Thursday, August 12, 2010

The trouble with large families!

I guess we're a large family - according to my favorite parenting website we qualify with 4 kids. You'd think the biggest problem we'd face would be too many mouths to feed, or not enough parents for all the kids, or a big fat mess all over the house. You'd think, talking to any of my extended family anyway, that having 4 kids was an insane mistake. I laugh about this frequently now - my mom, upon finding out I was pregnant with Coral (#3) told me, "That's fine, but whatever you do, stop there. Don't have a fourth child - it will ruin your life." Gee thanks mom, I AM your fourth child! Other than the dangerous physical aspects of my being pregnant again (I now have had a 30-weeker and an emergency c-section thanks to a placental abruption, and have a 25% recurrence rate of abruption in a future pregnancy), I really wouldn't mind having more kids. I think 6 would be a really great number.

You know what's the hardest part about having four kids? Trying to maintain friendships! When our oldest two were little, we had lots of friends. We met up all the time for playdates, and parties, and had such a wonderful, fun time hanging out together. I have all these great old photos of my kids at our house running around with a gaggle of other little 2-4 year old girls and boys, wreaking havoc and having the time of their little lives. And then you know what happened? All of those little kids grew up, and went off to school. Many of the moms went back to work or found other hobbies. We all drifted apart. Almost everyone called it quits after their first two children and then just....moved on.

It's hard when you have a large family, because the ages of your children span such a large range. My kids cover 9 years. Almost none of my friends who have kids in the same age bracket as my two oldest (8 and 10 later this year) have younger children. Conversely, I don't know anyone who has a three-year-old and an infant who also has kids who are school-aged. We've been both lucky and hampered by homeschooling in that we are typically welcome to bring younger siblings to events (where they are usually doted upon), but at the same time there isn't really much to offer the little ones that also welcomes older siblings.

Why is that? I've tried joining a few playgroups for little ones and they are SO snotty! They actually have age limits set by your child's birth year and if you don't fit, you don't attend. Other than in public school, who sets these crazy restrictions? It drives me crazy! WHY should it matter if a *gasp* seven-year-old attends a playdate for three-year-olds? What is it they think my child is going to do? How is it beneficial to limit social groups like this? I feel really excluded these days from the lives of all of our friends who only have 2 kids. Luckily I have one really great best friend who doesn't fit this mold and helps make it better!

from L to R : Kayla, Kenyen, Ibis, & Alexei, circa 2005


Ella said...

I feel ya. We're looked at like we're social monsters when out with all 4 kids, and we have the same issues with age limited play groups. The older I get, the more I dislike people. We'd so come hang with you guys if we were closer!!

Heidi said...

The older I get, the more I dislike people.

Haha! I couldn't have said that better myself! You guys just have to move to FL - no arguments!

someonelsehasit said...

*gasp* "Conversely, I don't know anyone who has a three-year-old and an infant who also has kids who are school-aged." ahem ahem ahem ;)

ps- is that lisa in georgias kayla? it looks like her!!she is a beauty even still!!she was at erikas 3rd bday this past april