Thursday, November 18, 2010

A "Largish" Family

A lot of times people wonder how largish (I don't consider our family large...five and up is large; four is just large-ish) families make it and they'll ask us if we feel we're going crazy. I actually think it's harder to have two really small ones but anyway, that's just my opinion. Of course we feel like we're going crazy sometimes. But when you've acquired a couple of kids, you're used to it and it no longer seems like such a big deal. "Mom, Joshy has Daddy's drill again." Hmmm...I'm guessing I've got about thirty seconds to get in there before he figures out how to turn it on. Plenty of time to start the washer first. "Mom, Caleb drew on the wall." Eeh, it's washable. This too shall pass. Two quick examples of my reactions these days.

One of the reasons why, I think, people who happen to have a bunch of kids keep going is because they find it really can be easier with more. I'm not kidding. The main reason for that is that the other kids get older and can help out more. Both of my older two can help make a very simple breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. When they make a mess on the floor, I tell them to get the vacuum out and they can do a decent job cleaning it up. Even Joshy, who spilled my drink on the floor today, was able to get a rag to tackle the spill. They help with daily chores like most kids. It's true-many hands makes light work! Yet, when you have all little ones, you're doing everything! And for years, that was me!

But here's a quick example of older kids helping out. This never would've happened before, at least not nearly so smoothly.

About a week ago, I was getting the boys out of bed in the morning. I thought something seemed a bit odd but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Nothing seemed awry. Everyone was in bed smiling at me. All I noted was that Josh was no longer wearing his pajama pants. I knew he had them on when I had checked him the night before. Yet, I just passed that off as him chucking them in the middle of the night or something because he was hot. Unusual but very possible. But then my oldest, the studious one, started filling me in on the whole story.

You see, I was in the back room on the treadmill. The ONLY time I have to myself (Elliana doesn't count) is in the morning before the boys wake up. Hubby loves me and got me a treadmill last year. Me and said treadmill are quite good friends. Anyhow, evidently Joshua woke up and was calling for me to take him to the bathroom. However, I was in la la land listening to my tunes, so I couldn't hear a thing. Mostly that was unintentional if you get my meaning. But at the same time, I don't really want to hear a thing until 7 am-seriously.

So, if this situation would have occurred two or three years ago, the child would have just peed his bed and I'd be cleaning up the mess (which I would deserve I guess for not paying attention). We always tell our kids that they can get out of bed to go to the bathroom but, since it's so ingrained in their heads that they must stay in bed under all other circumstances, they usually forget and just call for us. By the way, this is because we're really mean parents and we require that our kids stay in bed until they're told to get out. Ha ha. That's just our house rule. It generally works out well for us but I have cleaned up messy beds on various occasions due to this rule.

But back to the story. Isaac very nonchalantly tells me, "Mom, Joshy had to go pee pee so I took him." Caleb chimes in with, "Yeah Mom, we all went." Obviously, they had gotten the job done and the only casualty had been the pants. Not bad. I surveyed the bathroom and the floor was sparkling clean. I was shocked. Then as I was taking in this bit of news, I realized the gravity of the situation-they had both gotten down, taken Joshy (barely two and just newly potty trained, so he's still getting used to things) to the bathroom calmly, helped him go potty and then all climbed back into their beds to wait there patiently until I came in to get them up. When did they grow up so much?

A few mornings later, it happened again. This time though, Caleb told them he was too sleepy. But, never fear, first born Isaac was on duty and he wasn't about to let down his post.

Before when I was potty training a child I'd always be trigger happy in the morning trying to get them on the potty so that they wouldn't wet the bed. Well, I guess I don't have to worry about it this time. The big brothers are on it.

To be honest, I think part of it is that they know if Joshy makes it to the potty, they'll be getting a treat too. Whatever works.

The encouraging thing is that I see signs that there is some light at the end of this extremely long tunnel. They're getting older. Part of it makes me sad. I have such fond memories of these past five, chaotic years. God has stretched us and taught us quite a bit. It's all just flying too fast.

And then the other part of me feels relief and excitement. How amazing to be able to have more intelligent conversations about God, life and people, and then watch them grow in knowledge through their education. I want to see my kids devour books, discover the beauty of math, get lost in music and learn to express themselves in written language. How incredible to watch!

I don't even think my kids are that old yet. But things like this just give me glimpses of what it'll be like in another five years and to be honest, it does get me really excited.

So that's how it's done. That's how larger families make it. Everybody just pitches in. Things don't always get done perfectly or even all that well sometimes. But everyone tries and gives a little. And Mom and Dad just learn to take whatever help they can get and no matter what, to laugh...a lot.


  1. Nikki- I have to say your posts are always very inspiring and real, I appreciate them so much. Especially today when I had a very hard time with Wes (just turned 2) with whining and crying so much I thought I was going insane! I actually had to give myself a "time out" in the garage so I didn't do anything I would regret. Maybe it has to do with being 21 weeks pregnant or the fact that Dave has been gone almost a week, but either way it is nice to hear that it gets easier as they get a little older. I am kind of freaking out about having 2, especially after a day like today. But I am trying my best to set boundaries and rule with love and he is resisting every step....terrible 2's maybe....but I will gain strength from the Lord to do it all again tomorrow...hopefully without strangling him. ha ha. Actually any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks. -Kristal

  2. I love this! Makes me think that if I have enough kids, maybe someday I will just be able to sit around and sip some tropical drink while they feed me grapes and clean the house.


    Seriously, though, it is amazing how they start taking care of themselves and each other. I'm just starting to get little glimpses of that now that Ethan is 3 and he can do little things for Matthew.

    But I also make the kids stay in bed until I come in to get them, and I definitely don't come and get them until 7 at least! (unless there's some sort of emergency.)