of these posts are so generalized and stereotypical - it is really too bad.

Posted by: asg | June 5, 2007 11:28 AM

Clearly, having kids so they can take care of you is a silly reason to have kids. That's the selfish thing to do, IMHO.
I joke to my dh that we should have more kids so that we could have more of a chance of grandkids, and he says that it's too long to wait.
But I do know plenty of parents whose grown kids moved away, and I would certainly consider moving nearer to kids to be near grandkids. If they wanted us to.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 11:32 AM

"Anybody else find that the fear and uncertainty of the process of having a child actually made you LESS eager to have another?"

The fear and uncertainty are there for sure, but they have not been deterrents yet. I sometimes wonder what the future holds for us, not just in terms of the baby's health, but in more global terms. I used to be really scared of birth defects related to maternal age. I thought that if the baby had Down Syndrome, for example, that I would terminate. But now that I am 13 weeks pregnant, I know I could not terminate the pregancy now, even if the baby was affected. Luckily, the chances are very slim.

I do wonder if my children will break my heart someday. What will their teenage years bring? Loving someone that much always brings uncertainty and the risk of terrible pain. But I'll take that risk. And I'll take the pain if it comes. It is part of the fabric of life.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 11:34 AM

Off topic alert - interesting divorce settlement - looks like non-working spouses contributions are receiving more credit.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/06/05/megadivorce.ap/index.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:36 AM

I always thought only children were sad. Never really kids, because they were around grown ups who really are boring and not interested in kid stuff. My daughter and son live in their kid world. Every time we go to an only kid's house, they seem like someone let out of jail. they want to play until they drop.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 10:44 AM

Not challenging your right to your own perceptions, pATRICK, but I'm a little surprised.

I don't know very many kids that play/ed with their siblings, so I don't see misery or aloneness as a reflection on only-childhood, but on a whole host of other factors like whether the child is introverted or extroverted and the sort of neighborhood in which the child lives -- and whether there is extended family locally. Kids make friends and playmates in all sorts of ways: with kids in the neighborhood their own age, or with cousins, cousins, and more cousins. On the other hand, some kids prefer to play alone - their game, their way. Birth order doesn't determine whether a kid is an extrovert or introvert. At least only children don't whine about how their younger or older sibling had it so much better than them. My 2 cents.

Rachel - thanks for a spot-on guest blog.

Posted by: MN | June 5, 2007 11:38 AM

Except for your refusal to use protection.

Or your refusal to use your brain.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:40 AM

I'd be interested to know the decision process behind parents who had one special needs kid first and then had more children. I wonder if they were concerned about the quality of life for the second sibling. I also wonder if the idea of ensuring that a sibling would still be able to care for the special needs adult came into play.

No judgement here.

Posted by: Meesh | June 5, 2007 11:40 AM

Stroller Momma,
I hope that you are just joking...No need to brag that you are fertile by wearing a bikini or breast feeding in public. You seem to just like the attention. Get a life of your own and cover yourself up.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:42 AM

Why the internal struggle? You said it yourself, you both think that you are better parents having only one child. You both only want one child. Why is this even a discussion?

Society is not judging you, and if it is, you need to tune society out. This is not a decision for "society" unless "society" is planning on rocking your screaming second child at 3am and paying for him.

You shouldn't have to explain your decision to anyone. Both you and your husband only want one child, and one child you have. End of discussion.

Posted by: Bob | June 5, 2007 11:42 AM

Meesh: We worry about that with our daughter. Although her special needs seem to be of the category that will still allow her to be a fully functioning adult, I do worry that she won't have all the time and patience that she may need. As well as take up too much time from a second child. I do think a second child would get everything they needed from us, as our daughter is only mildly on the autism spectrum, but their perception might be different. I have a friend who has a downs daughter and went on to have a typical functioning child. They seem to feel their second child is still better off having another person in their life. We are good friends with a couple where the husband has an adult downs brother. He has talked about having to care for his brother after his parents passes. He seems to be content with the idea of being the care taker. His wife is less then thrilled with the idea but knew this going into the marriage.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 11:44 AM

I hope that you are just joking...No need to brag that you are fertile by wearing a bikini or breast feeding in public. You seem to just like the attention. Get a life of your own and cover yourself up.

This is probably coming from a fat cow who can't wear a bikini anytime or feel good about their body. In other words, wear it, flaunt it, love it, and if someone doesn't like it, they don't have to look at you.

Posted by: mooooooo | June 5, 2007 11:52 AM

There are drawbacks to being an only, and there are different drawbacks to being one of many. But being an unwanted child, conceived because the parents wanted to meet societal norms, or to produce a "playmate" for their existing kids, seems like the worst of all worlds.

I am an only, my DH is one of 3. DD will probably be an only, though we will are suspending final judgement on that until she's 6 ot 7. There are no guarantees that siblings will get along or help care for aging parents. An individual child should be conceived (or adopted, or whatever) because that particular child is wanted, whether it's kid #1 or kid #10.

FWIW, my DD (2 years old) is pretty easy-going child, but I nevertheless feel like I'm at my limit energy-wise. I don't want to push myself to the point where I resent having children because I'm just too tired to enjoy being with them. If we get to the point where we feel like we really want another and can have one without sacrificing our sanity, then we'll seriously think about it. If not, we are very happy with our family the way it is. I guess I don't understand why in the world this would bother someone???

Posted by: reston, va | June 5, 2007 11:53 AM

Your family size is such a personal choice. I can't believe people have an opinion. That someone might consider you selfish is terrible. Why is it anyone's business but yours?

Posted by: Tammy | June 5, 2007 11:54 AM

Also, know that when your child marries, if it is to a person with a larger family, your child and any grandchildren will likely end up spending a lot more time with the in-laws and lots less time with your side. There will be more birthdays and occasions to celebrate with more siblings, more cousins for your grandchildren on the other side, etc. Your child will be very alone in the world when he is an adult. And left to care for both of you when you are old all alone on top of it. If you're lucky.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 08:27 AM

Contrary to what you may have heard before you picked up that bong, the Magic 8-ball doesn't have ALL the answers to the mysteries of the universe.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 11:55 AM

Stroller Momma,
I hope that you are just joking...No need to brag that you are fertile by wearing a bikini or breast feeding in public. You seem to just like the attention. Get a life of your own and cover yourself up.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 11:42 AM

You must be the self-designated village busybody to even have an opinion on what another pregnant woman opts to wear at the beach. Do you think that if her body is entirely, instead of only partially, covered in spandex, there's some dispute about her fertility? and who gives a rats a$$ about whether some other woman is fertile or not?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 12:05 PM

i hear you, mom of 1, and am concerned about the risks of another having child. i don't know how i'd do with a special needs child, to be honest. i'd also like to be able to wait long enough to know whether our 6 month old will turn out ok (i.e. not autistic) before making a decision about another one. but at 38 i feel some pressure (only from myself) to hurry up and decide. i think about having another one but i really think i'm happy with the one i have

Posted by: anothermomof1 | June 5, 2007 12:07 PM

woooooooeeeeeeee! come on in! the water's fine today! is that a ramp up ahead?

Posted by: Tiger Shark | June 5, 2007 12:17 PM

"Also, know that when your child marries, if it is to a person with a larger family, your child and any grandchildren will likely end up spending a lot more time with the in-laws and lots less time with your side. There will be more birthdays and occasions to celebrate with more siblings, more cousins for your grandchildren on the other side, etc. Your child will be very alone in the world when he is an adult. And left to care for both of you when you are old all alone on top of it. If you're lucky."

This type of pillow talk never worked when I was trying to convince my wife to have another baby!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | June 5, 2007 12:20 PM

"Your family size is such a personal choice. I can't believe people have an opinion. That someone might consider you selfish is terrible. Why is it anyone's
business but yours?"

If it takes a village to raise a kid, the village SHOULD have an opinion. In effect, every child is everyone's elses business.

Also, there is nothing wrong with being selfish. Only when it causes harm to others is when it becomes a problem.
that is practising it

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 12:22 PM

"Your child will be very alone in the world when he is an adult."

If he doesn't know how to make and keep friends.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 12:23 PM

Father of 4: do you need to get your meds adjusted?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 12:24 PM

Gee, Rachel being honest about her physical, emotional and fiscal limitations concerning family size and lots of people jump all over her for it? What is that about? She and her husband have made a decision based on their needs and desires but are called selfish. I seem to recall from yesterday that people with more than two children are terribly selfish also. I guess everyone should have two children, where can I trade two of mine in? I guess I need to be like Fox Mulder's dad and pick two to give up to the aliens!

Rachel articulated why one child is the correct answer for them. This does what I think that blogs should do, provide a forum for discussion and learning by others who are looking for an answer to their questions. Some of the responses in counterpoint to her blog provide alternative viewpoints. But snarky for its own sake is snarky, not even clever.

Rachel, I think that you wrote a fine column explaining your ideas for people to consider and adopt or reject in their personal context.

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 12:27 PM

Father of 4

"If it takes a village to raise a kid, the village SHOULD have an opinion."

Not the village idiots like you.

Don't suscribe to Hillary's theory, anyway.

Posted by: Jake | June 5, 2007 12:27 PM

'Anybody else find that the fear and uncertainty of the process of having a child actually made you LESS eager to have another?'

sure, it's called quit while you are ahead!


'I do wonder if my children will break my heart someday. What will their teenage years bring? '

I used to really worry about that. So far, it's good news. I think my 18 and 16 year olds are going to be my friends when they are adults. They ask me for advice and usually follow it. The really cool thing is I can ask them for advice, they can be very helpful. (And yes, I'm still the parent, but I like the way this is going!!)

Posted by: experienced mom | June 5, 2007 12:30 PM

Although I have absolutely no problem with breastfeeding in public, I just think a bikini in 3rd trimester is really bad taste because you can see the baby moving underneither the skin. That has got to make people uncomfortable. So I'll cover up, not out of shame of how big I am, but rather because I think it could cause someone to faint if they saw my little Alien creature moving around under my skin.

And I will definately avert my eyes if I ever see a big uncovered pregnant belly coming my way. I must say though that I've never seen such a thing in a public area-- only in advertisments.

Thanks for the feedback on this issue-- I didn't realize that there was something that I was uptight about, but there you have it! Bikinis in third trimester -- oh and clingy dresses that show off the belly button dimple/indentation.

Don't want to know that my co-worker's belly button has "popped" and I really don't want to share that info with the world either. Unfortunately, the clingy fabric seems the only choice for summer maternity dresses, so I've resorted to wearing two slips at once to try to smooth over things.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 12:35 PM

put a band aid over the popped belly button. Just for yourself, I don't think anyone actually cares about a popped belly button.

Posted by: experienced mom | June 5, 2007 12:37 PM

Jen S.

You saw that you won the Fred's Quote of the Day yesterday? When do you want a ride in the creepy van?

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 12:38 PM

One was my "happy number," too, as I commented yesterday. Given all the other things in my life, and my need for some "me" time regularly, I really didn't think I would handle more than that well. That "one" just graduated college and has always been pretty happy to be the "only." For all practical purposes, he's still the "only" even though he now has two stepsiblings, since he's rarely around (lives across the country). And my stepkids are terrific, but sometimes they do remind me of why I stopped with one the first time...

It's important to know yourself and your situation well enough to know what's right for you - and your family. Thanks for articulating this so well.

