Sunday, July 27, 2008

HOW MANY KIDS, AND WHEN?


I changed my mind! The San Diego Con has one more day to go (today) and I figure I can afford to indulge myself with just one more purely personal post, on a possibly unpopular subject. That subject is: "How many kids should I have, and when should I have them?"

My answer is: the ideal number of kids is three, the ideal time to start having them is twenty-three for the woman, and the ideal spacing between kids is four years.

My wife and I started when she was thirty-four and we figured we'd have just one kid, who would be a super kid that would have all the advantages that you could have from having the income and undivided attention of two parents directed at them. I thought the kid's early years would be the difficult ones where he cried all the time and was a real bother, then later he would evolve into a real human being and a pal and best friend. Boy, was I wrong.


The early years were unexpectedly great. I mean really, really great! I used to hate kids but you never feel that way about your own. Things I used to see in the street that bothered me about kids just never came up. And the crying? After the first six months the crying dropped off to a trickle. Anyway, it was so good that after five years we had another kid, also a ton of fun. My only regret is that we didn't have a third.

The reason for spacing the kids four years apart is so one is clearly older than the other and they're less likely to think of each other as rivals. The age difference means that the older kid is more inclined to protect the younger kid than bully him. The kids are more likely to grow up liking each other.


The reason for starting at age 23 (the girl's age) is that it gives the mother time to finish college and have some life experiences. If she has three kids, once every four years, that's twelve years. meaning she has her last baby at age thirty five, and the last one is almost as likely to be healthy as the first. As you know, after 35 that changes.

Another thing to consider is that all kids will snub their parents when they reach age 13 or so. After that they go directly to their room when they come home from school and they only want to hang out with their friends. That's catastrophic if you've become addicted to the kid's cuteness and affection for the previous twelve years, but what can you do? It's nature's way! Nothing much, except.....

...Except if you decide to start at woman's age twenty-three and have FOUR kids! Do that and you'll have a new baby just at the time your oldest kid is beginning to snub you! That's years and years of wall-to-wall cuteness, enough sugar for anyone! After that, get a dog!







This post will disgust readers who hate kids. I know how they feel. I used to hate the little rugrats myself. The thing is, you're hard-wired to have them. The day will come when you hesitantly test the water and then you'll be hooked. The first time you come home from a really hard day at work and your kid spontaneously runs into your arms, just delighted to see you...you'll be a changed man. All that adulation and cuteness and kid happiness is more addictive than heroin. You'll become an addict like so many people before you.

Many, many thanks to Fatbear who found an embarrassing math mistake in the previous incarnation of this post!



30 comments:

wascallywabbit said...

hey Eddie! yer blog has inspired me to start an animation blog, whaddya thinK?

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Wascal: Do it! And, in answer to your other question, get the Preston blair book and draw everything in it!

Kali Fontecchio said...

Hey Eddie- I changed my mind, it's not that selfish. Only 50% selfish. :)

Right now, at least in all them trash mags, it's apparently really hip to have kids when you're like 15-16.

ChrisL said...

That was a fun post. And about a topic I find myself thinking about more and more. I think that one kid is all that I want. When I'm somewhere between 25 and 30. (Assuming I've found a wife by then.) I decided on one based partly on my opinion that overpopulation will continue to be a growing problem of the future. Some people even vow to never have kids because of it. I want a family though. So I figure if most couples have only one kid, we can slow down the increasing population to a manageable level. Money is the other factor there, as I don't plan on having an income much larger than say, a teacher.

My sister and I are only one year apart. We definitely exemplify sibling rivalry. Even though I'm older, she's always outshined me in sports, but I just don't have her competitive spirit. Probably the reason I surrounded myself with subjects she had no interest in. Like art and history.

Also I find it interesting that I'm a bit of an exception to the parent-child buddy rule here. I'm 21 and for a few years now, my father and I have become increasingly close. We're philosophical and political debate rivals/partners. We talk about science and history, sometimes even art. He's been shockingly candid with me about his past life. Sexual exploits, drug use, stories dangerous and illegal actions, etc. Our relationship certainly feels more like friendship than father-son.

