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Tag archive for: siblings

One Tyke, One Teen

It’s the most irksome and indubitable law of the universe: Fate favors The Planner. The gal with the foresight to research preschools while she’s pregnant. Or to begin funding a 529 plan before her child can even gurgle the word “college.” Or to know what the frack she’s serving her family for dinner before she gets home from work at 6:22 p.m. and announces, yet again, “Umm … exciting news, everyone: It’s soup night! Grab your favorite can!”

In life — and in parenting, especially — she who wings it regrets it. But that’s exactly how I wound up having my kids seven years apart. When the other moms in my baby group were plotting their second and even third children, citing anecdotes about brotherly bonding and quoting stats about the effect of sibling spacing on each child’s health, intelligence, and self-esteem … I was busy trying to distinguish Boudreaux’s Butt Paste from Motherlove Nipple Cream, clawing my way out from beneath daily heaps of burp cloths and wondering if I’d accidentally stuffed my once-vigorous mojo into the Diaper Genie during a bleary-eyed late-night changing.

By the time I emerged from the disorienting fog of baby care into the dense haze of toddler care and then, well, into the light but still unpleasantly wet mist of 1st-grader care (okay, I’m easily overwhelmed), it was too late to have children who would ever want to ride the same rides at Disneyland much less be able to attend the same school.

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Enough for Two

You know the best thing about being an only child? There’s no math involved. No fractions required to divvy up the last piece of cake. No pie chart needed to see who got the most TV time.

Sibling-free, I got it all. All the love. All the attention. I got praise for the academic subjects I mastered, like French, and even those I didn’t, like trig. When there’s no competition, you get kudos for succeeding at arithmetic as simple as this: Love divided by one is one.

It wasn’t until I was an adult — and pregnant — that it first occurred to me that love might have a numerator and denominator. My husband and I worried how our beloved dog would cope with having a cooing, pink love-hog in the house. Isn’t it a crime to lavish affection on something and then ask it to share that affection with someone new? I asked our vet.

“Love grows,” he said.

“What does that mean?” I asked with a seriousness that should be reserved for conversations about heartworm and distemper.

“The heart expands,” he purred cryptically. He was one of those hippie earth-father vets with tons of his own kids and a fluffy, wisdom-indicating beard. “Love multiplies.”

Damn it! There would be math.

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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