Posted by: Florinda | June 5, 2007 12:44 PM

My husband and i are close friends with an individual who will die shortly of cancer. He is in his mid-30s. His wife is bearing the all of his care but my husband and a couple of other close friends pitch in frequently. She has opted out of putting her husband into hospice as it is not what he wants (she does however get in-house hospice and hospice volunteers). Now, however his thoughts are confused and his body is giving up. This is the tough part (its all tough but this is really terrible).

I mention this in light of discussion on long-term care for elderly parents. This man's parents have opted out of any responsibility of care. They love their son but are incapable of dealing with the difficult end. We know this for a fact bec/ the wife needs their help and has asked for it. Thier answer is that their son should be in a hospice facility and if that won't happen their suggestion is to have my husband and 2 other friends take days off to support the wife (which of course my husband would and is doing but still). They live accross the country but have the means to fly and stay in the area.

The point to this is that while I think the parents are grieving and upset, there is no guarentee that end care will come from a family. Even when death order is reversed. Its all sad...

Posted by: a mom | June 5, 2007 12:46 PM


Foamgnome,

This isn't the first time you've wondered about your under 4yo and college. I know with the adoption planning, etc, you've been thinking and projecting long-term, but I wonder if it might be healthier perhaps to try to live with a little suspension of disbelief, to focus more in the present without extrapolating to the future. I mean this in a helpful, not critical, way --- I don't know specific prospects for your daughter's issues and I don't think the medical community really does with great predictivity either, as these issues become more prevalent and addressed much younger than in the past, and which borderline kids graduate from interventions and delays and which instead struggle to cope long-term is unclear. But children are so resilient and malleable and are such different people as they age into their evolving selves. You can't project the future person your child will be, whether she will have more or fewer issues as she grows, but regardless, you serve both your future and present child best by meeting her where she is now, focusing on loving her and meeting her needs now, without angsting or 'accepting' a future that is just not predictable. Of course, build the world she needs, keep an eye out for getting her access to the programs she needs a step or two ahead (good school district programs, etc), set resources in place, but nothing is gained by dwelling on the challenges of your far-future child, wait to face those issues til they're real and you are actually empowered to affect them.

I know many of the issues I most angsted over for my youngest ended up being irrelevant. When her preschool told me the snack plan they'd put in place, giving all her classmates snacks that were also safe for my dd, wasn't working out, so my dd should just bring her own snack, different from the others, to the snack table, I was (inwardly) heartbroken. I was so tired of saying 'no', 'not for J', etc, etc elsewhere in her life, I didn't want her to sit everyday at a table where all her classmates were enjoying a snack and she was excluded, again told 'not for J'. And that might have been a heartbreak for some kids, but it wasn't for mine --- she actually hardly noticed the snack everyone worked so hard to make safe for her, and snack time, what she or the other kids were doing or eating, just never caught her attention. It ended up a non-issue. And when I read of school-aged food allergic kids and how mature they were and how capably they handled providing their own special foods and declining food offers at birthday parties, etc, it saddened me to envision that future of sustained denials for my child . . . but I also knew that was far off in the unprojectable future. My best option was to stay alert and to competently and matter-of-fact-ly manage the restrictions, the complications, the specialness, for now, but not to project, for her or for me, that this was sad, or that it was her fate forever. By doing the best job possible cheerfully managing her issues real-time, in the immediate present, we optimized her immediate health and comfort, and we optimized the chance she would grow out of or be less severely affected by her issues later. And that was all we could do --- what was to come later could only be productively dealt with, or even imagined, later.

We had more frightening issues than having our daughter be told no --- at first stopping her being so wretchedly sick and not growing, later growth problems and anemia --- those were so compelling that it was impossible not to stay resolute and confident we would solve them. But somehow it's the little emotional knife moments that make you project such sadness for your child. Enough of them come along in real-time, and enough end up missing you after all, don't let the hypothetical future ones bog you down.

Now what seemed a defining and desperate part of her life is just over, a dim memory for her (she outgrew her last food allergy, soy, at 4yo, her first emerged as a newborn, she's a healthy 7yo now). Parenting her has nothing to do with that slate of issues anymore, that's a stage we luckily moved past (hey, the train finally lurched forward and we left Holland, lol, for those who've read that inevitable just-accept-it story) We were engrossed in it while she needed us to be, but her needs happily changed, parenting means hanging on for a ride of fits, stages, and starts that lulls you at times then bursts out of your expectations. It never pays to settle in too resignedly to the limitations of the current stage . . .

>My daughter may not be capable of going to college. >Although this makes me a sad and worried for her, I >don't think having another child who goes to >college will elevate how I feel about my daughter's >life prospects. Having one child gives us the >financial freedom to help set my daughter up if she >is uncapable of going to college.

Posted by: KB | June 5, 2007 12:47 PM

Fred, i really didn't deserve the honor-- it was just a typo afterall!

the Teddy Roosevelt quote that he could either be Prez or control his daughter Alice, but he could not do both deserved the win-- and it even relates to being "On Balance"-- and has a DC connection!

Really, the "pee show" comment was quite silly and un-deserving of any recognition whatsoever.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 12:50 PM

I have a friend from high school who has one kid. She had an enormously difficult pregnancy and the baby was born about 12 weeks early (or so). He was in the NICU for a while, and is now a healthy thriving 4 YO. She said her doctor told her if she were to have another one, the same experience is waiting for her. So that being one reason, they are only having one child. She said they like their freedom of going away for a weekend when they want, not having such tight finances, etc. They would maybe adopt if they wanted another, so the physical aspect isn't 100% of it, but it is some.

Another friend of ours had decided to have one, but when her mom passed away (then dad), she said her brother was the person who was there for her and helped her through that tough time. It was then she decided (with DH) to have another baby.

Who knows?

I know someone else (barely an acquaintance) who apparently had a down's syndrome baby and then adopted an older child. The reasoning being that the older child would be around as the down's child got older. That one made me shake my head since it seemed to be saying: you should just be happy you're getting adopted - now take care of your sibling.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 12:52 PM

OT but thought you would be interested in this article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_article_id=460052&in_page_id=1965

Posted by: to Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 12:54 PM

Every couple should have exactly 2.2 kids!
Any less and you are selfish. Any more and you are socially irresponsible.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 12:55 PM

Really, the "pee show" comment was quite silly and un-deserving of any recognition whatsoever.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 12:50 PM

But it was sooooo funny particular in regards to a pregnant person! That is why the creepy van awaits!

(Quotes don't have to be serious to be winners!) (Yes, I can understand why you would be embarrassed by the slip of the "p")

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 1:02 PM

Father of 4

"If it takes a village to raise a kid, the village SHOULD have an opinion."

By your logic you would have to support China's 1-child and all the community pressure for abortion.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:04 PM

"Although I have absolutely no problem with breastfeeding in public, I just think a bikini in 3rd trimester is really bad taste because you can see the baby moving underneither the skin."

At 36 plus weeks, you can see the baby moving under a one-piece bathing suit as well. I'm a personally conservative woman, but I do not understand how it could be in bad taste for a pregnant woman to don a garment that would be good taste to don were she not pregnant. News flash: there's a baby inside.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:04 PM

If it takes a village to raise a kid, the village SHOULD have an opinion. In effect, every child is everyone's elses business.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 12:22 PM

It make take a village, but last I checked, the village does a lot more talking than raising.

Until the village starts raising people's kids, it out to keep to itself its opinions about how many kids a couple should have.

Posted by: Bob | June 5, 2007 1:06 PM

I don't know why you would want to be on a beach in the third trimester. Isn't the heat a killer?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:08 PM

"Until the village starts raising people's kids, it out to keep to itself its opinions about how many kids a couple should have."

I despise this it takes a village crap. The "village" is polluted, pornographic and profane. Keep the "village" the hell away from my kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 1:08 PM

I know someone else (barely an acquaintance) who apparently had a down's syndrome baby and then adopted an older child. The reasoning being that the older child would be around as the down's child got older. That one made me shake my head since it seemed to be saying: you should just be happy you're getting adopted - now take care of your sibling.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 12:52 PM

this is the sort of couple that might also consider having another child if child one needed an organ transplant. creepy. really creepy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:10 PM

If it takes a village to raise a kid, the village SHOULD have an opinion. In effect, every child is everyone's elses business.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 12:22 PM

That's not what our constitution says, hence the individual's right to privacy.

Posted by: New Poster | June 5, 2007 1:10 PM

I despise this it takes a village crap. The "village" is polluted, pornographic and profane. Keep the "village" the hell away from my kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 01:08 PM

Thank you pATRICK, many people have this view but won't come out and say it......

like me.

Posted by: anon again | June 5, 2007 1:12 PM

That's not what our constitution says, hence the individual's right to privacy.

Posted by: New Poster | June 5, 2007 01:10 PM

There's no guaranteed right to privacy in the Constitution, unfortunately. Griswold v. Connecticut inferred it WRT a right to artificial contraception.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:14 PM

I despise this it takes a village crap. The "village" is polluted, pornographic and profane. Keep the "village" the hell away from my kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 01:08 PM

Do you home-school?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:15 PM

I have to disagree with you pATRICK. I do want my neighbors to help, as I would help them if I saw their child(ren) doing something objectionable. I have even disciplined my nephew once or twice if he needed it.
Yes, everyone needs to help out. These people will be running the country one day - and if someone sees my kid doing something objectionable, then I would like to know about it.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 1:16 PM

"this is the sort of couple that might also consider having another child if child one needed an organ transplant. creepy. really creepy."

I agree that this seems creepy, but I would consider having another child in order to save the life of the child I have now. I'm sure that many would be surprised what they would do if they actually found themselves in that situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:17 PM

I don't know why you would want to be on a beach in the third trimester. Isn't the heat a killer?

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:08 PM

It wasn't for me. I planned all three of my pregnancies so I could be at the pool or beach during the last ten weeks - joyfully. You're projecting again - not everyone is like you, difficult as that may be for you to accept.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:18 PM

Well, seeing as how #2 is so incredibly difficult and stubborn, I am calling the "village" (my family) into the fray.

Honestly, it looks like it's going to take a whip, a chair and the entire clan to steer this child into a reasonably productive adulthood.

I'm not throwing in the towel, but I am SO GLAD that summertime is upon us and I can call in the cavalry. It's 3-4 additional adults, all leaning in conjunction on the child.

That is also what it took to get this kid toilet trained.

And yes, friends of the family also have permission to rein the child in when things get out of hand. Kid knows it too--facing down one (maybe two) parents is one thing. With 3-7 adults all lined up as one, and insisting that you WILL/WILL NOT DO (fill in blank with misdeed) is quite another!

Hard as this kid is on anyone the same age or older, at least the child is really good with smaller children. Mostly. Cousins are a slightly different take on the matter. I must admit to smiling a little as the kid whines about the younger cousin "Messing with my stuff!" or "Stop following me!" as that is EXACTLY the same sort of thing #2 did to #1 and #1 cousin.

Heh-heh-heh.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 1:18 PM

"I despise this it takes a village crap"

Same here. Also can't stand the B.S. whackjob phrase "Partnering with our kid's teachers".

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:18 PM

Wow, lots of comments already. I don't know if I will be able to read them all, but I agree with most of you that having more children will be a guarantee that someone is around to "take care of you" in your old age. I believe we should take care of our elders on principle, but the reality is that we can't always do so ourselves. I won't be living near my parents as they age, and will be unable to care for them. I won't expect my children to care for me; if I have children, it will be because I want to, not so I can have free health care services when I am elderly. That's an unfair burden to put on someone you supposedly love enough to bring into the world and give his/her own life, rather than sentence to indentured servitude even as they're trying to raise their own family. You can "teach" a kid anything you want, but there's no guarantee it will stick, and even if you "teach" your children that they "should" care for you in your advance age, it doesn't mean that they will want to, or if they want to, that they will be able to. For example, what if a parent needs constant medical care that a child is unqualified to give, such as heart monitoring, dialysis, or emergency services? Sure, almost anyone can follow doctor's orders, but suppose there is an emergency: a stroke, heart attack, a bad fall, etc? Even if a child desperately wishes to care for the parent, there may be circumstances that prevent that.

