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The Tantrum: Should You Have Another Goddamn Kid? Part 4

July 15th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

To tell you the truth, I’m surprised we’re even having this discussion, because I was somehow under the impression that all the Men of Dadwagon (and, more important, the Women of Dadwagon) were through with childbearing. Until Theodore told us his happy news, that is. I have to figure that next Matt is going to tell us he’s afraid of flying and faked all his travel writing, and Nathan will announce that he’s actually a cyborg.

Well, my wife and I are finished. Barring a big surprise, we’re sticking. That was the plan from the beginning, and despite the fact that we have the Best Baby Ever ™, we’re not interested in starting from scratch a second time. Our reasons are simple, and will likely make sense to everyone who lives in a dense expensive city: We don’t have another bedroom, we can barely shoulder the childcare costs as it is, and both of us are in demanding employment that feels a little precarious these past couple of years. On top of that, I have a book manuscript due in fourteen months, and then there’s this sweet, sweet fantastically high-paying blogging gig I’m keeping up, too. The resources are, pretty much, all in use.

And speaking of resources, how about the natural ones? We are both believers in the small-footprint, city-dwelling, car-culture-eschewing Bill McKibben “maybe one” argument.

Besides, how the hell do you people chase two of these little people? Or more? One’s got us completely worn out.

As I say, it’s a familiar story around here. New York (the magazine) has called New York (the city) “the Only-Child Capital of America.” Thirty percent of families here stop at one kid. Time, this week, tells us that the stereotype of only children–that they’re loners, selfish, a little damaged–is bunk. (I plan to quote only the employers of DadWagon editors throughout this post, in case you were wondering.) Turns out that they are just fine, many becoming high-achieving, contributing members of society. All that early attention just makes ’em better adjusted and more confident, apparently.

Our son’s only-child status does mean that my wife and I think a lot about making sure he has enough playmates and friends. We make efforts to see his cousins as often as we can, and one of the reasons we chose daycare over a sitter was to give him lots of time around other children. For what it’s worth, we believe that’s working. Neither my wife nor I is particularly extroverted; we are quiet people, and big social events, while not flat-out scary, demand that both of us steel ourselves a bit from within. Yet our kid loves people, and seems to thrive on social interaction. He chats with (or at least engages the gaze of, and babbles to) bus drivers, waiters, random ladies in the park. He has chatted more with our building’s doorman during the past three months than I did in the preceding thirteen years. You never know at this point, of course, but our gut feeling is that he’s better-adjusted than his parents, which is really all we can ask for.

Also, a word to my colleagues: If you do add to your household, you better hope he doesn’t discover himself called “another goddamn kid” in our archives.

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