I have one son who is almost three. sometimes I wonder if having him be an only is actually not a great idea. It is tricky as right now I am in a place where so many things in my life are in flux and feel really challenging- so there are a lot of things making me unhappy!
But- today we spent time with my sister and her many kids- and me and dh and our only. the sister lives in another state so we don't see them often. She has a bunch of kids- all very close in age. And they play together so much! And then there is my kid who only has mom and dad. And it can be so hard! I feel like we have to entertain him constantly. He is behind in speech from my sister's same aged kids. I klnow he will catch up- he just needs more socializing. He communicates fine just doesn't have proper grammar and full sentance structure. I know he is really smart I am not worried about that- he just does not get enough socialization with other kids.
It is hard as dh and I are not super social. I have a fair number of aquaintance type friends but not really any super close friends that we see a lot. We see people every day, go out- live in a nice town with a nice community- and so ds sees other kids and people- but we don't have regular playdates yet- I try but it is hard for me to find it. I take him about two times a week to a kids play place for a few hours. and we go to library story hour, etcetera.
but my sisters kids go in the other room and play together for hours, and she and her husband can sit and not be contstantly interacting with them,.
I am also having a hrad time with my son seeming to want his dad much more than me which really hurst my feelings! but that is another story.
at this point since ds will be three very soon, he would be about four when another baby would be born. Is that even an age gap that wouold enable them to play together? Ds will start preschool next fall but that is 8 months away. that will be better as he will have regular contact with other kids and I will get some down time.
I just don't know if having another kid will be better for our family--- my sister and her husband think having an only is sad for the only. I am wondering if we are making a bad choice in keeping him an only both for ds and for me.
I am just having a hard time having to constantly play with ds. and I feel like he is missing out on the daily play that my sisters get with their siblings.
but having another baby scares me too
Snapdragon, I feel like we are in a very similar place with this. I posted something in the Childhood section just yesterday expressing kind of a similar sentiment, I think, or at least it comes from the same type of parental frustration. I've actually been wondering if I should take on a job as an in-home nanny so my DD has some playmates while still being at home with me. I'm not sure I could handle it, but if it helps take some of the entertainment pressure off my shoulders, it might actually be easier than what I deal with now. For us, it would have to be older kids, because DD can't "lead the way" in play to a younger child.
I have also been considering preschool. It was not something I original intended to start with DD until she's 4, but...I may try to find something that we can start immediately. Everyone else in my life seems to think this is the right thing to do. I'm not so sure, but I know that DD is driving me nuts, and she never seems content.
I wish I had more wisdom on this. It just seems like our day-to-day life is not going right in some vague way that's hard to pin down. It's not discipline, but I think it's coming down to a clash between my needs and hers wherein neither of us ends up satisfied. It sounds like something similar is going on for you.
Wishing you good advice....
totally, newmamalizzy. I feel that too- something is not right! I have a lot of change and challenge in my life right now as well---- and, I don't know- socially raising a kid can be very hard! Because whatever friendships and social issues we ourselves have then can translate to our kids- like if I had closer firends w- kids ds would have more kids to play with etcetera- I know this place of challenge is not a great place to decide to make another child from- but every time I hang out w- my sister's kids and see them play and love eachother it makes me want another kid. But in so many other ways I fee like one is enough. so who knows! thanks for your support! It does help to know others are feeling the same way.
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
My kids are 7 years apart, so the youngest was an only at this age. She was way ahead of speech despite having no one to socialize with at home. And I've known a lot of kids with closely aged siblings who have speech delays. I wouldn't blame this on lack of siblings, though I understand the desire to look for a cause. Your ds is not too young to get help with that through your school district if you call and ask about it. Also, a speech delay does not mean someone has low intelligence. There are gifted kids with speech delays. I guess I wouldn't worry about why so much as far as that goes. It just turns into self-blame and you don't need to beat yourself up over something that is probably just due to him being more physical than verbal or something.
My older also was really good at playing by herself even very young. But then my second wants to be entertained a bit more, though she entertains herself a fair bit too. I think this is a personality thing more than about siblings. Some closely spaced siblings fight a lot, so they wouldn't necessarily play together and make things easier or better.
I don't think there is anything sad about having an only child. There are positives and negatives to all family sizes. And I think the same goes for spacing. 7 years works really well for us, but then there are positives to having children closely spaced too.
I guess what I'm trying to get at here is that if you want another baby, by all means have one, but if you want to wait to decide, that's fine too, and if you decide not to have one, that will also be fine. You aren't hurting your child by not having other children, but it won't hurt him to have siblings either. They're both good choices. You haven't damaged him by not having siblings. You're doing fine. :)
As for playgroup opportunities, library storytime is great, as is preschool. Both my kids loved (or for the younger one love current tense) it. You can post right here at Mothering in Finding Your Tribe ( http://www.mothering.com/community/f/7/finding-your-tribe ) to try to set a playgroup up with other Mothering families, or you could call your local LLL to see if they have a suggestion. Some hospitals have playgroups for babies and toddlers as well.