Anonymous said...

Eddie you gotta see this.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uEykfwqUsqs

Jorge Garrido said...

I'd like to have 5 kids and start when I'm 25-30.

But first I need to get married.

But first I need to talk to a girl.

But first I need to cure my self-loathing and mysanthropy.

Kris said...

I, for one, like this post, Eddie.

I'm one of those weird exceptions to the buddy rule, as I started being more buddy-buddy with my mom when I was a teenager. She's commented on that herself. I was a pretty weird kid all around, though--because in a lot of ways I WAS rebellious, just not in the "I hate my parents and refuse to spend any time with them" way.

I don't hate kids (definitely used to, though) but I have no idea whether I want any or not. We live in a society defined by the old gender roles--I know there are some stay-at-home dads, but usually it's the woman who's expected to give up her social life and professional life to have the kids. I don't really want my life's greatest accomplishment to be "I was so-and-so's mom."

Anonymous said...

You are doing a service to the world, Uncle Eddie. But you're in danger of blowing your zany cartoonist cover by revealing what a solid dude you are.

Max Ward said...

Hey Eddie, when did you move to LA? Is it an interesting story? Do a post on it!

I.D.R.C. said...

I have a brother 4 years older than me. Ever since he became a teen, he decided he was superior to me, even though he is a big dummy. I don't even talk to him anymore.

95% of the adult population should agree to be sterilized before having any children. Especially the wealthy, although 99+% of the population is not wealthy.

Women should not have kids until they are at least 30, because before that, they are ruining their bodies, which are for my stimulation. They are ruining their brains with the unhealthy fear of not getting a husband like all their friends, and by refraining from recreational sex which they fear makes them slutty. Any man in his right mind would rather marry a woman with true slut talent, if he doesn't fear her prowess.

Also I wouldn't want to be married to anybody who reserves titty sucking for some little blob who has no money.

I'm not sure what happens to a man's libido that he would state that girls should all have babies by 23, which is exactly the time they should become expert pole dancers, but I'm glad it hasn't happened to mine yet.

austin said...

Gosh, Eddie, what would've you done if you had twins?

Julián Höek said...

sweet post eddie!
and when do you think is the right time for a guy to start having kids??

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Julian: The right time for a guy? Well, timing isn't as important for the guy, but if you insist on having a number, how about...mmmmm....28!? That's assuming that the guy is five years older than the girl (the age difference favored by folk wisdom), and that the girl wants to have a baby at 23. If the couple is the same age, then he'd be 23 when she has the baby.

fatbear said...

Great post, but math isn't your strong point

If first child at 23, third child is 8 years later (@ 31), not 12 (@ 35)

23 = #1
plus 4 years
27 = #2
plus 4 years
31 = #3

D'Oh!

wascallywabbit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike f. said...

The ideal number of kids to have is three, but only if they're triplets. Then you can triple-slap 'em in one fell swoop, like in the Three Stooges. (Otherwise, you'd have to use phonebooks to get their heights even - a real nuisance.)

Also, it's cute when they each speak a third of the same sentence, like Huey, Dewey and Poopeye.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Fat: Hoooly Mackerel!!!! You're right!!!! I counted wrong! Oh, man, is this embarrassing!!!! I don't believe it...a week ago I was a "Blogger of Note,"now I'm a pathetic wretch who can't do simple addition.

Well, thanks for spotting the error. I'll have to go back and change the figures in the post!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Wascal: It's true that with kids running around you have less choice about the times when you paint. I admit it, that's a problem.

But look at the problems an artist has when he doesn't have kids. He wanders into the esoteric and looses touch with what kids and the rest of the world really want to see.

About finances: you may hit it big, but a lot of artists are going to have to struggle through life, just barely getting along. Kids are the heroin that keep you happy and even-tempered, and give your life a meaning even when the art doesn't sell.

About intellectual stimulation: kids ARE stimulating, especially for people in the media. Your mistake is that you find other peoples' kids predictable and boring, and you assume that your own kids would effect you the same way. That's not true.

