I Have Two Only Children

My older daughter was an only child.  So was her younger sister.  You see, they were born over eleven years apart.  The first one enjoyed the pleasures of being the focal point of her universe for all those long years until the second one was born.  Then, oh woe!  They had to share the attention for a season of time.  My younger one now holds the queen-bee-of-the-house scepter firmly in her delicate little lady fingers.  The best of her “only child” years are still before her.

I remember, before Daughter #2 was born, listening to Dr. Dobson discuss the traumas of being an only child.  He stated that they were not quite normal little beings, having been blighted by never learning to share.  They tended to be terribly selfish, with hearts filled with loneliness.  Dr. Dobson knew firsthand, having been an only child.  He seems to have turned out relatively all right, but I probably sobbed all over the kitchen linoleum the day I heard that broadcast, and determined to do everything in my power to help my little girl be emotionally healthy in spite of herself, her parents, and Dr. Dobson.  No doubt I prayed for her to escape being a total neurotic.

The prayers were answered, because when Child #2 came along, there was plenty of involuntary sharing going on, and Child #1 could only dream of the luxury of being lonely.  By the time the little one was a mere yearling, she knew exactly how to get under the elder sister’s skin.  She became an expert at it.  But it went both ways.

Do you remember the fairytale about the princess and the pea?  We learned a new version of it from our children.  There was the day five-year-old Beebee ran sniffling and snorkling to my side:

“Mom, Susan says she’s the princess and I’m the pea.”  (What now?  I had not introduced this story into my home, and I did not see how “the pea” applied to my child.)

“How are you ‘the pea,’ if you don’t mind telling me?”

“Susan said she’s a princess, but I am the irritation.”  (I should have reprimanded “the princess” and taken her royal highness down a few pegs, but it was too funny, and, much to “the pea’s” mortification, I laughed instead and said the likeness was uncanny.)

Being “the pea” was a sore point for Beebee for a few years, but today she tells us that the princess was really only a pea-picker in disguise anyway.

I think the girls are turning out all right.  Sometimes I have questions about both of them, but that’s only fair, since they have just as many questions about me.  I’m sure when they are on the phone together, they have serious discussions about Mom:

Younger child: “Mom’s been a pretty scary old lady lately.  Do they all get like this after fifty?”

Older child: “Mom’s always been scary.  Trust me, it hasn’t gotten any worse in the over twenty-five years I’ve known her.  I think the problem has stayed stable.”

Younger child: “Mom is stable?”

Older child: “I said the problem is stable.  Mom being stable is quite another question entirely.  You just have to know how to handle her.  Just keep a cool head and a steady hand, and you’ll get her raised up right even yet.”

The older daughter is taking after Dr. Dobson, I’m afraid.  She likes to monkey around as an amateur psychologist.  It must be something that an only child is prone to.  No telling what will happen with the younger one yet.  I understand FDR was an only child.  Maybe Daughter #2 will accomplish that which has eluded Hillary Clinton — becoming Madame President.



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I can relate a bit to your post! There is an 11 year difference between my oldest and youngest…both girls. I have 2 others in between though. Only crazy people have 4 kids! 😉


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