Second, I'd be agreeable to having one child. I used to think children "should" have siblings, but now I think that the individual family should make that decision on its own, and there is no formula for what is best. If I only have one, that would be great. If I have two, well, I hope they are twins. I love children and wouldn't be opposed to two, but I don't really want to be pregnant twice! ;-)

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 1:18 PM

"I despise this it takes a village crap. The "village" is polluted, pornographic and profane. Keep the "village" the hell away from my kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 01:08 PM

Do you home-school?"

No I don't. I also do not plan on relying on others to teach my children how to be good adults. Hollywood and madison avenue and pop culture (the village) are trying hard everyday to instill their values and once again those are polluted, pornographic and profane.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 1:21 PM

"You're projecting again - not everyone is like you, difficult as that may be for you to accept."

You're making assumptions again. I made my comments based on what other people have said. I'm male and have no idea how I would feel on the beach pregnant.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:22 PM

In case anyone is wondering, #2 child by rights should be my sister's. She was very difficult to raise too.

Ah well. Hopefully everything will turn out okay, eventually.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 1:23 PM

"If I have two, well, I hope they are twins. I love children and wouldn't be opposed to two, but I don't really want to be pregnant twice! ;-)"


I don't blame you. My wife had the look of somone who survived WWII and then was called up to fight in Korea.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 1:24 PM

yea, because twins are sooooooo easy

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:26 PM

Maryland mother: i guess you and your sister got mixed up from the old 'blessing:'

May you only have children just like you!

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 1:26 PM

Hollywood and madison avenue and pop culture (the village) are trying hard everyday to instill their values and once again those are polluted, pornographic and profane.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 01:21 PM

And yet you won't take your daughter to a purity ball?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:27 PM

"You're projecting again - not everyone is like you, difficult as that may be for you to accept."

You're making assumptions again. I made my comments based on what other people have said. I'm male and have no idea how I would feel on the beach pregnant.


Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:22 PM

Probably you would feel very strange indeed!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 1:27 PM

She didn't say twins were easy to raise. She said she'd like to be pregnant once. As someone who had them one at a time, I agree with you wholeheartedly, Mona, and would have signed up for twins in a heartbeat. Pregnancy and child rearin' - two distinct challenges.

Posted by: MN | June 5, 2007 1:28 PM

I'm male and have no idea how I would feel on the beach pregnant.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:22 PM

Stop the presses! Stop the presses!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:28 PM

ok then, twin pregancies are soooooo easy -- no increase in complications or risk -- just like being pregnant with one baby

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:32 PM

pATRICK said "No I don't. I also do not plan on relying on others to teach my children how to be good adults"
So I guess you don't send your kids to Sunday School or listen to sermons by your minister. Or do you only define the village as the part of the culture you disagree with - the x rated movies, not Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Chirst", the adult club, not the bible study sponsored by your church, the Gangsta Rap not the Gospel music.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:33 PM

Maryland mother: i guess you and your sister got mixed up from the old 'blessing:'

May you only have children just like you!

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 01:26 PM

She has three, maybe one of them will be just like her.

I did have one just like me...hence #2.

Note to self: don't push your luck!

But she's turned out fine, and we're friends now. There's hope for #2. There's even hope that #2 and I will be on decent terms as adults.

If I live that long!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 5, 2007 1:35 PM

"Also, it would be hard NOT to have some expectations of that one child. For example, what if you only child never married? I'd probably one of those annoying people who started pressuring for grandchildren. What if your one child doesn't want to go to college? Would that make you sad?"

It doesn't get any easier with two, I'm afraid. My sister lives on the same property as my mother; I am moving cross-country, and she clings to me in the months leading up to the move. Sisters both have kids, yet I am still badgered about having them because I haven't yet. Let go of your expectations, because having one do what you want doesn't mean it's any easier if the other one doesn't.

"I know plenty of women that had difficult, even life threatening pregnancies, and gone on to have more children."

That's their choice. Just as it's a woman's choice not to. Just as it's a woman's choice not to have more children for any reason, be it as profound as a life-threatening situation, or as frivolous as not wanting more stretch marks, or as economical as not wanting to stretch the finances more. Either way, it's the individual's right to choose how many, if any, children to have, and one woman's lame reason is another woman's perfectly valid reason.

Question for those who have decided not to have another due to age or health reasons: have you considered adopting? Just curious...I'm thinking about a mixed family someday in the future and would like to know if others have considered it.

I think the magic word here is "happy." One is the poster's HAPPY number. She is happy. If you are happy with four or five or seven, good. If you are happy with none, good. But be happy, know what's best for you, and do it. :-)

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 1:40 PM

I too subscribe to the notion that's unreasonable to have kids to take care of you in your old age.

Why wait?

I mean, my kids wash my clothes, cook dinner, fetch beer while I kick back in the Master's Chair, take out the trash, mow the lawn, clean the gutters, scrub the toilet, mop the floor..., and in less than a year, I'll add chauffering to the mix of daily care.

The way I explain it to my kids is that they have to take orders from the King as long as they live in his castle.

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 5, 2007 1:42 PM

p"ATRICK said "No I don't. I also do not plan on relying on others to teach my children how to be good adults"
So I guess you don't send your kids to Sunday School or listen to sermons by your minister. Or do you only define the village as the part of the culture you disagree with - the x rated movies, not Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Chirst", the adult club, not the bible study sponsored by your church, the Gangsta Rap not the Gospel music. "


My response for this was I think pulled. It is such a moronic post and proves what some in the 'VILLAGE" think is ok, strip clubs,x rated movies and music glorifying crime and devaluing women.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:42 PM

p"ATRICK said "No I don't. I also do not plan on relying on others to teach my children how to be good adults"
So I guess you don't send your kids to Sunday School or listen to sermons by your minister. Or do you only define the village as the part of the culture you disagree with - the x rated movies, not Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Chirst", the adult club, not the bible study sponsored by your church, the Gangsta Rap not the Gospel music. "


My response for this was I think pulled. It is such a moronic post and proves what some in the 'VILLAGE" think is ok, strip clubs,x rated movies and music glorifying crime and devaluing women.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 1:43 PM

"News flash: there's a baby inside. "

yes-- and look! It's moving! IT'S ALIVE!! Oh the horror!! Err-- I mean-- oh the beauty of the circle of life!

I don't know-- maybe I just have a particularly active baby. Right now she has the hiccups and it looks like I'm doing a hula dance or a belly dance or something. Of course, I love it because it means I have a healthy baby right now, but I've got to think it would gross out others.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 1:43 PM

"ok then, twin pregancies are soooooo easy -- no increase in complications or risk -- just like being pregnant with one baby

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:32 PM"

I don't have the stats, but many twin pregnancies end up being just fine. I'm not talking about taking fertility drugs and having a litter of seven. There's nothing wrong with not wanting to be pregnant more than once. Twins run in my family; my grandmother had three sets. A tarot reading and palm reading revealed a possibility of twins in my future. If I should become pregnant with twins, should I be any less happy than if I were having only one? Why in the world would you imply that I shouldn't want twins? The reverse would be implied, as well: that if it happens, I should grieve. That doesn't make sense to me.

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 1:46 PM

Jen S. - they'd be grossed out no matter what you wear, was the point. One piece or two, the movement's obvious. I don't think you were recommending a burka, but maybe you underestimate the coverage provided by a one-piece bathing suit.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:47 PM

"ok then, twin pregancies are soooooo easy -- no increase in complications or risk -- just like being pregnant with one baby

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:32 PM"

All pregnancies include risk. What's wrong with preferring the one that occupies less life-time?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:49 PM

Father of 4

"I mean, my kids wash my clothes, cook dinner, fetch beer while I kick back in the Master's Chair.."

What a lush!! Sign the whole family up for Al-Anon right away!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:49 PM

A tarot reading and palm reading revealed a possibility of twins in my future.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:51 PM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Please get a new line.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:56 PM

This is not urban baby. The use of the DD and DH and DS and so on is really annoying. Spell it out: My daughter, my husband, my son. Thank GOD this isn't Urban Baby. Let's try to keep it that way.

Posted by: Acronym hell | June 5, 2007 1:56 PM

My response for this was I think pulled. It is such a moronic post and proves what some in the 'VILLAGE" think is ok, strip clubs,x rated movies and music glorifying crime and devaluing women.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 01:43 PM

Sorry I am going to have the village help me raise my kids - their religous school teachers, my friends, the people I admire, their coaches and when they run across an ad from Madison avenue that is disgusting I like the parts of the village I have chosen to help me will tell my children that is wrong. I will not discount the entire "VILLAGE" because I disagree with them - but if you want to be so judgemental that you say I am the only one who can teach my children to be a good adult go for it. After all calling people moronic because they define the village different than you is a wonderful example of engaging in a mature debate

Posted by: looking at the whole village. | June 5, 2007 1:56 PM

"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:51 PM"

Saw this coming from a mile away. Anyone else have such an eloquent argument, rebuttal, or ridicule of my religious beliefs? Go ahead, knock yourself out. While I don't think this is the appropriate place to debate religion, I'd like to know YOUR religion, anonymous poster, so I can make fun of it. A bearded guy who sits on a cloud judging people all day long, maybe? Yea, that makes sense. Anti-birth control but pro-altar boy homosexual rape? I'll take tarot cards any day, thanks. A prince who gave up all his worldly possessions to sit under a tree and eat one grain of rice a day? ooooookay.

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 1:57 PM

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Please get a new line.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 01:56 PM

Here's a classic: Har-de-har-har!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:59 PM

"A tarot reading and palm reading revealed a possibility of twins in my future."

i was right about her

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 1:59 PM

Some of us believe in science and logic.

Posted by: To Mona | June 5, 2007 2:01 PM

"i was right about her"

Want a cookie?

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 2:01 PM

Anti-birth control but pro-altar boy homosexual rape?

Mona this is beyond offensive. Just because someone was rude to you does not mean that you have to be rude to people who believe in God. And Catholics are not pro-altar boy homosexual rape. Not only are you conceited, but you are immature too.

You have made yourself look worse than the person who knocked your "religion."

Posted by: to mona | June 5, 2007 2:04 PM

mona -- tarot cards and palm reading are not "religious beliefs."

Were you looking for a reason to launch into a condemnation of legitmate religions?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:04 PM

KB: Thanks KB, I am trying hard to take it one step at a time. I am a worrier by nature and I am very hopeful of her progress.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 5, 2007 2:04 PM

"After all calling people moronic because they define the village different than you is a wonderful example of engaging in a mature debate"


Yes it is moronic to think that strip clubs, xrated movies and gangsta rap has a place in the raising of a child. Sorry you can't see the obvious.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 2:04 PM

Want a cookie?

want a husband?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:05 PM

Want a cookie?

want a husband?

hhahahahahahahahah


That is great. Go pray to the dark horse for one.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:06 PM

This is not urban baby. The use of the DD and DH and DS and so on is really annoying. Spell it out: My daughter, my husband, my son. Thank GOD this isn't Urban Baby. Let's try to keep it that way.

