Posts Tagged ‘ family planning ’

When I Was 2 Years, 9 Months Old, I Became A Brother

Friday, August 16th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

My mom (known to you as Nonna) texted me this morning to point out the interesting fact that when I was 2 years, 9 months old, it was January 1984.

That’s when my sister (your Auntie Dana) was born. In other words, when I was your age, I became an older brother.

Just so I can put this into perspective for myself, that means that even if during the next couple of years, you end up getting a baby brother or sister, the age difference between you and him or her will definitely be greater than the age difference between my sister and me.

Each month and each year that passes in which you remain an only child, it makes me wonder if you will always be one.

Will you become that “little adult” than only children are often referred to as?

When we go on family vacations, will it just be you in goofy touristy photos like these from the Sacramento Zoo?

I mean… I’m curious, but not that curious.

There’s no sense of urgency, but I when consider I was already a big brother by your age, it does make me think about your fate of whether or not you will have a sibling.

Perhaps I write to you about the subject of “will you or will you not remain an only child?” quite often.

No, not perhaps- I totally do.

But for me, it’s not a subject to be dealt with lightly. For our family, there is a lot of careful planning and consideration involved.

By now, I’m way past caring about anyone else’s expectations of our family growing.

I’m even way past what I perceive in my own mind of what the normal American family is supposed to be; which I suppose the image I have in my head includes at least two kids and a dog.

But we’re not even a “dog family.” Or cat lovers.

We’re not animal people at all! Except for the fact we enjoy going to zoos as a type of a default hobby because our Nashville Zoo Pass is transferable to other major zoos.

Life is unfolding slightly different than I planned it. I always wanted four kids.

Then you were born. And I realized, I feel plenty enough of a dad now.

I feel like I can live my entire life satisfied in knowing I get to raise you and have a lifelong relationship with you.

You may never know what it’s like to be a big brother. Are you okay with that?




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What Are The “Right Reasons” For Having Another Child?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

Something I am really enjoying about our vacation this year is that you have older cousins here to babysit and entertain (and “dote” on) you the entire time.

Granted, that doesn’t mean I have no responsibilities. I’m still helping with meals, baths, and bedtime. But for the most part, I sort of feel like I’m actually on vacation a little bit more than usual.

You’re having plenty of fun and it’s okay that I have more of passive role this week.

And that takes me back to a question I asked earlier this month in “Still, Though, I Think I’d Be Happy With Just One Child.”

Here’s an excerpt:

“My reasons for wanting another child, when I sporadically do, are never sincere enough or truly legitimate… If we’re going to grow our family, I want it to be ‘for the right reasons,’ and I’m not even sure what they are anyway.”

So since I wasn’t sure, I asked my friends on Facebook, “What are the “right reasons” for having another child?… What are the wrong reasons?”

My friend Alissa summed it up perfectly, in my opinion: “The right reasons are if you want another child. The wrong are if other people tell you you should.”

On top of that, my friend Rhonda gave me an answer I related to 100% at this point in my life:

“Someone asked me this the other day, and when I got honest it just came down to not wanting the responsibility & stress of more children. Selfish maybe, but true. No plans right now to have any more.”

I love her simple honesty.

It’s true for me, personally. Because it’s not that I can’t handle the responsibility and stress of a child. Instead, I am saying that the responsibility and stress of another child, in addition to one already, is enough of a reason to justify not having another child.

Others may disagree, but I don’t see anything selfish about admitting that.

I don’t see it as selfish for me to feel, think, and say out loud that you make our family complete and that if it’s up to me, at this point, I would choose not to take on more responsibility and stress like that. Again, that could change.

Like clockwork, Mommy could find out we’re having another baby around your 4th birthday. That seems to be the ironic plot line for families of three who plan to remain families of three, at least.

I guess we’ll see, kid.





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Still, Though, I Think I’d Be Happy With Just One Kid…

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday, your best friend Sophie stayed with us while her parents went to a wedding.  I had these preconceived ideas going into the event that, despite caring for two kids instead of one, it would not only be a lot of fun, but also, less stressful and chaotic than it usually is on the typical Saturday afternoon at our house.

Turns out, I was completely right! Sophie is so kind, so sweet, so cute, and so hilarious. That part was the icing on the cake.

The “cake” itself was the fact that you definitely were less needy than you typically are when it’s just you, Mommy, and me.

It’s that awkward number of three that makes the dynamics weird and often, more stressful, for me at least.

You rarely let Mommy prepare dinner or do anything productive without whining and hanging on to her legs, even though I eagerly want to play with you and your toys in the living room.

And I understand why, given the fact we both have to work while you’re at school all day.

But with Sophie here, making that new number 4 instead of 3, it was ideal. Everybody paired up throughout the afternoon.

Most of the time it was you and Sophie; me and Mommy. Or you and Mommy; me and Sophie. And a few times, you and me; Sophie and Mommy.

No one was ever left out; everyone had a role and a place. It worked. I liked it a lot.

From playing outside at the water table, to a luxurious wagon ride, to a delightful dinner involving mac and cheese along with Gogo Squeez applesauce pouches, the day had an excellent flow.

With that being said, I’m still not convinced that having another sibling would bring that sort of feng shui for our family.

After all, you and Sophie were born just one month apart. So basically, age-wise, you two are the equivalent of twins.

Not to mention, physically, you could easily pass as twins anyway!

But I’m not talking about twins in my scenario here. I’m talking about the possibility of Mommy and I having another baby; who would be a few years younger than you.

