Maybe some of you can do all of the above in addition to being a parent. (Where do you live? I will hunt you smug sadists down and have you for supper.) However, mere mortals like the rest of us actually struggle daily with real-life choices such as — “Should I spend my life savings on this 20-year-old Merlot or on the braces my son desperately needs to prevent him from losing his front teeth?” or “Would it be considered compassionate or illegal to give my child an extra spoonful (or ten) of cough syrup on a ten hour flight?” Trust me, most of these choices are much harder to make than they sound.
I mean you have to weigh the probability of you getting arrested for drugging your child against that of you getting arrested because of the un-drugged screaming banshee giving the inflight attendant a heart attack. I have to say I’d go with the former, if only for the glamour quotient involved in being an outlaw and having a homicide-free story to tell my grandchildren someday.
Now that we all agree on the fact that being a parent is the best thing that could happen to anybody, (you know your children have access to this newspaper too, right?) what is it that makes it so special? I mean, let’s face it, some people actually choose to do this more than once. One could argue that the first time round, nobody really knows what they are in for. But the second, third and fourth times? Somehow I have trouble believing that all second-time parents are intellectually challenged or didn’t use the right contraceptive. While it is true that more scientific studies need to be carried out in that area to arrive at a concrete hypothesis, let’s assume for the sake of argument that even those with high intelligence quotients sometimes opt for multiple children and that this decision is not (always) the result of excessive vodka or needing more hands to till the land, so to speak.
I spoke to a few parents about what motivated their second plunge into parenthood. Here is what I gleaned.
Most had their second child to provide entertainment for the first so that they do not need to spend their days playing Rock, Paper, Scissor. (I think we will see a sharp decline in second-child births now with the advent of Netflix and Amazon Prime but again, not enough studies have been carried out in this area at the moment for me to be able to substantiate my claim.)
A few cowardly parents admitted to having produced a second child as a human shield against Nerf Gun attacks and unannounced Judo moves. Some said their firstborn wanted a puppy for Christmas and having a second child was easier than getting a dog as children eventually grow up — or at least pretend to.
Some parents realised they didn’t like their firstborn and wanted to give it another shot in the hope that the second one would have at least some of their genetic material. Some parents — the more honest ones — admitted that when they went on vacation, they wanted a room to themselves, and they felt less guilty about locking up two children in an adjoining room than a single one. Some said it was a waste of money to buy clothes, shoes, books and toys for just one child and have no one to hand them down to, and that having multiple children justified all the expense. In the same vein, another said she had leftover discount coupons from a maternity catalogue that she couldn’t bring herself to waste.
One father said he had the second one because he knew the first one would grow up to be a criminal and would need someone to come pay bail. Many agreed that they chose to have more children so that they would have more to disagree about on a daily basis and keep the excitement alive in their failing marriage.
As you can see for yourselves, all of the above are excellent reasons to have multiple children and offer shining testimony that parenthood is a journey that absolutely everybody must experience for themselves. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Children’s Day, and wish you many more (children).
(Shivani Tibrewala is a writer and a mother — not necessarily in that order)
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Published on: Sunday, November 14, 2021, 07:00 AM IST