Having One Baby Is Like Having a Houseplant

Sisters Look, I get it. I remember. When you have your first kid, it really is overwhelming. Plus, some kids are just more intense than others. So I’m in no way saying that parents of one kid have it easy, or are wimps, or anything of the sort.

I’m just saying this: Now that I have two ... one seems like a cake walk.

I remember being so insulted when someone posted on Urban Baby that having one baby is like having a houseplant. How dare they! I thought! How heartless! How judgmental!

How true.

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The last time I was in New York, I was early-pregnant with Abby (but didn’t know it yet, because apparently the basic functions of the human body are unknown to me). I was anxious to see my friend Lynn, but unsure when I would get to Brooklyn from the Upper West Side -- an hour trip if you take the subway, and you have to switch trains. She unhesitatingly said she’d come to me.

“But you have the kids!” I shrieked.

“Just Sam,” she answered. “Bess is at a birthday party.”

“You have the kid!”

“I have a kid. Believe me, it’s like being at a spa.”

Two kids are worse than one.

She’s right. Where I used to wait to be child-free before going to the market, now I am perfectly happy with “just” one kid. And two isn’t nearly as hard as one used to be, when she was my only one.

Meanwhile, my friends who have only one kid seem to have a few things in common. For instance, they still go out on date nights. They still sleep in the same bed. They still make sure their toys are age-appropriate. And? They still complain about how they’re run ragged.

And they are! I’m not even saying it’s not true. You don’t learn to handle that one kid 'til you have to juggle two -- and I don’t know about you, but I do a worse job with each of them now. When Penny was 12 months old, I read to her all the time; Abby’s lucky if I get through half of Brown Bear before we’re interrupted or I pass out. And the “old Amy” would never have picked up Penny by the arm and held her sideways and shrieking to get her out of the playground -- but when I have Abby under the other arm, well, what’s my option?

It’s all about the learning curve. It was steep with one baby; it’s a sheer cliff with the second.

As for my friend who had a baby after she had two incredibly rambunctious twins ... I get it now. And: Props to you. Props to me. And props to the parents of just one kid. Because we’ve got one thing in common: We’re giving our all to our kids -- whether it’s one, two, or AUGH!

Did you find it easier to deal with one after you had more? Do you secretly think your singleton friends are wimpy, or do you think they put the same energy into their one? 


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