Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's in a number?

Mathematics has never been my forte. When people start talking numbers at me, my eyes glaze over and I furiously start to scramble for a page-turner in the conversation.

But strangely enough, numbers seem to haunt me, particularly in relation to the family unit.

People astound me that they feel they have the right to tell you how many times you should procreate. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard…’so when is the next one coming along…must be time to have another baby…you can’t just have the one…’

Unless I have sought your professional medical opinion and you are equally qualified to give it – I see little value in these opinions, offered all to readily and unsolicited.

I have heard all the reasons why you should never have an ‘only child’.  Random people feel it is their purpose in life to warn you against your erroneous ways: always spoilt; can’t socialise with others; can’t share; have behavioural issues; selfish…the list goes on.

Well, I have started a list of my own, based on actual research, as opposed to anecdotes, personal experience and old wives’ tales.

Only children:
  • are as well adjusted as their peers with siblings
  • have higher self-esteem
  • have higher IQs
  • have good language skills and
  • are more likely to be strongly independent.

As Michael Grose declares in his book, “Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It”,

If self-esteem and school achievement levels are used as a barometer of a healthy, well-adjusted and desirable childhood then most parents would stop at one.

Nearly one in five children are ‘only children’ and this statistic is likely to increase with the parallel pressures of finances, career, maternal age and care.

I recently came across this…

The English words 'only child' might sound as if there are not enough children. The French words for only child - 'un enfant unique' and the Italian 'un filio unico' mean that the child is special - only one of a kind!

…which I have adopted.  Our precious little one is most definitely an 'un enfant unique.'

Numbers never enter the equation.

1 comment:

  1. Now that's interesting Meredith. The 'always spoilt, can't share, etc etc' description applies to several of my siblings!!! And we're a family of 6 kids!! Why don't you tell people to mind their own f#%king business! Tell them you are going in for quality, not quantity! (Which is very apparent in your darling little Lily.) You're an excellent mother Meredith and you'll find as Lily grows up, and her friendship base expands, sometimes you'll be 'mothering' other people's children too. You're a 'giver' Meredith, and children will always sense that and warm to you. Enjoy your enfant unique, because that's what she is. But you are too, you know. Don't take any s@#t!! love you x x