Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The "Only Child" Advantage?

Clio and I had a date in Denver today. We went to my office for the morning and she watched videos and made watercolors while I got some things done. Then we headed out to lunch at Pete's Kitchen, a greasy spoon with Greek influences that has been "A Denver Institution since 1942," and headed on to the free day at the zoo. It was lovely. It was nice to focus on just one child for once, rather than wearing myself out just trying to keep tabs on two, as I did yesterday at the WOW Childrens museum in Lafayette. It was a pleasure to have a conversation with Clio over chicken fingers and fries, to actually listen to the zillions of questions she asks and do my best to answer them thoughtfully. It was fun to be out together, a dynamic duo. And I started to glimpse the reasoning of parents who choose to have just one child. It seemed so much simpler, so much more directed. I've always thought that a strange dynamic arises when there is just one child and two parents: it seems to me that the balance is out of whack, and the child becomes a third in the adult relationship in the house, rather than dwelling, with siblings, in the realm of children. But today, with Clio seeming very grown up as she chattered on about the drawings she made for my co-workers and the animals she most wanted to see at the zoo, I could see it from the other side, and see the pleasure one might find in a sole child who was necessarily adult.

None of this is to say that I would liket o have just one child; I hope it is obvious that I adore BOTH of my girls and can not imagine life one Peterson short. I just had a brief window into what it might be like, and I feel, for the first time, like I kinda sorta get it.

And if there is ever any doubt, there are moments like this one:

Tonight, Clio was peddling imaginary ice cream cones. After handing one to me, she asked Eleri if she would like one, and Eleri nodded. When Clio lobbed the pretend ice cream into the air, Eleri simply opened her mouth and "caught it" with a big 'um! without missing a beat, she then made the sign for more.

I'm not sure I could have played along like that, even if I was fully focused on Clio, and I know both Eleri and Clio are the better for having the other around.


Anonymous said...

I love my painting of a large city with a feather on top!

Unknown said...

I completely and totally agree with everything you said. Tom and I try to make an effort to have those solo dates with each child..
I took Wade to lunch about a month ago while Tom and Barrett did their thing. We split a burger and fries at a great little lunch joint in Saugerties. I pretty much wanted to cry throughout the whole meal- he was so adorable. He acted so grown up and was simply elated. I'll remember our first burger date forever.

kwongs said...

i love the ice cream story--so great! makes me less anxious and more excited about #2.