Four Minutes

When people consider having a second child, one argument in favor of expanding the family is always that you’re giving your first child a playmate, a best friend, a true companion who will be in their corner long after you fade from the planet.

It seems to me that that’s the kind of long-range thinking only possible for parents of one child.

Once you have that second, you’re too busy referreeing petty disputes about who gets to sit on the blue chair NOW, and who had a longer turn with the ukuelele. And I know it’s only going to get worse for me, since my second can’t even really talk yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m delighted to have two children. And I love my own three siblings and three siblings-in-law. I even really like them. When we get together (too rarely, since I live 3,000 miles away from all but one of them), we find plenty to talk about it, and though we lead pretty different lives, there’s plenty of common ground.

Growing up, however, was a different story. I have some fond memories, but there’s also the fact that my sister regularly played dead to avoid playing with me. That my brother claimed my parents bought me in a store, and might return me any day. I don’t quite know how my parents got through each day.

I’ve been a mother of two for almost 16 months now, and today we had a breakthrough. Ben and Eli played together, unsupervised, for a solid four minutes. At this rate (and not counting the months before Eli could sit up) I figure it’ll be a couple of years before I get a full hour, but I’m looking forward to the day.


  1. larry says:

    Did I say that or was it your oldest sibling? If I did, I’m so sorry!
    You got my finger good with the slamming door that one time though!

  2. Chris says:

    My mother used to say it’s not a family until there are three. With two, you can grab each with one hand; with three there’s always one out of control.