Posted by: Acronym hell | June 5, 2007 01:56 PM

Like it or not, hall monitor, some of us will continue being efficient. You get to use your time as you choose. DH and DS like acronyms.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:07 PM

"After all calling people moronic because they define the village different than you is a wonderful example of engaging in a mature debate"

Yes it is moronic to think that strip clubs, xrated movies and gangsta rap has a place in the raising of a child. Sorry you can't see the obvious.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 02:04 PM

Patrick, It's ALL the village. It's fine to take some of it, but leave other parts. Really quite basic.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:08 PM

I knew Mona wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box, but WOW...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:10 PM

What makes a religion legitimate? Texts, a huge following, lots of money? I'm not being sarcastic; I'd really like to know. To me, my religion IS legitimate, and I'm comfortable with it. You don't have to be. As long as your religion makes you a good person, that's fine with me. But because mine is different and doesn't involve a god doesn't make it any less legitimate. Until someone can answer this question for me and participate in intelligent exchange, I'm going to turn back to the topic at hand. You can continue your insults if you like; it certainly won't gain you a convert, but I'm sure you're fine with that.

2:05, no thank you. What does having a husband have to do with anything?

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 2:10 PM

Mona - can't stick up for you on this one. Could you please target your insults to the annoying basher?

Posted by: MN | June 5, 2007 2:10 PM

MONA, temper, temper. Also,I think that attacking MONA on her beliefs is not right.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 2:12 PM

Anti-Acronym Nazi

"The use of the DD and DH and DS and so on is really annoying. Spell it out: My daughter, my husband, my son"


FU

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:12 PM

Really Mona you need to say something you probably never say "sorry" to all the people you just offended.

Posted by: to mona | June 5, 2007 2:12 PM

MN, I appreciate the thought, but I don't need to be stuck up for. Some people simply can't handle ideas that are outside of their realm of understanding, and turn to ridicule when they reach outside of their comfort zones. Unfortunately, I took the bait this time, but I'm not so concerned with the anons' opinions of me that I need to continue. Thanks for being polite, though. It's more than most of us can do.

I still haven't heard an intelligent rebuttal to my favorable reaction to the possibility of twins, though. Anyone?

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 2:15 PM

Mona all you had to say was that you had your own beliefs or you could have ignored the poster, but you chose to be nasty to a whole lot of people instead. What a disappointment, I will never look at you the same way.

Posted by: regular but anon | June 5, 2007 2:15 PM

Cut the crap on that gratuitous use of the word Nazi. You demean the genocidal deaths of millions of people, not to mention millions more who fought to defeat the Axis powers.

Posted by: To Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:15 PM

"Mona all you had to say was that you had your own beliefs or you could have ignored the poster, but you chose to be nasty to a whole lot of people instead. What a disappointment, I will never look at you the same way."

I think if MONA is sorry, we should forgive her.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 2:17 PM

Your so-called religion, with playing cards and the like, is scientifically disprovable. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Posted by: To Mona | June 5, 2007 2:17 PM

MN, I appreciate the thought, but I don't need to be stuck up for.

That's the truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:17 PM

"Cut the crap on that gratuitous use of the word Nazi"

How do you know my intent? You don't make the rules, Crapmeister.

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:18 PM

"Yes it is moronic to think that strip clubs, xrated movies and gangsta rap has a place in the raising of a child. Sorry you can't see the obvious."

reread the post "Or do you only define the village as the part of the culture you disagree with - the x rated movies, not Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Chirst", the adult club, not the bible study sponsored by your church, the Gangsta Rap not the Gospel music."
Where does this say that I would look to those parts of the Village to raise my child?
You are the one saying you don't want the village because of those elements - I was just saying those elements aren't the whole village. But hey - feel free to make erroneous assumptions about me I will just have a good laugh with my village (you know the friends from my place of worship and who share my values, etc.)

Posted by: looking at the whole village. | June 5, 2007 2:19 PM

"Really Mona you need to say something you probably never say "sorry" to all the people you just offended.

Posted by: to mona | June 5, 2007 02:12 PM"

You're right. I'm not going to apologize to all those who have been offended. I will, however, apologize to those who have not made light of my religion, whose religion I have made light of. I extend no apology to those who insult something they don't believe in, or those who claim my religion is "not legitimate." I do, however, apologize to those who have not insulted me, who I have insulted. I am sorry.

Would it be alright if we got back to the topic at hand now?

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 2:20 PM

I think if MONA is sorry, we should forgive her

She's not or she would have said so by now.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:20 PM

I don't care about your intent. I care about your effect, which is to demean a horror.

Posted by: To Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:22 PM

"Would it be alright if we got back to the topic at hand now?"

the topic is having an only child and you want to discuss having twins.

you can't win today!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:23 PM

"I don't care about your intent. I care about your effect, which is to demean a horror."

I can't control how words are interpreted, Crapmeister.

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:24 PM

"Like it or not, hall monitor, some of us will continue being efficient. You get to use your time as you choose. DH and DS like acronyms."

It has nothing to do with efficiency. It has everything to do with pretentiousness. UB is for a bunch of stuck-up hedge fund wives with their nannies and crises over whether the Hamptons cottage is stocked with Cristal. We're smarter here. Resist the acronyms. (Especially when they are intended to convey obscenity, whoever posted "FU" -- to you I say, expand your mind and your vocabulary.")

Posted by: Acronym hell | June 5, 2007 2:25 PM

"I think if MONA is sorry, we should forgive her

She's not or she would have said so by now. "

Well I am going to take a flyer and forgive her.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 2:25 PM

My first pregnancy was easy but had a daughter born with a heart defect. She had open heart surgery at 3 1/2 years old. If not she would had not lived past 35, if that. She is 15 today (Happy Birthday sweetie!) and only bears 2 small scars from her surgery.

I swore that I would never have another child as the emotional toll was too much for me. Fast forward 10 years, 1 divorce, 1 new marriage and he we go!

My son is now 4. My pregnancy with my son was again, easy but considered high risk. No heart defect with him but he has a host of food/enviromental allergies plus asthma.

I guess what I'm trying to say that all pregnanices are risky. I was fine with one child. I had already told myself having another was not an option and one child was ok. My second child was a blessing and they are so far apart in age, 15 and 4, that they are practically only children in a sense.

If you decide that one is the right number, so be it. If you choose to have more, then go for it. Don't let others influence what is best for your family and don't let your fear keep you in limbo like mine did.

Hope some of this made some sense...

Posted by: 2xmami | June 5, 2007 2:26 PM

Born Free said:

FU

I say:

You give freedom of speech a bad name.

Posted by: Acronym hell | June 5, 2007 2:27 PM

I can't control how words are interpreted

Wrong. We ARE all responsible for reasonably foreseeing how our respective words will be interpreted.

Or would you defend someone shouing "Fire" in a crowded theater on grounds that they couldn't control how the audience might stampede out and trample some folks to death?

Posted by: To Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:28 PM

Born Free said:

FU

I say:

You give freedom of speech a bad name.

I say you are more annoying than the Acronyms.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:28 PM

shouing, or shouting.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:29 PM

Thank you, pATRICK. I can understand if others do not follow suit. I am truly sorry to have offended those who have not offended me first, but I get it if it's impossible to forgive.

2:23 is right; I can't win today! I think it would be prudent to just :-X and watch from the sidelines. I'll jump in if I have anything intelligent to say.

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 2:30 PM

Born Free projected this bile:

"I say you are more annoying than the Acronyms."

Tell you what, Born Free. You should spend some time living under a Nazi regime. Then you might better appreciate the freedom you so glibly tarnish with your words.

Posted by: Acronym hell | June 5, 2007 2:32 PM

Fine, Mona. I wasn't suggesting you needed to be supported or the like. I thought you might have been unaware of the breadth of the insults or how many they might reach.

"I'm not going to apologize to all those who have been offended."

Similarly, I don't need your apology. But I'm not interested in hearing more of your thoughts today without it. Have a good one.

Posted by: MN | June 5, 2007 2:32 PM

All religion is scientifically disprovable. That's because that's the basic premise. Faith.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 2:33 PM

I actually agree with Mona for being offended at the fact that others were ridiculing her beliefs. Her beliefs are no more ridiculous than many other established religions. Perhaps not as mainstream, but no more ridiculous. I don't believe in tarot cards, but the story of Genesis or a dead man rising from the dead is just as unbelievable to me.

She has no need to apologize. She's right.

Posted by: Nonbeliever | June 5, 2007 2:34 PM

Acronym hell

You're a little late at the party. Acronyms have been used on this blog for 15 months.

You don't make the rules.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:35 PM

If you bring the same fuzzy reasoning to your legal studies as you do to your religion, you'll flunk out of law school.

Posted by: To Mona | June 5, 2007 2:35 PM

All religion is scientifically disprovable. That's because that's the basic premise. Faith.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 02:33 PM

You just hurt your own argument.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:37 PM

What does Felix Unger have to do with anything?

Posted by: MB | June 5, 2007 2:38 PM

"You're a little late at the party. Acronyms have been used on this blog for 15 months."

No, they seem to be a much more recent phenomenon like in the past 5 or so since some moron posted a link to this blog on Urban Baby.

I never said I make the rules. I said the acronyms are insipid. Where did I say I make the rules? If you wish to be viewed as insipid and reduce your family to ambiguity and cliches (is DH intended to be endearing or sarcastic? hmmm?) by all means have at it. The rest of us will just snark.

Posted by: Acronym Hell | June 5, 2007 2:38 PM

Mona, don't worry, I'm not offended. It's kind of silly to be offended by what someone says about religion because there is so much lore and tradition involved--most religions look stupid. As a Catholic, I'm not offended. I'm positive that you know the Catholic church does not condone rape. You were making a point by being inflammatory. Almost everyone on here has done it too. Are Catholics and Buddists somehow off limits, but it's totally fine to make fun of religions that are not institutionalized or organized? That seems, well, elitist and unfair.

Posted by: Meesh | June 5, 2007 2:38 PM

Mona and MN,
What did I miss today? Wow!

KLB-hope things are going better for you!

Posted by: dotted | June 5, 2007 2:39 PM

Mona,

I'm on your side when it comes to having twins rather than two single pregnancies. Considering our ages, having two in that manner would balance my wife's wish that if we had kids we'd have two, and get them here before we got too old.

Posted by: John L | June 5, 2007 2:40 PM

Mona- I don't think wishing for twins is terrible, but when I was pregnant I was terrified there would be 2. My pregnancy was easy enough that having 3 more of the same would be no big deal. 13 weeks of low grade nausea and spotting wasn't fun, but the last 28 weeks were great. Well, I guess the labor was a bit hard, too. You never know. You may have a pregnancy like me and then give birth with 2 pushes, not after 2.5 hours of pushing a tranverse baby out!

Jen S- I love pregnant bellies, moving babies and all! I miss being pregnant.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 2:40 PM

Cut the crap on that gratuitous use of the word Nazi. You demean the genocidal deaths of millions of people, not to mention millions more who fought to defeat the Axis powers.

Posted by: To Born Free | June 5, 2007 02:15 PM

Tell you what, Born Free. You should spend some time living under a Nazi regime. Then you might better appreciate the freedom you so glibly tarnish with your words.

Posted by: Acronym hell | June 5, 2007 02:32 PM

Good to see that at least a couple of people are thinking today.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:41 PM

Born Free projected this bile:

"I say you are more annoying than the Acronyms."

Tell you what, Born Free. You should spend some time living under a Nazi regime. Then you might better appreciate the freedom you so glibly tarnish with your words."
Acronym hell."


