Lone Ranger

Beach totI wonder what she’s thinking, my three year old girl, as she wanders alone on the beach.

Tootling off far from me, she chooses her own path, splashing in puddles of sea water gathering in the sand. On the wind, I catch her humming a vague tune all her own.

And then it catches me. That twinge of guilt. Is she lonely? 

Frog has no brother or sister to keep her company these summer holiday days. Not that she knows any different I suppose, but she positively lit up like a beacon when some other kids were at the park the other day.

When we planned to have a baby, we had always talked about “children”. We didn’t envisage having one “child”. I had a whole brood in my mind. A noisy tangle of limbs and laughter, chasing each other through the house, bundled into the back of the car for holidays.

Equally though, I didn’t imagine a toddler and a newborn. And then Frog wasn’t a toddler any more (she’s only three, mind you), but I didn’t imagine being pregnant and moving house. And I still don’t, actually.

We are in the middle of house-hunting, searching for a home to buy and finally settle in. It’s been two years of hard graft to save the money needed for a deposit, build my status as self-employed to the point where I’m making a good income and people want to lend me money.

I worked so hard over the last couple of years that now I’m no longer pulling 75 hour weeks I’m rather enjoying spending time with my little girl without feeling the kind of tired that makes you slur your words.

Although I look forward to our family one day expanding, I like our little brigade of three as it is, for now; when she appears at my side in the morning and clambers into bed, snuggling in to me with her blanket, while her dad snores on the other side of the bed. When we sit around the table at mealtimes and Frog is centre-stage with her stories of the day.

“She’ll be spoilt if you don’t have another soon,” someone said to me the other day. I argued that she’d be a diva with or without a sibling – I am living proof of that myself (when my sister arrived I simply saw her as a ready-made audience for my plays and dancing shows, especially as she was too little to turn her chair to face the other way).

“But there’s never a right time to have a baby,” someone else pointed out recently. True, but I really don’t fancy facing that bone-crunching exhaustion of early pregnancy while lugging round boxes and going through the stress of buying a house.

“But if you wait too long, they’ll have nothing in common,” another argument in favour of getting back on the baby wagon. My answer to this one is always the same: you can’t guarantee your kids will get along, just because they’re close in age. There’s four years between my sister and I and she is my best friend.

“But you’re not getting any younger,” a joke from a friend as we discussed the baby thing. I will be 30 in October. I don’t think that makes me old.

A baby is something I hope for again one day. But that day is not today. Or tomorrow, as it happens.

In the meantime, I hope Frog is happy being a lone ranger, splashing in puddles in the sand on her own. After all, she’s not really alone is she?

She’s got her mum and dad to splash with her, until the day when someone else may come along to share her puddles.



  1. says

    Frog isn’t lonely! She’s busy exploring! We had been trying to conceive for a while but gave it a break when we realised a move would be imminent and that we couldn’t handle me being in the throes of the first trimester while we did that. Literally the week after we moved (I think it’s the day after, actually) we fell. Such amazing timing. There is never a right time but I think you know when you do feel ready.

    Also, I have amazing friends who are only children and not spoiled! It really annoys me the way people discriminate against single child families. People have said that to me so many times and Talitha is only two! They’d also offload about the difficulties of having more than one and before I could even empathise tell me something to the effect of “You wouldn’t know – you only have one.” Made me stubbornly almost want to stop at one, actually!

    • says

      I get ALL THE TIME! Almost as if you’re not a “proper” mum if you “only” have one child. Funny how people can be sometimes. Huge congratulations on your news by the way – sounds like perfect timing! x

  2. says

    Oh dude, I’ve gone all emotional now.

    I too have a lone ranger, he’s four and when he was a newborn I couldn’t wait for the next one to come along. But life happened, my other half fell ill and couldn’t work, we lost everything, I got ill, my son became a toddler *SCREAM* and yes, granted, there may never be a right time to have a baby but I think there are really wrong times too. There are points in life when having a baby, as amazing as they are, just wouldn’t be fair on anyone. We’re VERY slowly getting back to some semblance of normality, and hopefully sooner rather than later it’ll happen. Age gaps don’t bother me too much, my brothers and sister are 9, 15 and 17 years older than me!

    Don’t worry about little Frog, she knows no different as you say and will adore your undivided attention. You’ll know when the time is right. I totally understand the bittersweet tug in your stomach when you see your little one playing with other kids xx

    • says

      Thank you for such a lovely comment – and you’re so right. I felt sorry for her the other day when her face lit up as she saw these kids. They were three sisters and she so desperately wanted to play with them, it was really sweet. But also made me feel a sense of guilt that she doesn’t have sisters of her own to play with. It’s true though, there really are wrong times to have a baby and, for us, I don’t think it would be right for us right now. xx

  3. says

    There are four years between my children and there is no way I could have had them any closer. There are times when I wonder whether my daughter would have preferred to have been an only child. My sister is two years older than me and we can’t stand the sight of each other so the grass isn’t always greener by having another child. I’m sure she knows she is loved, well played with and content in her own right.

    • says

      Thank you – I hope so! It’s interesting isn’t it, having the same parents is never going to be a guarantee that siblings will get along anyway. x

  4. Leah Chamberlain says

    Hey Molly I have a 2 year gap between my eldest 2 and 6 between the next one, the eldest two ‘hate’ each other but they love spending time with Frankie! No age gap is an ideal age gap IMO

  5. says

    We have one, he is such a contented chap. He will only ever be one. Which is our choice. A choice that many find they like to challenge and argue about. Its our choice not theirs, leave us alone! The stereotypes of an only child don’t really exist. A spoilt child can come from all shape and sized families. Be it one, two or even more. As you say there’s no guarantees either on whether they will all get along, be it only sometimes or all the time. And good lord your not even 30 yet, you have so much time ahead of you, savour this time with Frog. Enjoy x

    • says

      I will, thank you. It’s funny how some people like to comment on other families’ life choices isn’t it? I never understand that!

