I would like to state for the record that I am not now, nor have I ever been, even a little bit insane. At least I don’t think so.
Apparently, if you were raised an only child, as I was, that needs clarifying these days. It has recently come to my attention, thanks to “Octuplet Mom,” Nadya Suleman, that being an only child and having no siblings to grow up with is apparently cause for taking a giant leap into a big vat of loony.
This would be the alibi of Ms. Suleman, a person who already had six children when she decided she really needed to birth eight more in one fell swoop.
The “Octo-Mom,” as the press has dubbed her (because “Crazy Lady” just seems cruel), blames her desire to have copious amounts of children on “only child syndrome.” Yes, that’s right, her singleton status made her turn her body into a living science experiment. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.
I can perfectly understand the public backlash against this sad woman, but it’s probably morally wrong to hate someone with a mental illness isn’t it?
Giving us a bad name
I can’t find it in me to hate her, but I do feel qualified to judge. She is, after all, dragging my people down. Is it too much to ask that she leave the rest of us only-children off the crazy-bus at the next stop?
In her quest to ensure that her children never feel the loneliness that apparently plagued her as an only child, she felt the need to share with Ann Curry of NBC that she holds each of her babies for 45 minutes a day.
Is that 45 whole minutes or do they break it up in little five-minute increments and pass them around like party favors?
When my daughter was a newborn I carried that kid around for so long people thought she was going to go to kindergarten on my hip. Of course, I’m an only child, so what do I know. We are, apparently, sketchy at best.
If you have listened to even two sentences that the Octo-mom utters, you realize real quick that she has no earthly idea how she is going to support these children. Apparently, they are going to live on love, hope, and pure air?
Even as an only child, I realized after just one or two children that babies need food, and diapers, and clothing, and little toys that squeak and things. Not to mention a roof over their heads. Babies are finicky like that.
Sure, I would love to claim my spoiled, only child birthright, dig in my heels and say chuck it! I want another kid! A boat! A splashy vacation! Then the responsible side of my brain takes over and whispers, “futures, debt, bills to pay” and I am all grown-up again.
Upon becoming parents, Mr. Wonderful and I became utterly boring old people types and very responsible about money and life in general. It’s not fun and it’s not exciting, but as much as I hate to admit this, I like to look at bank statements and make little spreadsheets and plan our future. Darn you Quicken and your intoxicating little pie charts!
Granted, Dr. Phil has never grilled me on my financial plans, but something tells me if I’d pulled a stunt like this, he would have.
The real issue
Clearly, the issue here isn’t the number of children you grow up with. It’s a fundamental lack of understanding of the role of parent and child. Children are a gift. They are not here to “complete you” or make up for what you missed as a kid. I was an only child and still managed to give birth without need for paparazzi or a publicist.
It galls me to no end that her status as an only child has become a shorthand explanation for her weirdness.
Using that logic, it seems that I can climb a bell tower with a rifle because I’m an only child, too!
What can I do?
Someone owes me a nice crime spree, outlandish act, or public degradation. Something. I should be able to get away with murder. Not that I’d want to, of course, but it’s good to know I have a ready-made excuse on hand should the need arise.
At the very least, I should get Angelina Jolie’s lips! Where is this poor, insane woman getting money to surgically transform herself into Angelina Jolie anyway?
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt has no desire to have 14 children. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://kymberly.typepad.com/life or follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/lifeoutloud.)