Years before we procreated, my partner and I agreed that we wanted three children. Three was the perfect compromise between the one child he wanted and the five I wanted. When we had our first it was clear that we'd want another (I mentioned "the next baby" when my doctor was still stitching me up from my emergency c-section). Days after my son’s second birthday, we started (and were successful) at getting pregnant with our second. However, with my daughter securely latched on to my uterus, I felt a shift. I just knew this was the last baby I wanted to have, and felt like being "two and through" was perfect, for us.
Our daughter was born and those almost certain feelings I’d had throughout the duration of my (admittedly obnoxious) pregnancy, were solidified into complete certainty. Yes, she would be my last baby. Yes, I was absolutely done. I didn’t mention anything to my partner right away, but a couple of months later he randomly said to me, “So, this is it for us, right? Just the two. Are we on the same page with that? I feel like we are.”
We had never spoken to each other about no longer thinking three children felt or was right for us, but we somehow both, independently from one another and without extensive conversation, felt the same shift and the same completion upon the birth of our second child. The relieved conversation my partner and I shared after this revelation wasn't only seamless and welcomed, but highlighted the following reasons why two children was perfect for our family.
One of my daughter’s favorite activities is stealing my partner’s wallet off the counter, where he leaves it when he gets home from work, and scurrying away under the table to pull everything out of it. It’s poignant symbolism, because kids are expensive.
On top of feeding them, clothing them, and keeping them healthy, you also have to consider the cost of daycare, preschool, and (especially when they’re very small) the millions upon millions of contraptions necessary to keep them sleeping, entertained, and safe. This doesn’t even take into account all the “extras,” like toys, after school activities, and family outings. Children are like little adorable little bank account vampires. Of course, this is true of any number of children, but surely this is a huge motivator for many parents to stick with just two.
Ever notice how in Jurassic Park the raptors work in teams of three? One acts as the decoy while the other two sneak up behind their prey before tearing it apart with their six inch claws. This is the kind of situation my “two and through” self imagines when I picture having another child.
Two children can’t form a pack and they can’t outnumber us parents, which is more than convenient. We’re basically evenly matched and, currently, my partnerand I are far better organized, so we’re more likely to prevail at the end of the day. #teamwork
Or SUV, or station wagon, or whatever big car would be needed to accommodate three (or more) children. You can stick with your sedan because, chances are, even two bulky car seats will fit nicely. I’m actually not so horrified by the thought of driving a minivan, but I know that for a lot of people they are a source of tremendous anxiety and represent a kind of “death of any last semblance of coolness” they’ve managed to cling to as parents. So, you know, if you’re one of those people, two kids is the way to go!
Remember those millions upon millions of contraptions I previously mentioned? Yeah, you use most of those for approximately three months. It blows. It’s like “Oh, I spent $175 on this swing and I’m so glad he used it for a grand total of 60 days.”
While there's no denying that these things were (more often than not) completely essential once upon a time, but you didn’t need them all that long. When you have two, you can feel good about having gone for the fancier car seat, because you’re using them a lot longer and collectively. Hell, certain items you might even be like, “Wow, we really got our money’s worth out of that thing,” which, you know, is the dream. However, if you use them for a third child or more (and some of my friends with three or four children have confirmed this) you’re like, "Should I get another? This one is getting pretty shabby at this point,” and you run this risk of turning it into this whole big dilemma.
So, speaking as one of five children I will have to admit that having two is not the only way to have a good dynamic. My siblings and I all liked each other growing up (for the most part) and we all love each other now. I also know a lot of only children who really enjoyed being only children.
Having said that, here’s the thing I like about two: there’s a unique closeness because you only have each other, and when times are bad there’s no risk of recruiting a third, fourth, or fifth sibling to rally to your cause and start choosing sides. When times are bad between two siblings, it’s between the two of you and that’s that. When times are good between two siblings it’s basically the cutest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen.
Granted, my kids are quite small, but right now, I’ll have two pieces, my partner will have four, my daughter will have half of one and my son will eat one plus the half my daughter didn’t eat. If my partner is feeling particularly dainty and only eats three pieces, we have a piece leftover for one of us to eat for lunch the next day (or, if you’re my son, breakfast because, yeah, he eats pizza for breakfast sometimes, what of it?).
This isn’t something I feel should sway anyone into adding another kid or stopping at two if you want more, but it’s one of those little signs from the universe that speaks to me in a deep, yet pleasantly cheerful way, letting me know that my partner and I have made the perfect choice for our family. After all, if there’s one thing I know about the universe, it’s that the universe wants me to eat pizza as conveniently as possible.
I can’t explain it. It’s just a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that everyone who is supposed to be here is here. It’s really pretty awesome.