I have several friends right now who have children about the age of two and are deciding whether or not to have a second. One couple is already trying but with some reservations, another is preparing to try with even more reservations, and another has basically decided against having more but with just the teensiest bit of doubt. I get their dilemma, though I never felt all that torn about it. I've been there and decided to have a second child. We didn't do a ton of deliberating on the matter. We had basically decided when we had our first that we would have two kids. Two and no more. Whether we had girls, boys or one of each - two was the number. And neither of us ever wavered on that decision.
After having two boys I did not have the burning desire to try for a girl. I'm really not that girly, perhaps the universe decided this was best for me. And the thought of having three boys makes me want to jump off a cliff. I am not criticizing anyone with more kids than me. That's great for you! Just not for me. And boys are fundamentally different from girls from my observations. My boys already have about a dozen stitches between them. They are constantly bruised, scraped and otherwise mangled from their constant running, fighting, falling, and jumping. There is no calming them down or getting them to stop. They are not allowed caffeine and very little sugar. Almost no soda ever. They are wild. They are boys. They love bugs, dinosaurs, cars and dirt.
I have been questioned repeatedly over my decision to have a second kid. Not that anyone questions my decision for myself but they want insight into how I made that decision and how they can make it for themselves. It's not an easy question to answer. I always knew in my gut two. I didn't want to have an only child. I wanted my kids to have a play mate, a confidante, someone to be an aunt or uncle to their kids some day. I wanted a family with craziness and noise and playing and fighting. And did I ever get it.
Is it harder having two? Sure it is. They drive you nuts fighting with each other over every little thing. This one took the other's toy, he hit me, he won't give it back, he got more than me, it's my turn. You want to throw them both out a window most of the time. And being pregnant while you have a two or three year-old is terrible. You can't pick them up when they throw a fit in the store, you're forced to just wait it out. They don't care if you're tired or sick in the morning, they want you up and getting their breakfast and putting on cartoons. They will laugh at you while you're dry heaving. It doesn't matter how much your back or head hurts, you have to help them go to the potty.
But for every way they make it harder, there's another way it's easier. Trouble would hold Little Trouble's bottle so I could go to the bathroom. He learned to re-start the battery operated swing. He would give Little Trouble his pacifier or toy when he dropped it. He would entertain Little Trouble in his crib while I was trying to get something done. Now he will get them each a drink and a snack and put on cartoons on the days I just need to sleep for another hour. Little Trouble threw a fit on me one day at the mall. Trouble and I had to chase him from opposing angles and corner him. Then I had Trouble carry my coffee for me while I carried a screaming and kicking three year-old out of the mall. It was so great Trouble was big enough to help me!
And while they fight with one another and get on each other's nerves, they clearly love one another. One will run if they hear the other crying or hurt. Trouble will hug Little Trouble before he leaves for school. And it slay-ed me when Little Trouble started saying, "Be a good boy," when he left.
But if you decide to have that second kid, don't blame me for it later. That decision is entirely up to you. I recuse myself of all responsibility.