June 09, 2008

How Do People With Only Two Kids Manage?

Today my oldest two are off for their first day of an all week children program at church. They are thrilled to be going off to classes and hanging out with all the other kids. I'm feeling what it's like to have to get everyone going early in the morning and making lunches every day.

My biggest complaint though is how hard it seems in some ways to have only the two little kids at home. Almost every day, I get stopped somewhere when we're out, by people commenting on the size of my family. Some of them count the kids out loud and exclaim over the size of my belly. Some think it is great. Some tell me they couldn't possibly imagine that many kids or couldn't handle them all. One, the other day, said, "You have, like, a whole herd of kids, doncha?"

I always try to answer the comments simply and politely. Being snippy doesn't tend to win friends or influence people. But now as I spend the day chasing an 19 month old and distracting a three year old all by myself, I've noticed, not that it's so much easier with just two, but that it's actually so much harder.

I hadn't really noticed how much my older two help out. They unbuckle carseats, open doors, think of games to play and even read stories to their younger siblings. Certainly, they also pick fights, boss everyone around and their games often involve large amounts of mess, but I am feeling their absence more than I noticed their presence.

Since I homeschool, my children are always with me. I generally love having them around, but I don't really notice, because that's just how things are. This little break from the two "big" kids, makes me appreciate them all the more. I'll be glad to go pick them up this afternoon and sorry to drop them off in the morning tomorrow. Not just because they'll help me manage to two wild ones, though that part is awfully nice, but because suddenly my life is quiet in a way -- I don't hear about what they are reading, thinking, or building out of Legos.

My little ones are growing up to be interesting people and they are a blessing to me. A blessing I didn't know how much I'd miss even for a few short hours every day.


The oldest two are extra nice and helpful!

I am finding what you wrote to be so true. For me, two is infinitely easier than one.

Posted by: Meredith at June 9, 2008 01:25 PM

Great post. Older children are a blessing and help ease the job of dealing with the little ones. Maybe you can use your post as a handout for the very curious who stop to ask how you manage with so many kids. Ok, so I'm kidding. But it could save you time in explaining things. ;)

Posted by: Melissa at June 9, 2008 04:03 PM

I'm relieved to hear it!

*Sigh* my oldest is going to be 4 in September, so I guess we need to get serious about researching our schooling options, particularly if we want to homeschool. I really don't know that it would work with me working three days a week and trading off with Paul, so I'm hoping our situation gets clarified within the next month or two...

Posted by: Lenise at June 9, 2008 08:55 PM

I'm having a mixed bag of results with two more added to my "brood". The oldest can be the very loving and helpful big brother we encourage him to be, and then there are other times where his competitiveness and oppositional behavior make it very difficult for everybody else.

I'm sure your older two will snub the older ones occasionally. My two boys will gang up and snub the little girl, and sometimes she takes it a little too personally. It amazes me on the capacity of the human heart to love more as your family grows.

For those folks who feel the need to "subtly" criticize your large brood, just tell them you've had an extra helping of blessings from God. They'll shake their head, dismiss you as a "fundie" and move on. Keep an eye out for articles/comments about the need to limit family size with the coming (or is it here now?!) energy crisis, as the argument of requiring less people for our scarce resources starts getting more airtime.

Posted by: Marc V at June 10, 2008 05:11 AM

That should be "older two snub the younger ones ..."

Posted by: Marc V at June 10, 2008 05:13 AM

You aren't making this mom of soon to be 2 little ones feel any better!!!

Posted by: Michelle at June 10, 2008 10:52 AM