Last Sunday Mike, Annie and I spent the night at Mike’s sister’s house. His sister and brother in law were having a much-deserved overnight away, so we minded our nephews and niece.
When we arrived, my nephews Spencer (six and a half years old) and Danny (four) were jumping up and down with excitement. Mike and I were basically rock stars. We did everything we could to keep them thinking we were – we ran around in the back yard, drank tons of juice together, ordered pizza, and bought the COOLEST! MOVIE! EVER! on pay per view (Yogi Bear is the bees knees, according to the boys).
We did all this in an hour.
Meanwhile, Annie and Michaela (21 months) were into evvvvvvverything. If Michaela knew a non-baby-proofed section of the house, she led Annabel to it. If Annie knew a new and exciting way to make noise (and believe me, she always has a new and exciting way to make noise), she showed it to Michaela. At first I was like, “OMG, they are playing together it is soooooo cute!” Cut to me an hour later and I was hissing at Mike, “WE HAVE TO SEPARATE THEM!”
All the kids play together really well. The boys are very patient with the girls and don’t mind sharing or being around them. I know this won’t last for much longer…not because the boys will get older, but because the girls will get really annoying. I mean, the high pitched shrieks! I was not aware those started before the age of two.
While I dealt with the girls (and my eardrums waved a white flag), Mike had to help Danny in the bathroom. Mike was unaware that children can still require assistance in the bathroom. When I told him that they aren’t always coordinated enough to wipe themselves, I thought he would pass out. “Well,” he said, “Danny will just not poop when we’re there.”
He pooped twice.
We also got a taste of what it would be like to have twins when Annie and Michaela both had bedtime meltdowns. Just as one would calm down, she’d see the other freaking out and start back up again. I contemplated giving both of them xanax.
Mike and I were exhausted by the time the kids all went to sleep. We were only one sixth of the way toward having a Duggar-sized group and we were toast by 9pm. How do you people with multiple kids do it?
Such cute pictures!
I’m the oldest of 5 kids (2 boys- 3 girls. 10 years between myself and my youngest sister), I ask my Dad that question all the time. His response, “We just did it. We loved you all and new you deserved the best”! Then he’ll make some kind of inappropriate joke about getting some… I’m sure that’s why he has 5 kids!
Now that I’m pregnant with my 3rd (and final) child (permanent birth controle is next on my list). I get what he means. You just don’t notice all the hard work because you enjoy your kids so much!
You and Mike rock!!! Looks like y’all had a blast!!!
P.S. Can I haz some pizza?!
well, as my elder sisters told me, they were forced to grow up fast by time so they could assist mom in watching over us. 3 is a bunchful but they didn’t mind because we were painfully cute.. also, they’re so efficient in wiping us.. they pour water with a water scooper & wipe our butts with their feet! i must think it was freakin cool because mom said I wont poop when they’re not around.
My mom had four kids and a business to start up, all on her own. My niece and nephew (3 and 7) are currently staying with us for a few weeks and she continually says that she has no idea how she managed anything when we were children. Since I’m one of four and I love children I always thought I’d have four (and, gasp! even five) children. The older I get the less children I want. Currently it’s sitting at a two, with a very, very slight possibility for a third (who would probably be fostered/adopted).
It does help when there’s a large age gap though. My siblings were nearly 11, 9, and 5 when I was born so the older two could practically take care of themselves and they helped out a lot.
Welcome to the Village, Mike & Heather–and I mean as in “it takes a Village.” I am the oldest of five siblings. When I was 8, my dad was killed in a midair collision. My siblings at the time were 6, 4, 3, and 18 months. Without all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents, I know I wouldn’t be here today. Mom was only 29 years old when she was widowed. It was quite the adventure! But my siblings are my dearest friends to this day (okay, with one exception.) You two are now officials in the Spohr Village!