Tell you what, Acronym hell. Go back and check your facts. I NEVER said " "I say you are more annoying than the Acronyms."

But hey, the Nazis were famous for misquotes.

|

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:44 PM

Do you still think a debate about acronyms is the moral equivalent of the Nazi holocaust?

Jun 5, 11:49 AM EDT
Mass Holocaust Grave Found in Ukraine
By NATASHA LISOVA, Associated Press Writer

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- A mass grave holding the remains of thousands of Jews killed by the Nazis has been found in southern Ukraine near the site of what was once a concentration camp, a Jewish community representative said Tuesday.

The grave was found by chance last month when workers were preparing to lay gas pipelines in the village of Gvozdavka-1, near Odessa, said Roman Shvartsman, a spokesman for the regional Jewish community.

The Nazis established two ghettos during World War II near the village and brought Jews there from what is now Moldova as well as Ukrainian regions, Shvartsman said. In November 1941, they set up a concentration camp and killed about 5,000 Jews, he said.

"Several thousand Jews executed by the Nazis lie there," Shvartsman told The Associated Press.

Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the finding was no surprise: "It underscores the enormous scope of the plans of annihilation of the Nazis and their collaborators in eastern Europe."

"The scope is enormous, the number of places where murders were carried out is very large and that is why even now at this point, so late after the events, graves are still being discovered," he added.

Yitzhak Arad, a Holocaust scholar and a former director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, said his research indicated some 28,000 Jews were gathered in the area from surrounding towns. He said 10,000 of those died at a rate of around 500 people a day...

Posted by: To Born Free | June 5, 2007 2:44 PM

To all of you who assume your kids will take care of you in old age - you're selfish. What if they don't/won't/can't? Then what?

Posted by: I have a name | June 5, 2007 2:45 PM

"I say you are more annoying than the Acronyms."

Born free did not write this.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:45 PM

Actually, this acronym spat is pretty boring and annoying. Quit it already!!
Nobody really cares.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 2:47 PM

I think tarot cards are tools of the devil, but I would have never written this after someone on the blog said it was their religion. Mona knew exactly what she was doing and does not feel bad about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:48 PM

I think tarot cards are tools of the devil, but I would have never written this after someone on the blog said it was their religion. Mona knew exactly what she was doing and does not feel bad about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:48 PM

"I say you are more annoying than the Acronyms."

Born free did not write this.

Sounds like a job for (drum roll) BLOG STATS! Superhero of all thing bloggy and statistical!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 2:48 PM

I think tarot cards are tools of the devil, but I would have never written this after someone on the blog said it was their religion. Mona knew exactly what she was doing and does not feel bad about it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:48 PM

Does anyone think throwing the term Nazi around became commonplace after the Soup Nazi? When I was growing up saying it was virtually swearing. Now terms like Nursing Nazi don't so much as make me blink. I almost felt the need to jump on the get-over-it bandwagon, but I changed my mind. Hmmmm.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 2:49 PM

"I think tarot cards are tools of the devil, but I would have never written this after someone on the blog said it was their religion."

Don't say never, because you did write it, ultimately, didn't you? You can't do the same thing as Mona and then claim the higher ground.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 2:50 PM

"I think tarot cards are tools of the devil, but I would have never written this after someone on the blog said it was their religion."

Don't say never, because you did write it, ultimately, didn't you? You can't do the same thing as Mona and then claim the higher ground.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 2:50 PM

I think tarot cards are tools of those who would manipulate the ignorant.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:51 PM

I just wrote it to be inflammatory so she could see how offensive it was. I actually knew when I would meet my husband because I went to a fortune teller.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:52 PM

"I think tarot cards are tools of those who would manipulate the ignorant."

The same could be said for many, many, mainstream religions.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 2:53 PM

Well duh. We use DD, DS, DH because we're trying to keep our identity somewhat secret. If I was to say, I, Angela Tyler, and my husband John are taking our daughter Rachel to our friend Bob's house for his daughter Chloe's 3rd birthday this weekend, that would be dumb.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 2:54 PM

"I think tarot cards are tools of those who would manipulate the ignorant."

The same could be said for many, many, mainstream religions.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 02:53 PM

So true.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:56 PM

I think tarot cards are tools of those who would manipulate the ignorant.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 02:51 PM

Well, I think the same thing of all religions.

But hey! If it helps someone get through the day, that's fine by me.

If you don't know what an acronym stands for, please ask. And if all acronyms bother you, then you are one of the few people who spells out "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus". Which must get tiresome.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 2:57 PM

My uncle hunted down Nazi war criminals in 1946. No big names that you would recognize but people who inflicted horror upon others. He looked into the face of evil. I would never lightly use the word Nazi to describe anything but evil in respect to those who were murdered and to those who tried to bring evil to justice.

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 2:58 PM

"I think tarot cards are tools of those who would manipulate the ignorant."

The same could be said for many, many, mainstream religions.

Including ones that pressure people to have more children than they want. Full circle to today's topic.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:00 PM

Leslie,
Do you read your blog? Aren't you concerned about the what it has become? You are turning into the new Jerry Springer...hosting a forum for a bunch of insecure trash to insult each other.

Anyone have a new name for this blog?

Posted by: To Leslie | June 5, 2007 3:01 PM

Your uncle is now one of my heroes.

Posted by: To Fred | June 5, 2007 3:01 PM

Fred

"I would never lightly use the word Nazi to describe anything but evil in respect to those who were murdered and to those who tried to bring evil to justice."

Please list all of the other words you censor, for future reference.

Posted by: Born Free | June 5, 2007 3:03 PM

Anyone have a new name for this blog?

Tarot cards, Nazis, and acronyms

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:04 PM

"Fire!"

Posted by: To Born Free | June 5, 2007 3:05 PM

Born Free,

You just don't understand or maybe just want to be inflammatory. I did not say that I would censor the word. I said that I would use it only in the context of the horror Nazi created. I would not say "Soup Nazi" but would say Nazis killed millions of people.

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 3:10 PM


Anyone have a new name for this blog?


HMM, how about "FRED'S and MONA's creepy van and Tarot Card shop". ;)

Posted by: pATRIKC | June 5, 2007 3:10 PM

I despise this it takes a village crap. The "village" is polluted, pornographic and profane. Keep the "village" the hell away from my kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 01:08 PM

I despise this village grap too, but for the reason that the village (look in the mirror) always thinks its better than everyone else.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:13 PM

Serious question here. What is your religion? Are tarot cards religious? I never had reason or curiosity to learn about tarot. All I know is that fortune-tellers use them to tell the future. In my mind, it was always just something fun to do on the boardwalk at the beach.

Posted by: to Mona | June 5, 2007 3:13 PM

pATRICK,

New blog name, sorta funny but I don't think the creepy van has ever had tarot cards in it. But you can find plenty of the cards down in the French Quarter!

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 3:15 PM

I would rather see a pregnant belly on the beach that a fat man in a speedo.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 5, 2007 3:16 PM

I've just been lurking today, (as a parent on an "only" I found the blog affirming and some of the responses frightening!) but have got to say that the "side bars" have been highly charged - and somewhat entertaining!

Posted by: Circle Pines | June 5, 2007 3:17 PM

Okay, KLB SS MD. I think you qualify for the quote of the day.

"I would rather see a pregnant belly on the beach that a fat man in a speedo."

And I agree with you completely.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 3:17 PM

"All religion is scientifically disprovable. That's because that's the basic premise. Faith."

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 02:33 PM

Religion is not scientifically provable. That's not the same thing as saying that all religion is scientifically disprovable. I cannot prove scientifically that I ate hot dogs at my son's Memorial Day barbecue eight days ago. All I have is eyewitness testimony, which might be good in a court of law but carries no scientific weight because it is not the result of a replicable experiment and therefore flunks the "scientific method" test.

But by the same token, you cannot prove scientifically that I *didn't* eat hot dogs at my son's Memorial Day barbecue. Or that 600,000-odd Children of Israel *didn't* hear the first two of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

"Flickus, Flackus, Fumdeedledum, which is legal language for, 'How can you prove that he isn't?'" -- Lawyer Sharkey, in "The Golden Helmet"

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | June 5, 2007 3:18 PM

We would be nothing without our sidebars. They are what makes us so special.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 3:18 PM

"I would rather see a pregnant belly on the beach that a fat man in a speedo."

They are equally disgusting!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:19 PM

"I despise this village grap too, but for the reason that the village (look in the mirror) always thinks its better than everyone else.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:13 PM"

DMX and Jenna Jameson called ,said they were free to baby sit your kids, wondered if it was ok if they got "busy" while you were gone.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 3:21 PM

Dear Prudie,
My younger sister is a manipulative bully. When I left home a decade ago to attend college, she joined herself at the hip to my mother, with whom I had an excellent relationship growing up. Now she calls my mother several times a day and sleeps over, often despite the fact that she's married and lives a few miles away. Since I can never spend time with my mother absent my sister, I have two options when I visit: 1) take my sister's abuse quietly and keep the peace, or 2) explain to her the inappropriateness of her actions and have a fight with both her and my mother. I'm a happily married adult with many friends and a good job, so I no longer need my mother's approval and have resigned myself to the situation. I do, however, feel horrible for my stepfather. He is a very nice man and treats my mother like a queen, but is treated like a third wheel in his own house and verbally abused by my sister. If he responds to her jabs, my mother jumps in to put him in his place. I called him about the situation and know firsthand that he is very hurt by my mother's and sister's actions. At this point, I want very little to do with them, but I would like to help my stepfather out. Do I suggest to my mother that she needs counseling for her co-dependent relationship? Or do I just pretend like nothing is wrong?

--Concerned Stepson

Dear Concerned,
While it's nice for you to be concerned about your stepfather, that's not really what your letter's about. Despite your protestations, you haven't really resigned yourself to this situation. But why should you? Even though you're an adult, it's terribly painful and baffling to lose a good relationship with your mother. I promise you my mail indicates that a surprisingly common and intractable syndrome is the rotten adult sibling who sucks up all the parents' emotional energy (and often money). However, it's not clear in your case why you can't have a separate relationship with your mother. Can't you invite your mother to come visit you? When you're in town visiting her, can't you suggest quietly catching up with each other and suggest the two of you go out for a meal? If she refuses to see you without your sister in tow--and what reason does she give?--then you do have to find a way to accept that you can have only the most circumscribed relationship with your mother. As for your two self-described options, I say choose neither. You shouldn't take abuse, but you're not going to effectively enlighten your sister about her behavior, either. Despite your good and satisfying life, you might want to explore--or vent about--the loss of this relationship with a therapist.

--Prudie

Posted by: Letter to Slate re a bad sibling | June 5, 2007 3:22 PM

Yes there are some who think they know better than everyone else but I don't think that is the majority.

I have enough problems taking care of the people in my life, I couldn't possibly take on the whole world.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 3:22 PM

Emily , I agree! At times it has been better than an episode of Seinfeld.

Posted by: Circle Pines | June 5, 2007 3:22 PM

"Anyone have a new name for this blog?
"

How about "Only 1 Crotch dropping for Rachel"

Coming Soon: "Can the Tarrot Card Really Predict How Long it Will Take for Mona to Pry her Foot Out of Her Mouth?"

Posted by: Titles | June 5, 2007 3:23 PM

'I would rather see a pregnant belly on the beach that a fat man in a speedo.'

I wouldn't want to see either one.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:23 PM

atlmom

"Yes there are some who think they know better than everyone else but I don't think that is the majority. "

Ha ha ha! I nominate this for quote of the day!!!

