Friday, 16 December 2011

Building a fort

I consider myself an only child. I will tell people I am an only child. This of course leads to confusion when I then, at some later date, mention something about my sister. You see, when I was about 2 years old my parents separated and later divorced. I have no memories of my parents as a couple, no memories of the three of us as a family unit, none of my own anyway.

My dad remarried and when I was 5 my sister was born. Technically she is my half-sister (as we share half the same parentage) but it is not a distinction I make in my mind (or my heart). So why then do I insist on telling people I am an only child? It's not because my sister doesn't count, as I love her more than words could ever say and would do anything for her. It's because it is my state of mind. I was raised by a single mother as her only child, I saw my dad on a regular irregular basis but I'm sure he would readily agree that it was my mother who raised me.

For those of you who are an only child or who parent an only child you would know that only children are quite unique. I am now going to make gross generalisations based on personal experience (which totally makes it true... plus I read it on the internet one time so its definitely fact).

Only children tend to be extremely independent, we don't rely on others to amuse us! With no one to play with growing up we have great imaginations and are fantastic at keeping ourselves entertained (I'm also great at pretending inanimate objects have personalities). We can play for hours without input from others and enjoy having time on our own. I am glad for these things. Sometimes I wish I had grown up with heaps of brothers and sisters, lots of noise, people to play with, but mostly I am pleased I didn't. I like that I am independent and self sufficient and resilient. I like that I don't get bored easily and I like that I enjoy my own company.

All of these things make the fact that my big kids, Bob (miss 13) and Stinky Pete (master 10-almost-11) go away to their father's every second week a little bit bearable. They make it bearable because it means that Burley (master 5) gets a chance to be an only child instead of the baby. I have never been a parent who believes it is my job to amuse my children (probably because I was an only child) and while I do things with my children I don't find it necessary to ensure they are entertained every waking moment of their lives.

So when Bob and Stinky Pete go to their father's Burley is left to find ways to amuse himself. Right now he is building a fort, on his own. This makes me happy. Its the small things.

1 comments:

Me said...

Totally agree with you on the only child being more able to amuse themselves. I grew up with a brother who was two years older than me but we never played together - we always fought. Then I had an only child and she definitely learned how to amuse herself because I wasn't going to be able to amuse her all the time - there were other things that needed to be done. Al was good about playing with her at times but she certainly had her fair share of playing by herself and making up games to keep her occupied.

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