Those dynamics would be a lot different than having an equivalent girl version of you, plus you.

My reasons for wanting another child, when I sporadically do, are never sincere enough or truly legitimate. (Am I being too honest right now? Am I committing social media taboo by admitting that?)

I feel like my reasons are always selfish. If we’re going to grow our family, I want it to be “for the right reasons,” and I’m not even sure what they are anyway.

(Hmm… I wonder if that would make a good blog post?)

Yes, our family absolutely loves (!) Sophie and I really appreciate the dynamics she brings to our family; still, though, I think I’d be happy with just one kid.

I feel complete with a family of three. But, that could always change…






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Why Dad Feels Anxious About The Thought Of A 2nd Child

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Disclaimer: Contains potentially confusing viewpoints that may be exclusive to the male mindset.

Dear Jack,

The main reason I feel anxious about the thought of having another child is not the financial aspect, or even the fact we only have a 2 bedroom townhouse; it’s knowing that I would be placed in that frustrating position again of not knowing what to do on a daily basis.

Sure, I’d know more of what I was doing the 2nd time around, but it would also be on top of taking care of you too; though you demand less attention than you did when you were a baby.

To see me in my worst element is to see me in a high pressure, reoccurring situation where I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. For me, that was the first 15 months of your life; back when you wouldn’t let me take care of you without Mommy being in the same room.

Therefore, I couldn’t feel like I was leading our family, and it made me feel horrible about myself.

Just to be clear, I don’t mind high pressure at all. In fact, I like the challenge of it; given that I’ve been well trained on the subject.

It’s no secret: I find my self-worth not in how others see me, but in how I see myself. If I don’t feel in control, or at least that I know what my role is, I sort of feel worthless.

Now that you’re well beyond the age of 15 months, in fact, days away from being double that, my frustrating days of flat-out not knowing what to do in regards to being a dad are mostly a thing of the past; back in the year 2011.

As for modern day life, I know my role now; every minute of the day, and I love it!

In addition to being your official chauffeur, bedtime singer, protector from monsters… I also am the official dishwasher, bathroom cleaner, garbage man, vacuumer, relationship mediator, and the parent juggling two jobs outside of home life.

Every night, after our family eats dinner, I know that once Mommy takes you upstairs for your bath, I am going to immediately start washing and drying all the dishes, then wipe off the counter, and vacuum; just in time to go upstairs and sing your final bedtime song.

While it would be really nice to just chill out after dinner instead of doing housework, I don’t even mind. The reason: Because it sure beats the heck out of those first 15 months when I didn’t know my role.

As your dad, who is wired to fix problems and lead others, it’s very challenging for me to… I’m trying to think of a way to say this without using the PG version slang word…

I like to be driving the motorcycle, not riding in the sidecar.

(Watch the movie Garden State, when you’re older, to fully understand the reference. “Sidecars are for…”.)

What I am saying is that right now, I don’t feel like I’m riding in the sidecar. I feel like our life is predictable enough now where I don’t taste the chaos in the air anymore.

I love having this peace in my head; not dwelling on my inabilities to successfully figure out what exactly I’m supposed to do every single second. I love knowing what to do.

Ah, if and when the time comes for a 2nd child, I fear losing that again.





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“All I Ever Wanted Was To Be A Dad,” Said Few Men Ever

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week when I wrote “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science,” I received an intuitive comment that really helped me understand myself better:

“I am a mom who, much like you, just knew I’d be a [parent] but never dreamed of it my whole life, or knew what to expect at all. I assumed that when I had my child I’d keep working and be happy with him in daycare, because that’s what my parents did with me. I couldn’t have been more wrong — about my happiness/satisfaction with this scenario.

We can’t afford for me to stop working, but all I want to do is be with my son. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Guilt, feeling like I’m missing out, and most of all: the inherent instinct, dare I say biological need, to be with my infant child, makes me INCREDIBLY sad to have to sit at my desk all day. I know not all mothers feel this way, but this is why I am less happy than my husband — who has no problem at all working full time.”

The main takeaway from this comment for me personally is that, as a mom, she feels guilty about having to work full time and be away from her child; meanwhile, her husband has no problem with that issue.

Good point. Not only does it appear to be the norm for most women to yearn to become mothers, therefore causing my familiarity with the phrase, “All I ever wanted was to be a mother,” but it seems just as predictable that men experience much less guilt about working all day, away from their child.

I’ll speak for myself here, as a dad. Do I feel guilty about you being in daycare all day while I’m literally a quarter of a mile down the road, working in the office?

To be vulnerably honest… never.

If the question is whether or not I miss you everyday while I’m away from you, the answer is absolutely yes!

Inconveniently, your 2 hour nap occurs during the middle of my lunch break; otherwise, I’d spend that extra hour with you.

Like most dads, I am wired with the subconscious yet undeniable desire (and biological need?) to provide for you and Mommy. So to be honest, the thought of feeling guilty about you being in daycare while I’m at work… well, it’s pretty much the opposite of how my mind works.

Instead, I would feel guilty if I couldn’t be working all day while you’re in daycare. In an ideal world, Mommy could stay home with you, at least.

I gain a lot of confidence and self-worth by going out and working to provide for you and Mommy five days a week. It’s like, for me to feel successful, I have to have this “other life” away from you to earn the right to the version of life I share with you and Mommy.

So, no; like most men I know, I never thought or said out loud, “All I ever wanted was to be a dad.”

Instead, this was my version:

“All I ever wanted was to make a good and respectable living for the family that I always knew I would have one day.”





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