My kid has been acting not too great sometimes lately. She’s not always polite, not always cooperative, not great at sharing. I’m told that she’s acting like your average three-year-old. It’s brutal.
This behaviour has not gone unnoticed by others, but I was still surprised by one comment. I’m not sure it was directed at me, but certainly meant for me to overhear. I had put the kid in childcare while I went to the gym. I go, I sign her in, she plays and I pick her up about an hour later. The first two times I did this she was fine, the third time she wasn’t so much. She apparently wasn’t too happy with sharing the dollhouse with two younger kids and when I got there she started crying as soon as she saw me walking down the hall.
While I comforted her and got her snack for her I talked to the two ladies who were in charge that morning.
“She’s an only, right?”
“Only and lonely.”
I didn’t say anything at the time. I wasn’t sure I had heard correctly, this implication that there’s something wrong with her because she’s an only child.
I tweeted about the comment and by the time we were home I had several replies from people who couldn’t believe it. I’m still not sure how I feel about the comment, except that it was a stupid thing to say and it’s a dumb thing to believe.
I’ve gone back and forth on the only child thing, and it’s especially hard when the kid turns to me and says “I want a baby brother.” The fact is I have no real desire for another baby, it would be difficult financially, it would mean less sleep, less me time, less time for Joe and less of him for me. It would mean being pregnant again. It would mean being pregnant while taking care of this child. This non-stop child. When I think ahead to all the activities she might want to try, when she advances to university, I think of the costs and the time. I think of our time and all the things I’ve never done and want to be able to do with my time and money as she grows older.
Am I being selfish by not giving her a brother or sister? Maybe. Is it hurting her? I doubt it. I know enough people who grew up only children that are not bothered by it.
Is she lonely? Sometimes, absolutely. So am I.