A lot of friends and family touted two as the dreamy year; all cuteness and cuddles and sweetness and for a long time I thought they were just flat out lying or that their children were far more adorable, sweet and cuddle-worthy than you. And then about a week before Christmas you started slowly emerging from the months long terror that was 25-26.5 months and you have continued in this vein of pretty damned tolerable for awhile. I’m not going to lie and say it is peaches and cream and loveliness all the time but this month has been one that I could potentially look back on in say, 15 years, and say, “Yeah, two wasn’t so bad.” I will most likely say this to a mother of a two-year-old who will probably want to beat me senseless because when people who don’t have toddlers say, “Oh, that is such a FUN age,” they have most likely completely forgotten what rotten little buggers two year olds can be. But, in 15 years you will be 17 and I’ll probably be longing for the days when our worst battles were over whether you wanted your diaper changed or not.
Actually, you never want your diaper changed so really it’s more like a battle of this is happening now whether you like it or not. I have started to ask you whether you want to do something the hard way or the easy way, explaining that the hard way will result in you crying and becoming really mad and that the easy way – i.e. my way – will be a much more pleasant outcome for us both. You consistently pick the easy way but this doesn’t stop you from incurring a few timeout warnings along the way before you finally submit to my demands. I don’t blame you for digging in your heels. If someone was as demanding of my time as I am of yours I would be pretty annoyed most of the time too. I mean, who wants to change a diaper when you could be watching The Cat in the Hat for the twentieth time? The Cat in the Hat is this month’s newest love. I have absolutely no idea how you found out that the Cat in the Hat has a show on television – we don’t even own the book – but somehow you found out about him. I suppose this is similar to you finding out about Dora the Explorer. We have not watched one minute of that show and yet you know who she is. School? Friends? The slow creep of pop culture into your life? Who knows.
A few weeks ago your dad and I got on an airplane without you and went to Mexico for a week leaving you behind with my parents, your beloved Nan and Charlie. As best as I could tell you had a marvelous week and didn’t miss us at all, which is great because it means we can take more trips without you as long as the grandparents are willing to put up with your shenanigans. And the trip was wonderful. I think we slept for eleven hours straight the first night, which was the most sleep I have gotten in one night in over two years. And we got to fly without you climbing all over us and we got to walk through the airport like normal people not chasing you up and down stairs and we got to go out to dinner and not have to race through our meal before you got bored and we got to go to the pool and not worry about you falling in. All in all, a lovely week. But I missed you so much more than I thought I would and when we got home I could barely wait to see you and when you exclaimed, “Mama!’ as I walked through the door I couldn’t believe that I had actually forgotten how sweet your voice sounds. And then you started talking to us in complete sentences and we couldn’t believe how much we had missed in one week. In fact you are talking so much now that I can understand 97% of what you say. The other day you actually started to tell me what you did at school that day without any prompting from me. It was a long description of eating pink cupcakes for a classmate’s birthday and how you got pink cupcake all over your face. Cupcakes certainly deserve unprompted discussion.
So the trip was a success all around and the only thing different from this trip than our last trip to Mexico was that I didn’t come home pregnant and that was a good thing too. I know you are far too young to understand now but I think perhaps I should tell you that you are not going to have any brothers or sisters. It seems like I should explain to you now, while I can somewhat coherently state our reasons, why your dad and I are not going to have any more children. I can imagine in four or five years you might ask us for a sibling and I might not be able to remember the reasons with the certainty I feel now.
First, you are perfect. OK, you aren’t perfect, but you are one pretty great kid all things considered. You are sweet, funny, really smart and quite adorable to boot. You have your dad’s gorgeous blue eyes and are a hilarious and sometimes frustrating combination of your parents’ best and more questionable qualities. I am sure that if we had another kid he or she would be perfect in his or her own way as well, so there are other reasons why we want to keep our family the way it is now. We like our life with just you. We cannot imagine adding another kiddo to the mix because of the toll it would take on all of us – the sleepless nights, the juggling of two schedules, the rewinding back to square one of infanthood is more than we can imagine. This would all pass in time because time, obviously, does pass and babies grow up and become toddlers and teenagers but I fear the work that it would require of your dad and me would be too great a burden for us to bear. I fear, being a somewhat impatient person to begin with, that two children would make me a terrible mother to two children instead of just a pretty good mother to you. I know this is all speculation. People have two, three, four – and here in Utah – dozens of children all the time and they survive. They find a way to make it work and I am truly in awe of those parents. Maybe the second baby would be a perfect angel, sleeping consistently through the night from day one and sitting quietly on my lap for hours at a time. Or maybe not. We are not willing to take that chance. I recently started compiling a list of things I want to do in my life and so many of them involve you – taking you to Paris, going camping, fishing with you in Montana, dropping you off at college. To have another child would delay all of these things and while many people would argue that I should hold onto these precious moments with you as a little little boy, I am so excited to teach you things that you cannot do now. I cannot wait for your father to teach you how fly fish, how to chop an onion correctly, and how to grill the perfect steak. Having another child wouldn’t keep us from doing that, but it would put it off by many years and I don’t want to wait to involve you in our lives. Your dad and I have big exciting things to do with you and we cannot wait for you to be old enough to share in them.
Ultimately, perhaps, we are making a selfish choice. We are choosing our happiness over your potential happiness of having a sibling. We are, perhaps, depriving you of the joy of having a little brother or sister. So I can only hope that we have created and will continue to give you a good and happy childhood. I hope, and I suppose all parents hope, that you look back on your childhood with an overriding sense of joy and that it becomes the basis for what you might want for your children. We will fail you plenty of times. We will make mistakes and make decisions that you disagree with. You will probably make a list of things you will never do to your kids and then, maybe, realize with time that we were right in the end to make you stick to that curfew, eat those vegetables, finish your homework, try a new food, give you a timeout or keep you from playing violent video games because we thought that was probably in your best interest. I hope that someday you will know that we made this decision out of our love for you and our certainty that just having you made for the very best childhood we could give you.
Author’s Note: I have read a lot of blog posts and articles about having one child and I hope that I have not inadvertently plagiarized anybody else’s thoughts on having one kiddo. If I have, please accept my sincere apologies and let me know so I can give proper credit.