Thursday, November 29, 2007

How many children...

Going back to the subject of children, I always find it interesting to compare people's reactions to family sizes.

As our family grew the reactions changed:

One child: Ah, that's nice. Have you thought of having another one to keep her company?

Two children: Yes, we decided to have two, any more and we would have to buy a bigger house.

Three children: How do you manage? It must be mayhem in your house.

Four children: Are you Catholic? No? [Thinks: "Must just be insane then".]

The strange thing is, in our experience, the amount of effort involved in having more children did not increase in direct proportion to the numbers. The second only seemed to require about half as much additional work as the first, the third half that again until the fourth just seemed to fit in without any noticable change! Others have probably felt differently, perhaps two felt like MORE THAN twice as much work as one? I would be interested to hear views on this.

[Hm, do you think that will distract them from the Christmas decoration thing? Will they forget about the photos? If I keep quiet I might get away with it...]


Ali said...


Nice try John ;)

Logziella said...

You're not getting out of that one buddy!!! LOL!!! :0)

Our experience has been QUITE and I stress quite different. While I agree that going from 1 to 2 children was the simpliest thing ever...going from 2 to 3 children has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do!...EVER.

I think the personality of the children have a lot to do with it.

Also, while we lived in Oklahoma we had our first two. Life was good, we had friends who were like family and we all helped eachother whenever we needed it. Our kids were sufficiently socialized and so were we and that made all the difference in the world for us! We also lived in a Ranch style house (only 1 stairs) and that added to the bliss.

Rock Chef said...

Ali - Ah, you got me!

Logzie - Hm, I knew you would have something to say on this issue! It does seem that a lot of factors changed for the worse as your 3rd bundle of joy appeared on the scene. Had that not been the case I think you might have been able to agree with me more. And I guess you are not going to be distracted either!

mindy said...

I have zero children, BUT, I think it's interesting that so many people think it's their business to comment on your family size. Didn't you ever want to say, "Hey jackhole, MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX."? Because that's what I'd do.

My parents managed 4 just fine, but they said the last two (only 15 mos apart) were a handful. Now that we're all grown they wish they would've had 1 or 2 more.

James said...

Our experience was similar to logzies'... two was no more trouble than one but there was a step change between two and three...then it just kept getting harder every time till we stopped at 6. Sometimes I don't think it is fair or good for the kids because there is almost always TOO MUCH going on there is never a quiet time and as parents we are stretched very thin as far as giving them individual time.

MommyK said...

The 'Are you Catholic?" question makes me furious. We ARE Catholic, but what, only Catholics and Mormons are allowed to want large families? We only have two, and yet when I got pregnant with the second, people would leer and say, 'Don't you guys know where babies come from?'

People freaked me out about 2 being much harder, but it really wasn't. My daughter is the most Zen baby I have ever met and she's never been a days trouble.

Jahooni said...

I hate getting that one line.... "oh you only have one child, don't you want morez/" " Or when are you going to have another one?"

People don't sometimes think before they speak and never think about maybe it's not possible to have anymore... okay, I am going to get emotional here.

Kiki said...

My mother would tell you her only rule was that before she had one baby the one before it had to be out of (I'll use your word because I'm a total anglophile) nappies. Other than that I think we all just pitched in, she might even tell you she doesn't remember potty training anyone but me, because we all trained each other...

As for people commenting on the amount of children you have or don't...I never know what to say when they say, "Oh are you not having children?" or "When are you going to start having children?" or "You know the longer you wait the harder it is" UGH!

GIVE US PICTURES!!!! (you thought we'd forget, NEVER!!)

R.E.H. said...

So I guess 5 on up isn't any harder than 4 kids then... that would explain how that family I know of can cope with 13 in a 3 bedroom apartment ;)

Rock Chef said...

Mindy - talking about how many kids you have got is a "parent" thing, rather like dog owners discussing how many dogs of what breed they have got/had.

James - I think a large family, like most things, has its pros and cons. To judge by your kids, they don't seem to have suffered in any way - they are great!

Mommyk - The Big Family = Catholic stereotype IS very annoying, especially if people make comments like that when you are only having your second!

Jahooni - I know what you are going through, as I think I have said before, we had a big gap between our first and second kids and those who have never had problems automatically assume you are CHOOSING to do things that way. I guess it is something that you do not really become aware of unless it happens to you or someone close to you.

Kiki - We started to see the kids training each other with our youngest - he watched the others and just followed along. I guess that is why he hardly seemed to affect how much effort it seemed to take to look after them all.

r.e.h. - It would seem that way! I don't think I would want to put it to the test, though!

Jay Gray said...

I have noticed that even though our first is not born yet people continue to ask, "Are you having another one?" to which I always reply, "Can we just see how this one goes first?!"

Um Naief said...

i wonder why it is that most assume you're catholic if you have more than 3! i grew up in a catholic family. i have 4 siblings, but i've worked w/ many that have 11 or so in their families!

so, to me, you're doing pretty good! :)

hmmm... since we have only one, i can't really comment on this, but i'll let ya know after having a 2nd... God willing.

kenady said...

This is quite an interesting post and I hope I am not too late to weigh in.

I have 2 munchkins, 1 girl and 1 boy. I am also weird about numbers... I told my husband from the get go that I would not mind having a big family, but it would have to be even numbers, so if we were going for 3, then we would have to have 1 more for and even 4. After our second child everything was put in perspective for us... as 1 child was streaking through the hallway naked and the other was trying to drown himself in the tub, my husband looked at me and said, "Why would we want more children when we can't handle the 2 we already have?" And at that point we realized we were just fine with 2.

Now that they are 4 and 2 years old, life has become somewhat easier as they spend a lot of their time entertaining each other. From time to time I get a pang in my heart thinking I might want another, but then Brady looks at me with a mouth full of dirt, and I think to myself, "yeah, no."

I love big families!! I admire parents of big families, just wondering how they get everything done.

People still ask me if we're going to have more kids, and I just laugh and say, "Have you seen the 2 I currently have?" People have nothing better to do than to pass judgement on other people. I guess it's what keeps life interesting.

PS We want pictures!

Rock Chef said...

Jay - Peer pressure does not end when you leave school! :-)

Um naief - I think that as soon as you deviate from the 2 child average people think that you must have huge reason for it - something more profound than "we like kids"!

Kenady - I guess having to have them in pairs does make you think twice! And I guess you are right, we do love to look at others and make snap judgements.

Marie said...

I don't have any children. But if I did, I suppose two would be enough for me.