Powered by WebAds

Thursday, August 25, 2005

We Have Six

Dear Psychotoddler,

Good morning. After seeing the picture of your beautiful family I thought an interesting post would be a description of what a household of 6 kids is like. I am only on my second and would be interested to read your thoughts on having a large family.

Aregular Reader

Well, Ari, I think that’s a great idea. However, I don’t feel qualified to write such a post. For two reasons:

1. I only have six kids. There are families in my community with 8 or 10 or even 12 kids. Now THOSE are big families. Compared to them, I’m an underachiever.

2. (and this is the more important point) I don’t do any of the work. Mrs. Balabusta is the one raising six kids.

Here’s what MY life is like:

I get up and shower and use my supersonic toothbrush. I go to minyan. I eat a bowl of frosty flakes and take care of biddness. I drive to the hospital. I see a bunch of patients. I go to the clinic. I see a bunch of patients, check email, and leave idiotic comments on people’s blogs. I drive home and listen to either horrible talk radio or myself singing slightly off-key. I eat the delicious dinner Mrs. B. has prepared. I wash some dishes. (Hey that’s my big contribution.) I take various kids various places. I teach one of my teenagers to drive. I may go to the Kollel. I come home. I give the psychotoddler a bath and put her to sleep. I play some video games. I fall asleep watching Monk on the TiVo. Repeat Ad nauseum.

So you see, you really want to find out what happens between the time that I leave the house and the time I return home. For that you should probably ask Mrs. Balabusta.

However, from a purely logistical standpoint, I will say that procedurally, we don’t do things much differently from when we only had two kids. Anything more than three, and you’re outnumbered anyway so it doesn’t matter much. The main difference is in terms of volume and duration. We do laundry continuously. There’s always a load going somewhere. There are a lot more dishes to do. There are more bags of groceries to carry in. Tuition is astronomical. We had to buy a full-sized van for transportation.

Looking at the picture of the kids, you might think they all arrived at once, that we had 6 little kids scurrying around in all directions like a bunch of Tasmanian Devils. The truth is we had at most 3 small kids at one time. As the older kids got bigger, we gave them more responsibility and they contributed more to the workings of the house. So all the older kids can baby-sit, sort, wash, and fold laundry, clean and cook. About the only thing they can’t do is take and deliver phone messages, but I don’t think that’s a function of the number of kids in the house, since I don't know how to take and deliver phone messages either.

So, in answer to your question, a medium-sized family is fun but challenging. If the kids are acquired incrementally, then you really don’t notice each individual addition. And I think the kids are a blast. Our Shabbos table is a non-stop laugh fest. The kids entertain each other. They really are their own best friends. I think this will be something they carry with them when they leave us (which, BTW, three of them will do in the next 2 weeks).

Each child is different from his or her siblings. I can’t think of any one of them that I could have done without. The only downside that I can think of (other than financial, obviously), is that it becomes hard to spend individual time with each kid. You do start to relate to them as a group. I have the good fortune of being able to do specific tasks with many of them (driving for the older two, piano and flute lessons with the others, etc.), but as Doctor Bean alluded to on his blog, you have to work to make this a priority.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.


torontopearl said...

Mark, that's a really nice depiction of the Skier family. Yeah, give wifey the credit and you just keep paying those bills!
I just need to know one thing: is there yelling in the household...and I don't mean between kids; I mean between parents and kids.
My cousin has bli ayin harah 10 kids. I never heard the parents raise the voice to the children and asked my cousin's wife about that. In my home, unfortunately, frustration and impatience speak volumes and loudly, from my mouth, and I'm looking to try and curb that negative aspect.

Stacey said...

You've convinced me. I want 4 more. Now, would ya just convince my dear husband!! ;)

ball-and-chain said...

Stacey: The convincing is up to you. Trust me, I got four! I'm pretty sure that Dr. Bean never gave much thought to how many kids he would have.

PT: I can't believe you also say "biddness." Aside from the Minyan/Kollel part you and Dr. Bean are soulmates.

Wait, if I'm blogging and Dr. Bean is a work, who's watching the kids?
Gotta go.

Anne said...

What a sweet post. It almost makes me sorry I had myself spayed last month.

tuesdaywishes said...

Speaking from the distaff side of a 'medium size family' (7 kids) PT is on the money in many ways.

We had four little kids at one point, as our oldest was 3 years 3 months when number 4 was born. All the rest are three years apart. There was some real craziness back then. Everywhere I went, people thought I was a day-care center. I often did treat them as a group then, but the different personalities and needs emerged pretty quickly.

Now they are each other's best friends and confidants, most honest critics and most feared competitors. The younger ones look up to the older ones, almost as extra parents. (I try very hard not to make the older kids take too much responsibility for the younger ones.)

Since Pearl asked, our house is very noisy, but hubby and I rarely yell at the kids or each other.

PsychoToddler said...

Pearl: I'm sure you'd get a different story from Fudge, but we don't yell very much. Generally speaking it's not necessary. However, there are times when a strategically placed psychotic hissy-fit will work wonders.

Stacey: convincing the hubby usually isn't that hard.

BAC: I think I may have roomed with your husband in College.

Inland Empress: Mazel Tov to you once again. Hope things aren't too crazy at your place.

Tuesday: By now you should know that I'm always on the money ;-)

Oh and I updated the link to include Mrs. Balabusta's response.

Jack's Shack said...

Stacey: convincing the hubby usually isn't that hard.

I don't know about that. ;)

Air Time said...

PT - I am not sure husbands can be convinced that easily. But I did tell my wife she could have as many kids as she wanted, with her next husband.

Batya said...

This post has been included in the very latest Heval Hevalim! Take a gander, and let the world know!

Batya said...

This post has been included in the very latest Heval Hevalim! Take a gander, and let the world know!

MC Aryeh said...

Husbands have much less willpower than wives. My dad only wanted two kids, my mom wanted 12. They ended up with 7. My mom says they compromised. My dad says she won....but he doesn't regret having any of us (always a nice thing to hear).

Mirty said...

Re-reading this post, I noticed this line -
If the kids are acquired incrementally, then you really don’t notice each individual addition.
LOL. As a middle child of four, I can attest that it did seem, at times, that myself and the other "middlest" weren't quite noticed!

Wickwire said...

When I was young, I told my mom I wanted seven children just like she had. I babysat my niece and nephew a few times then told my mom I changed my mind.

Shira Salamone said...

Hmm, the title of this post sounds familiar. I can't imagine why. :)

Shira Salamone said...

Mirty, I'm also a middle child of four. Being the "sandwich filling" does have its down side.