I was having a conversation about something-or-other with my mother-in-law earlier this week when she mentioned something referring to a family with fourteen children. I asked her whether the number seemed high to her.
“Fourteen?” she asked, as if she was thinking about it for the first time and I explained what I meant.
On Monday it was my birthday. Ben and Stephanie came over for the day along with my parents and we had all eleven children in the house together. As we gathered around the table to fill our plates with the selection of food we had set out Mike and I cast our eyes around it and commented to each other on how there still didn’t seem to be very many children there. I have blogged before about family size and how we’ve experienced the feeling that not everyone is present even when we are all there. It just doesn’t feel like there are that many of us.
As Mike explained it, when you think of 11 children you imagine them to be taking up so much more space, and for things to look far busier and manic than they actually are, like scenes from the Steve Martin film, Cheaper by the Dozen or something. In truth life is a lot calmer and not as hectic as you’d imagine.
Like I said to my mother-in-law, when we had only four children and watched a programme about a family with fourteen, our reaction back then was, “Wow! Fourteen!” whereas now it doesn’t seem such a big deal at all. I then asked her again that as she’s now familiar with us having “so many” ourselves, did she think of fourteen children being a high number.
“No. I suppose not!” she concluded.
So what do you think? How many children do you have and how many do you consider to be a lot? Has this figure changed as your family has grown? I’d be interested to hear your comments.