You are hard-wired to see your own kids through rose-colored glasses. Everything they do will impress you as fascinating, even if nobody else feels that way. You will take an accute interest in them and if you're sharp enough, you'll be able to translate those insights into media.

Now maybe you're not cut out for having kids. Not everybody is. Me, I don't like being lonely.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Everybody: Oh, about the population problem: the world has too few people in the sense that there aren't enough Thomas Edisons and Pasteurs. Let the criminals and child-abusers of the world have fewer children. Parents who turn out good, productive kids are doing the world a favor. What with nuclear and biological weapons, etc., etc., the world to come is going to be scary place and they'll need every rational person they can get.

Jorge Garrido said...

Ah, yes, Mike, the famed triplets Huey, Dewey, and Poopeye, part of the failed 1967 limited animation revival series: "The Adventures of Popeye Duck"

Not since the days of the old "Emile Sitka, Costello and Zeppo" series has there been a more comical mismatch of zany characters.

jack raffin said...

mike f is hilarious. more comments from this guy.

ed: interesting math theory on kids - but how can it be put to the test?

Anonymous said...

generosity may be at the heart of creativity

fatbear said...

The reason for starting at age 27 (the girl's age) .... If she has four kids, once every four years, that's twelve years. meaning she has her last baby at age thirty five,...
per eddie revised post

Oy, Eddie - just digging yourself in deeper - has the universe shifted and I didn't notice?

last time I looked,
27
plus 12
equals 39
- please, for the love of Murphy, change the "four kids" back to the "three kids" you had, change "twelve" to "eight", and the math'll work out and the lady will be happier - trust me

btw, it's fatbear - where I come from, Fat's fighting words

Marlo Meekins said...

HI EDDIE!

1-3, before 35, which is considered "advanced maternal age"

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Fatbear: Changes made!

Marlo; True. A new book says that it's a myth that technology allows most women to have a healthy first baby after 35. Fertility treatments for older women are really expensive, they're not as successful as hyped, and the health of the baby is more problematic.

Nico said...

fun post!!!!!!! I liked this

I.D.R.C. said...

For the record my comments were not directed at overpopulation, but at dummies. Dummies are everywhere. Half the country still does not know the president is a criminal.
Half the country is prepared to vote for McCain. People that dumb should not have kids. They absolutely won't know how to raise them for the good of society, even if they turn out to be obedient, loyal citizens. They won't be showing any judgment until they rebel.

But that's just getting started. Plenty of the rest of us are not fit to be parents. If you dislike hippies, you must lay some blame at the feet of the Greatest Generation, who produced such a large crop of purportedly ungrateful brats. They did it by being dummies. They did it by buying into a bunch of crap that their own kids could see through. We may be over hippies, but the phenomenon will keep repeating as long as we have dummies raising kids, or abandoning them. The kids of dummies only have 2 choices; imitate or rebel.

If women were to routinely wait until their 40's to have kids, providing the ones who couldn't naturally conceive left it at that, natural selection would take care of the rest. In a handful of generations most women living could do it. They should start practicing now.

Jorge Garrido said...

IDRK: The reason society is so stupid is because dumb people have the most kids and smart people have the fewest. Procreation favours those too stupid and impractical to use birth control.

Maybe it's better to adopt if you want lots of kids like I do. I can't understand why anyone would ever want a small family, or one kid. Only children are brats. I've only met like five only children in my life that weren't insufferably selfish.

mom v many said...

Such a sweet post!
Of course,I'm rolling in tears laughing because there is no such animal as "perfect". LOL!!
I will confess to having 10kids of my own (7-27, yes all mine)and they must have wanted to place me on the Geriatric wing of the maternity ward,I have found only one thing to be constant about people and their idea's of perfect.
Man plans----
God Laughs----
Take Good Care!
PS. My honey thinks I look pretty hot for a Mommy of 10 BTW, maybe I'll have a couple more just to make it an even dozen,BWHAAAA!!

Cory and Tashina said...

You're right. All the crying wasn't as bad as I thought It would be. My Alas my daughter is only a month old.. she sleeps most of the day and night