Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Performance by Arachne Aerial Arts 
She and I stand on the sidewalk in front of my Washington, DC apartment talking briefly as she drops off her daughter. She is Sharon Witting, the co-director of Arachne Aerial Arts and she's going to work.

"Thanks for watching her. The warehouse where I'm rehearsing is filled with sharp metal shavings."

I hate when that happens.

No worries, I reassure her. Company for my son means I can get more done. Sometimes two are better than one.

Sharon's daughter is an only child like my son. And like some singletons (a word I learned from Parents magazine) he occasionally asks for a sibling. I get that. What I don't get is when other parents ask, not if, but when I'm having a second child. What if I can't? What if I won't?

I'm surprised to learn that people plan such things as siblings. The whole concept of sibling math is new to me. If so-and-so is two years old, we should have so-and-so in less than three years but no more than five. 

But this is coming from a woman who is also shocked to learn that some little girls, and some not so little girls, dream of their future wedding. Complete with tear sheets and story boards. I've never been much of a planner.

Sharon's advice, though, is spot on. Get a cat. Hell, get two. This satisfied her daughter's craving for a playmate.

"What he doesn't realize," she adds, nodding in my son's general direction, "is that you're not going to pop out a 5-year old brother for him to play with."

Sharon Witting and Andrea Burkholder (Photo by Enoch Chan)
As she drives away, I'm still laughing at the the image of birthing a 5-year old boy for my son with a complementary demeanor he'll find agreeable and toys that he doesn't already have.

The laughter then turns to abdominal cramping. And I wonder where I could put a litter box.