A SIX KID FAMILY – SINK OR SWIM
Six kids and living in Sydney.. about as common as spotting a unicorn and about as entertaining. Ranging in ages from 5 to 15. That’s a lot of kid.
With the Aussie national average of births per family hitting an all-time low, it got me thinking about some of the highlights and low-lights of having a truckload of kids.
People sometimes ask me what it’s like. I enjoy shocking them by saying: ‘imagine that you’re drowning, and someone comes over to you with a baby, hands it to you, and says ‘can you look after this?’’
All extremely loveable and an entirely eclectic collection of souls, these six have offered my husband and I a world of joy, chaos, testing, drama and delight. So, I thought I’d share with you a bit of what it’s like to go well beyond the ‘national average’.
1. You attract people
People will look at us twice, some smile (adoringly), others look at us like ‘huh??”
Or, there are the women that follow me around the play equipment at parks as I watch my children play. I know this is when I’m about to be solicited with a barrage of questions.
I’ll jump on the monkey bars myself or pretend that my child needs me on the opposite side of the playground from you. The truth? I like you and you’re very amusing and in all likelihood, I did the same to other mums once too… but you’re a little bit creepy.
2. You get asked if you’d like more children
Are you kidding me? There are lots and you’re looking at them.
I’m told often enough though that ‘once you have several kids, 1 extra doesn’t make a difference’. However, before you proceed to leave your children with me at the aquatic centre, please do remember that 6+1=7 and that’s one more than I will be keeping afloat.
I even had one couple who asked me to take their difficult child (permanently). True story, they were happy to pay.
3. You get comments and more..
‘Yours?’ Yes, they are ALL mine.
‘Different fathers?’ You do realise you’re asking me about my sex life, right?
No, I didn’t have IVF or adopt my children from another nation. I know they don’t look like me, but pointing out that you don’t think they fit in is a bit rude really.
Often the questions are asked right in front of the kids, I want to let people know that even though their ears are small, they are entirely functional.
4. There’s never a dull moment
My kids are never bored and nor am I.
There’s always a vast array of activities on display and let’s face it, nothing’s more entertaining than watching a five-year-old version of yourself, with a saucepan on his head, banging out a Taylor Swift melody.
This entertainment, of course, can be multiplied directly in proportion to your spawn.
5. Two words
6. Attract a crowd wherever you go
The beach is the best place to go when you have a large family. There’s the ocean to be swept up in and the wide spaces afford no noise to be too loud, and aside from parking, it’s freeee.
We were recently at the beach when my children had found great entertainment, digging a hole. Like, achieving-their-transit-to-China type hole (we’re so proud). It drew some attention from passers-by because it was such a BIG hole. You understand now, don’t you?
It started off small at first, the hole, I mean. There was a family next to us with two boys, they came over to check out the excavation. My kids were generous enough to let them join in. They were strong little fellas and their help was gratefully accepted.
Next came a family who were collecting shells. They had three little girls, cute enough. No invitation, they simply saw a crowd of assorted kids and joined in.
Then the two toddlers arrived.. you can see what transpired, can’t you. Before I knew it, I’m sitting on my towel, with sand being flung at me by a cast of thousands. BIG hole though.
7. A reason to be forgetful and…. late
People take pity on you, they think no one could possibly get out of the door on time with THAT many kids. They’re correct some of the time, but more often than not, we’re simply taking it easy and making the most of the excuse (my mum would die).
8. Kids from big families end up with big character or else
Selfishness is not an option. So many things need to be shared, and they all need to learn to take it in turns. Things get loud and there’s always passion but they know its a turn-taking life.
They have to be articulate too, otherwise, they’ll never get a word in at this dinner table.
And differences are celebrated.
9. You get to play host the most
No one invites you anywhere (why the heck would they), you get to have everyone at yours!
10. Retirement sorted
Surely one out of six will take us. Perhaps they could pass us around and take it in turns to spoon feed us our dinner? It could be a bit of pay-dirt for our early parenting years.