They say that baseball is the national American pass time, but everyone who's been married knows that obsessing over the size and make up of other people's families is far more popular than baseball.
If you're married with no kids, a conversation (often even with complete strangers) will inevitably turn to when you're finally going to have some. If you have one kid (even if the kid is 2-days-old) everyone demands to know when you're going to have another one. Once the second kid gets here, inquiring minds want to know something along the lines of, "so, you're done now, right?" That is, unless you've suffered the misfortune of having two kids of the same sex, then the question will be, "are you going to try for a (fill in the missing gender)?" If you had one of each and then have a third, people will want to know if it was an "accident." Mention you might like a fourth, and people's eyes will bulge right out of their sockets, if they don't faint on the spot.
How did one boy and one girl become the "perfect" American family? On some level, as someone with two kids, I can understand it. When I had no kids, it seemed like a nice idea to have a few. When I had one, it seemed like a good idea to have several more. After finding out how much work it is just to raise two, I quickly decided that "several" was out of the question. My own eyes bulge at large families, not because I don't think they're fabulous, but because I can't figure out how the mother of the family manages to pee, drink a whole cup of coffee before it's, roughly, the temperature of a popsicle, or take a shower.
I love the idea of a large family. As an only child I've often romanticized the implications of being part of a big family. But God knows I would not want to have to be the mother of that family. Waaaay too much work. Some days I also love the idea of a child free or one-child family. Both extremes have their charms from the outside.
Because I have two boys, everyone (especially their grandma) wants to know when we're "having a girl." (as if it was our choice and we went the two-boy route just to be a nuisance) This comes in handy for getting in that "disgruntled only child" dig at my mother by pointing out that if she really wanted a granddaughter, she should have hedged her bets better and had more children herself. But aside from that, my husband and I are quite happy to have two healthy boys, however "imperfect" that makes us as an American family unit.
Copyright 2005. Staci Schoff. All Rights Reserved