Jake and I had the chat last weekend. Yes, THE chat: Should we plan to have another child?
Now, before you get all WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS SO SOON? let me explain. Jake and I are both sprinters. We don’t tolerate lollygagging. If we are going to give Seabass a baby brother/sister, I’d rather it be sooner than later for two reasons: one, I don’t want to change diapers for the better part of a decade, and two, my body isn’t getting any younger.
So, we entertained the idea over a nice lunch, and, unfortunately, Jake and I are experiencing a difference of opinion. Can you guess who wants what? That’s right. I want to keep building our family, and he’s crying uncle.
Each of us has some very good arguments and some not-so-compelling arguments. In general (and not surprisingly), mine are more emotional, and his are more practical. Here I share my own, and then Jake gets to defend his reasons in his own words.
I want a girl. I know, I know. I can’t control that. And if it’s another boy, I’ll still be over the moon. But the thought of having a little girl touches something really deep inside me. I guess it’s always been my assumption that I’d have a daughter sooner or later.
I’m finally (mostly, pretty much, generally) having fun with Seabass. And glimpsing this makes me curious to experience more, with a different little bundle of love.
I don’t want to be left out. One of the greatest gifts of my nascent parenthood is connecting deeply with other moms in the same boat. The thought of being left behind as they continue having kids makes me sad.
I don’t want Seabass to be an only child. If he’s anything like me, he’ll be horribly self-involved without having to learn how to share. And that’s a valuable lesson that’s only fully absorbed in the home.
Four makes a family. This isn’t true, of course. Two makes a family, and Jake and I have always been very clear on that. But something about an immediate family of four just feels nice. Okay, not my best argument. Shut up.
We can’t afford it. With the first child we had state-sponsored health insurance for the birth and the boy’s first year, making him cheap to have. A second kid would likely run us $5k+, in addition to an extra ~$300/mo in health insurance.
The pain. I feel the first child nearly broke us spiritually/emotionally. My wife’s on meds for crying out loud! I experienced many moments with Seabass screaming like a banshee in which I swore one was it. I told myself I don’t care what anybody says, I will not be swayed from this absolutely final decision that there can be only one, because it was that painful. I am a peaceful, mellow, even passive guy, and I was tempted towards violence. Violence! That’s not even considering Jaime’s birthing pains.
We’ll have a boy. Jaime wants a girl. When will the madness stop? 10 kids? 15?!
We can’t afford it. Did I mention that already? We want to buy a house. We want to send the first boy to college. We want to live above the poverty line. Don’t give me that BS about how kids don’t really cost that much. Jaime can insert here some link to how much a child is supposed to cost in the first 10 years or whatever.
People only have a second kid for the first kid’s sake. My theory is that foolish newlyweds say they want five kids. Then they have one and realize how hard it is, and the count goes to two, maybe three. But why have more? Just because they think the first one needs a friend, that it will teach him to share. The second one comes along and they see how hard THAT is, and they run to the doctor for a vasectomy. Then the two they have that are supposed to be friends and distract each other so that their parents can take a breath end up at each others’ throats until they move out of the house…at which point they become best friends.
C-Bass will be better off. If we can conserve all our precious resources (time, money, energy, attention) then C-Bass will get to enjoy more of them. Maybe he can go to a better school. Maybe we can take him traveling somewhere special, whereas when carting two kids around it’s unlikely we’ll make it further than the local campground. Knowing how dead to the world we are currently with a 5-month old, imagine us trying to pay any attention to him when he’s a couple years old but his 5-month old kid sister has drained us just like he did. It doesn’t get better as they get older because there’re just more events, activities, clubs, etc. that will divide our attention between children.
The difficulties will be different. People say that if we had such a hard time with this kid, then the next one could be easy. BS. No kid is easy all the time. Not even a vast majority of the time. I remember Jaime being jealous of other moms whose kids were so easy during get-togethers and whatnot, only to find out that they’re waking up with them throughout the night. Each kid has its difficulty now or later, and it will most likely be something different than what we’ve figured out with this first one. New pain.
Alright folks, here’s the poll. We want to know how you all feel about this and how your thoughts play (and played) into your actions. So please answer the following three questions, and be honest!