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15.11.12

One child versus 27 children


I would just like to mention that sometimes I wish I only had one child (as opposed to the other sometimeses when I wish I had none, of course). Easy there tiger, don't get all roar-y on me, I'm not wishing away my beloved girls, not at all.
But sometimes I imagine what it must be like to have the one kid to... focus on. All the loving, all the attention, all the time you've possibly got to give, you get to lavish on that one kid. It must feel bloody good (and I'm pretty sure the kid loves it too).
More than that, there would be no tag teaming. Around here, my kids get together at the beginning of January each year and plot out the year ahead. The AGM goes something like this...
"You take January, Cappers," Max directs. "Fall off the trampoline and sprain your ankle so mum has to carry you everywhere for two weeks... no, wait, you'll need to stretch that to three weeks because -"
"-because I can't implement the morning tears-and-skirt-hanging routine until preschool goes back in February," chimes in The Badoo.
"Great," agrees Cappers. "So you take February, but make sure you throw in at least three weekly up-all-night episodes, mum's looking a bit too well-rested lately - she copes with us all so much better on sleep so keep her up, won't you?"
"I'll do the school-meltdown-anxiety-attacks March through to June," Max says generously. "I could probably stretch them to July if there's any sign that mum is getting over them."
"Or if I can't get a nobody-at-school-will-play-with-me festival up and running by then," agrees Cappers.
And so it goes. Each with their own little idiosyncrasies and foibles, all guaranteed to make you think you're both the most unfortunate and the worst parent currently working the beat. There is just so much going on that you'd swear you had 27 children (something I often mention to the kids - "It's hard having 27 children you know", to which the reply is always the same "aw muuuuum".)
Every child has patches of sheer golden delight, of course, but the presence of their siblings means their parents can't bask in the light. You might even hope that they would all get their big problems over and done with at the same time so you could have a little break every now and then, but every parent of any child knows that there's no way you could survive that lot. So you are sadly even a little bit pleased that they work their annual schedule so well. It's rather considerate of them, really.
I just can't help think that one child couldn't possibly be all the trouble of three. That one, sweet, lovely child, giving off a golden glow every now and then, uninterrupted. That one child with one set of problems and one random phobia (probably even a 'normal' phobia about dogs or the dark or something... bliss!). That golden, sunny, delightful one child who doesn't even have that many problems because their parents actually have time to sit down and talk to them about their troubles before they escalate into full-blown anxiety issues requiring $280 visits to the psychologist, speech therapist and occupational therapist weekly for, oh, about three years.
I digress. 
One child - whoever you are, wherever you are - I miss you.


Do you sometimes wish you could focus on the one?


31 comments:

Sarah Humphreys said...

I often wonder if I will just stick with having the one child. I feel like he is the love of my life and I really do bask in his sunshine a whole lot. And it is a really great thing for us. I'm sure your kids adore EACH OTHER though too, never forget what beautiful thing you have created for later in life as well - loving siblings, sharers of blood and stories and history... very spesh. xx

Mother Down Under said...

I only have one...and I constantly debate with myself whether or not I want another one.
I agree with Sarah that I do get a lot of sunshine.
But then I wonder if he gets a lot of sunshine...does he need some sibling sunshine?

See, if you only had one, you would be wondering about having more!

Catherine said...

I have a friend who has just one the same age as my Miss 13 and although she wouldn't have it any other way she has told me that since there are not siblings to argue with she is the target all the time. It is hard sometimes when you have one that is just delightful and then the other has behaviour that is unsavoury and you just wish they could time it a bit better but like you say coping with two difficult ones would not be pretty for any of you. The other day hubby, Miss 8 and I went out together without Miss 13, it was lovely for her to get attention just from us to let her light shine without her sister there and her sister was equally happy to have time to herself. Maybe you could have a date with each of them, let their light glow and let you bask in the glory of the special moment. xx

Naturally Carol said...

I missed out on getting the perfect 'one' too. Maybe that's why I had to have five..they must be all 20 percenters!

sascedar said...

yeah i have three and your description of the Annual General Meeting has me peeing myself a little (or is that my weak pelvic floor? maybe both). I bet my mum (she had 4) thought much the same, but my three siblings and I, dancing our arses off at a family wedding on the weekend made it totally worth it. You know, for us. :)sarah

Emily said...

No roaring. We all have these thoughts. Just as those with fewer children would wonder if more would keep themselves entertained! Grass greener blah blah. x

Caz (The Truth About Mummy) said...

Ohhhhhh now I understand. I didn't realise they planned it so well. Mine are awesome planners!!!! Totally explains why I'm exhausted 95% of the time!!!! (And yes I also really like exclamation mark!!!!!!)

Cath said...

I did manage to get the perfect "one", although sometimes I do wonder whether I got several kids all rolled into that one. And that's not including my "other" children - The Bears. I certainly am glad that I don't have to deal with fights and tag-teaming at playing up. I try as best as I can to give him social time with playdates with friends and his cousins. I think he can share and consider others most of the time. But he does really take the full attention of at least one of his parents almost all the time he is home - it's mighty exhausting!

I knew not long after he was born that he would be the "only one". He seemed to fill the whole hole that was there. He is enough - and I mean that in all possible ways ;-)

Leisa said...

Sometimes...but for very different reasons...

Brenda @ Mira Narnie said...

i do love your description of the AGM of a child's issues spreading through the year. i have never felt busier as a mother...what with all the shenanigans of each child having "issues" to deal with at different times! But having said that...I always knew that having my second child was the best thing I did for my son...he needed her just as much as I needed her! If I just had him...there would have been trouble. As always though Bron, you lighten the mood that is the dark side of parenting with such wit!