I think having siblings is great, but I am biased as I have 3 and came from a family of 4, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
My youngest is just about 3, so similar in age to yours. From my expereince, my first 2 are 2 years apart and they play together pretty well now (school aged) but also fight a lot, which is normal. I also found I always had to entertain my oldest, up until my second was about 2,5, as before that, even though they are close in age, they are not in the same place developmentally to play together. Once about 2.5 then they can play cooperatively, not so well at first, but gets better as they get older. My 2nd and 3rd are 4 years apart. I find that right now they do play together at times, but also the youngest gets left out a lot because there is no way he can play the same way as the older two, so I find I have to entertain him a lot more. The older two play with him when they want to build forts, dress up, cars, things like that, but he tends to destroy lego, science kits and board games so their tolerance only goes so far. They can go outside along, and the littlest can't. My middle child is the one who took the least entertaining from me.
Just wanted to add that I don't know anyone with little ones so we don't do play dates right now my almost 3 year old, but one he goes to preschool then it is easy to ask another parent to come over for an hour or two. I found that preschool playdates were parented, so you get a bit of a chance to meet moms, but once kindergarten hits, its kids only.
sorry- I miscommunicated- he does not AT ALL have a speech dely- just that his same aged cousing speaks in full sentances with correct grammar while my dh still calls himself by his name rather than I or me, kind of thing- but he is a great little talker- not behind, just not as far along as his cousin who is always w- her siblings--- need to make sure I didn't misrepresent my ds- he is super smart and can do 24 piece puzzles all by himeself and knows his letters and numbers and colors-- etcetera- no delay. Just less chance to talk to other kids.
We go to library story hour and play places about 2-3 times a wek and do see other people but it just isn't the same as my sister's kids with her sibs all the time. :)
lately I have been having a second baby craving but I can't decipher if I really want another kid or not. Up until now dh and I were pretty happy to only have an only. Now that ds is almost three I am feeling a big urge but I cant quite dechiper if it is just a biological urge to procreate and a longing for a little baby again, or if I really want to raise up two kids.
I was where you are a few years ago. I completely agree with everything Mamazee said in her post. My children are 5, almost 6 years apart. I LOVED having an only and I was an only, but my husband wanted another. I had originally wanted two, but have difficult pregnancies and I think have some sensory issues because too much noise drives me nuts. It wasn't until my first was 3 that I could even consider having another. So after so many years of avoiding a decision (and I am VERY good at making decisions), I finally decided that at the end of my life I would more likely regret not having another than I would having another. I had a month of feeling ready for another and just made myself do it (because you can only think about it for so long!)
Two years later, I am very happy I did it! My two play very well together and my oldest is an amazing older brother. Since I was an only, I never experienced the bond they are creating. I realized after having him, that when you are thinking about having another, you can be very logical about it and weigh the pros and cons. The thing I didn't see coming is how much I LOVE this little guy and all of that thinking and deciding I did before he came along was all for naught because no matter what the obstacles, I love him more than life. I think it was hard for me to conceptualize that before he was born.
Mom to my little super hero (02/06) and our super hero-in-training (11/11).
We originally planned on only having one but decided about a year ago that we wanted another and now are expecting our second in April.
OP, you sound very similar to me in that I stay home with DS and I'm not a very social person. I do love getting outside and DS definitely meets different people and kids and experiences lots of new things but I don't have close friends, only acquaintances, and DS probably doesn't "socialize" as much as other kids his age because of this. I don't feel like I am depriving him though and it doesn't sound like you are either.
It IS tough to be the entertainer though but I have found lately that it's gotten easier with DS and I think it will only get easier for you too should you decide not to add another child to your family. I do try to encourage him to play independently and set up activities and toys that allow him to do that.
My DH was an only child and still talks at length about how he spent lots of time alone growing up and all the great fun he had. He had (and still has) an amazing imagination and a remarkable ability to entertain himself with puttering around and thinking deeply. He is very comfortable with himself and confident and both he and I think that this does have something to do with all the time he had alone with himself as a kid.
If you are planning to eventually send your DS to school I wouldn't worry too much socialization! Sometimes I think at this age there are more negatives than positives to spending so much time with same-aged peers for kids. But that's just my opinion...
For us, in the end we did decide that we wanted DS to have a sibling and that we wanted another child to love in our family. But the "socialization" factor had very little to do with it. And I honestly don't expect having TWO to be easier than having an only, even when they can play together!
Me 32, loving him 33, more each day. Rad boy, 7/12/10 & Cool gal 4/28/13
I'm a biracial, atheist, humanist, pacifist, anarchist, bibliophile, and educator.
I don't have an only but DD1 was my only child for just shy of 4 years. And then I went on to add another 3 children to our family in the next 4 years.
