The Only Child

My son is a third generation only child. I’m an only child, my mom is an only child, and so is my son. The women in our family have had difficult pregnancies, and/or very sick children. I had bronchitis and asthma so bad as a child that I can remember spending almost every Holiday in the hospital. My son was born at 36 weeks old, had surgery at four weeks, and has had over 15 febrile seizures, which he has now grown out of. So believe me, I practically growl now when someone asks if I’m going to have another child.

Angry Kid at the Beach

My son is a social butterfly. He makes friends easy, and he has tons of them.This has been a hard summer though. When you have an only child, you are their playdate and companion. We have been pretty low-key this summer so I didn’t sign my son up for a ton of things. My husband and I have completely different days off so that has helped with childcare. But on certain days of the week, it is just me and the kid. I know that he wants to play with his friends and peers. It is pretty bad that he asks to go to 24Hour Fitness just so he can go to the kid’s club. Every summer before this, Angry Kid was in a year round pre-school.  We didn’t have to worry about playdates or camps.

We didn’t sign Angry Kid for any camps this year, because we felt that he was a little too young. I know that he will want to attend some sports related camps in the future when he is older. I have a friend who runs an amazing day camp during the summer, but alas she is in Los Angeles. Many, almost all of his friends have siblings. When you have multiple children, you have the “go play with your brother or sister” theory. Not so much in my house. It is just me or Angry Husband.

Angry Kid is constantly begging to play with certain friends. I kept telling him, “they are not home, they are out of town, etc.” It is getting quite old. We have had some plans, but I’ve learned not to tell Angry Kid about them until we are on our way. I don’t want to disappoint him when people flake out.

My BFF Stacey is experiencing the same thing with her daughter. Stacey works from home, and has an only child also. If Stacey or I lived closer to each other, we wouldn’t have these issues. We are 30 minutes apart. She doesn’t always know when work will come in, so scheduling can be difficult for her. She said that her daughter is basically stalking the neighborhood children. Stella constantly asks, “are they at home, do you think that they want to play?” Stacey tells her daughter that since the neighbor girl is constantly playing with her sister, the girl sometimes wants some alone time. Stacey told me that she was recently “bitching” to the mother of these neighborhood girls that the only person to entertain Stella was her (Stacey). The mom then started complaining that all her daughters do is fight and annoy each other.

I remember EVERY summer being like this growing up. It pretty much sucked. It was like people disappear during the summer, and return again on Labor Day. I totally feel for my son, and want him to have a great childhood with no regrets. I guess we need to pack his summer full next year. He did go to Las Vegas last week with my parents and had a great time.

So if your child have friends who are only children, remember this. And parents of only children, we need to unite. That only child wants to play with you, please give them a call. And people don’t use the excuse that I am a working mom. I work a unique schedule. I can re-arrange things and take time off.

Now, I’m off to 24Hour Fitness, because I am fat, and I need to entertain my child….

19 comments
Lindsey (aka modchik)
Lindsey (aka modchik)

You know even though I have 2 kids I really UNDERSTAND what you are going through. Since my son is 9 years older than my daughter it was and still is (in a way) like having 2 onlies. I was so thankful for my neighbors who all had kids the same age, we commiserated and celebrated milestones together and eventually became life long friends. Its RIGHT NOW that I have the MOST difficult challenge, those friends never had a second 9 yrs later and while they have an abundance of free time I have a soon to be kinder hanging on my skirt. Literally she won't LEAVE me for 5 secs. I try my hardest to plan something everyday so no matter how much she sees my butt glued to this chair she knows that I still want to hang out and play with her just as much too. We should commiserate together!

Jenn @ Home is Where You Start From
Jenn @ Home is Where You Start From

I'm having a similar problem here, even though I have 4 kids. My youngest is a girl and 2 years younger than her brother- and to complicate it, I homeschool another boy, same age as my son, so they are always playing together. DD is left by herself. She has taken to stalking the only kids her age on our street, but they are gone all the time. She runs over to their house several times a day to see if they are home. I feel sad for her, but don't see a way to fix things.

Skinny Jeans Mom
Skinny Jeans Mom

There are advantages and disadvantages to all, I suppose. I come from a family of 5, and even though there were times my sis and I almost killed each other, I couldn't imagine living without her now. Now that I have my son, its a question not of if we'll have a second, but when. However everyone has their reasons for having more or not having more, and yours are completely understandable.

