By: Ted Peterson
I mentioned in the last blog that Ian and I are thinking about a second child. Actually, that’s not accurate. There’s no thinking involved. We’re registered foster parents and we might get a call in the next five minutes saying there’s a kid ready for us to pick up now. I like to say that we’re thinking about it because it makes it sound like we’re capable of planning any aspect of it. Really, the only thing we can say is yes or no, and we have about ten seconds for that.
A lot of our friends, straight and gay, single or coupled up, thought we were nuts to get a kid in the first place. To a good slice of our circle, children are at best fine in small doses; otherwise, they’re sticky, squealy, and frequently poopy, they ruin your sleep, and they’re no good at mixing cocktails properly. Our unchild-friendly friends have warmed to Mikey, considering him a one-in-a-million exception, but still, the notion that after winning the lottery, we’re going to try for the jackpot a second time seems ridiculous to them. Most of our friends who have one kid also agree. Why not lavish all your love and attention on the treasure you have instead of looking for more?
Even my 97-year-old grandmother falls into the don’t-do-it camp. When we saw her at Thanksgiving, she gushed over our boy, and then let us know that the likelihood of us getting a second child anywhere near as wonderful was slim to none.
“But Grandma, if Mom and Dad had followed that philosophy, they would have stopped with me,” I pointed out.
She fell silent, perhaps because she didn’t hear me, and perhaps because she didn’t want to say either “Yeah, right, you keeping thinking that” or “Would that have been so bad?” Very wise, old people.
Ian and I have had our moments when between the two of us we were barely able to handle our three-year-old. With few exceptions this has happened exclusively while traveling. From LAX to Gare du Nord, schlepping through ticketing, security, and customs with our luggage, stroller, and diaper bag, we’ve had to zig instead of zag to keep the wayward tot corralled when he is inclined to drift off platforms or onto planes bound for Addis Ababa.
Each and every time, one or both of us has said aloud, “Can you imagine this with two kids?”
Some of our friends with two or more kids have assured us that it’s not that bad. At least, it’s possible.
“With the first kid, you have a steep learning curve,” our friend Lisa pointed out. “The second isn’t any easier, you’re just better.”
“The great thing about having a sister or brother is they can play with each other,” another friend added. “You don’t always have to be the main source of entertainment.”
The truth is that Mikey is so obviously, naturally a great big brother that it only makes sense that we are at least open to the possibility of giving him a sibling. He is kind, patient, and gentle on one hand, and very energetic, goofy, and athletic on the other. We know he’s going to be someone’s hero.
So, we’re waiting for a phone call, but in the meantime, sucking up experiences like the one at Mikey’s preschool last Friday. The mother of Mikey’s best friend Jimmy has twin one-year-old sons, and she was picking them all up from school. While Mikey and Jimmy ran around the room, the twins simultaneously pooped their diapers. There were tears from the one who wasn’t changed first, and the poor woman frantically tried to hurry with the diaper and wipes while dodging the toddlers who were pretending to be planes. We tried to help entertain and distract both the kids and her, mentioning that we were looking into getting a brother or sister for Mikey.
“Don’t,” she suggested cheerfully.