The sibling question

Age: 15 1/3 months
I like:ย Porridge, bread sticks, mega bloks, pushing my walker, cats, boobs, not walking

There was a time I was fairly sure I would want two children – probably in quick succession considering my age and how long it took me to get pregnant with Little O. Since Little O was born though I have found my opinion somewhat changed.

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Before I had a child I imagined having two children would be extremely difficult but still doable. I mean after all many people are doing it and bossing it every day. Now, even though Little O is not a particularly challenging child, having a newborn alongside him seems like an almost impossible task. He’s not tantrumy or particularly clingy. He plays nicely by himself, he mostly eats his food and he sort of sleeps now… at least sometimes. He is more or less all consuming though.

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I now also know better all the things that could come with a new child… what of they had reflux or colic or slept even less than Little O or also didn’t want to be put down ever at any point in time for the first four months. I found having a very small baby so incredible hard and exhausting and frightening that I don’t feel like I’d survive it again. I just can’t work out the logistics in my head… how do you get them both to go to bed?? On the selfish side I am also not sure I would want to take almost another year out of work or put my body through such intense changes again.

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Necklace design by Little O

But over the weekend Little O had a play date with his friend, Little M. Little M and Little O are birthday buddies although she is much more advanced than he is. Probably because she is a girl and a little legend. He was very excited to see her and watching them play together… or more like beside each other… was so incredibly cute. Little O generally absolutelyย loves other children. The minute he sees another child he will point with excitement and want to get to them.

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Side eye

As part of the play date we took both of them to the soft play at Mr O’s work. There were some other older children playing there. Little O immediately involved himself in what they were doing and to their credit they were happy to let him play. Soon they were all rolling around together playing and hugging each other. It was so much fun to watch.

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Then on Sunday we visited Mr O’s cousin who has three children and the four of them all had a wonderful time playing together. And suddenly I had a pang. I am not sure if my decision not to have any more children is 100% final but I don’t have any burning desire for more. What if I am robbing Little O of the privilege and joy of having a sibling? Will he miss out on some of life’s great experiences? My brother and I were not terribly close as children. I mean we had to be physically close because it’s hard to hit someone if they’re not next to you but we didn’t exactly play nicely together. By our teens and early 20’s we were inseparable though and while we don’t see each other often now, he means the world to me.

I am not sure what the right answer is to the sibling question. What I know is that I am not ready to answer it and suddenly the idea no longer seems completely off the table… is table adjacent a thing?

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Family fun

23 Comments

  1. I was an only child, at a time when it was quite rare here, and considered ‘unusual’. Hence most of my friends had up to four siblings, and I got to see life in those bigger families. I never wanted to have a brother or sister. Sharing a room,and in many cases then, a bed too. Getting hand-me- downs, or always arguing about who sits where, and what to play, or where to go. But that was the late 1950s. Many of those friends are still in touch. They bitch about their brothers or sisters not helping out with elderly parents, or never doing their share of family stuff. Seems like little has changed.

    On the other side of the argument, my wife had four children under five. (One four, one two, and newborn identical twins) She still managed to do a part-time job, raise the kids well, and now they are aged 32, 29, and 27, they all ‘sort-of’ get on, and look out for each other whenever anything happens. As a step-dad, my main complaint is the sheer level of noise. When they are all in the same room, talking over each other, it has to be heard to be believed.

    I have never had any of my own children. At the time I thought about it with my first wife, in 1977, we always used to say, “Just one”.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Wow! Julie is an utter champ! What a challenge that must have been.

      I hear you on the noise. Our neighbours have many children… we’re not sure how many (we think 6) or if they all still live at home but their noise carries into our house and it is quite something. If you grow up in a very quiet house it must be a lot to take in a very lively family.

      I’m not sure what we will decide in the end. At the moment I think we’re one and done.

  2. I remember having my second daughter and thinking how am I going to love both of them! (I even wrote a blog post about it). Those first few weeks is a blur now and life with two has grown on me. Bath time and bed time scared me daily until all of a sudden, it didn’t anymore. Whether you have another child or not, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for you and your family.

    1. I keep thinking it must be possible because so many people do it. I am not entirely managing looking after one child. Lol! I think about things like what if they are both sick? I guess right now it’s still too early to decide. I just can’t imagine going through those first 6 months again!

      1. You know what, when they are both sick, you just bounce back and forth between the two of them. It’s when they are sick at different times that it drags on for the parents. It does get easier as they age but then there is something new to figure out! I do love having two kids.

  3. Table adjacent is definitely a thing xD Man, the kids question is a big one. I don’t think it is selfish to not want another child (body, career, any of those things), but that is just me. Big decisions.

    1. It’s probably the biggest decision you’ll ever make. Every other situation you can reverse or get yourself out of but parenthood is for life and bringing an entire human being into the world through your choice isn’t something to be taken lightly.

  4. I absolutely get it. We (obviously) settled on childfree as our answer, and we are completely happy with our lives, but still… Definitely not table adjacent, but certainly same restaurant here.

    I have always admired anyone who can do more than one in diapers, and known that they are better people than I.

    1. There are so many factors to take in and I think whatever situation you choose or is thrust upon you has pros and cons.

      If we did have another I think we’d wait until Little O is heading to school… but then I will be almost 40 so it has another layer of challenges. Lots to think about.

  5. I don’t think only children are deprived of anything. Often times close friends take the place of siblings.

    1. I don’t think they are deprived of anything either but it does bring a different set of experiences.

    1. There is always a lot of thinking that should go into place when bringing human beings into existence.

      1. For sure ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re doing a great job so far

  6. Jen

    You won’t be robbing him of anything if he doesn’t have siblings. It’s kind of a horrible to put it that way. Only children have perfectly full lives. You can’t miss what you never had.

    1. I think I have worded it badly. I did not mean to suggest at all that only children in any way have a life that is “lesser” than that of children who have siblings.I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both. There is no denying that they are different experiences though and that every sibling relationship is also unique. I suppose it weighs on me because it is a decision that it is somewhat within my gift to make for someone else.

  7. MIB

    I’m interested in your definition of “Quick succession”. How long were you thinking of waiting – a week? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. I don’t think that is actually physically possible. There was a time though where I was considering starting to try again when Little O was a year old. That is certaunly not happening.

      1. MIB

        I know, I was kidding. :/

        Me and my sister are two years apart which seems sensible to me. Siblings who are a year apart means their mum spent almost two whole years being pregnant and that sounds like quite a trial. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  8. Sending love. There isn’t a right decision, it’s just whats best for you. I did two and through but a third would’ve killed me!! xxx

    1. My problem is that I have absolutely no idea what is best for me as I keep proving over and over again. Three is not even table adjacent though.

      1. The worst is the jump from 0 to one. It’s when your eyes open. 1-2, you’re more ready, it’s not such a shock. I always thought two hands, two parents, two kids xxxxxxx

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