Parenting: The Case for Only Children

From dating age – we’ll call it 16 – up through when I met my current fiancé, popularly known as “when I was dating,” I was the dude who would absolutely not date a girl who was an only child.

I know it seems odd and judgmental, but interaction up through the years had so molded my opinion to the point that that was precisely where I was with mine.

[Phlip note – why is it so weird when you have to use the same word twice in a sentence?]

In my quest to avoid only-child ladies, I’m quite sure I passed over a few good girls on the spoiled-brat behaviors of the ones who happened to be the majority of the ones I met leading up to and causing my decision not to be bothered. I am thankful, though, for the decisions I did make and the hand they played in landing with whom I am with now, so all’s well that ends well, I say.

But now I have a daughter, and I can understand this only child thing from the side of the parents. Or at least my side as a parent.

Anyone who knows me knows that if anyone had suggested this time last year that we had a baby on the way, they’d have been called 5 different kinds of liars, and with good reasoning. Lo and behold, on July 15 our little miracle was upon us.

If it sounds like I just SKIPPED 9+ months of gestation in that story, it is because my daughter did too.

The first 4 hours, I was her shadow in the nursery until Katie came out of recovery, at which point I left the baby with her to be fed and visited with by my mom and her dad to go home and handle the dogs for a minute. Back at the hospital, I hovered around the bassinet waiting for this new little person to show me some eyes. The next morning, I woke back up and was back to her bassinet, she opened her eyes and looked at me (or at least in my general direction), all I could do was grin like an idiot and say “hi,” to which she furrowed her brow and let out a grunt that sounded like “hi.”

That was the morning that I can honestly say that I understand the plight of someone who has one kid and stops at that, and not necessarily even from the financial standpoint that these little people are NOT cheap by any means at all. Not to take anything from anyone hell bent on having a house full of children, but it was at that moment that I could not imagine wanting to be forced to share or choose to divide what I felt for Ava at that moment. Never mind that I’d only come to the concession of wanting no more than a hard cap of two kids (yes, I WILL be shutting the factory down at two, simple as that) only within the 18 months before her, but now I was totally fine with the one I had.

Two things I refused to do was (1) to reprise my father’s role in raising kids and (2) to have a daughter and let her NOT have a concise at-home view of what a healthy relationship between father and daughter is. Not when I had encountered droves of women who were completely undatable in any serious capacity due to daddy (or lack-of-daddy) issues.

No, I don’t feel like any kind of asshole because I stopped even trying in earnest to date only children, but turn and give serious thought to stopping at the one little girl I have. I guess the difference comes in the plans I have ahead of us in raising her, God willing.

As ever, this is a statement of my own experience and is applied to my opinion as it relates to myself.

If I’m honest, I think it is the situation as it presented itself that has caused my reversal of field. My little girl is 7 months old, with two teeth, is now standing up and learning how her feet work and her ever-present smile and frequent giggle suggests to anyone whose day was brightened by her presence that she lives in a happy household, so I am pleased with where we are and where we might be headed, with or without siblings for her.