Over at Teeny Manolo, Glinda has put up a list of the pros and cons of having only one child. It's an interesting read for me, since although I could give long and detailed lists of the pros and cons of having two cats as opposed to one, I'm entirely in favor of multiple children. (This is perhaps a natural result of being the oldest of six and the mother of four, counting baby.) Most of the pros don't resonate with me that much, in part because I don't see most of them as being an issue:
1. Having lots of time and energy to give to the one child versus splitting it up between siblings.
Actually, having multiple children who are old enough to play with each other means that I expend less energy because they amuse each other. For example: as I write this post, the three girls are upstairs playing a long involved game with a princess and a dump truck instead of hanging on me. I cannot underestimate the value of having siblings as built-in playmates.
5. One college tuition bill! Wheee!
Nonsense. My parents haven't been stuck with the tuition bills for any of the four of us who've gone through school so far, and neither have we expected them to pay our way. (Now, the Catholic school tuition bills, on the other hand...)
6. Less use of resources. Meaning three do not consume as much water, plastic, etc…
Perhaps, but we're able to live pretty efficiently combining resources here, not to mention that we recycle toys and clothing down and don't have families who inundate us with new plastic junk at every opportunity. (And let me take this opportunity to thank our families for this restraint. You guys are classy.)
10. Not having to buy a minivan.
I don't have a lot to say to that, other than to point out that some families with more than one child drive small cars, while other families buy far more vehicle than their size would warrant, regardless of number of children. Also that I lurve my minivan.
On the other hand, I would tend to push out the cons to the long-term consequences of having only one child. Darwin's father was, in effect, an only child who had the duties of caring for his elderly parents devolve upon him. This became quite difficult especially as the care stretched from months to years. My mother, by contrast, is one of eleven children, so there was a large support network to help her parents in their last days.
(Listen up: before anyone goes over to Teeny Manolo to pontificate about how people should be more generous with family size, please note that she says she would like more but has not been so fortunate.)
Xenophon's Anabasis, Book IV
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