Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Realities of Having a Large Family

Most posts about having a large family are about the joys of having a lot of kids, and while I agree that having a large family can be great, I think we have to be honest and admit the other side of the dream. I think large families are afraid if we say something negative about large families, someone will jump out of the closet and yell, "Aha! I knew it!"

Having thoroughly checked my closet, I will now list for you the down side of a house of mirth and merriment. Mind you, this is not a statement of regret, more like a "you should know this before jumping into large family-dom."

1. We go through an insane amount of toilet paper.

We should own stock in Charmin. I got a $10 Starbucks gift card for 16 years of using Pampers. Charmin, I'm expecting bigger things from you.

hint, hint

2. Be prepared to answer the same question 10 times, usually within 5 minutes.

Usually the kids are listening in on conversations that are none of their business. Yet when one of them asks me what's for dinner, this is the one time the rest of them don't listen in. So the next kid, who was a mere two feet away from the first child asks, "What's for dinner?" Then the next kid, within even closer ear shot, but for some reason deaf for the past five minutes, asks, "What's for dinner?" I wish I lived in a canyon at dinner time. That way "what's for dinner?" can be repeated without effort on my part.
Tuna Casserole!!....Tuna Casserole!!....Tuna Casserole!!...Tuna Casserole!!

3. Restaurant Visits

Any visit to a restaurant will take hours. First is the look from the 20 something hostess at the front desk. "Eight?" she says incredulously. And then looks at all the kids like we're some kind of social deviants. Then there's the wait for the staff to set a table for 8 with high chairs and crayons and kid menus away from the rest of the general public. One restaurant actually put us in a seperate room! Then there's the wait for 8 different meals to be ready at the same time so the waitress can serve it. And forget about the "Kids Eat Free" promotions. If you read the fine print, there's something about one free meal with each adult purchase. That means we're still a few meals short of a good bargin.

4. Order an extra large of whatever drink you get or embrace the inner Grinch and don't share.

It's like having a pizza in a room full of stoned people. Every time I get an iced coffee, two seconds after I pull away from the drive thru window, a chorus of "Can I have a sip?" begins followed by the responsorial call "I'm thirsty!" So do I let all six have a sip and possibly not have an iced coffee by the time the drink gets back to me? Or do I be a meanie and say no one gets a sip? Maybe I should set up a rotation schedule: "Sorry Gummi, it's Tuesday and that means only Buttercup, W. Bear and Baby get a sip. Tomorrow will be your turn."

Daffy, I feel your pain.

bonus fun: My son Tater took as sip of my coffee once and AFTER said, "I just don't know how you can drink without leaving backwash." I didn't much want my coffee anymore.

5. Sexy and fuel efficiency are inversely proportional to passenger capacity.

The more kids we had, the less pretty our vehicle got. We now drive a whale that gets 10 miles to the gallon down hill with the wind behind us. It came in two colors.

6. When in public, be prepared for questions.

"Are they all yours?" Uh, why would I rent extras?
"Which is more difficult, girls or boys?" Neither, it's pesky people with silly questions.
"Are they all from the same father?" ?!?
"How do you handle it all?" I don't. Seriously.
"Are you going to have any more?" What, tonight? That's kind of personal, don't you think?

7. I am in constant need of socks and underwear.

Harvard University hasn't returned my calls, but I need a scientific study to see if large families go through socks quicker than smaller families. I suppose those boys up in Beantown have more pressing things on their plate but this is a serious need for me. I buy those mondo packs of socks and the very next day the boys are traipsing around here with mismatched, holey (and not in the spiritual way) socks. We have a box where we keep the orphan socks on the hopes of reuniting them with their lost partner after the next load of laundry. I'm embarrassed how big that box has gotten.

8. Noise

I once saw a definition of boys as "Noise with dirt." I've got four of 'em. My husband asks me why I stay up so late. It's because the silence is - and I thought about what word I'd use here for a while - the silence is luscious.

9. Totally utilitarian dishes

Those cute 4 qt. crock pots? Individual ramekins or onion soup crocks? Yeah, whatever. Making elaborate individual servings of stacked and saucy vegetables is a thing of the past. Four is not a problem, eight and you have to go next door to borrow the neighbor's counter space. Then there's the storage issue. I do not have enough cabinet space for 8 sets of custard cups, mini souffle dishes, soup crocks, bread plates, etc. Although I make an exception for those shallow fluted creme brulee ramekins. It is my rule in life to always make room for creme brulee.
Creme brulee, you complete me.


Anonymous said...

but darlink Esther, you handle it all like a champ!!!! really, a champ.
Love, Abbey

Amelia Bentrup said...

Amen to number 7 (and we only have 4 kids) but socks seem to mysteriously disappear into a dark hole or something. We used to solve this problem by living in FL and hence not needing socks, but alas, we moved and now reside in a Northern climate necessitating socks on occasion.