Posted by: Kramer | June 5, 2007 3:26 PM

I would rather see a fat man in a speedo than a fat woman in a thong.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:26 PM

OH NO! Hear this all you lovely women who are "with child". You are not allowed on the beach. Stay away! Do not enter! Someone might see your child move - the horror of it all!

Posted by: DC lurker | June 5, 2007 3:27 PM

I cannot prove scientifically that I ate hot dogs at my son's Memorial Day barbecue eight days ago.

Are there undoctored photos of you eating hot dogs there then? Was your excrement tested for presence of hot dog residue in a timely way? There are scientific ways to test this bad analogy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:28 PM

I cannot prove scientifically that I ate hot dogs at my son's Memorial Day barbecue eight days ago.

Are there undoctored photos of you eating hot dogs there then? Was your excrement tested for presence of hot dog residue in a timely way? There are scientific ways to test this bad analogy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:28 PM

Speaking of thongs, a woman came to our neighborhood pool last weekend wearing a thong. She had the body for it, but yikes, it's a family pool. There should be some kind of rule against that. A couple of middle school boys couldn't stop staring. Even my 7 year old stared.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 3:29 PM

"I despise this village grap too, but for the reason that the village (look in the mirror) always thinks its better than everyone else.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:13 PM"

DMX and Jenna Jameson called ,said they were free to baby sit your kids, wondered if it was ok if they got "busy" while you were gone.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 03:21 PM

You truly are an idiot. I had a long response explaining your ignorance (you're part of the village, you fool) but it is not worth the effort.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:30 PM

I guess there are 2 types of people: those who loved the Demi Moore and Natasha Kinski (too lazy to look up spelling) naked pregnant pictures (no mention of Britney here), and those who thought they were icky. I loved them. Pregnant bellies are beautiful, though I can see where jiggly pregnant bellies covered in stretch marks are unappealing. I choose to believe the lovely ladies of the on balance blog have sexy pregnant tummies.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 3:30 PM

"I would rather see a fat man in a speedo than a fat woman in a thong."

I don't know those banana sacks are pretty bad.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 3:30 PM

"I cannot prove scientifically that I ate hot dogs at my son's Memorial Day barbecue eight days ago."

But your posts prove that you are a crashing bore! Sheesh!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:30 PM

Encourage your kids to live thier dreams regardless of where it takes them. My mother did that for me and my 3 sisters and its one of the greatest gifts she gave us. We're now in our early 20's to early 30's. We all have college educations, a couple of higher degrees, jobs we enjoy, one with her own business. We've all traveled a fair amount. Living in different states. I spent my 20s moving around, taking jobs in different states (I've lived in 5 states since college), and seeing more of country. My sisters have all done similar things. Only one still lives in the same state as my mother as that's because she just finished school.

Mom occassionally laments that none of her children live within driving distance of her. However we all take a family vacation together in the summer and see eachother over Christmas. I call and talk to my mother weekly and consider her a friend. I know lots of people who have parents that live much closer but never talk to them and don't consider them friends.

Now that we're starting to get older, get married, and are thinking about children we've been talking about trying to all settle down in the same area. Maybe not the same town but at least in the same region. We'd like our children to know thier cousins, aunts and uncles. My mother has pretty much decided that once she retires she'll be moving nearer to one of us, or more accurtly her future grandchildren.

So encourage your children to do everything they ever wanted even if it takes them away from you. They're a good chance you'll still be a part of thier lives later on when they settle down and have children of thier own.

Posted by: cmw | June 5, 2007 3:30 PM

"You truly are an idiot. I had a long response explaining your ignorance (you're part of the village, you fool) but it is not worth the effort. "

Yawn, I am mortally wounded by a nameless troll. What will I do?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 3:32 PM

to Mona at 3:13

I really don't want to get back into the religious thing, but since you asked a legitimate, sincere question, I'll answer. Technically, I'm an Atheist, but I do have certain spiritual beliefs. At the risk of sounding like I'm at a spiritual buffet, I choose what I think fits what I believe, and practice, study, or otherwise use it. I don't believe in the exclusive use of fortune-tellers and Tarot cards. I have a genuine, bona fide spiritual adviser who reads my cards and palm once a year or so. She is more or less what some mainstream religions would consider a clergyperson: I go to her for advice, education, and spiritual questions. There are certainly some "fun" "psychics" in Ocean City and elsewhere. These are tourist attractions. My spiritual adviser does not advertise. She does not hang a tile outside her house with an eye and a bunch of symbols on it. I know that some may have a knee-jerk "You're the devil!" reaction to Tarot, astrology, etc., but that is borne of ignorance, much like the ignorance and intolerance I displayed earlier on this blog.

I use the word "religion" to describe what I believe because I think that is the word that best fits the description. While some believe a set of beliefs can only be a religion if it centers around a god, I take the term more literally: it is a set of beliefs that govern the person's personality, and may or may not include references to the afterlife, past lives, a deity, etc. To some, Tarot cards are just fun toys to play with. They don't have the same effect as they do on me. Much like a rosary has no effect on me, but to a Catholic, it may be something very special and holy.

Contrary to what you may have thought, Tarot cards aren't always used to "tell the future." The future can't really be told by anyone. They are a way to interpret thoughts that are going on in the person's head, elements of that person's personality, and a course of action that is most likely to be auspicious.

In short, I believe many things. I am Atheist, but I have a deeply spiritual side, and it is influenced by elements of many religions, from Christianity to Taoism. I can't really put a name on it, but I understand that people often feel a need to neatly label things. It is highly personalized, and I am happy with it because it is suited to me.

Thanks for your question; I hope I answered it satisfactorily.

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 3:35 PM

My sister did that! My one sister made plans to come see me and my other sister *had* to come that same weekend (even tho there were several reasons she shouldn't have)! Without even calling to ask if it was okay. It was so bizarre.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 3:36 PM

Wow this blog sure took many twists and turns from the original post! Patrick, you really can be narrow minded at times. I'm curious as to how you describe "the village" and also what radio stations you listen to because it seems they only play gangsta rap.

Back to the original post, we don't have children, but are thinking of just having 2.

Posted by: MV | June 5, 2007 3:40 PM

"I would rather see a fat man in a speedo than a fat woman in a thong."

Yuck.

Posted by: MV | June 5, 2007 3:42 PM

I would rather see fat than skeletal.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:44 PM

In short, I believe many things. I am Atheist, but I have a deeply spiritual side, and it is influenced by elements of many religions, from Christianity to Taoism. I can't really put a name on it, but I understand that people often feel a need to neatly label things. It is highly personalized, and I am happy with it because it is suited to me.

Thanks for your question; I hope I answered it satisfactorily.

Posted by: Mona | June 5, 2007 03:35 PM

While I am glad you are happy with your "religion", I think the beliefs of one person is not a religion. To me a religion requires a group of people believing the same thing. Maybe a better word would be spirituality?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:44 PM

Spirituality is bunk. We're conceived, we're born, we live, we die, we rot. That's it, the rest is made-up stories to manipulate people.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:47 PM

While I am glad you are happy with your "religion", I think the beliefs of one person is not a religion. To me a religion requires a group of people believing the same thing. Maybe a better word would be spirituality?

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:44 PM

"To me a religion. . . " To you, its not a religion, but to her . . . My point being, who cares what she calls it? Does it really matter? Does it make your "religion" any less a "religion?"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:47 PM

*I too subscribe to the notion that's unreasonable to have kids to take care of you in your old age.

Why wait?

I mean, my kids wash my clothes, cook dinner, fetch beer while I kick back in the Master's Chair, take out the trash, mow the lawn, clean the gutters, scrub the toilet, mop the floor..., and in less than a year, I'll add chauffering to the mix of daily care.

The way I explain it to my kids is that they have to take orders from the King as long as they live in his castle.*

Long live Fof4!

Now, to get mine to practice feudal-style devotion to the Queen...


Posted by: educmom | June 5, 2007 3:47 PM

Atb, actually, I really loved those photos too--but photos are one thing-- the reality of jiggling in-utero babies "in the flesh" are whole other thing for me. Thanks for thinking of it as sexy though! My husband loves it! (Luckily I don't have the stretch marks.)

So please put me in a third "type of people" catagory, i guess.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 3:48 PM

"To me a religion. . . " To you, its not a religion, but to her . . . My point being, who cares what she calls it? Does it really matter? Does it make your "religion" any less a "religion?"

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:49 PM

"Patrick, you really can be narrow minded at times. I'm curious as to how you describe "the village" and also what radio stations you listen to because it seems they only play gangsta rap."

I don't listen to gangsta rap or gospel (as someone said). I listen to the news mostly. I define the village (again) as the media, pop culture,advertising firms and hollywood. Village meaning the culture that we live in now. Other people and institutions IMO really ultimately do not care what happens to YOUR kid. Their lives go on whether your kids turns out to be hero or a zero. It only ultimately matters to you (and the child's other parent).

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 3:49 PM

My point being, who cares what she calls it? Does it really matter? Does it make your "religion" any less a "religion?"

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:47 PM

It matters a whole lot if the religion wants contributions to it to be tax-deductible, and to not have to pay property taxes.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:50 PM

anybody whose comment is over 10 words is a crashing bore!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:51 PM

anybody whose comment is over 10 words is a crashing bore!

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:51 PM

this has eleven....

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 3:53 PM

Jen S- I'll make a 3rd category for you! I love watching babies move around in there, though. It's just about the coolest thing in the world. In a weird related note, Al Roker was in the Bahamas hanging out with the pregnant dolphin the aquarium there had taken in from NOLA after Katrina, and he got to see and feel the dolphin baby. Freaking AWESOME.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 3:54 PM

anybody whose comment is over 10 words...

Speak for yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:54 PM

It matters a whole lot if the religion wants contributions to it to be tax-deductible, and to not have to pay property taxes.

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:50 PM

And if it doesn't? I cannot imagine Mona is racing to amend her taxes to eliminate property taxes. Mona, please let us know if you are :)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:56 PM

and Fred will like this. Apparently dolphin milk is more like the consistency of sour cream, since they have to drink under water. Weird but cool.

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 3:56 PM

this has eleven....

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 03:53 PM


Nope, you are wrong! ten words and 1 number!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:59 PM

"Freaking AWESOME"

Freak is right. As is sickening!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 3:59 PM

"Freaking AWESOME"

Freak is right. As is sickening!

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:59 PM

Bottle-feed those dolphins some formula instead!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:02 PM

"To me a religion. . . " To you, its not a religion, but to her . . . My point being, who cares what she calls it? Does it really matter? Does it make your "religion" any less a "religion?"

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 03:47 PM

My religion has nothing to do with it. Maybe I should have said "to me the WORD religion means", it was the redefining of the word followed by the indignation that no one understood her that bugged me.

The word religion:
http://www.webster.com/dictionary/religion
and religious:
http://www.webster.com/dictionary/religious
defines the word to involve a diety and a group. Neither one is present in her definition.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:06 PM

Man, you guys have a weak stomach for biology. That's pretty tame stuff!

Posted by: atb | June 5, 2007 4:06 PM

Mona that was lovely. One thing I'd add would be that people look to their religion for ethics and morals. A road map for how to react to situations, as it were.

And hot dog person you proved what I said. Religion can not be scientifically proven. But what does that mean anyway? It's based on faith.

Posted by: atlmom | June 5, 2007 4:09 PM

"it was the redefining of the word followed by the indignation that no one understood her that bugged me."

