Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sweet Scent of a Happy Only Child

Emily and I have been having fun yesterday and today with this fantastic Perfume Science Kit which she had for her birthday. She had a little one of these a couple of years ago from the Wild Science series, but this one has real oils in it and comes with a wonderfully inspiring book about blending the scents, plus lots of fabby smell experiments. We've been trying to "learn" the 8 scents the kit comes with, as a first step towards Emily blending her own scents - as the instruction book says, it's a little like a composer needing to "know" individual notes before being able to compose a beautiful piece. We're struggling to memorise the difference between "woody" and "musky" but I think we've got the others down to a fine art now :-)) Lots of fun creating scent strips, writing notes on what images the different oils conjure up for us and testing one another on telling them apart.

Emily's now considering a career as a perfumier, lol - and yes, google, I DO mean "perfumier" not (ugh) "perfumer". Why on earth does American English have to mangle such elegant words?? She's been reading about the training required and how new scents are created and finding it fascinating.

Yesterday was a busy work day all round - I had extra deadlines to finish, Jon was working hard enough for a dozen people, as usual, and Emily was busy with maths, English, drawing a family tree of the Greek gods, spelling and deciding with me which things to cover in our biology studies; plus the perfume kit of course, and lots more yoga. No psychic circle last night as Jacki and George were still recovering from their party!

This morning we didn't wake up until 10am (!!!!) so it was a somewhat slow start; Emily carried on making some lovely cards of Greek Gods before doing more from the perfume kit. We've just got back from the yoga class and she's watching Helen of Troy with Daddy at the moment. We've been enjoying watching (or in Emily's case re-watching) the Children of the Stones kids series from the 70's - very atmospheric!

Meanwhile, I've been reading Parenting an Only Child - all I can say is that I wish I'd read this book years and years ago! Been there, done that with the ridiculous "guilt" thing over choosing to have only one child, and am hugely fed up with people assuming that Emily must be sad, lonely, spoilt and otherwise set up for a hideous life merely because we've chosen not to have brothers or sisters for her. Also hugely fed up with the way it's automatically assumed so often, if you only have one child, that you must desperately want another one but be unable to have another. Er - no. After wavering for the last year or so, I think we've settled now that we won't be having any more children, at least not until Emily's considerably older. Perhaps we'll adopt in the future - who knows? But for now, we're happy, and reading this book has finally made me shrug off the niggling feeling of "but shouldn't we....?" - and that's what is has been, a feeling that we *ought* to have another child, rather than we *want* to. And that's hardly a positive reason to bring a new life into the world.

Plus....most importantly... *Emily's* happy as an only child. She's never expressed a wish for a sibling and in fact has often vehemently expressed a wish *not* to have a sibling. Having more than one child is obviously fantastic for most families and entirely a personal choice - it's not the way we want to go though. Being able to say that, finally, without feeling guilty or stressed about it, is a breath of fresh air :-))


Michelle said...

I read that book when I chose not to have another and it felt as though everyone around me was having subsequent children. I needed validation that it was ok to stick at one child! There were a couple of others but can't remember what they are called and I read them, lent them and never needed them back.

Clo doesn't want siblings and never has - though she's also always known it was never going to be an option. The lifestyle we have would not be possible with more than one - and she knows that.

However, Marcus is an only child and although he never wanted siblings, now his mother is getting older, some sibling support would have been nice. Not that if you have siblings they are guaranteed to be supportive ime. (I am 1 of 5 - 1 full sister, 1 half brother and 2 step sisters)

Nikki said...

Thanks for your comments, Michelle :-) My husband and I are both the youngest of two, with a big age gap between each of us and our brothers. Neither of our elder brothers is around to support us in caring for parents - one has mental health issues and is estranged from us in any case, and the other emigrated a very long time ago and lives thousands of miles away. So I absolutely believe that having siblings is *not* a guarantee of having that support network as an adult - for us, it hasn't turned out that way at all.

Michelle said...

lol actually we think it would be nice if he had a sibling as an adult so that the sibling could have all the responsibility (his Mum lives in Canada and so the fictitious sibling would also have stayed in Canada and not emigrated to the UK as he did) and the fictitious sibling could then do all the worrying, visiting and caring about his mum.

I've realised we just want to abdicate responsibilty - not have or be sibling support!