junior, trip, quad and vee


Today’s CODE WORD is this… (and no, this question has nothing to do with our current plans or inclination, I’m just interested in everyone’s thought processes)… For those of you with more than one child, why did you decide to have another? And for those of you with one child and planning another one, what went into your decision? And for those of you without kids, don’t the rest of us kinda freak you out?

0 thoughts on “junior, trip, quad and vee

  1. scruggs

    We have a 4yr old son and a 7 month old daughter. To keep things simple, and in no particular order, this is why we wanted a 2nd.
    1) A gift for us. We love and enjoy kids and being parents. So what better ones to love and enjoy than our own.
    2) A gift for our son. We wanted him to have a sibling. I am 10 years older than my sister. Its only in the last 5 years that I’ve really appreciated having one due to the age difference. I love having a sister, and couldn’t imagine not having one now. I’m sure I wouldn’t notice a void if she wasn’t around, but am glad she is here. Same for my husband and his sister. And of course, by the symmetric property, my daughter has a sibling, too.
    3) A gift to the whole family. I loved growing up with my cousins. And our son loves his cousins. So, hopefully, one day our kids’ kids will have that same joy. Also, since my sister is so much younger, our kids are the only g’kids my mom gets to enjoy right now…and her sister has 8 g’kids. Don’t think my mom doesn’t use THAT as a math lesson!
    4) Don’t want to be morbid, but all the time in the paper, I see someone who has passed away before his parents. And the paper mentions, hee was an only child. I can’t imagine, as much as I love being a parent, having my 30 year old child die and then that’s it…no more kids. That dynamic is gone.
    Now the question, is do we go for three. Odds are…no, but you never know. We leave today to drive to NY&CT for a week’s stay. So after that brutal road trip, let’s see how much we enjoy the kids!

  2. kent

    It was never really a question. As soon as the first child was more or less through the most labor intensive phase, we just did it. Melissa was more vocal about ‘i want another baby’ than I, but there was never any debate.

  3. Mom

    Here’s the deal. Kent was planned. You were begged for (second marriage, please, just one more baby…). The rest were volunteers.
    And I don’t regret one moment of having five, even though I never thought I’d have more than two (or, at most, three.)
    I’m astonished at how easily and how successfully today’s couples (including my own kids) plan their families. It’s a new world.
    I’m looking forward to the responses here…

  4. Mindy

    Hello. I’m a long time lurker, and infrequent commenter, but this is a topic close to my heart right now, so I feel the need to add my 2 cents. Before we were even married my husband and I agreed we wanted 2 children. After we had our first (named Lucy too!) the only question was when, not if. Sorry to be a downer, but here’s the rub. When our daughter was not quite 3 we started trying for another child. That was 2 years ago and since then we’ve been through 1 surgery, 4 IVFs, 1 miscarriage with a D&C, countless doctor appointments, scans, blood tests, needles galore, and still no baby. Now we’re beginning to seriously consider adoption and that, for me anyway, is where the real soul searching is happening. How MUCH do I want another child, how much more am I willing to go through to get one, and does it matter whether it’s our biological child. For my husband it’s very simple, he has no hesitation about adoption. It’s a bit more complicated for me. Perhaps because it’s my body that’s failed, perhaps because I’m the one who will miss what I had the first time (pregnancy, breastfeeding), perhaps I’m just worn out from everything we’ve already done. In the end I’m pretty sure we’ll end up adopting, and while I truly believe adoption is wonderful, I know it will definitely be more difficult for me to come to terms with the need to take this alternate path. So, I guess, given what I’ve been through, I wish it were as simple as deciding WHETHER we wanted another child. I truly hope for Ian and Tessa, and anyone else reading this, that it is really just that simple. Good luck whatever you decide.

  5. scruggs

    Mindy brings up a good point. I hear people all the time talk about their kid spacing/planning etc. as if they just flip the switch when for so many it is an uphill battle. I had two M/C’s between kids, and we decided early on that we would adopt if that is where our path took us. Luckily, things didn’t drag on one way or the other beyond that.
    Good luck, Mindy.

