Home > Top Ten > Top Ten: Things We Love About Having A Large Family – Special Surprise Addition

Top Ten: Things We Love About Having A Large Family – Special Surprise Addition

I recently had to disclose to a dental assistant that I couldn’t have x-rays done because I’m pregnant. She asked, “Oh, is it your first?” “No, my fourth, actually,” I replied. “You need to stop that,” she said. “Excuse me?” “You need to stop that! What do you have?” “Two boys and a girl so far,” I replied. “Well, I hope you have a girl so you can even things out,” she said conversationally and left the room.

We debated about waiting longer to announce this pregnancy, mainly because we wanted to hold on to our joy and excitement before all the remarks, advice and judgment came into play. Don’t get me wrong, we still feel darn excited! But no matter how little it actually matters, it’s hard not to care about what others think or say, especially if they are people you regularly bump into, friends or even family members who think they have the “right” number of children figured out.

Parents with 3 or more children have all probably experienced this issue to some degree and let’s face it, 3 kids in NYC is comparable to 7+ in other parts of the country (3 children? when are you moving to Jersey?). But the criticism dial is only turned up further when one of your children is disabled.

So, I’m pregnant. Again. My husband is super, duper excited. We planned for it and had fun trying. So before you shake your head and say “what are they thinking?” I’ll just beat you to the punch and tell you. Today’s Top Ten is about all of the positive things we experience and all of the reasons we love our large and growing family.

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1. Affection. Lots of kisses, hugs and cuddles, anytime, anyplace.

2. Social Skills. Learning to get along, compromise and try new approaches in a non-threatening, noncompetitive, safe environment. It’s always better to find out that sitting on someone’s head is not an acceptable way to get your toy back when that someone is related to you. It’s also better to be shamed into sitting through “The Birthday Song” by your two year old sister than by a classmate. Trust me on this one.

3. Pride. There is always something to celebrate. Between major holidays, birthdays, graduations, milestones, baptisms, first communions, recitals, sports games, report cards, and new babies, it seems that hardly a day goes by where we don’t feel proud of something. As an added bonus, we all are able to experience happiness for someone else’s success.

4. Company. We’re never lonely. Morning or night, bathroom, bedroom or shower. We’re never. Ever. Alone.

5. Friends. Siblings make great friends (except for when they don’t). They have each other to play with now and they will have each other when they grow up. With four younger siblings I have been able to experience this relationship journey several times now, and I still can’t believe what we did to each other and still ended up the closest of friends. On the flip side, nothing bonds two adults together like chatting about baby poop. We have met some of our best friends through our children.

6. Relaxation. No, I’m not kidding. What I mean is loosening expectations, loosening up in general. With our first child, if a pacifier fell on the ground it was immediately tossed or set aside for deep cleaning. By our third, the pacifier was casually dusted on a pant leg before being reinserted. We had one hell of a diaper bag with baby #1. By baby #3 a couple of diapers, a handful of wipes and some kind of receiving blanket (or jacket in desperate moments) was all that was needed for any trips under 5 hours.

7. Happiness. Giggles, squealing and laughter are easy to come by at our house. Quiet is overrated.

8. Responsibility and Teamwork. Many hands make the work light (and many hands make a lot of work to divvy up!).

9. Independence. When I was 9 months pregnant with my 3 year old, James was still terrified of sleeping alone. So each and every night until the night I gave birth, I would lay down on the floor next to his bed until he fell asleep, the greatest challenge being to stay awake long enough to get off of the floor for the night! The day I came home from the hospital that routine ended. James was forced to learn some independence, and though it was a difficult couple of weeks the experience was worth its weight in diapers. Lots and lots of diapers.

10. Boredom Busters. If you’re bored with this many people around, it’s obviously your own fault.

11. Diet and Exercise. When feeding children, eating healthy suddenly seems more important to pass on as a habit. Who wants to shovel empty fat and calories into those innocent, doe-eyed tattletales (Mom gave us ice cream for dinner today!)? I never get to finish a meal without getting up from the table 14 times. Or should I say 14 reps? Other times, someone eats half of my food. Or should I say portion control?

12. Empathy and Kindness. Certainly our younger children will all have a uniquely personal experience in learning compassion for others who are disabled, mentally handicapped or a little different. It is one of my greatest wishes that they feel (and appreciate) the same no-strings-attached, always forgiving, always accepting, constant love from James that we do.

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Sorry, I couldn’t help myself – there’s a few extra items on the list tonight. But seriously, what’s wrong with a few extra?

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  1. Ed gerrity
    February 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    I would’ve given that dental assistant a piece of my mind. Congrats on a new baby!

  2. I. Blandon
    February 22, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    What a Blessing! Congratulations, the siblings will always have the bond and each other.!

  3. Brigid
    February 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I could not agree more!

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