Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Double Whammy


If you have only one child, then you're not really a parent... ~Bill Cosby

Content and smart enough to pretend to be sleeping by not moving a muscle, while laying on her napping daddy, this is my only child at five months...and she is still an only child. On top of not having real parents and siblings...Gasp! Deprived of public school, too! How will this child ever be socially fit?

Public school is staring in just two weeks in my county. I enjoy shopping back to school sales and some stores even give homeschooling parents a teacher's discount. It is wonderful! It is even more fun when I hear distraught parents struggling to find every item on the list of things needed for each grade, while their children are adding their own unnecessary objects into the carts. However, I am so stocked up from the great sales I got while in Florida two years ago and a few things I get here and there while on sale, I only needed more dry erase markers for now. Still, I looked around just to see if there was anything I could use at a price that was irresistible and, oddly, I found the aisles pretty bare...not of items but of people.

I could not find my dry erase markers that had just gone on sale that day, but about ten minutes after making an inquiry, a store clerk emerged with a box full. Apparently, someone had forgotten to pull them out of the stock room. Happily, I approached the cashier, a young woman, perhaps just out of high school. After she saw my teacher's card, she asked at which school did I teach. "Home," said I. She fumbled for words but eventually asked, "Are you ever going to put her in school?" I replied, "I have yet to find a reason why I should." It was a courteous conversation, but I could see the disapproval in her eyes. No matter.

Not only do I homeschool, which raises concerns with socialization, but I have an only child...and there is the double whammy!

Now I have never had any grief about homeschooling itself from my family, that being my aunt and uncle, the Princess' God-parents (my cousin and his wife), and my husband's parents. In general, my aunt and in-laws favor it. The God-parents do not, in general, but then my cousin did tell me how impressed he was with the Princess and that I was doing a good job as we were leaving from our last visit. Still, concerns about the Princess being an only child and perhaps not being exposed to a variety of social encounters has been discussed upon occasion.

In all fairness, her God-parents are garage managers at different places, who have between them hired at least one homeschooler to work under them (there may have been more, but I am fuzzy on those details). It was said that he not seem to fit in as well with his fellow workers and they associated that with him being sheltered. At one time, I sold fasteners (various screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) to garages, so I well know the typical mindset and talk of the majority of mechanics and, frankly, I would be happy if my child did not really fit in as long as he was polite and got along with everyone well enough to do the job well.

The last time we visited my aunt, uncle, and cousins, as they all live in the same house together, the Princess did not have another child with which to play. They live in the country surrounded by corn fields, so when she had nothing to do, she sometimes would go picking out rocks in the driveway. (She just has a thing for rocks, still does, and picks special ones all over the place, including the driveway at our church nearly every Sunday.) She also practically attached herself to her God-mother, who loves to give children lots of attention and free reign.

I think they got the wrong impression about her just sitting with the rocks, making piles of the ones she liked most, because later it was said to me, through my aunt, that her God-mother felt she was lonely, in a manner that suggested this was a common state for the child. I guess other contributions could have been how my daughter practically attached herself to her God-mother every time she came in the door and that she could talk non-stop whenever she had a listening ear. Well, I can understand why she would see the Princess in that way under the circumstances. She was a bit lonely; corn surrounded us with no other child in sight.

Does my daughter get lonely? Yes. Who doesn't at times? But, she will begin drawing or reading or begin some grand project or play with her babies or look for rocks. She really could not do some things she would do at home there, she was out of her normal environment and did not have all of her toys. Yet, she does not sit around moping; she has learned to entertain herself with what she has available, even using her gifts to express herself, in healthy, creative ways.

G. Stanley Hall stated "Being an only child is a disease in itself." Yes, there does seem to be a sentiment in society that an only child is socially diseased as if siblings are necessary in life or that the child must be lonely, or selfish and spoiled. Well, here is a recent article of interest: The Only Child: Debunking the Myths. Credible research recently has shown that only children seem to have no apparent markers in traits other than being similar to first-borns and like first-borns they test higher and seem to be more intelligent. I would say that at times my only child is a mixture of a first born and the baby of the family...on steroids, but I think that part of it is because she is artistic and very expressive.

Another thing people tend to think is that attention is lavished on the only child. Yes, I admit that I do give more attention to her than I would if I had more children, but perhaps that is how God wanted her to be raised. Abraham only had Issac through whom God made His promise. The child himself was a gift from God quite late in life so I am sure Isaac received more attention and was considered special. However, more attention does not equate to being spoiled either.

Then there is the fact that we only have one car also. That alone is a limitation, but the lack of funds for a second car are also why we do not have the funds to go out much too. As I have written before, the Lord has told me not to join a homeschool group at this time, but we will be rejoining the 4-H Horse and Pony Club in September.

In the end, I just told my aunt that I used to be concerned about all this myself, but I have since learned to trust the Lord for such things. He brings to the Princess what she truly needs as it is His will to do so. I have seen that happen many times. My aunt is a woman of great faith; I am hoping this will bring peace to her.

At least, I am at peace with it.

~ My Lord, thank you for the peace You have given me in regards this soul You have placed in my care. I trust You will provide what she needs in every way and I pray that You give others who care so much for her that same peace.~

4 comments:

  1. Seeking: I can't really comment. I've never had an only child. Ditz isn't though she might as well be as the others are so much older. Having spoken to your Princess I can say unreservedly there is absolutely nothing wrong with her upbringing! She is bright, articulate, intelligent, polite & only a fool would see those characterists as a drawback.

    As with most things in life there will be a reason the Lord has ensured the Princess is a one & only & His purposes will eventually unfold according to plan.

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  2. The only child subject does seem to be a conversation killer, doesn't it?

    Thank you for the compliments. There is a reason she is an only I am sure, probably because the Lord knew I could not handle more than one. ;)

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  3. Hi, SeekingmyLord!

    You're very kind letting it just go as you do. My manner is um, a bit more brusque with people who choose to get involved in my parenting decisions. I assume you know what you are doing with your own child unless I'm presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. :)

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  4. Mrs. C,

    There are times when one must take a stand against meddling, of course, but as to my family, their concerns were not of that nature. I welcome other perspectives from loved ones for the most part, because they might point out something I am not seeing in my daughter, but I pray about any insights they offer also.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.