  6. Lee

    Wow, Mindy, good luck with whatever you decide.
    We adopted in December and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. There’s no way I could love another human being more than I love this baby. I am so pro-adoption that given the choice of birthing a baby and adopting, I chose adoption. I could go on & on about that, but it’s not the topic and for everyone, there’s no more personal decision.
    For a second child, Ian, I think we are in the same boat. I’m in my late 30’s and have such a wonderful child that I worry that a second child will be really difficult and I’ll be even more tired than I am now and won’t have the ability to give to the second child like I’m giving to the one now. I’m leaning towards not having another, but feel bad for my daughter about not having a sibling. If we did do it, that would be why we did it (for me) and so far, that doesn’t seem compelling enough a reason. But I’ve been pondering this for a while now and will look forward to reading other people’s responses!

  7. LFMD

    I thought for sure that today’s post would be all about the iPhone. Did you get one?
    Here’s my story. Got married in 1994. Didn’t really feel the urge for motherhood. Frankly, was not sure whether I would be a good mother. Husband wanted to have a baby years before I did. Lots of arguments over it all. Arguments alluded to possible divorce — Husband felt marriage at a standstill. I did not want to be strong-armed into pregnancy. I wanted to focus on other things — career, buying a house, before we had a baby. At the same time, I loved my husband and wanted us to be happy.
    Anyway, on my 30th birthday in 1998, I literally woke up and KNEW that I wanted a baby. Shared epiphany with my husband. Got off pill, tried to conceive in September. Got pregnant right away, easy pregnancy, daughter born in June, 1999. Everybody healthy and happy. Happy ending.
    I had assumed that Husband would want another child, so after daughter was born, I asked him when he wanted to try for another pregnancy. His response: “I always knew that I wanted to be a parent, and now I am one. We don’t need more than one child to be parents.” Duh. I had never looked at it this way. . . people always talk about “having kids” as though one kid does not make a family. As if the married couple is not its own family in the first place. Anyway, we did not rule out having another, but were busy with our daughter.
    We adore Helen, and my husband is the best father ever. I try my best to be a good Mama. We are a strong unit of three, and honestly, we just never had an urge for another baby. It is as though we have achieved a wonderful successful balance, and I am afraid to rock the boat. Frankly, I never thought I would be this happy. I feel so lucky to have a healthy, happy child — I don’t take any of it for granted, and I feel so blessed. Just don’t want to push my luck — does that make sense?
    Strange thing is that in 8 years, Helen has never asked for a sibling. Never. The only time she mentioned the possibility was when we moved into our new, bigger house. She pointed to the guest room and said, “if you ever have a baby, the baby can sleep here.”
    The current unfinished business in our house is that I really want another dog.
    And, I really want husband to get a vasectomy. I mean, if we are 99% sure that we don’t want another baby, let’s seal the deal. Right? My big fear is that we will have an unplanned pregnancy — and I do not want that to happen. So, snip snip.

  8. quinn

    I have one. I adore her and her father and I went around and around the whole “Isn’t this marvelous, let’s do it AGAIN!” subject for a couple of years. But, in the end, we are a family of three, and the geometry of it works so well for us that we were loathe to fool with it. It didn’t help that I had two friends who had one child, went for their second and had kids with medical and/or psychological problems on a grand scale; it’s wreaked havoc on their lives (Neither problem could have been diagnosed en utero). I’m not a young woman as far as breeding is concerned, and I would look at my daughter and think “Do I want to risk a child who might end up being my older child’s responsibility for her entire life?”.
    Yes, I think about her dying before us, and our having no other kids, and the hollow horror of my life after that. But numbers don’t necessarily save you. I remember reading an obit of a young woman who died in a boating accident. She had been one of three; one died on 9/11, one died of leukemia.
    For us, one works.

  9. Alan

    We adopted our second and the plan was to adopt to be all do goody and have a nice family and stuff and it has worked out far better than I could have imagined when I was, say, 24 and sullen. We also got into foster parenting as a result meaning for most of this year we have had four kids in all in the house.
    BTW – if everyone adopted people things would be much better so please sign up now. It is not a second choice though it is a brave new leap. I was lucky as I have a buddy who works on ehtics committees and such. I was worried I would reject a child and would not know how to do it. My kid walked up to me on the visit introduction when he was one and barfed in my shirt and we have been best pals since. But I have said no to foster placements for a number or reasons but you have to trust your gut on those things taking all the family into account. CODE WORD: if you want to adopt, say you will take “special needs” if you honestly can. What each jurisdiction’s system calls a special need can be a sibling, a child over one, a wonderful kid with a specific need. My experience for what it is worth is that you will not be considered for such a placement unless you introduce it.
    Scruggs point #4 is also one that you have to deal with in your heart of hearts. A tough one to admit but it is a real concern.

