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Archive for Monday, December 8, 2008

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How many kids until you’re a real parent?

December 8, 2008

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I was walking downtown with my friend Laela one gray afternoon when she turned to me and asked, “Do you think you’ll have more children?”

Oh, I’ve been asked that question many times since that day, but that was my first time. Laela’s son and my daughter were both 1 1/2 years old (we met at a baby/parent class) and I guess that’s about the time when that question starts to come up.

“I’m not sure,” was my honest answer. “How about you?”

“This is going to sound terrible,” she answered shyly, “but sometimes I’m afraid that if I only have one and something happens to him it would destroy me. If there were two, I wouldn’t have all my eggs in one basket.”

You know, maybe that does sound terrible. But I confess I had already had that thought (and stuffed it into the box in my head where I keep my unwanteds and uncomfortables). Hearing that someone else, someone sweet and good like Laela, also had that fear was liberating. That bad thought looked tiny, harmless and, well, pretty unrealistic once released into the wilds of the real world. I mean, really, a backup? Why did we think that would help?

I remember Bill Cosby had a joke that you weren’t a real parent unless you had at least two kids. With one kid, when something gets broken in the house you know who did it. With two kids, it gets more complicated. Well, Laela did end up having another child and I didn’t. Life just went like that for about a billion reasons. They say it takes all kinds, and I think we’re both happy with the way things turned out.

It may seem odd, but when I was a kid my all-time favorite book was “Cheaper by the Dozen.” What I liked most about it, however, was not the idea of having 12 children. Actually, the part that sparked my imagination was the fantasy of someday, like the parents in the story, having a career as an efficiency expert. Truly, it does take all kinds.

Comments

Jason Bailey 6 years ago

Well, Meghan, at least you have one "sticky pixie" that you hand food to which you pick up randomly as you walk through the grocery store -- in an attempt to placate said child.For those that are wondering what I'm talking about, Meghan wrote an article a month ago about how theft while in a grocery store and lazy parenting were acceptable because parents where tired. I still can't read anything this woman writes without thinking about those pearls of wisdom.

treesplease 6 years ago

oh please jason2007, if you were my kid i'd have no issue with popping a grape in your mouth if it would keep you quiet. may you be subjected to torturous trips o the store with many tantruming toddlers who are lacking sleep and hungry for a snack. Judge others often? Pretty sure you just made the writers point with that comment. Chill out.

davidsmom 6 years ago

I also can't stand the thought of stealing in the grocery store, even if it's just one grape, but that's just me. And I can't stand watching toddlers and preschoolers running loose in stores, messing with merchandise, etc. I think it's irresponsible of parents. Mine didn't like it but they rode in the cart when they were too big for the backpack; and I didn't give them options. But we all have our own style of parenting.

TacoBob 6 years ago

How many kids? Three - one of each.

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