  6. Kanger says

    I must agree, only children do not always equal spoilt child. I have known so many spoilt people who had 3/4 siblings. Only children tend to be better socially (as they have to be). I am one of 3 and admit to acting a little spoilt at times ;-0 ..I often ponder baby no.2 (i also have a 3 year old) and my mum has even started hinting now, I am 37 so will unlikely have another plus we are too ‘selfish’ I guess as we want to show our child the world and I need to restart my career. You sound content where you are In life and when/if you decide to have another you will know its right at that time and frog gets to enjoy you right now :-) . Great article.

    • says

      Thank you – and I think you’ve got it spot on. I also act spoilt sometimes and I’m one of two! Thanks for the great comment.

  7. says

    We have 5 years between Splosh & Bernard and they are the best of friends! It gave me a chance to have quality one on one time with them both which is very important. She isn’t lonely – she has you! She is just exploring the world in her own way – you have to have babies when you want them not when people tell you too!

    And I’m sorry 30 is old? total rubbish!

  8. says

    Kieran was 3 when his first sister came along when I was 30.He hated her, he hated that she was getting all attention he had.Then at aged 6 his second sister came along when I was 33, he couldn’t get enough of her.His first sister hated her as she was now getting all the attention she got.No one should be dictating when you to have kids or making you feel guilty that F is alone.She has you and Simon and knows no different at her age.You’re all going quite a few changes this why on earth would you plan to have another until you’ve settled.Of course, if you did then you’d work it out but I would celebrate just being a family of three for just a little bit longer.

  9. Kate W says

    Frogs life is full of Love & that will always be what matters!!

    She probably isn’t lonely, as this is all she knows…….should a sibling come long one day, chances are she’ll be a bit miffed but she will soon forget that it was ever any different!!

    I am the eldest of 3 Girls and now have 3 Girls myself……the age gaps are pretty much identical and it fascinates (& drives me bonkers) to watch the group dynamics change over time!!

    Should you ever have another baby, it will be EXACTLY the right time for uour little unit (even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like it at 3am when the Baby is screaming & Frog wants to know what is going on……)

  10. says

    Beautiful post and a beautiful photo. My little boy is also a lone ranger….and will continue to be so. Luckily in our tiny little village he is part of a tightly knit band of children (there are 6 of them of varying ages) who all hang out together as much as humanly possible (i.e. as much as their parents will let them.) If it wasn’t for that I think I’d have long since been guilted into having another baby! Either that or I would have torn my hair out this holidays just trying to entertain him on my own. As it is, we have the best of both worlds – the kids entertain each other and when they start to squabble/tire they go home for some rest and recuperation and undivided parental attention and cuddles.

    • says

      That does sound perfect – huge plus of village life. I don’t think I noticed it as much in our last home as F had a “surrogate big brother” next door who she used to hang out with all the time. x

  11. says

    Husband and I have been dealing with the exact same guilt recently, which led us to do some research on the subjects. Did you know:

    1. Only children are more content with their own company in later life and less likely to stay in unfulfilling relationships to avoid being alone
    2. Only children exhibit a richer sense of self and emotional stability
    3. Only children have better imaginations
    4. Only children report in later life that they had better relationships with their parents and receive greater emotional nourishment and closeness.

    The only area in which only children report difficulty is in dealing with the death of a parent as they don’t have a sibling to share the burden and responsibilities.

    I hope this makes you feel at least a little bit better. xxx

  12. says

    Age gaps pah pah pah! I have a whole 10 years between my girls and they adore each other. I have a ready made babysitter now Chloe is 13 and half. I can’t wait till Erin is giving me he’ll as a teenager and I send her to stay with her big sister for a week or so! There are no guarantees siblings will be close just because they are similar ages. My kids fight, love and laugh together and there ages are irrelevant.

  13. says

    I have guilt. Jacob is now 6 and would love a sibling. As I was one of 6 I do feel really selfish for not sharing that with him – however I hated my brothers and sisters growing up.
    I felt so bad…then we got a puppy! He has a best friend and it feels like having a baby again lol.
    You do what is right for you at the time. Ignore the views of anyone not living your life x

  14. says

    I have a lone ranger too and your fears mirror my own. Last week he asked me when he could have a brother or sister and my heart broke. I turn 40 in a few weeks time so the window is closing for me soon but you are still so young lovely, and have so much time to grow your family, at your own pace. Enjoy Frog and enjoy being a 3.

    • says

      Thank you for the gorgeous comment. And, as loads of the commenters have said, there are many pluses to being an only child – so I hope that helps you feel better about your own beautiful family. xx

  15. Katie says

    We have a five year old son and a 16 month old daughter. I was 28 when our son arrived and our daughter came on my 32nd birthday. We planned the gap so we could enjoy our son before he started at school. My sister told me that you get the right baby at the right time. Only you know what’s best for your family!

  16. says

    Ah this is one of ‘those things’ where there’s no right and wrong, just what’s best for you as a family, what you think works. I was chatting to a friend this weekend and found myself saying that although I’m not going to have any more babies now I actually think 38 is a brilliant time to have a baby as I finally feel really settled and life seems so clear, sort of like a mini-wisdom that comes with age maybe! x

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