  10. Sean M

    I have none. Want 2 (maybe 3)…kicker being that I’m gay and would prefer any children to be biologically mine, which presents a whole different set of hoops/considerations to go through. Adoption isn’t off the table though.
    So I can’t really speak to your question from experience, but I’ve always thought that it takes exceptional parents (which I have no doubt that you are) to raise an only child who doesn’t have ‘only child syndrome’ as they get older. Plus, no matter how many cousins, family friends with kids, etc you might have, there’s nothing like a sibling. Timingwise, obviously a personal decision, but I’ll just say that I have two brothers, 18 months on either side of me, and that’s too close.
    For what it’s worth…

  11. AnneD

    I have never, ever met an only child of any age who didn’t wish their parents had given them a sibling (or two etc.). EVER. Being an only child got them lots of attention and goodies, but being the sole focal point of parent(s) is a double-edged sword as one grows into the teens and beyond; and then there is ultimately the sole caretaker and survivor burden, too. The “only children” I’ve known have loved hanging around the homes of their friends who had sibs… it felt livelier and more fun and warmer to them.
    I have never met a person with sibling(s) who wished, sincerely, that they had been an only child.
    That being said, it’s always the parents’ call. But I personally would err on the side of one more rather than only one.

  12. wottop

    I always figured we’d have 2 kids and my wife was thinking 3.
    We had 2 healthy boys in 2 years. It never took more than 2 months to conceive [clearly pointing to my prowess].
    We then set out to have a third [clearly pointing to my wife’s prowess]. We tried off and on for a few years. Clearly timing for my wife had changed.
    She had 2 miscarrages along the way and we were ready to give up. We literally were giving it a final shot. She got pregnant again.
    Five and a half years after child #2 she had a baby girl …. and a baby boy. Both are just as healthy.
    Every time my wife was pregnant, I worried the entire time that there would be health problems. So far we have been so very fortunate.
    We are also quite done with making more people.

  13. emma

    For us, it really wasn’t a question of one or two, but more of two or three. Husband wanted (still wants) three. I’m happy with my two, ages 6 and 4. Plus, my body does not like being pregnant, althought luckily I never had any problems getting pregnant. And I’m not getting any younger. I also like my sleep a little too much for another baby. Funny you bring this up today – I leave for Wilmington in a couple of hours to spend the weekend helping out my friend who just had twin boys about three weeks ago. I think this glimpse back into babyhood will be a good reminder that life is real good with just my two who sleep through the night most of the time.

  14. LFMD

    AnneD’s comment reminds me of something. I know a lot of families in which the siblings fight constantly. There is little family harmony, and the siblings are never close. My husband and I have one sibling each, and we really are not close to them. Anyway, sometimes I wonder if parents are setting themselves up for heartache by wanting siblings for their kids. . .only to see that the sibs fight and argue growing up. There is an assumption that the sibs will grow closer as they enter adulthood, but is this always the case?
    You know what I love to do at church each Sunday? Watch families. There is one family with a set of triplets, a set of twins, and a singleton. All six have red hair! There is also a family with 9 kids. And they are all so well behaved! Then there is an oldster dad with his young wife (2nd marriage, I guess?) and little kids – he looks like the grandpa. I love to see all the different combinations of family units that people creat for themselves.
    I think the bottom line is that you can plan all you want, but life can throw you all sorts of curve balls.
    And, you gotta know your limitations. While the church mama who has 9 kids is the most gentle, calm person I have ever met, I know for sure that if I had 9 kids, I would be the Shrieking Nagging Mama from Hell. Who ends up in the mental ward. Or who pulls a Marie Osmond and drives away, never to return.

  15. kjf

    there is a richness to life when you have siblings. i dont buy into the negatives about only kids but i do think that from the kids perspective it helps to have another kid in the house. the hardest thing about having kid number 2 is convincing yourself you can love another person as much as the first child. you can. its easy.

  16. noj

    for the last few years my mom, an only child, has suffered through the long and painful death of her mom. she’s been under enormous strain as the primary caregiver for her mom and the emotional crutch for her understandably depressed father. she had no help in this process & i don’t want my daughter to go through this type of isolated & soul-crushing pain – so we’re providing her with a new brother in about 3 weeks. they each get a playmate, a lifelong friend and someone to lean on when hard times arrive.

