For the record, I am NOT against large families. CareerMom comes from a large family (7 kids), my pets come from large families…heck, even most of my parents (yes, you read that right) come from large families.
I, did not. And this is most likely what skews my views.
Despite being mostly an only child growing up, to say I was spoiled would be like saying Richard Simmons is a heterosexual. It just ain’t so.
But I did have my own room, and my own bathroom and generally speaking, I had my space. This is something relatively new here in America I think. If you listen to our parents talk about life growing up, they all slept one on top of the other in a one-room farmhouse and they shared a half-bath and fought over who got to be the first to take a “Shower” using the sun-warmed water in the outside hose. Our kids, on the other hand, are spoiled brats. They have their own rooms, and in many cases, their own bathrooms. They do this and that and they want for nothing.
Not true! (somewhat)
But one child or um…five children, it’s your prerogative right? Heck, if you want to move to Utah and live like the Duggers, that’s fine by me as long as you can afford them and can give them the attention each of them deserve.
This past weekend, I was able to see just how important that “give them the attention each of them deserves” is. I took MLI up to my mom’s house in Tennessee…just we fellers. My mom has a house on the banks of Little River. Where her place is, the river is about 30 yards across and for the most part you can wade out in it and jump from rocks, throw rocks, fish, swim, and get in a kayak without flipping. It’s just about perfect.
I picked him up after Summer Camp on Friday and deposited him in his booster seat in the back of my truck and his eyes lit up when he saw that Daddy has magically installed his Wii. Seeing it, he looked at me and said, “I can play it the whole way to Grammy’s?” Proudly, I said, “Yes you can.”
And he did. The whole 3.5 hours. It was magical. He played the Wii and I drove, enjoying the feel of that big V8 engine under my fingertips. I passed bumpkins, I pointed out cows and I listened to endlessly blissful music on my satellite radio. And there was no whining.
When we got to Grammy’s, we played in the river until it was too cool to stand it and then went in and had dinner. On Saturday we kayak’ed, caught more small-mouth Bass than I’ve ever caught in my whole life, and we generally had a good time…just the two of us.
And I learned something this weekend: Kids are different away from their siblings. There is no competition for toys, time or affection. They “converse” instead of whining and screaming. In short, they are a pleasure to be with and only during these “alone” times, do you really get to see what kind of person your little ones are becoming.
And this is where my preference for a smaller family comes into play. Already, I’m wondering where I’m going to find the time to do this “x 3” when we have a little girl. I guess it’s just something you have to MAKE time for. CareerMom has a brother who has eight kids and is working on number nine and though he is the consummate family man, I’m sure there are times he wishes he could just grab one and take off like I did for the weekend.
Babies and toddlers are great, but let’s be honest, once the shine wears off, it’s just a lot of work. MLI is five now and I can honestly say that I really enjoy being with him now – with or without the Wii!
7 thoughts on ““Just the two of us, building our castles in the sky…” (try not to picture the Austin Powers version)”
sounds like you had a good ole’ time!
RE: We did. It was especially nice for me that MLI is old enough now to entertain himself for a while with the video games. I know that’s probably not “politically correct” as a parent, but hey, he was on vacation too and that’s what he wanted to do!
Was that “five” intended for me?? (ahem… ahem…)
That too is my one true and only regret with having as many as we have… Spending one-on-one time is the exception rather than the norm…
In my case – a couple of factors work in my favor.. Boys born first, girls next… almost 5 year difference between boys vs girls.
So… I can play with them, read stories to them, and do all the girl stuff before they go to bed (earlier) – then hang with the guys watching Mythbusters, Man vs Wild, or maybe even a little Xbox…
What I have found is that it’s DIFFERENT… Not necessarily better or worse, but DIFFERENT.
My best bud’s sister had five kids – they are about 10 years ahead of where we are at, and now, that I have seen them all grow from toddlers… I can see where a.) they may not have gotten all the one-on-one that I would thought was idea, but b.) THEY ARE AMAZINGLY CLOSE!! They all keep track of each other, and the oldest ones (now adults) still keep in touch with and spend time with the littlest ones (about 14 now)… They are “roll models” for each other. And they (any one of the whole family) are never in need of help – there is always someone (or many) to help each other out…
I remember growing up as they kept having more and more kids (I was a teen by then) thinking they were CRAZY. Then I got married and that came with one built in… and we had another, and another… (Three is what I pictured myself with)..
But, SURPRISE!! Along came #4… And (sigh… this is getting old by this point) surprise again…. #5. I was done at five. Like you said… I can not fathom having more than I can afford (financially).. and I’m tapped out at this point…
Just remember to make the time to try and spend some one on one time with them… it will be memories that are being made to fill in all the good time they are going to have with their own siblings!!
P.S. I want to go to your mom’s house!! Can I come over and play sometime!?!?! I got my own fishing pole! (wink)
RE: David, you were on my mind when I wrote this, but it was also with the thought in my head that you do make time for everyone. From Geo-caching, to fishing, to bedtime stories, it’s clear you’re close with your kids.
Man, I’d love to have a “guy’s” weekend up at my moms. She’s about 12 minutes from the gate of the Smokey Mtns. National Park and Cades Cove, etc., and there’s some FANTASTIC fishing up there. Maybe one of these days…
Funny…that’s true about parents too…they act differently when they’re apart. I prefer spending time with my parents separately because they behave better (no squabbles).
That sounds like a great getaway for you guys…especially in light of the pending family addition.
There are four kids in my family, but the youngest one (adopted) might as well be an only child since the rest of us are adults. She’s pretty high maintenance because she is a huge attention whore. She has her own tv and a computer and video games and God knows what else, but she can’t amuse herself because all she wants is for someone to spend one-on-one time with her. It’s so exhausting I can’t imagine having a bunch of kids each wanting their own special Mommy or Daddy time.
RE: So wait…after their DNA kids grew up, they adopted another one? WOW! I mean, I’m adopted, so I’m forever grateful for these folks, but I’m pretty sure once mine grow up, I won’t be adopting any!