Ohhh, gotcha. That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:10 PM

I define the village (again) as the media, pop culture,advertising firms and hollywood.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 03:49 PM

I define it as chuch groups, school groups and my friends and family. Who is right? Seems you made your choice (the village is only the bad part of society) based on the the fact that you hate Hillary.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:13 PM

I agree with 4:13. My village consists of my family, friends, school, neighbors, co-workers, and other random people that my family actually interacts with. Hollywood may be part of the overall culture, but is is much more removed from us. I don't even know who DMX or Jenna Jackson are.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 4:17 PM

" Seems you made your choice (the village is only the bad part of society) based on the the fact that you hate Hillary."

No I don't like Hillary but that has nothing to do with it. It is the idea that somehow others are responsible for your child's upbringing. Sorry the world couldn't care less if your daughter turned out to be a stripper or president. Your "village" was picked by you, what about the village around you that seeks to impart its values?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 4:20 PM

"I don't even know who DMX or Jenna Jackson are.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 04:17 PM "

I bet your kids do though( by the way it is jenna jameson)

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 4:22 PM

As a "good Catholic girl," I don't like it when people devise a set of spiritual beliefs and then call it a religion. Religion is a form of group worship, and spitituality is individual belief (even if many people share your set of beliefs).

Just because I believe in God doesn't mean I look down those who do not. Many people with strong, non-God-centered spiritual beliefs use them as a moral blueprint for living, just like many (but certainly not all) churchgoers do. Many with no spiritual beliefs at all use humanistic philosophy to develop their moral foundation.

Most of us have a shared set of very basic moral beliefs: don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, help those who need it, be kind -- although we may differ on how to put our beliefs into practice.

The beauty of living in the U.S. is that nobody can make me deny my religion, and nobody can make Mona (or anyone else) adopt mine.

Posted by: educmom | June 5, 2007 4:28 PM

Anon 2:35 wrote

>You're a little late at the party. Acronyms >have been used on this blog for 15 months.

not to mention a good 15 years on usenet . . . I believe my first exposure to the dh, dd, ds was on misc.kids in the late 80s . . . Acronym's fighting a deep rearguard action, but is maybe happier to believe life began with urban baby 6 months ago . . .

Posted by: KB | June 5, 2007 4:29 PM

"Sorry the world couldn't care less if your daughter turned out to be a stripper or president"

Actually society does care if my child turns out to be a tax paying, law abiding member of society - the principle behind public schools, etc. Now I care more about my daughter than yours (and I know that you would care more about yours than anyone else's), but it doesn't mean I don't want to yours to have a good life. You may feel out of the overall mainstream culture, but noone agrees with the mainstream culture 100% of the time so we all try to spend our time where we agree with it the most, by where we worship (or not), what we listen to or watch, where we live, where we shop, etc. and be willing to accept what help we get and at the same time help others.
The idea of "it takes a village" to me is not that I expect that others to be responsible for raising my children, but it is normal to need (and therefore ask) for help and that I also need to be there for others.

Posted by: looking at the whole village. | June 5, 2007 4:35 PM

It is the idea that somehow others are responsible for your child's upbringing. Sorry the world couldn't care less if your daughter turned out to be a stripper or president.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 04:20 PM

True the world couldn't care less, which is why the saying "it takes a village", not "it takes a world". However, one would be pretty stupid to allow people who have nothing on the line to help raise their child.

"Your "village" was picked by you, what about the village around you that seeks to impart its values?"

-pATRICK

Everyone tries to impart their values on me, from Madison avenue to Jerry Falwell (well not any more, but you get my point). But part of my responsibility as a parent is to decide which values are right for me and mine and which are not.

"It takes a village" does not relieve parents of their responsibility to their children. It only implies that we are all in this together.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:35 PM

educmom

"As a "good Catholic girl," I don't like it when people devise a set of spiritual beliefs and then call it a religion. Religion is a form of group worship, and spitituality is individual belief (even if many people share your set of beliefs)."

Are you REALLY a teacher? The mind boogles...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:36 PM

OFF TOPIC: How does one politely tell someone else to please stop talking to them while using a bathroom stall at the office. Why do people do this?????

Posted by: not telling | June 5, 2007 4:37 PM

OFF TOPIC: How does one politely tell someone else to please stop talking to them while using a bathroom stall at the office. Why do people do this?????

Posted by: not telling | June 5, 2007 04:37 PM

Fart really loud in the middle of the conversation and then ask the person to repeat -- it works -- they are stunned :)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:41 PM

"bet your kids do though( by the way it is jenna jameson)"

Nope. My son is 7. Right now, he is into baseball cards, the Avatar cartoon, certain nintendo games, and the Magic Treehouse series. I am certain he is not into those two people that you mention. If he were, he would be begging me to take him to the store and buy whatever it is that they are selling. Right now, all my money goes to baseball cards.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 4:42 PM

educmom

"As a "good Catholic girl," I don't like it when people devise a set of spiritual beliefs and then call it a religion. Religion is a form of group worship, and spitituality is individual belief (even if many people share your set of beliefs)."

Are you REALLY a teacher? The mind boogles...

Posted by: | June 5, 2007 04:36 PM

Huh? Why does the mind boggle? Look in the dictionary, she is correct in her definition. The fact that she is religious has nothing to do with the meaning of the word.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:46 PM

"Fart really loud in the middle of the conversation and then ask the person to repeat -- it works -- they are stunned :)"

Sounds good, but I can't fart at will.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:47 PM

"Actually society does care if my child turns out to be a tax paying, law abiding member of society - the principle behind public schools.

Exactly! And none of these attributes make for a good person. If your daughter turned out to be a law abiding, tax paying stripper then by your definition society did its job. By my definition, it would be a disaster. The village puts out values and content that does NOT contribute to making good kids. Who is plastered all over the news? The kid with a 1500 SAT?, the kid who helps out at her church? No! Paris Hilton. Lindsay Lohan etc, that is what the village is pitching to your kids as someone to look up to, to aspire to.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 4:48 PM

"Fart really loud in the middle of the conversation and then ask the person to repeat -- it works -- they are stunned :)"

Men are very different about this sort of thing than women. I was talking to my brother about it, and he tells me that at his job, the guys have no compunction about farting loudly in the bathroom, even as they talk to others in there.

I have found that ladies room etiquette, however, is much different. You have to wait for the bathroom to be empty if you feel the need to loudly expel gas. It is a big faux pas to do it while anyone else can hear you.

I think the whole thing is hilarious.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 4:48 PM

". . . that is what the village is pitching to your kids as someone to look up to, to aspire to."

HA! That ain't my village!

Posted by: JenS. | June 5, 2007 4:55 PM

"Actually society does care if my child turns out to be a tax paying, law abiding member of society - the principle behind public schools.

Exactly! And none of these attributes make for a good person.

-pATRICK

What? Tax-paying and law abiding are bad attributes? While this is not anywhere near the attributes required for a person to be a "good" person, they are a good start. And their absence is often the definition of a "bad" person.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 4:56 PM

"The village puts out values and content that does NOT contribute to making good kids."

It all depends on the village that you choose to raise your kids in. Yes, the Paris Hiltons and Lindsey Logans are ubiquitous, but as a parent, you do have some control about what you expose your kids to. In my home, my son does not have free reign over the tv. He only watches stuff that I think is worthy of his time. So he is not all that exposed, or even interested, in pop culture. Yes, there are outside forces that may sway him, but I also make sure that the people that we spend time with are good people whose influence is positive. Part of raising our children involves surrounding them with a village that will have a positive influence. While I don't abdicate my responsiblity to raise my child to other people, I think that choosing a healthy village is part and parcel of being a responsible parent.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 4:58 PM

I am a pretty private person and once that door is shut, I would like everyone to be quiet or at least stop talking. I just can't look at a person the same way after they have made bodily noises while carrying on a conversation with me... YUCK!

Posted by: not telling | June 5, 2007 4:58 PM

". . . that is what the village is pitching to your kids as someone to look up to, to aspire to."

HA! That ain't my village!"

Yes it is 24/7 on tv, radio, print,internet etc. whether you like it or not.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 4:59 PM

Emily, he is 7, what about when he is 13,14,15 etc.?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 5:01 PM

"Emily, he is 7, what about when he is 13,14,15 etc.?"

It might be more of a challenge then, but I figure that if I try to instill good habits, foster healthy activities, surround him with decent friends, right now, and continue to do so later, that he will have a good foundation for making good choices when I am no longer able to monitor him as closely. His immediate family and friends will always be more important to him that something on tv. At least that was my own experience in my own life.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 5:06 PM

Emily, he is 7, what about when he is 13,14,15 etc.?

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 05:01 PM

What Emily said.

If you haven't taught your child values by the time they are a teenager, you're a lousy parent.

What is your solution to the decadence of the village? Ignore it? Censor it? Kill it?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 5:14 PM

dotted,
Not a better day but at least it is another day. Thanks for asking.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 5, 2007 5:18 PM

"If you haven't taught your child values by the time they are a teenager, you're a lousy parent.

What is your solution to the decadence of the village? Ignore it? Censor it? Kill it? "

I agree but the job is never ending. I think the solution is to fight it by not giving up. Recognizing what is going on is a big step. I plan on discussing why people like lohan and hilton are not to be emulated or looked up to. I may win , I may lose but at least I won't abandon my kids to the destructive pop culture.

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 5:19 PM

THIS CHAT HAS JUMPED THE SHARK.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 5:21 PM

In short, I believe many things. I am "Atheist, but I have a deeply spiritual side, and it is influenced by elements of many religions, from Christianity to Taoism. I can't really put a name on it, but I understand that people often feel a need to neatly label things. It is highly personalized, and I am happy with it because it is suited to me."

It seems to me that you may be more gnostic or agnostic, rather than an atheist. The more I read about other religions, the more similarities I find between them.

Posted by: MV | June 5, 2007 5:22 PM

everyone have a nice evening!

Posted by: pATRICK | June 5, 2007 5:25 PM

"Emily, he is 7, what about when he is 13,14,15 etc.?"

It might be more of a challenge then, but I figure that if I try to instill good habits, foster healthy activities, surround him with decent friends, right now, and continue to do so later, that he will have a good foundation for making good choices when I am no longer able to monitor him as closely. His immediate family and friends will always be more important to him that something on tv. At least that was my own experience in my own life.


Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 05:06 PM

Emily, you should save this and look at it again in 12-14 years. Every parent I know, including my own, tried to instill what you said. Kids will be who they are in spite of you as well as because of you. I know three young ladies raised in families with the ideals you mentioned. One is now in college, one is on drugs trying to clean up her act, and one is living with her boyfriend after moving out of home during senior year of high school the weekend after her 18th birthday. It's
pretty much all a crapshoot.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 5:25 PM

pATRICK, along with explaining why Lohan and her ilk should not be looked up to, be sure to list that you want them to emulate. And don't delay! Never too soon to talk about admirable qualities.

Posted by: Jen S. | June 5, 2007 5:27 PM

pATRICK

"I plan on discussing why people like lohan and hilton are not to be emulated or looked up to.

How does a big yawn like you get his kids to pay attention to your discussions?