  17. killian

    I am the oldest of 5 kids. My two brothers and I (siblings #s 1, 3, and 5) have never chosen to reproduce, but my two sisters (#s 2 and 4) have. HMMMM. . . something for the “birth order” books?
    I adore being an aunt and am eternally grateful that my sisters have afforded me that opportunity. Just never wanted kids of my own–pretty sure I’d be a shrieking/nagging/from hell one!!
    LFMD, growing up, we did have lots of large family issues [jealousy, fighting, alienation, etc.], but we also grew closer as we got older, which has been a total trip!! But I won’t swear that’s the norm. . .

  18. Lara

    I’m also an infrequent commenter, but this issue is timely for me. We have a little girl who will be two in October and really want to try for another one at the end of the summer. But just to raise (or re-raise) another issue, at 36, I feel like I may be pushing my luck. I’m curious if anyone else really wanted another but was too afraid of health problems to try again? Am I being overly paranoid?
    As for siblings or no siblings, I think it’s just what works for each family. If you feel (like LFMD) that three is the magic number, I can’t imagine it’s a good idea to try to have more just so you don’t feel guilty.

  19. d

    long-time lurker, first time poster.
    Anne D, Amen.
    Mindy, good luck.
    my sister and brother are the absolute best things about my childhood and are a huge part of my adult life. my sister-in-law is the only child of divorced parents and not having a sib is really hard for her, particularly when she sees how we get to lean on each other. We’re there for her, but nobody truly understands a family dynamic that they haven’t lived through and only children have nobody in the world who can understand exactly what it was like to grow up in their house. that’s not the end of the world but, man, one of my favorite things is cracking up with my sibs over my parents’ idiosyncrasies. I have no kids yet but when I do, I don’t plan on stopping at one.

  20. Greg T

    I am the oldest of 5 (or maybe 7, depending on how you count – 4 full sibs and 2 steps…) and always thought that I’d have either none and 2. When we decided to have children, we agreed that we’d have 2 based on the same logic that made us get 2 dogs – so they would have each other.
    As Mindy points out, it’s not always a matter of choice. The recurrance of pre-cancer a year after our son’s birth led to a full hysterectomy and we now agree that a family of 3 is fantastic and a whole lot better than no kids at all. We briefly discussed whether we would consider adoption, but it seems hard to fathom now how we would ever find time or resources to support another living being in our house.

  21. Brian from the Spanish house

    I always wanted two, not for any good reason, just because it felt right in my gut. My daughter will be three in October and, God willing, our son will be born this November. Now that we’re facing the actual arrival of number two in a few months, it’s getting scarier. We’re in a tough preganancy (quasi-bedrest since an almost miscarriage in Month 2) and the terrible twos are raging in our house. (As an aside, my daughter, Daniela, now insists her name is Lucy, though I don’t think she lurks on this blog much).
    For me, the real determining factor was my parents. I am an only child and my parents need far more care far earlier than I could have anticipated. Though I never really felt I missed out on siblings, I now wish I had someone to share the load.
    Having said that, my wife has a completely irresponsible sister who she fights with and is of no help at all on her side of the family. Consequently, I realize it’s always a crapshoot.

  22. josie

    Why did we choose to go for number 2? It’s hard to remember this in an unbiased fashion, because today I will say that life would be so incredibly empty without Nico, our number 2.
    Perhaps it was because we each came from a set of two? Perhaps it was because we hoped for siblings who were close and would play together (they are 21 months apart and best friends). Or maybe we just wanted to replace ourselves in this world.
    Truth is, I can’t remember.
    But here are two things I do know about why we spaced them closely: First, we knew that the baby years are the hardest, so we wanted to pop them out concurrently. Secondly, Mia was such an easy baby/toddler that we were lulled into a false sense of parenting prowess. Then Nico came along and we were duly humbled.

  23. tregen

    We have no children. For a long time I have wanted to have children but recently started trying to figure why. What is the point? Am I so egotistical that I believe that if I don’t continue my genetics for another generation that I’ll be doing the world a huge disservice? Is there some other reason to have children other than “the happiness they bring”? Would be interested in hearing those of you who have children why you wanted kids? I’m trying to understand my own desire that has no rational basis that I can think of.

