15 month sleep regression ain’t no joke. It’s 2:30 in the morning right now. I haven’t been up with you at this hour waiting for you to fall asleep in months. Eons, it seems. I thought we were passed this. I thought we had moved on, to greener, more verdant pastures that included finger painting, long walks in the park, and hand holding. This stuff is for babies Pony, let’s start acting our age. Your 14 months old age. My almost 40 years old age. 40 years. Wow.
Do we need to talk about that? The fact that I am turning 40? It’s kind of a big deal. I think it’s supposed to be a bigger deal than maybe it is for me. A lot of people choose to celebrate 40 in a really grand way, large parties are not unheard of. But that’s not my style. I don’t tend to fancy large groups of people, especially when they are all there for me. The pressure to entertain and make sure everyone enjoys themselves is way too much for me. I implode a little. Well, actually, I become slightly frantic and ADDish, flitting briefly from person to person, careful never to spend too much time with any one disparate group. I suppose it would be easier if all my friends knew each other, like your Dad’s do. But mine are all over the place from different historical epochs of my life. I conclude such parties feeling remorseful that I didn’t get a real chance to connect with so and so who drove so far or him and her that came early even. It sucks. I much prefer the meaningful route. A sweat lodge, meditation retreat, workshop…camping with my family. My perfect three legged family. A tripod. That is what we are. Or a triangle. The strongest shape in the system. 3, it’s the magic number.
I didn’t intend to get into this here. Not now, not at 2:41 in the morning, but here I am, so let’s get into it.
During a conversation last night that started out innocuous enough, Dad and I started casually discussing our realistic (not magical thinking) finances. That segued into our age, and physical endurance levels. After that we threw in some emotional discourse and arrived at the clear conclusion that we did NOT think having another baby was a good idea.
Bam. And just like that, we became 3. Which we always were. But there was this potential for 4 that had loomed over my head since you were two months old. So for over a year now I have been living with, planning for, and imagining another baby. A little sister or brother for you. And now that is gone. Gone baby gone. And I mourn. For the empty space that imaginary baby took up in my heart and mind. And I celebrate the relief that not having to have another baby incurs. It’s complicated. I wish it were more simple. But it’s not. I prayed while grieving in the bathtub with you last night, please little baby, not here, not now. Somewhere else, someone else. We love you. We wish you well. It’s not easy. None of it. This whole experience of having you has rocked my world. You are the most fascinating creature I have ever encountered. I am in complete and utter awe of you on a moment to moment basis. You never cease to amaze me. And I am terrified of having to go through it all again. The getting pregnant, the pregnancy, the birth, oh God, the birth, the first few days, the digestion starts, the witching hour, the bottles, the breasts, the pumps, the nursing bras, the nursing pads, the slow and agonizing weight loss, the fear, paralyzing heart stopping fear that something bad would happen to you constantly choking me, crawling, walking, falling, crying, and oh man, sleeping. Elusive mercurial sleeping. It never ends. The job never ends. There are no breaks. No 15 minutes to not think or worry about you. NOT EVER. And yet smelling you is as glorious as it gets. Moments I wouldn’t change for anything. Moments utterly sublime and divine. Your first smile, first hug, first kisses, first Dada, Momma, dog. The guileless joy you have for the smallest thing, like a burp or a fart. In fact, the guileless emotions you have for everything. Like your first tantrum you threw tonight. I am so sorry if I sound condescending, but it was adorable Pony. You dropped to your knees and laid you head on the floor and wailed like a banshee. Dad tried to catch it on film but it was over before he could get the camera rolling and then you were back and you wanted to play, cause of tantrum already forgotten. I get it. I feel that way too sometimes. Anyway, I digress…what I want you to know, is that we didn’t take this decision lightly. That it was something separately your Father and I had been mulling over for a long time now. Long time meaning your whole life, really. We thought, after you were born, high off the adrenaline I now believe, that of course we would have another. How could we not? How could we leave you an only child? Wouldn’t that be plain cruel of us? Wasn’t every child supposed to have a sibling? Isn’t this what we are supposed to do? And I tell you Pony P, if we were 10, no, even 5 years younger, I bet you we would do it. We’d bite that fucking bullet and go for it. No holds barred. But we aren’t younger. We are older. We waited a long time to have you. Maybe too long. But regardless, we have a long list of reasons why not to have another baby and a lot of reasons why having you is incredibly amazingly wonderfully more than enough.
I hope you don’t hate us for this someday.
I promise to surround you with lots of cool friends and we’ll go cool places. You won’t lack for a rich social life.
Okay- it’s 3am now and you are still rolling around and talking to your stuffed animals in your bed. This is weird.
Go to sleep. Please. For the love of God. Go. To. Sleep.
Besides, look what I just found. See, we knew we were onto something.
The advantages of being an only child. More and more couples nowadays are opting to have one child only. A look at some of the reasons for this decision.
The only child was a much rarer phenomenon even twenty or thirty years ago. It was seldom a case of choosing to have just one child. Then, only children tended to be shy, over-protected and socially withdrawn. They were often the offspring of older or infertile couples at a time when the average age for having a first child was in one’s twenties.
Now, when having children in one’s thirties or even forties is almost the norm, a “new” only child has emerged. This child is well balanced and socially adept. Indeed, today’s only child benefits from the knowledge that it is the product of a positive parental choice.
More couples are deciding to have just one child for a variety of reasons. The most common reason, however, is financial. Couples are determined to maintain a comfortable standard of living, not only for their child but also for themselves. An only child certainly benefits from having the family financial resources focussed upon him or herself.
Parents of only children no longer have to worry about their child being lonely or at a social disadvantage. Mobility and the resources to support an active social life have put an end to that. Only children have friends to stay over on a regular basis and at school they have no problem fitting in and making new friends. Many of their classmates are also only children.
Many couples are increasingly concerned about providing a good education. Some are keen to give their child a private education or, at least, private tuition in certain subjects. If this means that they can only afford to have one child, then so be it.
Parents of only children have more time to focus on the general aspects of child development and learning issues and can give their child that individual attention that makes such a difference. Studies have proven that only children often do better in life for the same reasons that first-borns do. First-borns have their parents’ individual attention for those important first few years and therefore benefit from greater stimulation. As a result, first-borns are often higher achievers in later life. In the case of the only child, this individual attention is available throughout childhood and can put then in a very strong position in later adult life.
There was a time when having an only child had something of a stigma attached to it. People often assumed that parents had a fertility problem and that no one could be “so selfish as to stop at one”. Nowadays, that attitude has virtually disappeared. Parents are open and happy about having an only child. If a parent is happy, then so will their child be happy.
Often parents have no problem sustaining a good relationship and enjoying life when they have only one child to cope with. It is when a second baby appears in a couple of years’ time that difficulties can surface. A mother of an only child doesn’t have to deal with being pregnant and looking after a toddler at the same time. Sleepless nights are certainly less of a problem if you only have one child. In fact, the whole logistics and organisation of having more than one child can overwhelm a couple’s personal relationship.
This is an important factor when deciding whether to have one child or not. It is possible to sustain an uninterrupted career path if a parent only takes a couple of years out or indeed, only takes the minimum maternity break and then returns to work without the need to update skills.
Only children today, are completely different people from those of just a few decades ago. Not only are they far more numerous, they are happier individuals who are well-balanced and more socially adept.