Tractor Mom
Tractor Mom

I was in the same boat--third generation only child with my son. When he was 10, I found out I was having another boy. With my boys being 10 years apart, it's like raising two only children! Being an only child, I remember being lonely and always wanting to play with friends. My parents started letting me go to every camp I could as soon as I was in school. My parents worked inside and outside the home, so I had to learn to play by myself. On thing that you are forgetting is something that people ask me about all the time...how do you get your son to play by himself so well. Only children learn quickly how to adjust to playing by themselves. Both of my boys can contently play by themselves for hours at a time. Being an only child is not a death sentence by no means!! Look at all the people that have left comments that were also only children!! Being an only child does have draw backs but with the right gideance, can be rewarding for the child!!

pdxhadey
pdxhadey

I have two daughters (ages 2 & 4) who are just now starting to play together a lot, which is wonderful. But, one of my neighbors (and friend) has an only child who is good friends with my 4 year old, and she loves when my daughter comes over to play because she says she can actually cook and get stuff done when she comes over, because she doesn't have to constantly entertain her daughter. We often swap same-day play dates where I'll send my 4yo to her house while my 2yo is sleeping so I can get a break, and afterwards her daughter comes over to play at our house so she can have some time to herself. It works out great, and the kids have a blast!

Maria
Maria

No children but i can relate I was adopted at 8 months old and grew up as only child because my parents had all grow up kids who no longer lived at home. What i remember the most was not having a sibling to help me with homework and school projects. All of my classmates had sisters & brothers who shared their knowledge because they had the same teacher the previous year or whatever.

Barb
Barb

I was 1 of 3 growing up, with a lot of neighborhood kids around so we were always entertained. I am the mother of 2, a girl and a boy. They are 4 years apart but are at the age where they can do things together and they do, but they also fight. It is annoying. When my daughter is out of the house babysitting or with a friend, it is heavenly. The boy and I can relax and enjoy some solitude. Same goes for when he is off with friends. My girl and I can lounge and chat and it is so nice. I guess either way has its benefits and challenges. I understand your wanting to find things for your son to do and if he is interested and social I would for sure get him into camps and things next summer.

Beth Talbot
Beth Talbot

I totally understand this. I was an only child too and my son just lights up when Mommy and Daddy come to play with him. Too often I think we get caught up in the "grown up stuff" - cleaning, Facebook, tv, games, etc. and we forget that we are blessed with these amazing little people. The other night, I sat with my son and my laptop in my lap and we googled planets and learned about them. It made his whole night and it took 15 minutes. I am glad you posted this and glad I came over to read it. Good luck at the gym and with your little play buddy! I have to go get ready for my little guys 5th birthday on Friday. Time flies, that's for sure!!!

Melissa McK
Melissa McK

I was an only child also. When I was really little, I don't really remember what I did to be honest. But I do remember going to camp at 6 or so? I wasn't as social so your son has that going for him. I have 2 daughters because I do remember being lonely. I was only going to have one, but I did catch baby fever. My kids didn't start having issues (asthma as well) until this year (at 2 and 4yrs old). They are more social than I was and it definitely has to do with parenting as well as the child. My parents would rather live in a cabin 40 miles from civilization. So I had to overcome that. I do now have 2 friends who have only children. One is by choice and one is not. I do need to make plans with them :) Thanks for kicking my butt in gear! My kids are driving me insane fighting so now they can fight with someone else! LOL, jk they will be thrilled to see other faces!!

Angie
Angie

I am in the very early stages of this so I want to THANK YOU for giving me the heads up. I have a 19mo daughter and I am her only playmate right now. I'm seeing huge changes in her lately and she absolutely lights up when her 1 year old twin cousins come to play. It's breaking my heart a little because she seems to get bored/lonely with me and there are NO other kids in our neighborhood close to her age. I'm at a loss for finding playmates/playdates for her but I know she'd benefit from the interaction. Maybe I'll just put out an advertisement on our blog: Adorable only child seeks other only children for play, fun .... :)

Megan
Megan

im an only also. i feel your pain! Hang in there- school starts soon!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Time does fly. It is hard because I work full time and sometimes, I just need to clean and do a little laundry. On my days off, I'm the playdate...next year, I'm saving up my money for camps.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

LOL...I think everyone's kids are fighting now that the summer is getting to all of us. My parents are weirdos too. I'm not sure how I ended up social. Sometimes, I think I was raised by wolves.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Maybe I should put out an advertisement too.. "6 Year Old Boy, Loves video games, nature, bugs, swimming, adventure. Will play with younger children. Loves movies. Will try any sport. Seeking playdate." We did Gymboree Play and Music until he was 16 months old. Then around age 3 we did The Little Gym. At age 2, I put him in preschool/daycare because he is a very social kid. I'm saving up money for tons of camps next summer...

Beth Talbot
Beth Talbot

I totally understand. I work full time and have to travel out of state for a week every other month. It's intense and stressful. Good luck. From your blog posts, it's obvious that you are a wonderful mom and have a great son!