  24. connor beach

    From my observation of others and my own experience as the youngest of four, I say the fun starts with three. With just two children, the dynamic of the duo can be boring if not polarizing. “My brother’s the smart one. I’m not.” “I’m the athlete, my sister is not.” ( or “is snot” as we used to say). However with three or more, there is a fluidity. The teams keep changing… and the chaotic joy of family life never stops.
    That being said, our first is eight weeks old and I’m 35, husband is 49…(To LFMD, we are the older father, younger mother family at church with you, and this is the first marriage for both of us!)so since we’re getting older, number 3 may well be by adoption. I do hope our daughter gets to experience the mayhem of a big family, but my faith has given me a sense of peace about it. We’re whole as we are and ready for additions.

  25. connor beach

    Oh, I meant to respond to tregen, when s/he asked about the desire to have children. It is a healthy, natural desire, I think. It’s only egotistical in so far as any human desire is egotistical. Why do I water and tend to the flowers and the little sweetgum tree in my back yard for instance? Why did I plant them in the first place? Is it egotistical or irrational to say I get pleasure from the plants in my garden? I mean, I sort of love the little buggers. And why shouldn’t I? They are beautiful and good. That’s all there is to it.
    Why did I have my eight-week old daughter? Why do I take care of her? Well, why _do_ you love who you love?

  26. xuxE

    i recall writing a philosophy paper at carolina in which i had to give a logical proof for the existence of love. i argued the fact people in our society still have kids proves that love exists. no other reason to do it – don’t need them to till the farm anymore, birth control means you can still have all the sex you want, and retirement homes plus 401K plans mean you won’t need them to take care of you when you’re old. anyway, i think the argument went something like that, i don’t really remember the whole thing…
    my second pregnancy was an accident, mostly an accident of timing. we thought we would probably want another kid but not at that particular point in time. we don’t use a nanny (i know – never say never) so we were just about getting our mojo back when my oldest was 2 and i found myself pregnant. i’d had an abortion before, so i made an appointment with planned parenthood right away, but then a week or so later i was just like, fuck it, just accept it’s happening now instead of a year from now or whenever i had thought i would build a free 9 months into my schedule. i think by that time i was so used to my lack of control over my life that it wasn’t that much of a stretch to think it was just more of the same – now we’re nursing, now we’re sleeping, now we’re pregnant again, now we’re up at 4 AM teething, etc.
    my main concerns around my second weren’t of the medical or genetic malfunction type of thing, my feeling was/is that accidents and disease can change a life at any point in time, it’s not just a birth thing. after my first i realized that i’m capable of conjuring up enough anxiety about health/well-being/normalcy to project out through my kid’s entire lifetime, the 9 month gestation is just a drop in the bucket o’ drama if i choose to dive into it.
    for me there was more concern about my capacity for attention and love. i wasn’t sure if i could love any other child as much as my first, or devote the same quality of focus and attention. i worried about taking myself away from my first child, depriving him, and spreading myself too thin.
    everyone told me it wasn’t the case but it’s the kind of thing you just have to experience to understand. i think it’s true that my physical time is shared and divided, but it feels like my love is totally abundant somehow.
    plus, they tell on each other when one is doing something wrong, so that’s actually a time-saver.

  27. dpdir

    Daddybug…. kinda harsh on Tregen, don’t you think?
    As a single man and one that adores children ( Lucy is an important part of my life) those who have chosen and are blessed with children needs to show a greater understanding for those of us that do not. I know that millions of years of programing has lead many to believe that procreation is the end all and be all human experience. But the choice to not bring children into the world is also a blessing.
    In lights of the overpopulation and the burden our ever increasing offspring bring to bear on the fragile planet, its time to fully embrace the implications of bringing a child into the world are.
    Tregan’s point about ego is not one to be dismissed lightly. There is an element of ego involved..not neccessarily a bad thing, but it does figure into the equation.
    Global warming, deforrestation, health care , limited water and food supplies… all this mixed with our mad idea that the prolonging of life indefinitely is unquestionably a positive goal will have to be dealt sooner or later.
    I was speaking with a pyschologist today who posited that we no longer teach our children that actions have consequences. She used as an example a child who forgets his or her lunchbox at home. Should the child go without lunch for that day or should the parent get in the car and bring it to the child? She argued that a missed lunch will serve the child better in the long run.
    I am in no way suggesting that people stop building families by having children but i do thing our definition of what constitutes a family needs some readdressing. The idea that everyone can have unlimited children seems self serving in its extreme. We all share the costs and burdens of every child brought into the world and we have a responsibility to be sure they can be fed, clothed, housed, educated, and most of all loved.
    There is a balancing point at which personal desire and global responsibility must be achieved. We must begin to incude these bigger ideas into our thinking and rediscover that our actions have consequences. We all have friends that think nothing of devoting serious time consiering the personal financial implications of another child, but few expand that thinking to include the global impact of another life.
    I wonder what the world would be like if everyone who had one child of their own ended up adopting a second child. That action would carry some serious consequenses.

