Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Only child raising 2 kids
I am an only child. If you believe the stereotype then I know nothing about sharing, am totally self-absorbed and pretty much believe that the sun not only revolves around me but basically that it is but a mere star compared to how important I am. If you know the reality it is nothing like this. I am sure there are only children like that, much like there are children from multiple families like that, but that is defined by the mental health profession as Narcissistic Personality Disorder - difficult to treat and hell to have one in your family. I know from personal experience ... if it is not somehow about them you will pay, when it is about them you will pay - it is not fun.
Only children that I know are usually burdened with this stereotype and have to defend it - part of me has long ago realized that some of it is pure drivel and other parts I embrace. Yes I had a lot of attention - the good is that my parents were focused on me and as you grow up into a teenager oh yeah the bad is my parents were focused on me. They, along with almost all parents of only children, took many opportunities to tell you how you were lucky to be only one, how you had to share and a basically having a weird conversation dance between confirming that they believed the stereotype and telling you not to be it. Most only children I know, and I have been lucky enough to have many of them as best friends, tend to be loyal and pretty cognizant that while we may have asked for a sibling it would be the sibling we would build - kind of like the 6 Million Dollar Sibling. Some wanted an older one, some a younger. Some a same sex one others the opposite. They were to be the best buddy, confidant, built in sleep-over buddy, play mate, party person, secret keeper and sharer and ally with parents and all others. This is the sibling we wanted - so yeah maybe we are a little self-focused because all of those things would make an only child happy to have a sibling not resentful of one.
When I decided I did want children, this was not the "oh I have always wanted them" girl, I also had some long discussions on how many. My husband is one of 3 he assumed it was a given that we would have multiples. Me - well like I said the commitment to have one seemed like a lot. I mean what if I was all those things that people say about only children. What if I couldn't be good to them in the way the child needed???? So I had my first son and well he was awesome, still is, if a terrible sleeper. I did not choose to marry young, I chose to be young and crazy when I was in my twenties and wouldn't change a thing, so you know the Big Ben ovary clock was ticking if we were to have more. We decided to have one more two years after the first one - after all having only one while I saw it as something that I would give all to one child could also seem like a selfish choice on my part. So we had another boy and before any one asks - NO I have no regrets or ever wanted to have girls or wished I had a girl; stupid ass question that gets asked too much.
Raising two children is quite a challenge - I mean they are close and then all of sudden a fun "wrestling" moment turns into some sort of held in crying or worse. There is a constant " he got an millimeter more of milk in his glass" than me. They are NSA worthy of noting what the other got or is getting from food to apps to you name it. They are similar but their own people. So how is an only child supposed to raise 2??? I am sure I screw this up as much as I nail it. I do not ascribe to older one has to give in just because of birth order, I do not ever forget to tell them equally how proud/love/kiss them. Yet when they start to argue or bicker or wrestle it takes everything I have not to interfere or know when to interfere. The other day they were about to escalate and I said " My brother and I never fought" - got this from my good friend who says that about her sister and her to her boys. This stopped them "Umm you don't have a brother" my youngest said - "It's my imaginary brother". This has led to some very funny talks in our house (yes my designed sibling would have been an older brother) and has recently helped me try and remind them that they should focus on the good things they do together instead of the "he pushed me first". I want them to be the siblings that we only children all pined away for - not necessarily the way all sibling relationships are in real life - but the ones where they are best friends in the end. I think my boys have that and I hope that I am balancing well with my experience as a singleton in a multiple child world. My husband did want 3 or 4 and as I have told him many a time - may he and his next wife have as many as they want :).
So Abby or anyone else - is there any one thing you would like to tell me to do besides love and treat my two equally? Besides making sure I provide them both with opportunities to be the best people they can be? Besides the occasional "I will give you both something to be upset about if you can't work it out?"
All About Me but not really - more like All About Them