Sarah said...

Yup... DItto

therhythmmethod said...

I know I think this but it rarely ever manifests itself as an actual feeling, just this slightly bitter feeling when I see a mum-to-one managing everything beautifully.

Fiona said...

Very well written Bron. When ours were younger, my husband always joked with others that at any one time 25% of children in the world were crying ... which meant we always had one crying. Now I could just as easily add that at any one point in time, 25% of the world's children are hungry, or sulking, or tired ... it never ends.
But would we really have it any other way?

Miss Pink said...

Hilarious.
Yep. I can totally picture my kids having that meeting too.

Glen said...

My suggestion is just to do that anyway and take it in turns for fairness. So one day pretend the youngest is your only child, the next day the middle and so on.. Just ignore the other two on those days -- I'm fairly sure this should work.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I just want to attend the next AGM. So I can roll around in a corner and laugh at what they have planned for you.

Mrs BC said...

My eldest was an only child until she was 12, and although she spent a lot of time wishing for siblings, I think she actually loved it. I do think that if you have more than one child, each child gets a chance to avoid the singular attention of their parents occasionaly. And that's a good thing :)
xx

Lisa@RandomActsOfZen said...

Oh Bron, hilarious AGM! I used to worry that my one would be lonely without siblings, but she's pretty social so seems to be doing fine.
I've always really enjoyed doing things with her and I together, but honestly sometimes she does spin enough drama for three.
I don't know if I'd have enough patience for more than one, or the ability to juggle all the activities as they get older. x

Mama of 2 boys said...

I like this very much. It made me feel a little better about the train wreck that is my life at the moment. Dramatic? yes. But it stands to reason that drama is going to multiply, the more children you have.
Your trio are gorgeous by the way xo

Fiona said...

Recently the Moth and I found ourselves at a cafe with only two of our four children. The four of us looked at each other, giggled and said "look, we're a normal sized family!" But aside from being cheaper, it wasn't as much fun. It was too quiet and orderly. We're thinking of starting a "Favourite for the Day" - where one of them gets all the attention, is always right and gets to lord it around for a bit.

Loreena @ Little Aussie Travellers said...

Oh I TOTALLY get this.
My heart aches for my big boy, who has been so often pushed aside or had more expected of him, just because he's the eldest and most self reliant.

I'm truly glad I had my daughter in the middle and a boy each side. It means she gets to be special as the only girl, and hopefully not as messed up as middle children apparently are!

My baby, has stayed just that for too long, my baby, and now, trying to make him a bit more independent has all the trials and tribulations I didn't expect.

Regardless, I love them all. They are all so different and special. I have been thinking a lot lately about scheduling them all time with myself and hubby so that they can have our one on one attention, in our busy schedules I still haven't done it of course, but this post has reminded me or maybe it's the thought that counts?

Bungalowgirl said...

Ha, you write about this soooo well ( as usual). My first had so many issues medical and otherwise that he burnt me out by the time he was four. His sister unfortunately got the worn out husk mother and even minor dramas with her cause me to drop my bundle. This is the first year that I have had a taste of parenting children without major dramas and it is much appreicated. On a side note, only children probably have less actual issues than three but they need and expect much more parent interaction and at that awful point as teenagers that they turn on you for a variable amount of time, there is no one else to validate that you are actually a good mother! Soak up the fact that on any given day, there will always be at least one who is golden and thinks you are the bees knees. mel x

Lipgloss Mumma said...

Oh I love that scenario - must surely happen here to in January!

I think about this a lot as I grew up as an only child. (apart from older adult step siblings I rarely saw) All I ever wanted was a sister or brother. And even to this day I wish I had a sibling to share life with.

I also think that sometimes one is harder than two/three/four in some respects.

I wouldn't have our four girls any other way - except for the days I wish for NONE!!

Bron said...

Why is it the perfect solution always belongs to someone else...life woudl certainly less interesting without the kids that's for sure.
xxx

Laura said...

I have just the one. And it has taken two and half years to be (almost) ready for another. I do often think though how much things will change when another little person is added to our family.

But as one of three girls I adored having sisters (and still do). The attention your siblings take away from you is returned three-fold by their companionship, I am sure of it.

Plus a friend of mine has seven (7!) children and they are truly the most well-rounded, loved, lovely kids.

x Laura

Elisa {With Grace and Eve} said...

The AGM is hilarious! But yes I see your point. I am busier than I knew possible with two in two years! I always thought I'd have three! Now thinking not! I do think one would be lonely though xx

Mandy Ferry said...

I have so thought this more times than I can mention, as have I thought how much I love all my children. tough gig, I'm currently battling the tag game way too much of late.

Anna Spargo-Ryan said...

My children are kind of like one child, which is lucky because I have a short attention span. They do everything together, have the same kinds of interests and a lot of the same friends. This is probably reflective of Georgia's neuroses in some ways, but it does give me a chance to get involved in their lives more than I could separately.

Maybe I should be encouraging them to be more independent of each other, but I think it's nice.

Simoney said...

great post. That AGM had me cracking up. oh so so so true.
Brilliant.
x

tricia said...

Oh it is so nice to read something positive written about having only one child.

To be honest - it is actually as good as you imagine. I love all the time I get when it's just me and her.

I never intended to have only one - and there was a time when the idea of only one horrified me - but more and more I'm thankful. It's usually after friends children have left and the calm returns ;-)

Annaleis Topham said...

I had one child for 13 years and then she went to boarding school and I have had two more. The one child was as easy and hard as the two at times. I think it depends on how tired I am to be honest.

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