  28. DaddyBug

    dpdir and tregen,
    yes, i was harsh. sorry if i hurt any feelings. it was all “tongue in cheek”. having read about half the comments, i felt the board could use a cold splash of water to rinse away the growing melodrama.
    OK, the Wizard asked us about kids – one kid?, two kids?, red fish, blue fish.. or no kids.
    And then words like “ego” and “love” start to populate the comments.
    I believe the Bible when it says “all men are sinners and fall short of the glory of God”. We’re all full of pride (ie, “ego”) – whether that manifests itself in procreating – or building a big house (in memory of ourselves), – or talking bad about our neighbor (because she is thinner than i am) – it’s all the same “stuff” – ego/pride trying to rot away our soul.
    Love – what is “love”? Now that’s a question we might want to agree on before talking about # of kids. How about this – “love is the steady pursuit of another’s highest good”. If we “love” children based on that definition, then i contend the more children then the better for the world.
    The problem is not overpopulation – it’s the majority of us not abiding in love.

  29. cullen

    I love’s me sum children, though we JUST have our two, which is to say there is no ‘just’ like that when it comes to kids. Each one (yawn for corny) is JUSTifiably truly special and mine are uniquely wonderful and something to behold. I love all kids and get along with them amiably as an expert ball and bs pitcher for their utmost enjoyment; I simply tire of others’ kids (mostly neighbors, not them kissin’ cousins) more quickly than my own, who instead JUST tire me out lovably and lovingly, to get back to the DBug’s point, which by me is well taken.
    Ego does come into play with kids, it’s just missing it’s “W”, as in ‘we go’, and it’s super-w, ass in non-friggin’-stop-super-We Go. ……..
    OH, and that was harsh when DaddyBug said Go Duke, whatever That’s supposed to mean. No really responsible parent should actually be throwin’ around curses like the f-bomb and Go Duke and still hoping for normal kids. No kid of mine will ever be able to google my name (or call-name) and the phrase Go Duke and be able to find it online anywhere (until now, oops). And How many love-children does Coach K enjoy anyway? Just kidding. I kid for the fun Tar Heel kids and kiddos.
    Happy hump-day Fourth and all.

  30. CL

    These were really interesting to read! I think Tregen is right, even though I want kids. Most reasons to have kids are relatively selfish, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
    Here’s one non-selfish reason I’d like to have kids: I think that if I raise them to be kind, they will bring some good to a harsh world. I hope.

  31. Rebecca

    Ian and Tessa:
    Stop thinking about it and just do it!
    PS – No, your Mom did not pay me to write that.

  32. dpdir

    actually the problem IS overpopulation. that 1st photo from space taken of this fragile blue ball was the wake up call. now if we would just stop pushing the snooze button…

  33. LFMD

    I agree with Rebecca! While I am ONE AND DONE, I encourage you and Tessa to have as many Blake-Williamses as humanly possible. You guys sure can make a beautiful baby, plus whenever you post of photo of you and Lucy or Tessa and Lucy or the three of you, the happiness and joy in your expressions leap off the computer monitor. Do it! Do it! Do it!

  34. Claudia

    I’ve got more than one child because my body ripened two eggs that month. The moral of the story is, you have limited control over your own plans.

  35. AnneD

    I know this is really late to post one more reply, and I already had my say in this thread earlier, but I read (another) good novel by Alice McDermott today. It included this passage, which seemed most germane:
    “(Mary) felt with some certainty that it would have been to Tony’s advantage if they’d had at least one other son. … It benefited a child, she thought, to be forgotten once in a while. Lost in the shuffle… and benignly neglected. It reminded them they were not the center of the universe simply because they were loved by their parents.”


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