Please bear with me- I've got a theory I'd like to share and would appreciate some feedback.
A first born child is something uniquely wonderful. I often tell my oldest that she made me a mother, before her I was just a wanna be parent. I love her like crazy and am amazed by her constantly. After she was born I didn't think I needed any more children. She was wonderful. She was amazing. I felt complete.( She was also time consuming and she didn't sleep- not really ever.) I didn't think I could ever love another baby in the same way and I didn't think it was fair to her to have to share me.
I was wrong. Having our second daughter was the greatest thing that could have happened to our family. Her arrival brought sunshine and laughter and love- lots and lots and lots of love. She loves to snuggle and quickly found a place in all of our hearts ! She also brought structure to our daily tasks because it took more to juggle both kids, the household and everything else. She taught my oldest daughter about patience - "just a min honey i have to nurse your sister...again!" and about sharing and about what it means to be part of a family unit- not just the center of attention. Her arrival created a different family. I wondered if it was a complete family for us.
It wasn't! Our third daughter is amazing and arrived with a whirlwind and totally changed the family dynamics once again. She helped us build character, she taught us about perseverance and her very presence taught us all about how a family needs to work together. After she was born I couldn't do it all. I *needed* my girls to participate- sometimes in chores like setting and clearing the table, sometimes as "babysitters" while i went pee and often as "gophers" (getting diapers/wipes, etc). And even though things were sometimes busy, rushed, stressful and anxious- having a baby in the house again really slowed us down as a family. Gave us the opportunity to just enjoy our children and watch them grow and learn. We spent more time at home and more time together. I often wonder if my girls don't love each other more than they love us parents!
And now- we have decided that we would prefer not to have any more biological children for practical reasons and plan not to add any other child to our household in the near near future.
I should be thrilled- we have a great family and feel very blessed. But deep down I have a little nagging feeling that we need one more member of the family. Research says (and since this is my blog i don't have to site references- but trust me!) that the ideal number of children in a family is 4. Single children miss the opportunity to experience of loving a sibling and the social conditioning that a sibling provides. Two children - especially if they are the same gender- risk high competition between them. The third child in a family tends to take after the first child and in doing so often creates a 2 vs 1 scenario that is nicely balanced out by having a 4th child.
But what if you don't want to (or cannot ) have more children? What do you do ? Get a puppy.
Yep. This is my theory and has been for the last 10 years long before I had my own children and I'm stickin' to it! A dog provides a nice balance for a family once they are finished having children. If you already have a dog that's ok- getting another puppy should still fulfill the theory.
Why a puppy?
*A puppy is a project that requires the family to work together for success, thus building strength within the family
* Getting a puppy a couple of years after your last child is born helps to balance the "babying" effect that so often happens in families. Now your youngest child can also develop the patience and character that the older children developed while you were tending to your "baby!". They learn gentleness, compassion and even empathy!
* A puppy can also help a mamma partially fulfill the void left behind when she realizes her "baby" is now toddling towards childhood!
* Research continues to show that there are significant physical and mental health benefits to a family upon getting a pet!
So my hypothesis states that a family should round out their family once they are done bringing babies into the family, by adding a pet!
That being said- I think realistically it would probably be most successful to wait until the youngest child is at least 3 years old. And perhaps if the family doesn't have the time, ability, and inclination to get a baby pet /puppy then perhaps finding a trained/socialized pet from a rescue organization or shelter might be good option too - all of the benefits , less stress.
I'd love some of your feedback-do you agree with the baby-baby-baby- dog philosophy?