Your first child has just arrived. Labor may have been a cake walk or a boxing match with Mike Tyson. Either way, you’re exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions.
Fatigue and a sense of stupor will set in and linger for a while, thanks to countless sleepless nights, non-stop nursing/feeding sessions and an apparently limitless supply of biological weapons in the form of diapers.
It’s a fact: recovering from giving birth is no joke. And if, by any chance, you come across a mother who swears that two days after giving birth, she started training for a marathon pushing the stroller, just know she probably took home the nursing pillow and forgot her baby at the hospital.
Whatever your situation, you will be looking forward to cherishing and enjoying the little bundle of joy you have waited for for so long and delivered with a great deal of pain.
And that’s when someone drops the bomb: “Are you ready for a second child?”
A second child? Are you kidding me? I haven’t even begun to recover from the first one!
The question is usually asked by the old great-aunt with a bad hip or the ancient grandma. At times, though, it’s a complete stranger that shows a distorted interest in your reproductive potential. Their motive? None other than minding your business and talking nonsense in the process.
Raise your hand if you have been asked this question at least once in your life.
I remember this even happened to my poor mother, who after seven years of being harassed, and out of sheer desperation, decided to have my brother Alex. No offense, Alex!
What really gets to me though, was the reasoning offered to convince my mother, like: “After a girl, you need a boy!” – as if one could go on EBay and place an order for a baby in the preferred sex, like one would get a couple of matching birds. What if it’s another girl? Is one supposed to keep trying until the boy comes along or does one stop at the right number of girls to form a soccer team?
Another reason suggested was: “Two is the perfect number, this way they will keep each other company”. This, to me, is the apotheosis of illogical. 3 is the perfect number, so if child #1 hates child #2, there’s still hope they’ll get along with #3. Can you imagine having a second child to keep child #1 company and child #2 is a complete ball buster? At that point, you were better off getting a puppy!
But there’s more: “If you have two, you’ll be less likely to spoil your only child”. Aside from the fact that, one should look into ways to avoid spoiling said child without the need of a second kid, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this is a valid point and two kids are less likely to be spoiled. At the same time, though, the chances of being discriminated, unfairly punished and wrongly accused, are much more real. Not to mention the furious fights and the bloody battles over anything from the toothbrush to girlfriends. In this light, spoiling the only child doesn’t look all that bad anymore, does it?
My all-time favorite though is: ” What about you, sweetie (that would be me), would you like a brother or a sister?”. This was in and of itself a very tricky question because it implied my knowledge of what having a sibling would entail.
I was six when my mother announced she was expecting – a brother or a sister, that is. I remember how, at the time, I was taken with the older siblings of some of my school friends when they would pick them up from school. In my mind, a brother/sister, held enough power to take you out without mom’s supervision and was surely young enough to enjoy play time way more than mom and dad. At the same time, they were too young to be authoritative enough to scold or reprimand a younger child. Whichever way I looked at it, the idea of having a brother or sister was totally growing on me!
Of course, by now, you have realized the fallacy of my thinking: how could my mom give birth to a child that was older than me if I was already born?
What can I say, at that time I still believed in Santa Claus. And if a bearded, chubby old man could descend into our home through the chimney to bring me toys, then surely my mom could give birth to a cute 20 year old brother. Right?
I have zero recollection of whether my mother ever bothered to clarify the situation for me, so you can easily imagine my dismay when I found out that, instead of the older brother I had been dreaming of, I was presented with a plump rosy midget capable of anything but pick me up from school.
My little brother and I did eventually work things out, although I was the one doing the school-pick-up-thing, and not the other way around.
At this point, I feel compelled to give you folks a piece of advice. If you encounter someone who’s just had their first child, ask them anything, anything but when they’ll have another, unless you’re all packed up and ready for your trip to hell, because that’s where they’ll tell you to go!