I have several friends who have one child. They plan on only having that one child and that’s lovely. Good for them. I think people should only have the number of children they want or feel comfortable taking care of whether that be one or ten. (That means if you chose to have TEN, you should be able to provide for them without relying on anyone else to help you provide for those children, ie. Uncle Sam).
But I’ve recently come to the conclusion that if you have less than two children, you are skimping on the joys of full fledged parenting. No, I’m not implying you’re not as good of a parent or anything like that. I simply mean that by having ONE child as opposed to MULTIPLE children, you’re missing out a crucial aspect of parenting. And it’s a big one. It’s the one that drives fathers to retreat to their dens and mothers to pour themselves wine at 10 am.
Or sibling anything really. My kids hate each other. At least, I can only assume they hate each other because they are horrible to each other and that doesn’t say love to me. They never have anything nice to say to each other.
And they hit each other. A lot. All the time. And they both scream. A lot.
My day goes something like this:
“Get out of my room!” (The girl)
“You took my Diary of the Wimpy Kid books out of MY room. I want them back.” (The boy)
“You never read them!” (The girl)
“Well I don’t want you to have them either. Give them back!” (The boy)
“You’re mean!” (The girl)
“Big deal.” (The boy)
“You’re ugly, too.” (The girl)
“Well you’re fat.” (The boy)
“At least I can diet, you’re ugly forever.” (The girl)
“At least I’m not an idiot. No boy is ever gonna like you because you’re so dumb.” (The boy)
“Daddy likes me.” (The girl)
“That statement just proves you’re an idiot.” (The boy)
Scream followed by a thud. Another scream. This is where I enter the conversation.
“Why did you knock your sister on the floor?” (Me)
“I didn’t knock her on the floor, she fell!” (The boy)
More screams, possible wailing. (From the girl)
“You knocked her on the floor.” (Me)
“Well she hit me…” (The boy)
“You PUNCHED me!” (The girl)
“Keep your hands off of her.” (Me)
“She touched me first.” (The boy)
“You’re older. You should know better.” (Me)
“But she hit me. I’m supposed to stand there and take it?” (The girl)
“Yup. You should be the bigger person.” (He absolutely loathes this statement. His sister now sticks her tongue out him. She thinks I can’t see it, but I have eyes in the back of my head, remember?)
“You both get to go to your rooms now.” (Me)
“What? What did I do? That’s not fair!” (Them)
“Life’s not fair. Get over it.” (Me)
“You like her/him more than me!” (Them)
“I don’t like either of you right now.” (Me)
And so on and so forth. All. Freaking. Day. Long.
People with onlies are missing out on this entertaining daily banter. If you are parent of an only child and you are experiencing conversations such as these perhaps you should seek psychiatric attention for your child (or yourself).
Also, you don’t get to experience the art of perfecting the seating chart. For example, when we go to a restaurant, I know exactly who can sit next to who. I not only know that my lefties can’t sit next to my righties, but the kids must be separated.
Once, just once, we let the kids sit next to each other in a booth at a restaurant. We had to leave before the younger one impaled the older one with her fork. It’s that bad.
They can’t sit next to each other in the car either. They need a physical boarder separating them, or better yet, they need to be in separate rows of the vehicle. In the car, they will fight about everything from who spotted the sign to our destination first or who spilled the drink they weren’t supposed to have in the car.
There are no fun car games like “License plate bingo” or “I Spy”. There is kicking to the back of my seat and objects going airborne for most of the ride. Once, I got hit in the head with a football while driving. I feel like I’m operating a school bus half the time.
I figured that since they are several years apart and of opposite genders, sibling rivalry was not going to be an issue like it was between me and my sister. (She used to bite her own arm and then lie to my mother and tell her I did it. I got her back by pushing her down a flight of stairs and blaming it on the dog).
I’m hoping at some point in time my kids will realize that they’re in this together, they’ve got a built in friend and confidant for life. Most likely when they have to change my diapers or hook up their father’s computer for the bizillionth time. (Oh, who am I kidding, they’ll probably put us in a nursing home the first time we forget where we parked the car at the grocery store).
I guess there’s just no way around it. Sibling rivalry is always going to exist, as long as there are siblings. And the only way to prevent that is…have an only child.