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Nov 17 2014

Can We Even Afford a Second Child?

By at 10:02 am

Can We Afford a Second Child?

I should expect to spend $2,500 out-of-pocket for a standard labor and delivery, according to my health insurance plan. Full-time childcare runs us around $18,000 a year in Seattle. Add the cost of diapers, wipes, goldfish crackers, and an occasional trip to the zoo—there’s another thousand at least, per year.

When we decided to have our first baby, we definitely didn’t factor in the cost or really grasp the financial consequences of having a child. I remember the first week of paying our nanny in Brooklyn and heading to the ATM to withdraw $400 in cash. I thought back to the last time I handed someone that much money in actual bills—it was when I paid my rent in shekalim to a man named Shimon, in Jerusalem, during my junior year abroad. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 3 2014

The Only Thing Keeping My Son From Being Independent

By at 3:33 pm

Fruit loops spilling on a table

Independence Day has come a bit early in our house.

As a mother of just one, all my maternal energy is focused on my single offspring. With no sibling living full-time in our house, Emmet gets all my attention–undivided and unsolicited. I watch every tennis lesson, bring him to every birthday party, and beg him for all the minute details of his day: who he sat with on the bus, what games he played during recess, and exactly what he ate for lunch.

While I am lucky to have three lovely teenage step-kids who dote on Emmet, he is my only biological child. One of the pitfalls of being an only child is having a mom who clutches to moments and milestones, knowing that each one is the first and last time she will be able to experience it. I know, I know: in order to fly, baby birds need to leave their nests, snag some air space, and spread their wings, sometimes with a push from their mamas. But sometimes, their mamas need a push, too.

This became abundantly clear these first days of summer. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 7 2014

Explaining to My Son Why He’ll Never Meet His Grandparents

By at 12:52 pm

family of three icons

On a recent morning before school, while zipping up his fall vest, my son Lucien announced that his father and I will make the best grandparents ever.

“When I have a son,” Lucien added, “if I have a son, I’ll let him come see you when he’s 5 or 6 years old.”

I gently explained that in most families grandparents get to know kids from day one, not when they are 5 or 6. This comes as a revelation to Lucien, because he has no grandparents.

I haven’t spoken to either of my parents, or my two brothers, since long before Lucien was born. The estrangement was my choice, the hardest–and best–decision I’ve ever made. But when I decided to cut my parents out of my life at the age of 28, after a childhood of physical and verbal abuse, and young adult years filled with dysfunction, I didn’t think about how the choice would one day shape my child’s life. I’ve protected my son from my family, but I’ve also kept him from knowing what it means to have grandparents. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 10 2013

Will Your Only Child Turn Out OK? Don’t Ask Me!

By at 1:17 pm


The other day, I was chatting with a mom friend of mine who has a baby a little younger than my 9-month-old. (We’ll call this baby B… ya know… for “Baby.”) After a lengthy chat about which solids we’re feeding our babies (we’re still doing fruits, veggies, grains, and she’s trying baby led weaning), she gave me an apologetic look and said:

“I think we’ve decided that B is going to be an only child.”

I wasn’t sure how she wanted me to react. It’s up to everyone to decide (with their partner) how many children they would like to have. Sure, sometimes life throws a curve ball with multiples, “accidents,” or fertility issues. So, I was happy that she and her husband came to a consensus together that they wanted baby B to be an only child. But the fact that she was looking at me with almost a disappointed look on her face left me confused. Read the rest of this entry →


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