One Kid vs More Than One Kid

by Ashford Evans

As parents, we all start out with just the one kid. We all say some of the following things. But as we get older and wiser and continue adding to our family,  it gets harder and harder to hold conversations with the Mono-kid parent. Now, I’m not trying to start another “Mommy war.” Lord knows we have enough issues dividing us, aside from the number of “Tax Deductions” we can claim. There are, however, a few things that you should never say to the Multi-kid parent. Ever.

 

1.  What’s the best ‘Mommy and Me’ class?”

Ok I get it. I really do. I remember being concerned that my first child wasn’t getting enough “socialization”. If I think back reallllllly realllllly hard I can remember those thoughts. But at this point, with 3 kids under the age of 5, the idea of a ‘Mommy and Me’ class is pretty much the most ludicrous thing you could have just suggested. When do I have time to take my infant to a class?! If the full-time job isn’t enough, then I’m also worrying about transportation to and from kindergarten, as well as after school dance classes and any other extracurricular activities for the older two. I’m continuously hunting for missing shoes and favorite stuffed animals, getting together an extra set of clothes for daycare, trying to remember to return the “school clothes” my child was sent home in (because for some unknown reason he stripped down naked and stuffed ALL of his clothes into the toilet yesterday), while simultaneously trying to figure out what the hell is for dinner! Quite frankly the baby is more like an accessory at this point. My baby carrier goes excellently with my oversized Michael Kors bag….I swear.

 

2.  “We don’t let *Angel* eat bananas/strawberries/processed foods.”

Again, I remember those fears. “Don’t feed your baby first fruits or they will develop a sweet tooth,” they said. I also swore I would never feed my kids fast/processed foods, and I did so on my high horse as I ground my organic kale in my baby food mill for Little Darling’s meals. I mashed organic avocados and I even ground my own organic brown rice for his cereal. However, there comes a time when the world will not end because he eats a freaking chicken nugget.  Sometimes it’s a matter of survival. For you. And (aside from the recent metal shards in the boxes recall) sometimes a box of mac and cheese is the only thing you can muster. I promise you this will not have lasting effects on your child’s intelligence or ability to succeed in life. And the: “Don’t feed them fruit” thing? That’s total BS. They are kids. They will emerge with a highly developed “sweet tooth” regardless of if their first food was swiss chard or Reese’s Pieces.

 

3.  “It’s tougher having just one child because I am his ONLY entertainment.”

Really? I don’t even know where to begin on this one. I’m sure from your point of view, in your serene mono-kid home you feel exhausted and stretched thin from being “his only entertainment.” But let me just set the record straight. Instead of my children “entertaining each other” they spend the majority of their time plotting each others’ demise. And I spend the majority of the time as a referee. “HE LOOKED AT ME!!!” “SHE TOUCHED MY LEG!” “HE LICKED MY EYEBALL!!!!!” The screams are nonstop, overwhelming, and extra-humanly loud. Sure we have those moments where they do forget they hate each other but they are few and far between.

 

4.  “Why don’t you just bring the kids?”

Because I’d rather play in broken glass than take my brood to the local Mexican restaurant and spend the next hour and a half pulling the knives out of the baby’s hand, almost doing the Heimlich on my 5 YO (because she hasn’t quite mastered the art of chewing a chip before swallowing), and trying to find the shoes my 3 YO just threw across the room. “Taking the kids” is not usually an option unless there is a padded room. Or a dog kennel. We are just in that stage of life where we are hermits. It’s fine. It will pass.

 

5.  “Having a newborn/infant/toddler is sooooooo hard.”

Yes it is. I am not minimizing this fact. It is hard. Any amount of children are hard, regardless of age. But it’s kind of like that skinny girl in the dressing room trying on a size zero dress and telling you she’s “sooooooo fat.” Having multiple children infinitesimally increases your difficulty level. Not only are you forced to manage the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn but you also have to maintain the composure to deal with your toddler’s insane and inappropriate outrages at the same time you are teaching your kindergartener to read! I have now reached ninja level multitasking. Because let’s be honest, you haven’t really lived until you’ve simultaneously wiped your 2 YOs butt while nursing your newborn. I appreciate you are stressed and I want so badly to empathize with you, but right now I just can’t. These little minions (whom I love dearly) have sapped every last ounce of self-control and human decency out of me.

 

6.  “Let’s do a girls night!”

So we have 3 kids and although a “girls night” isn’t necessarily out of the question (and definitely needed) it is something that must be planned and plotted well in advance. You see, bedtime in our house begins at 6pm and with a little luck on our side ends around 8:30pm. This is only if there are no unforeseen circumstances (which there usually are). Think: 3 YO strips down and pees on the master bedroom carpet because he thought “it would be funny” while you are putting the baby to bed. Or the dog climbs onto the kitchen table and eats an entire baseball cap. She then promptly throws it up and tries to eat it again. There are a lot of moving pieces and a lot (A LOT) can go wrong. Any such event can derail your perfectly planned out bedtime routine and send the whole night straight to hell. So to ask just one person to do this alone is really just straight out inhumane. Especially if it’s so the other can enjoy Happy Hour with “the girls” instead of slogging through Crappy Hour. I know what you’re thinking….”Just go after the kids are in bed.” Did I mention that after the mental and emotional olympics I go through just getting them to bed I rarely maintain the brain faculties to microwave a bag of popcorn. I certainly am not putting on a bra and going to a public place!!

 

7.  “Are his pants on backwards?”

And to this I say, “He’s wearing pants isn’t he?” Because you know what? I’m doing the best I can. My 3 YO once wore his pants backward for an entire freaking week as we worked with him on dressing himself after using the potty (He’s one of those kids who insists on stripping down naked before climbing on the toilet).  We are 2 weeks out of the ‘streaking naked like Will Ferrell in “Old School” phase’ and quite frankly, I’m damned proud that he’s putting his pants on at all. I certainly couldn’t care less if they’re on backwards.

 

So again Mono-kid parents, it’s not that I judge you or think I’m better than you. I truly appreciate your struggles and I remember that I was once you. That being said — just keep your audience in mind before you speak, and spend a bit of time considering what it’s like to walk in my worn out, vomit-stained, mismatched shoes.