What’s Your Number?

What’s Your Number?

Is it 1?




Or even 20?

My number is two:   that’s how many kiddos we decided to bring into our home sweet home.

It wasn’t an easy decision, this simple little number.

My husband, the baby with two older siblings, only wanted one. All he seemed to remember from his childhood was the trauma induced by his older siblings. I repeatedly told him he was lucky to have siblings, and that I would have given anything to have a playmate, even if they picked on me.

As an only child, I knew deep down there was no way my first born would succumb to my “only lonely” fate. Sure, being an only child had its perks. Like all the Barbies I could have ever wanted, the uber-expensive prom dress, and a shiny FORD Tempo that I could call my own.

But you know what? I would have traded my Barbie convertible, the sequined prom dress, and that shiny car for a brother or a sister.

I know you don’t believe me, but I would have. Truly.

My entire life I’ve been alone. No built-in playmate, no one to share my secrets or dreams, no one who would have my back. Often I would play it off, but it really hits you once you are older. When you get married and there are no siblings by your side on your wedding day. Or when you have to say goodbye to a parent, and cope with the loss while handling everything on your own.

That is why, when my oldest was three I had a heart-to-heart with the hubs and he agreed to add one more to our little family.

brookboysAt 6 and 3, these two boys keep us on our toes, and when his little brother invades his personal space I remind my eldest to “Be thankful for your brother, he’s the only one you got, and you are lucky to have him.”

Sure, there are moments when I walk by the itty-bitty onesies at Target and my uterus aches a little, and for a split second I think, “oh, one more would be nice.”

But then I quickly snap out of it and realize two is enough for our little household, because I know I will most certainly have another boy, and I’m already out-numbered. That, and the fact that unless the cat can grow thumbs and care for children, three kids would exceed the parent-to-child ratio, which means there would always be one child running amuck.

So two it is, and two it will be.

What’s your number? And why?

Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog www.redheadreverie.com. She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


  1. Great post. I think the decision to have the first one is an easier decision than to have the 2nd or 3rd one. We have 2 munchkins and have the discussion daily about when/if we should have a third. My hubby and I both are 1 of 3 and we always talk about what a gift siblings are (even when they are driving us crazy). Thanks for sharing such an honest perspective of an only child.

  2. Beautifully written! I am the oldest of five and my husband is oldest of two. When we talked about how many babies he was set on one because he grew up in financially unsecure home and wanted to be able to promise his child the moon. I also grew up in a less-than-advantaged home BUT the love and excitement I experienced from my siblings over-shadowed our “situation” by a long shot! Well, we decided on two and the friendship that they have blossoming makes my heart smile. 🙂

  3. My number is 4. I always wanted 4 but realistically was going to settle for 2 or 3. You know I come from a BIG family and all those get togethers, as crazy as they are, are so important to me. They represent my roots, my support system, and they are there because my grandparent’s number is 10. When I was pregnant with Harper I prayed and prayed and prayed for a healthy baby, and then at the end would beg a little that it be a girl because that’s all I knew coming from a family of 4 girls. I didn’t know how to potty train a boy 🙂 Harper Luella came and she was perfect, but I knew I wasn’t done. When I was pregnant with our second child, Once again prayed for the health of my baby, then secretly hoped it would be a little girl so Harper could have a sister. The bonds between sisters are bonds not easily described with words and I wanted that for my oldest daughter. God must of been listening because he blessed us with another girl. Ellery Jo joined our family and all was wonderful. The whole pregnancy with Ellery, I still didn’t feel done and didn’t feel llike it would be my last. I discussed it with my husband often because I am someone that needed to know it would be my last time trying, carrying a baby, going to the hospital to meet my baby, etc. I needed to mentally prepare myself to be done with my child bearing years. We decided if God blessed us with 3 that’s where we would stop. Well God looked at my plans and laughed at me because shortly after Ellery turned one we found out we were pregnant with twins! A complete surprise! I started praying for their health again… and then after that I’d sneak in a little prayer that at least one of them would be a boy so Ben could have a son… and IF there was a boy, please let it be two so they could share the bond their sisters had. Low and behold, God was listening again and we were blessed with Vincent Jon and Theo James. NOW I feel done 🙂 well most days I guess… if we could support a family of 10 children I would have 10 in a heartbeat. If I know I could love them all and provide for them all and give them everything they needed, I’d do it. There is just something about being a mother that is in my blood. It’s all I have ever known in my heart that what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am completely head over heels in love with these kids and so thankful that they are mine. Everyone has their reasons for “their number” but I’m so glad mine was out of my hands 🙂 For me, 4 is my perfect number.

    Great post Brook! And I agree – I’d take my siblings over the stuff any day. <3

  4. I used to think my number was three, but being 30 weeks pregnant right now with everything that comes with it, I am starting to think two. But after he gets here, I may change my mind. 😉 TH

  5. Great post, Brook! I grew up with the best of both worlds by having a sister 10 years older than me. I have all the benefits of having a sibling/best friend, but I also got to experience life as an only child for many years as well! Life is definitely better with a sibling – I learned that early on and I want Julia to have that companionship as well. We have one healthy, happy child right now and I would feel so lucky to add another to mix much later down the road. Maybe when Julia is in first grade ; ) Whatever our number may be, we do know we will have more.

  6. I am an only child also, and your post hit home. I had cousins that i’m close with, but they have siblings and I could see what I missing out on. Not saying I had a bad childhood (far from it), but like you I would have traded trips, and all the things that come for an only child for a sibling also. I still feel like I am missing out on things today b/c of it. I was very adamant that we would have at least 2, and I wanted an even number (so 2 or 4) After two pregnancies with preeclampsia, we stopped with two. (we actually almost stopped after one b/c of how bad it was for my and my daughter, but we really wanted two)
    It is nice to know i’m not the only “single” child out there that feels the same way. I have friends who just don’t understand and wish they were an only child. They have something that is priceless and can not be replaced with other family, cousins, or even a best friend.

  7. Love the post! Tom is one of three with a LARGE spread, and I’m the younger of two. I have always said three, and I tell Tom at least once a week that he should stay open to it. He is set on two girls! (Strange for a guy to say). He says this mostly for financial reasons, and I can honestly say that I’m OK not going on big trips every year, etc. if it means we have three kids. However, I may change my mind after two! No plans to start on the second anytime soon, though. 🙂

  8. What a great post! I love it! My number is 7!! My entire life I wanted a large family (I grew up with one brother and one sister, but LOTS of cousins), but I never anticipated it would be THIS large. Through previously failed relationships, my husband and I were both single parents of two children (one boy, and one girl, each), we then added 3 more girls to our family!! Yes, FIVE girls!! (pray for me) We are so blessed and we LOVE our chaotic, crazy lives. Our kids are best friends and we have so much fun! Due to some decisions made by our kids other biological parents, they do not see them, so we’re all one big happy family, under one roof. I’m my step-kids mom, and he is my kids dad, and by nothing other than the amazing grace of God, we are making it all work!!


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