One kid + one kid equals…?


So we’re about to (and when I say about to, I mean in four months, not tomorrow, for God’s sake don’t rush me!) embark on becoming a family of four. We will officially go from being one of those families where the parents outnumber the child to one of those families that’s screwed.

Okay, I’m kidding about the screwed part, obviously! (Geez). We’re totally psyched for baby #2. But before we mentally accept our fate, I really want to get some math stuff straightened out in my head. It seems I’ve been told some conflicting information from parents of two children. (Wait, really? Conflicting stuff about parenting? Can that be?). Some say that adding a second child to the household is like adding point five of a child, or even (and this is hard to believe), point THREE childs. They assert that once you have one childs, adding one more child to the mix really only adds “less-than-one” units of work to your everyday life.

Let’s analyze that in a totally scientific way, shall we? If you’ve already had one kiddo, that means you’ve already adjusted nearly all of your behaviors to an alarming degree (case in point: you go to bed before ten and/or fall asleep during Game of Thrones; your regular Saturday night babysitter is the first person you text when you wake up in the morning and before you fall sleep at night; you haven’t worn make-up since the Prussian war; you spend at least forty-seven minutes a day either searching for Lego Duplos, willing away the cereal on the floor, or worrying about car seat recalls).

By this logic, you are already spending the maximum mental energy possible on certain items like scheduling the babysitter or not having sex with your husband. As far as chores like dishes and laundry are concerned, throwing another kid into the mix will certainly mean you’ll spend more time on those heinous activities, but probably not TWICE as much time…. right? Expanding one’s brood isn’t quite the same as going ALL THE WAY BACK to the pre-baby time when you were free to roam the mall on a random Thursday trying on clothes for sport and not getting irrationally angry when salespeople made smalltalk with you. That calm person had no idea that adding Child #1 to his/her life would be utterly life-altering. THIS change, on the other hand — going from one child to two — is not nearly so drastic.

And yet. There are those who do not ascribe to the “one plus one equals less than two” school of family planning thought. They assure me that adding a second child to your family adds an EXPONENTIAL amount of work to your life. They believe quite rabidly that one child plus one child equals MORE THAN TWO CHILDS. Why? Well, perhaps it’s obvious, but if not let me lay it out for you. You know those four free seconds you have every morning — the ones when you’re standing there blankly while your toddler deliberates over whether he wants to wear a truck or monkey shirt — to gaze out the window and luxuriously think about nothing? Or the thirty minutes of the day when your child blissfully watches an old Barney episode when you manage to figure out what to cook for dinner, put your feet up and zone out obliviously, run the washing machine or maybe even write one email and/or order some incredibly necessary item like this adjustable frog shower cap hat visor from Amazon Prime? Right. Well, based on what certain parents have whispered to me in hushed tones over by the slide, adding a second child to the mix means that those up-until-now free, lifesaving snippets of peace will – BOOM! – be gone with the wind. And not only that, but your heretofore potty trained and verging-on-manageable Child #1 will soon be vying for even more of your attention than before while you try to figure out out to grow five more hands and bend time and space to use your voice to buckle your children remotely into their carseats. Forget going to the store (shopping carts are only designed to hold one kiddo at a time!), and showers will be a long lost dream, because what if Child #1 decides to “help” Mommy out by convincing Child #2 to roll herself down the stairs while you’re blissfully shampooing your hair for the first time that month?

Mostly, this all scares the sippy cup out of me. But then there’s this voice in the back of my head that reminds me that some families have even more than two kids. Like three. Or four. Or, even (wait for it) MORE THAN THAT. Sure, those parents are superhuman or, at the very least, incredibly talented at life, but nevertheless, they’re doing it. And they might proclaim that the childs you add to the mix after Numbers 1 and 2 only help to entertain each other, keep each other company, and form a boy band. Which could be a very good argument for continuing to add to one’s family until the point when the kids are putting on musical revue acts every night and forming their own, accredited school.

In all seriousness: I hear from inside sources that the first year of having two little ones is the hardest, for obvious reasons. Once they’re both old enough to play together, it gets a little easier. And then, certain experienced parents have reassured me that at a certain age between toddler and teendom, your kids become these utterly remarkable little people who can pour their own cereal but still want you to watch Frozen with them. At which point, you can stop doing the math and just enjoy the fruits of your (literal) labor.

Any thoughts on how you plan to (or have already!) handled life with two kiddos? Is it really as scary as it sounds? (Don’t actually tell me). And what’s your answer to the infamous child(ren) equation? Does one plus one equal two, or four-hundred and seven??