Personality, personality, personality. There will always be children that are more demanding, more high needs, or do not have the ability to entertain themselves regardless if they are the only child or if there are a boatload of siblings around. More children really doesn't mean that they entertain each other. It could be such in your sister's case. Or it could mean that there are just more kids to scream, fight, demand mom's attention, and attempt to kill each other all day long. You can probably guess where my kids fall on that spectrum.
I know you addressed the speech, that it isn't a true delay but that you feel your DS just doesn't get a chance to talk to other children as much as your sister's children do. All of my kids are truly speech delayed, three still receive weekly (or 3x a week) therapy and my house is a constant rotating door of my kids and other random kids coming and going. Kids just develop differently and mine just don't develop the ability to communicate well without serious intervention.
I guess I'm going at it from the angle that DD1 was an insanely intense only child back when it was just her. I had to entertain her every second of every day. When I added more kids, nothing changed. She is 10 now, she knows DD2 wasn't always around, she she doesn't really remember being an only child. It is her personality. She was going to be this way regardless. My proof is DS2 who is 8 years younger then DD1, the youngest of 4 kids in a very busy household and he is a carbon copy of DD1. Identical to her behavior. And people wonder why there were 4 years between the first two kids, I needed that time to even consider having another child after DD1.
I'm suspicious that perhaps your sister has easier, more mellow children. I know quite a few families IRL that have 4 children fairly close together and none of them are able to sit and relax while they children play in another room for hours. If my kids are quiet in another room for hours then that means 1 of them probably killed all the other siblings and now is on the run. I don't get two seconds of peace unless all 4 are asleep. Hence the reason I stay up late every single night! From all the screaming and fighting when I go over to other 4 kid families, I know my kids are not uncommon. So just don't think that you are abnormal and your sister's family is normal, perhaps it is the more the other way around.
I'm a bit biased: I have a brother who is 5 years older. We were always together as kids, and I remember playing whatever he liked just so we would hang out . I have a 22 month old and I'm 16 weeks along with number two so I can't speak to whether it would be easier. I will say that there's much less of a learning curve for baby #2: you already have diapers and carseats figured out and (probably) have experience nursing. You are more likely to be a more confident parent the second time around. If you feel a pull for a second, I would pay close attention. If the timing isn't good then a 5 or 6 year gap can still be nice for the kids. I ended up pregnant before I really planned to but I'm confident we will make it work. Good luck on making your decision.
As for DS and his social life, I ended up meeting other moms at the local early years centre, library, park, and we have occasional playdates. I used to be fairly shy but somehow babies/toddlers really helped me get outside my comfort zone. I just start with "he/she is adorable/sweet/funny. How old?" and moms just love chatting about their kiddos. I have made a few good friends and a few weren't a great fit. Some are very AP like me, others much more mainstream but the personalities are a nice mix. My DD gets out about as much as your DS (less now with the weather) but has 3 or 4 kids she sees once a month or so.
thanks all! Well when I wrote that original post my sisters kids had been playing in the other romm etcetera but as our visit goes on and we spend more time with them I see how crazy and wild it is at her house with all those kids-
anyway thanks all for the good perspectives, it really helps!
I am going through this topic over and over these days since I am about to turn 40 so I feel like I have to decide soon. Still leaning towards keeping ds an only but not sure. thanks!!
DD 12/07 DS 9/10
yeah, you all hit the nail on the head regarding what I was getting at. I guess it is silly to think having a second will make my first either easier or happier. He is pretty happy anyway I guess but y'know just trying to sort it out- to see what kind of family is best for me! It is really such a big decision- to have more children or not. Pretty big thing to decide! I am glad to hear people's stories of their onlies being okay and that even if we had another there would be no guarantee of how they would interact. Also, my sisters' kids are all like 15 months apart- so close in age- and my hypothetical second child would be 4 yrs younger than ds. so big difference. Still figuring it out!
I think having a sibling would be great-and not having one would be great too :) I really wanted more than 1 kid, but not just so they could have a playmate, because I really wanted more than 1! My kids do play together lots of the time, but they also fight lots of the time (in a loving way of course, hah!) and I definitely do not get to just hang out in the other room while they play all day :) Sometimes that does happen for a little while though, which is great, and I truly do love to see them playing and interacting together.
If you are worried about socialization mostly, I would look into a playgroup or preschool or whatever-I know it's not the same as a sibling, but in reality it would be 9 months of pregnancy plus at least 1-2 years until the little sib would be big enough to really play with your ds, probably more like 2-3 until they play together well without supervision, so it's not like that is a quick fix for socialization anyway.
As for the large age gap, my stepdaughter and daughter are almost 6 years apart and loooove playing together and have since dd was...2ish? It was a big adjustment for dsd to have a new sib when she was set into being an only, but she was super excited and it worked out wonderfully. She now as 4 siblings (2 at our house, 2 at mom's) between almost 6 and almost 11.5 years younger than her and she loves them all and enjoys interacting with them all. I don't think a large age gap should talk you out of having another kid anymore than worrying about socialization should convince you to have another!