Ha! I soooooooo related to your pain of the shrieks. I have a 5 year old girl and 3 year old twin girls. It is painful when they start screaming, whether it’s shrieks of joy or upset. I grew up with 3 brothers so I had no idea that this is what it was like with girls. I have NO tips. But, I’m sure going to keep reading here to see if anyone has any brilliant suggestions.
My youngest daughter who is 5, and my youngest niece who is 6, are the best of friends. With that being said, they are also evil little naughty girls when they are together. They can destroy a toy room, or bed room in five minutes flat. They just get up to some of the craziest schemes together, and have been since they were about 2 and 3. On Thanksgiving one year at my mom’s house, they filled all the play kitchen pots, pans, and bowls with dog food. They have markered their names up and down each others arms and legs. They broke a window out at my sister’s. They are something else. We’ve often said that it’s a good thing that they will go to different schools, I can only imagine the calls we would get if they went to school together.
I run a home based child care (yes, license and inspected by my local children’s health dept.) and typically have 4-7 children at any given time. The key is keeping them on a schedule and busy.
It’s exhausting, but when you have structure and fun mixed together, the kids are normally amazing.
The thing with the Duggars is that they seem to raise the first few years while the child is an infant, but they have ‘older helpers’ to get them through the later years. Still guiding, but a lot of the raising is done by mom, dad and a host of older siblings.
Charlene R says:
I am a parent to an only child and I recently started taking care of my neice and nephew are are close in age, I have a really hard time. It is chaotic with more than one child – they plot, they scheme, they lie – I can’t wait for school to start again!!!!
Litters! LOL! I’ve got 4 and we are adopting one more. I think the key here is spacing! Mine are 11, 8, 4, and 1 so they are developmentally in very different places. The older ones are mostly self-sufficient and the little ones don’t feed off each other like you describe Annie and Michaela doing. Seriously 3 years is the PERFECT spacing
I also find the 3-year spacing works quite well :-). I have 3 kids with 3 years between each and I find it manageable. Sure, there are days that I feel overwhelmed, but mostly I really enjoy it. I think routine is key (and unfortunately I am not that good at getting into a set routine, haha).
They’re added one at a time, usually. We have ae 6 year old, a 4 year old, thought I couldn’t get knocked up again after 4 miscarriages, and now have a 6 month old foster baby and I’m due any day.
Ask me again in about 2 weeks.
You’d do fine with a litter of kids. And it’s different when they’re all yours.
I was raised in a large family, I have 4 younger brothers, I have no idea how my mother did it and stayed sane (well, the staying sane part is still up for debate). The idea of having 2, which I’ll have in less than a month, freaks me out. I can’t imagine having more than that.
HaHA! I can just see you guys with 4 kids! YOu had an entire cast do make a movie!
My Brother in Law has said the same thing about my son. He refuses to watch him until he can wipe himself or I guarantee him my son won’t poop on h
Jen L. says:
Zoiks! I only have one boy, but we have nephews a year older and a year younger than my son. The first time we babysat the nephews, I thought I would surely die in the first 30 minutes. By the time we got them all to sleep (AT ELEVEN PEE EMMM), all I could do was sit on the floor and rock back and forth.
Lucky for me, I spaced my brood out. My oldest is 17 now, then I have a soon to be 16 year old, a 13 year old and then my baby girl is almost 3. I have 3 built in handy helpers and babysitters. My husband and I had the yours, mine and ours thing going on. Did I mention they are all girls? Poor husband
I think adding a few actors/actresses to your cast would be awesome, for us anyways. Seriously though, I think you would do great with more kids when you are ready to add to the family.
I don’t know what it is with girls and screaming. Sometimes when I pick my 4-year old daughter up from school, she and another of her little friends will race out the door SHRIEKING the whole way as the other Mom and I look at each other shaking our heads.
My nephews (who are 2 and 6) are more prone to running non-stop.
