Resource Dilution

As a family becomes bigger, family resources become diluted among the increasing number of siblings in the family. Only children get more time, attention, money, and verbal interaction from their parents than do children with siblings. As demographer Judith Blake put it, rather bluntly, families with larger numbers of children tend to dumb down family conversation and activities to suit the youngest children in the family instead of the oldest or the adults, and thus “becomes weighted with infantile minds.”

Because Angelica is an only child our household is geared toward the intellect of adults. This could increase her SAT scores and help her go to a great college and go on to graduate school if she so chooses. Because she is an only child, we have the money to get her Farsi and Russian lessons, as well as music and dance and sign language and really tailor her homeschool experience to her needs and strengths.

Project Talent was  a study that tracked 440,000 kids in high schools across the country until they were nearly 30. They tested the subjects for 32 types of intelligence and only children outscored others in 25 tests and equaled others in 4.

The book from which I am drawing this research is called One and Only, and is written by an only child who is also the mother of an only. It is an in depth, fascinating read even if it does have a natural bias.

Judith Blake is cited a lot throughout the book, and sometimes that isn’t a good thing. She tends to take the human factor right out of things. Big families are beautiful, and give you a network of people to love. It is true that a variety of researchers and writers including Dalton Conley have shown a real competitive advantage for only children. But then I look at friends who have 2, 3, 4, and 5 kids or more and see how much love they have and how their kids are never lonely.

Anyway, just doing some research on only children and birth order and finding some interesting facts.

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Life Updates

My surgery to reattach my intestines and get rid of my colostomy bag is in less than 2 weeks, on Wednesday, October 25th. I am definitely nervous about it. Everything from getting an IV to having my intestines reattached and eating afterward without ripping my intestines apart, to the pain after surgery.  I am afraid of the IV because nurses tend to have a really bad time getting an IV in me and I have to be stuck several times. When that fails, they may try to give me a midline, which is painful. I’ll find out this Thursday at my pre surgery appointment what the guidelines are for me eating, but whenever I’m allowed to eat I’m going to be afraid of a whole lot of pain and torn intestines. I am also going to miss food, as I’m guessing I won’t be able to eat for awhile. And  I am dreading the pain when I wake up from surgery. I was in a lot of pain when I woke up from the surgery that gave me my colostomy bag, and this is supposed to be more major surgery than that.

At the same time, I am so thrilled that I won’t have to live with a colostomy bag anymore. I just have to get through this surgery (well, possibly two more surgeries depending on how things go) and I will be back to normal. I am so excited that I am counting down the days.

I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time hanging with friends and reading. I am excited about my new secret sister. I’m in a group that just started a secret sister swap. You get a name and address and some basic information about the person, and then you send them little cards and gifts. You also pray for them. In April you find out who your secret sister was. I need to get creative with my little gifts.

I am taking a break from writing and instead focusing on reading and researching. It refreshes me. You can’t take water from a dry well, or withdraw from a bank account you haven’t been depositing in. Well, I have withdrawn and withdrawn from my creative account and now it is time to make some deposits by reading.

Angelica’s 4th birthday was on October 4. We had her party on Sunday the 8th. Vicki and Joel, my inlaws, came to town for it and my parents and my sister were there too. My parents brought a pinata and she had a blast with it. She has been munching on the candy all week. She loves all her gifts.

Mother and Poet

I want my life to be an example of creativity and beauty to my daughter. Being a mother has completed me in some inexplicable way. It is as though I was born her mother, and Angelica’s birth was just a stage in my life cycle. When she was born it was as if I was a butterfly emerging winged from a snow white cocoon.

Because she completes me, and she widens my world, she has deepened my poetry. Motherhood has also been good for my productivity. It gives me less time to write. That may seem counterintuitive, but it is true. By allowing me less time to write, motherhood makes me focus when I do have time to write. Sometimes having all the time in the world just makes one fritter away time. When you become a mother, you appreciate time. That said, I still need my husband’s support for my writing. He lets me have a wonderful babysitter twice a week and gives me time to myself in the evening to read and write. Reading is the life blood of writing. A mother without any support and many children may find creating great literature next to impossible. Woolf was right when she said a woman needs money and a room of her own to write. But given critical aid, motherhood can enhance poetry.

Motherhood:

-Reinvigorates me and gets my creative juices flowing

-Enriches my life and gives me more to write about.

-Makes me make the most of my time. I am super productive because I know how limited my time is.

Before I met my husband I intended to go to an MFA program before starting a family. I thought two to three years with nothing to worry about but writing would be ideal. Now that life has taken me down a different path, I see that for me nothing is further from the truth. Motherhood and the awesome responsibility it entails gives me a purpose, something everyone who wants to write should have. If your whole existence is writing, you may find you have nothing to write about. See the proliferation of novels and short fiction about writers/MFA students by writers/ MFA students.

This is not to denigrate MFA programs, which can be wonderful. I am simply saying that motherhood has in many ways been a rigorous training ground for my poetry, and that the breadth of experience it provides me is nutritional for my fertile mind.

Submission

The decision to have another child has weighed heavily on my mind since Angelica was born, but now I have my answer. I have taken the decision to my husband, the head of our family, and he has decided that we are not having anymore children and are making our birth control permanent.

I’ve been praying for guidance and reading Scripture, but I forgot somewhere along the way that this major life decision doesn’t fall on me alone. My husband leads and covers me, and he has the final say so. He would never force me to do something I didn’t want to do, but part of submission is wanting to follow your husband’s leadership. My husband has decided the best decision for our family is to ensure that we have no more children.

A chapter in my life has closed. I will never again bring a baby home from the hospital, or see my baby’s first steps or hear first words. I am sad that this part of my life is closed and gone forever, but I trust God. If Craig feels this is the best decision for our family, maybe the Holy Spirit has put that on his heart. At any rate, God gave me my husband to provide for me, protect me, and lead me and I trust his decision. He’s a godly man and he’s thinking of the family’s best interest and mine. He puts us first, and putting us first he concluded the best thing for the baby and for me was for me to not have more children. And if it is my husband’s choice that I not have more children, and the Scripture is pretty clear that I am to submit to my husband, then not having more children must be the right choice.

Still, it may take some time to process this. It is a major decision. But I love my husband and know he will always do what is best for the family. He takes care of us. And if he feels it is in our  best interest for me to stop having children, he must be right. And I would certainly not disrespect him or undermine his authority by insisting on having more children.

This is where the beauty of submission lies. I was so stressed out, feeling like I was facing an impossible decision alone. But I forgot not everything is my decision. Sometimes wives forget that. Our husbands are the heads of our households and if you are grappling with a major decision, well, maybe you shouldn’t be. Let your husband lead. I always try to make submission and Biblical femininity a priority, but I forgot too! This decision, which has been so hard for me, was made easy when I took the issue to my husband and listened to what he had to say. He was clear about what was best for our family and what he wanted. If I had let my husband take the lead from the beginning I never would have gone through this turmoil.