I remember the joys and wonders of our first pregnancy–the hopes and dreams, the worries, the baby-proofing. It’s hard to believe that was over seven years ago. I recall one question people loved to ask us after our first-born: Are you done? The potato has barely cooled down since coming out of the oven and people already want to know if that’s that. Give me some time to figure out if I like this one before asking me if there’s going to be another. Ask me again in two years.
There are many times I would have loved to answer “Yes” to that question. But the truth is, if you’re going to have one kid, you need to have two. The benefits of two children far outweigh the initial start-up costs of adding a second child. If you can have them both at the same time, you’ll save yourself a bit of money. Sure, having a kid is expensive and with the world in its current state, maybe we should be adopting kids instead of making new ones. But, having that second child solves a lot of problems.
An only child gets all the attention, doesn’t have to share, and worse yet, wants to play with you. You need to shake his world up. I don’t care how cute the first child is, he’ll take a backseat to a newborn every time. He’ll learn his place once you start calling him by the baby’s name. That’s if he’s lucky. More than likely, you’ll have such a hard time coming up with his name that he’ll only get a “Hey you” or “Big Brother”.
Don’t worry. It’s perfectly fine to forget your child’s name or to use the wrong one. In fact, it’s helpful. I have no research to back this up, but have you seen child research? It’s creepy.
Do you want your first-born to be a spoiled, ego-centric narcissist? Do you? Then hurry up with that second child. Big brother will be old news and he’ll learn that the world doesn’t revolve around him. He’ll hear the baby screaming at 2 in the morning and then watch you run in to spend time with his little sister. Meanwhile, anytime he screams for something to drink, you tell him to quiet down and get it himself. You know that’s going to knock him down a few rungs. Mom and Dad can’t get baby a bottle fast enough, but won’t lift a finger to get the boy some chocolate milk. Such is life.
Now that your first-born is knocked back to reality, it’s time to focus on another problem that a second child can fix–tantrums. Tantrums will soon be a thing of the past. While the older child lies on the floor kicking and screaming, you can take the baby into another room and relax. While you’re getting your chill on with the baby, big sister’s screams eventually deplete her of air and she passes out leaving you and baby to your rocking chair and scented candles. Enjoy.
Baby also learns from older siblings. Potty-training Caleb was a nightmare. Leah was a breeze. (Here’s to hoping Libby is too.) She watched big brother going potty and wanted to do it herself. And she did. She basically potty-trained herself, leaving her Mom and me to more important things, like watching LOST and Dexter (there wasn’t much else on t.v. in 2008). Leah learned to dress herself while we were busy helping Caleb get dressed and she mastered utensils while watching us feed the boy. I’m telling you, the second one is so much easier. If you feel like a crappy parent with your first child, the second one will be a confidence booster.
But here’s the most important benefit. After some time, the older kid realizes that the baby gets all the good stuff from Mom and Dad–hugs and kisses instead of yells and switches. (Does anybody use a switch anymore? I think it’s time we brought ‘em back.) Once they’ve discovered this, they start playing with the baby. This frees you up from having to deal with either one of them. Genius!
Some of you may want to know about the problems that arise from having two kids instead of one. While things do get a little hairy with a second child, it’s an easy fix. Have a third kid. By this time, your oldest can help with the baby, and the middle child is happy to have somebody smaller to boss around. All you’ll have to do is pour food in their bowls in the morning. When you start having problems with your three children, toss a fourth into the mix. Problem solved. Eventually, you’ll have enough kids to start your own reality t.v. show. You’ll be rich and famous. You’re welcome.