I have heard that the key is spacing them with enough years so the older ones are at different stages and can help out.
hahaha this made me LOL. I have four kids – theyre 8, 7, 3, and 10 months. It is definitely exhausting and there are times that my house looks (and sounds) like a tornado is passing through, but I have found that when they are your own kids, it’s easier to manage, becuase you are used to them, you have a schedule, etc…. Watching other peoples kids is harder IMO.
But schedule or not, your kids or not – don’t ever take them all to the grocery store – THAT is the worst!!!!!
Umm, you were their babysitters which is quite different from having your own children. And, from what I have experienced of children in the US , bedtime always seems to be later than is good for kids (screaming infants in a restaurant at 9pm anyone?) and pizza and movies are a daily/weekly occurrence rather than a rarity.
I’m quite prepared for negative comments but I have brought up 2 children with a fairly strict (other than special occasions and holidays) and loving routine where treats such as pizza and movies were occasional and not the norm.
You use every excuse in the book to give them a Benadryl. I swear it’s allergy season and the kids are so stuffy and drippy, we need to do something…..otherwise they’ll be so uncomfortable they’ll never sleep.
I think it was like that because you are babysitting, not the normal routine of your own family if you had four kids.
My mom had eight. Four boys and four girls. The first four were two years apart; the last four were four year apart. Boy/Girl down the line…yes in that order. My mother-in-law had six. Two boys (the oldest and youngest) and four girls in between. All two years apart. I don’t know how they did it, but they did.
I have two. A son and a daughter three years apart.
My husband and I babysat for four kids and two dogs once. It was INTENSE. Intensely crazy, intensely fun, intensely intense. I don’t know how you do that for EV er. But, I think if it’s gradual (like one baby added at a time) it might seem easier. Maybe?
I’m with you on wondering how people with large families make it work. I’m not at all critical–I’m in awe because I don’t think I could. When the Mister and I were first married, we thought that 2 or 3 would be our magic number. After our second daughter was born, we realized that two was it for us. I think that if we’d planned better financially and I was able to stay home, I could be a good parent to three children, but I don’t feel like with my current job I would be able to give everyone the time they deserve. As it is now, sometimes I feel like it is a challenge to give both of my girls the time they deserve–time where they have the undivided attention of at least one parent who understands their personality, temperament and fears. Times when I’m alone with the girls and both need me RiGHT. THIS. MINUTE. I wonder how someone with a large group would handle it.
i am one of 8, and i have 7 brothers. there is a 14 yr difference between the oldest and youngest, and the last 6 came in the last 8.5 years.
amazingly enough, i am the only one who broke and sprained body parts when i was younger. we ran like a well-disciplined factory, from the dish-washing to the laundry to the mopping. you started at 5 or 6. it was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, but the camaraderie will surely last a lifetime. needless to say, i’ve learned how to run a brood of small children.
I have 5 kids… a 16 year old girl, a 5 year old boy (with ADHD), 3 year old twin boys and a 4 month old boy. It is different when it’s your own kids. You get REALLY good at tuning out most of the chaos. But I have to say that my middle 3 boys can shriek with the best of them. When they get going, oh my. But bedtime is kind of like childbirth… you forget all about the pain of the day. And can’t wait for them to wake up every morning. Love the picture of the girls at the table. So cute.
did you catch nadya suleman on the Today show this morning?
As the mom of nine, people ask me all the time how I do it – and I just shrug my shoulders and honestly say, “I don’t know. I just do it.” and then I add, “It’s not like I got them all at once; we added on one at a time!”
For us, after having three…the 4th wasn’t that big of a change, and neither was the 5th or the 6th or the 7th, etc…
We just do it. Life is crazy busy, but I swear it’s so much fun! Both my husband and I would love to have another baby (or two!) but nine seems to be our number. Our youngest is going to be three years old at the end of the month, and since her birth I have had two miscarriages So maybe we are “done” with nine. And that’s okay! I’m fine with nine
They All Call Me Mom
“We were only one sixth of the way toward having a Duggar-sized group and we were toast by 9pm.”
It’s so precious to see the cousins together. ;o)