01 August 2011


Here is how I understand family size (with the caveat that among Christians who have given no indication to the contrary, I am so mired in my own reality as to consider non-contraception to be the default practice. Terribly naive of me, I know, though I mean for it to be charitable):

1=small (may indicate fertility problems)
2=Normal! Way to go!
3=trying for a boy or girl, or a "mistake"
4-5=bigger than normal (indicates mild or moderate parental zaniness, or twins)

But six is where it gets serious. Six kids doesn't happen by accident. Six kids is beyond zany. Six is full-on crazy. Six kids very likely means a weird vehicle. Six is Big.

Six is also where some people (not all) seem to begin considering themselves major parenting experts and get real annoying. I promise I'll try not to do that. (It would be hard to come off as a parenting expert when my oldest kid is eight, anyway--lots of critical stages still not even touched.)

I think six will have some advantages, though. No odd box of raisins left to fossilize in the cabinet. That's been a huge problem with five.


Katy said...

I think it depends on what circles one grows up in. Where I come from 3-5 is "normal", 6 is not-unheard-of, and 7 is crazy (seven is an officially big family).

Last weekend we traveled out-of-state to celebrate my BIL's engagement with my future SIL's family. Hilarious "family planning" small-talk. I forgot people think it's socially acceptable to ask the newly engaged how many kids they are going to have. So many "gems" such as the moms of the engaged talking about how they both planned just two, but how then they changed their minds, and had the-now-happy-couple ("How interesting! You two have so much in common!" Um, an exceptional middle sibling?).

>"I am so mired in my own reality as to consider non-contraception to be the default practice."

Sometime between babies #2 and 3 it became default for us--hence, the conversations above seeming so bizarre. (My FIL also thought the convo was bizarre, but mostly because he thinks it's totally impolite to talk about those things with everyone and anyone. He gets REALLY annoyed when some mom/grandma blabs constantly about how an expected baby was a mistake or accident.)

Also, in my parts, after a certain number (8?), all family dysfunctions/mess ups/sins are blamed on the number of kids.

Heather Best said...

We have just passed into the realm of parenting crazy land with the last positive pregnancy test. We are pregnant with #6, (my oldest is 8 too and will turn 9 just days after 6's arrival). I have actually always wanted a 'big' family. I think part of it stems from being an only child, but God also placed the desire in both mine and my husband's hearts.

I once told an ob/gyn that I wanted 6. I think I was pregnant with the 2nd at the time. She told me I'd change my mind after the 3rd. Well, I did change my mind after the 3rd. I started to discover that 6 might not be enough. LOL. The more children we have, the more I realize how marvelous they are and how unique and how they really really are a blessing and a reward. To see them all play with the baby and to see how they enjoy each other... there is nothing greater to me than that. It is so much fun.

And I also share your list on family size. I typically see it as how much joy they experience being directly related to how many children they have, but like you said that is MY experience and not necessarily related to anyone else's life.

And yeah, we have a 12 passenger van. love it! :D

William Weedon said...

Your reason for three fails when the order was girl - boy - girl. :) Sometimes there's just more backstory...

Anonymous said...

Aha, you're telling us child 6 has/had a raisin d'ĂȘtre

Gauntlets said...

Anon: That was great. :D You win.

Rebekah said...

>>Also, in my parts, after a certain number (8?), all family dysfunctions/mess ups/sins are blamed on the number of kids

YUP. 8 is a hugely generous number if you ask me.

Heather, what kind of van do you have?

Father William, we know you're unreasonable. :D

Anon, I am going to run into trouble with gummy worms now. The good ones come in packages of 14, which worked out great for seven people.

Heather Best said...

It's a 2005 Chevy Express. Since we didn't need all the seat room quite yet, we took the back row out for the summer which has been fabulous and gave us as much hauling space as a truck. I can fit my double stroller and all our rafts and floaties and ice chest, etc. But next year we will need to put the seat back in, as there will be 8 of us. It's not really a12 seater when car seats are involved.

Emommy said...

Fossilized raisins are totally my motivation for having more children. Seriously. I still buy the "regular" sized generic cylinder-full from Walmart, and it takes my two forever to get through it. Luckily, they're too young to mind the fossilization. Maybe next year, when Baby #3 will help them out, they might notice the mold. But don't raisins last forever?

Alison said...

Ha! My friend, preggo with her fifth, sent this to me, preggo with number six. So fun and true! I keep telling my dad that I'm his NORMAL child and he just snorts and says, "Yeah, normal, right." What's so abnormal about an even half-dozen? Now a dozen....that's unique! I also find myself not so quick to tell everyone the news this time around...I mean, people are beginning to think we really DON'T know how this happens! Either that or we've done it on PURPOSE! Gasp!

Rebekah said...

Hey Katy again--My head also spins at how one's preferred method of contraception is considered perfectly acceptable conversation fodder. :P

Heather, it appears that I only have 76 shopping days left, so I'm trying to try to start thinking about this.

Emommy, we move through the bulk boxes fast, but it's when I bring the individuals along for a day trip that I end up with the oddball.

Alison, I also find that my threshold for normal is much higher than it used to be. Six doesn't seem like that many to me any more. I have a hard time getting my mind around 9+.

Mrs. Reverend Doctor said...

My Husband is a Presbyterian minister, and I have found 3 to a Presbyterian is like 6 to a Catholic.

Katy said...

LOL@ Mrs.Rev: my former boss used to joke that when they were Anglican, people used to come up to him and his wife and say, concerned, "You know how to limit your family size, right?" When they became Roman Catholic, people, just as concerned, would ask if they wanted prayer for their fertility problem, or suggested they go to the local CtoC League to learn how to conceive another.

(They had four.)

Dakotapam said...

6 is fun.

It is, however, the number that teachers blame all lack of homework completion on . . ."I know things must be crazy at home, but, Johnny has not done his stupid pet habitat diorama yet. . ."

Front Row View said...

#6 will be turning 2 this September and yet somehow we never set out with that number in mind. Huge dinner tables, no room for friends in the car, everybody share a room not just mommy and daddy.