Posted by: Shogun | June 5, 2007 5:29 PM


I agree, Emily, I don't find these distant rumblings in the culture touch our family much at all. pATRICK mentions 'tv, radio, print,internet' --- these are all opt-in/opt-out items. We're not in the habit of just flipping on a TV (no cable, we use ours mainly to show dvds), we use radio only for podcasts we've sought out, or NPR in the background (flipping it off if it becomes too adult) internet is a little trickier, opening some options while setting clear bounds. Popular culture creep has come in only minimally --- mostly popsongs from birthday sleepovers and the elementary school follies --- the kids often pick their favorites and sing karaoke versions. They're about half oldy oldies (Ring of Fire, Elvis, Mexican Radio, I will survive)and half bubblegum pop . . . honestly, we get bigger doses of kid culture from the kids' sharing their favorite authors and book series, and that has only been positive . . . there are fads like webkinz, tomagotchis, heelies, etc but they are very age-appropriate and are accompanied by fads for finger-weaving, perler beads, how-to-draw books, c s lewis poems, whatever catches on among the kid cohort . . . the kids are often surprised that we've long ago heard their current jokes or funny songs because they are just timeless kid culture.

And, we have constructed a pretty nice village of interconnected institutions, families, friends and adults, for them too ;-)

I just don't find a monolithic bogeyman out there intruding on our lives --- we're up to age 10 now. The worst I saw of it was trying to learn where to buy kid-clothes --- first to avoid the blizzard of pink frills then to avoid the trampy non-age appropriate stuff --- but you only need to explore and find such resources once.

Posted by: KB | June 5, 2007 5:30 PM

"If you haven't taught your child values by the time they are a teenager, you're a lousy parent."

You teach your child values, but it is still ultimately their decision whether to accept or reject those values. That doesn't make them a lousy parent.

My mother did not believe in premarital sex (I am in my 50's) and clearly taught that value to her children. However, I respected that it was her value, but it was not my value and I lived with DH 7 years before marriage. Does that make her a bad parent? As a parent, you teach your values, but there are outside influences including the idea that we want our children to be independent and think for themselves. You may teach them about underage drinking and illegal drug use, but even the best parents have children who make bad choices in these areas.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 5:31 PM

what is going on with KLB? I've been away for awhile...

Posted by: mountainS | June 5, 2007 5:32 PM

I mean this in the nicest way - You don't have a clue about outside influences until your kids are a little older. I suspect pATRICK either has older kids or has friends/family with older kids. My sweet angel was overtaken by an alien sometime during middle school. that's when you see that your child is looking to the bigger world to figure out life and not just your household. They may not see MTV now, but when they hear about it at the lunch table, they will watch it at the first opportunity. Maybe not at your house, but you can't monitor everything that goes on when visiting friends. You can guide them, but you can't make all their choices.

Posted by: to KB | June 5, 2007 5:37 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day is awarded to:

Fred,

In honor of his uncle, Lt. Ernie B. and the other millions who "...looked into the face of evil...(and) ...tried to bring evil to justice."

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 5:44 PM

"You can guide them, but you can't make all their choices."

I agree. The older the kids get, the more outside influences there are, and there will come a time when they will break away from you and make their own choices. There are no guarantees. And it's scary.

But what are our options? I still have to try, guide, teach, protect as much as is appropriate, love, nag, support, encourage, etc., discipline, reward, etc. That's my role. And one day, I will have to step back and hope for the best. It's just the way it is.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 5:47 PM

Also What Emily said at 4:58: While I don't abdicate my responsiblity to raise my child to other people, I think that choosing a healthy village is part and parcel of being a responsible parent.

Posted by: To Fred | June 5, 2007 5:54 PM

Also What Emily said at 4:58: While I don't abdicate my responsiblity to raise my child to other people, I think that choosing a healthy village is part and parcel of being a responsible parent.

Posted by: To Fred | June 5, 2007 05:54 PM

Huh? Why is directed at me? I had no part in the it takes a village conversation.

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 5:58 PM

For runner-up in quote of the day.

Posted by: TO Fred | June 5, 2007 5:59 PM

Fred, it's directed to you as a nomination for quote of the day (I think -- and thank you for the nomination anon poster at 5:54).

But I like your quote about your uncle better.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 6:01 PM

Fred, it's directed to you as a nomination for quote of the day (I think -- and thank you for the nomination anon poster at 5:54).

But I like your quote about your uncle better.

Posted by: Emily | June 5, 2007 6:01 PM


Thanks, to KB. I know middle school, high school, and on, will bring wider challenges. I'm hoping that by having established deep roots by then --- well-established selves, with many avenues of self-expression, engagement and accomplishment, and longstanding friendships with peers who are thoughtful, deliberate, and considerate --- they will be well-rooted enough in their core selves to explore a widening world without losing themselves in it. And I'm sure we'll be challenged to set limits, tolerate faddishness and rejections, step back and realize our waning relevance . . . I just don't see a single monolithic pop culture as so great a threat as peer group and one-on-one pressures with the particular peers important to them. Learning to negotiate these is just an inevitable challenge in becoming an autonomous adult, who connects to others without abusing/being abused by them. That's probably where my deepest worries lie. And unfortunately I think everyone is doomed to some hard, but hopefully not devastating, learning experiences in the friendship/relationship/group membership arena before hopefully reaching wise-enough maturity (pop culture/consumer wants may be the superficial arena where these issues play out but I think the interpersonal issues are really the meat of what's going on) . These have been our hardest issues so far and will probably redound painfully in adolescence . . .

Posted by: KB | June 5, 2007 6:09 PM

Ok, I understand now about the 5:54 post. But, alas, there is only one quote of the day. Sometimes the competition is tough but the prize is always the same, a ride in the creepy van. (I may have to think about the number of quotes which can win the prize, there is room for 7 in the van!)

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 6:09 PM

klb - you're on a trend! upward even.

MN - where're you? At the Wake BOE meeting?

Posted by: dotted | June 5, 2007 6:56 PM

BTW, Born Free is a jerk!

Posted by: Fred | June 5, 2007 7:30 PM

I know this is late to add a comment. I am an only child, before only children became common. I will never have an only child. Just to let you know, I loved being an only growing up. I never wanted for anything. I had my parent's full support. They lavished attention on me. I loved it. It was not until my mother had breast cancer that I saw my only childhood in a new light. Yes, I would hope that my parents would have lived to old age. I would have taken care of them. But now I have no one who can understand what I have been through. Since I was the only child, I had to be there every day at her bed forgoing after school activites (I was in medical school at the time). It would have been nice to have someone else to have around. To help my father not fall apart. Someone I can talk to. I would never judge someone for having an only child, but I would caution against it. Even though we all think we will live forever, we often don't. I would never use a child as a preparation for the unknown, but it is something that should be considered.

Posted by: Clare | June 6, 2007 4:56 AM

educmom

"As a "good Catholic girl," I don't like it when people devise a set of spiritual beliefs and then call it a religion. Religion is a form of group worship, and spitituality is individual belief (even if many people share your set of beliefs)."

Are you REALLY a teacher? The mind boogles...

Please, you are really boring us with "the mind boogles crap." You are also an a-hole.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 8:50 AM

Thank you for all of the positive feedback. A couple of things that I want to say about some of what I've read...

Yes my pregnancy was life-threatening for me and for my baby, and no there is no guarantee that a second one would be the same or worse. But since I didn't want a second this is sort of a moot point.

The changes that happened in my life were so much more than I expected. The sleep deprivation was nothing I had ever experienced before and it was horrible. I don't think it was any worse than any other parents' first year with their baby. I just think that experience helped solidify in my mind that this was not something I wanted to do again. My brothers all have more than one child and have gone through sleep deprivation more than once, and lots of people do it. For us it just helped us remember why we only wanted one.

I know a few unhappy only children. My mother is one of them. She has told all of us kids that being an only was incredibly lonely and she hated it. It may seem odd then to know that she honors our choice to have an only and has commented more than once on how happy our son is. She knows me and knows that one child is perfect for me.

It does take extra time and commitment to make sure your only child is "out there" making friends, and it means I need to raise my son to be a good friend, so he will grow up having close friends.

About 8 months ago we found out that my son has a disability. The main problem related to this disability is an inability to relate to others socially. So we have a lot of work ahead of us. We are in the process of signing my son up for social skills classes and working with his school to make sure he will get the best education possible. It helps when I know that we can get my son the help he needs without worrying that our other child(ren) would be getting short-changed. Again, lots of parents do help their special needs child and their other children and do a great job of it. I have a nephew with Down Syndrome who has an older brother. My brother and sister in law are amazing parents to both children. I honor and respect parents who can raise more than one child and do a great job at it, especially if one or more of those children has special needs.

I don't think I am doing my son a huge disservice by not having any more children.I also know several adult only children who loved being an only child. Like some of the others here wrote, some kids grow up wishing they hadn't had siblings.

n my opinion, having lots of children so you are taken care of when you're old is a very selfish reason to have children. My son was born so he could grow up and be whomever and whatever he wants to be. My husband and I are socking away as much money as we are allowed each year into our 401Ks and have also put money in other investments. When my son is out there, living his life, the last thing I want to do is ask him to stop it and come back and care for me.

Not that I am raising him to think only of himself. We already do charity work together and as he gets older I will make sure that caring for others is always an important part of his life.

Will I be disappointed if my son doesn't go to college, have children, make something of himself? No. I didn't have this child to fulfil any of my desires. This boy was born so that I could love him and allow him to grow into whatever his destiny is. I have no preconceived notion of just what that future will look like. I am guessing that deep in his soul, he knows. This struck a chord with me when I first read it in high school:


On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

One caveat - if he ends up a criminal or a murderer or some such thing, I am sure I'll be disappointed. Again, all I can do is raise him to understand that we are all interconnected and he cannot treat others any worse than he himself would wish to be treated. We have been spending a lot of time lately on the Golden Rule. He's five now and he's starting to realize that the things he does to other people have an effect on them, and will also have an effect on him.

Lastly, I do think that having a second child as a "gift" to your first IS laughable. Babies aren't birthday presents. They aren't brought into this world to entertain others. They are their own person and looking at them as a gift for an older child dehumanizes them. They are who they are. They may hate their older sibling. Their older sibling may hate them. So parents should be having more babies only because they want another baby and have everything to give to this new baby along with their other children. Babies are a gift to the world. They aren't here to do their parents' bidding or to keep a sibling from getting lonely.

My job is to love my son with all my heart and raise him to be the best person he can be. What comes of all of this, I have no idea. I'm just along for the ride. I'm building the foundation my son will need to be a good person and a good contributor to society. I believe my son will do amazing things.

Posted by: Rachel Powell | June 6, 2007 11:41 AM

I am an only child. My husband is one of 6 kids. Like most things in life, we've found that there are pros and cons to both large and small families. The list is too long to address here, but that just tells me that there's no "right" answer. We should all weigh the costs and benefits and decide what's right for our individual families. That's the best any of us can hope to do anyway.

Posted by: Tammy | June 6, 2007 12:23 PM

Rachel, as a mom of a very happy, well-adjusted only child, I applaud you for sticking your nose up at a society that, despite what people may say, does pressure us into "giving" our children siblings. I've had the rude comments, the sad looks at my son. My son is outgoing, makes friends easily, and is the farthest thing from lonely. I would love it if people would just leave their opinions on our family choice to themselves instead of judging ours.

Posted by: Tucker | June 6, 2007 3:03 PM

Rachel, thank your for your thoughtful posts. Your son is very lucky to have you. I'm an only child raising an only child. Being an only child was not lonely for me and it isn't lonely for my daughter.
My husband and I always knew we only wanted one, even though he has a sibling we adore. In addition to all the reasons you mentioned, we just don't have that "urge" to have another one. If we did, we would have another one. It is simple, really. I applaud those of you with more than one child who just wanted more children, but I worry about those of you that had another one because you thought it was the "right" thing to do.
It is the most personal choice a couple can make and it is no one's business which way they decide to go.

Posted by: Little Stark | June 7, 2007 1:55 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company