My paternal grandmother, a steely bird of a woman who’d been advised not to have kids lest it damage her already weak heart and then went on to have four, apparently used to say that it’s not a family until you have more kids than you can grab with your two hands.

She was up to the challenge, and so were my parents, who produced four of their own. Tony and I –having started our family when we were ten years older than my parents or grandparents– have stopped at two. But this week we’ve had a good dose of four, as we’ve helped out good friends by babysitting their pair for hours while they pack and move. We had two full mornings and then today, moving day, their kids arrived at 8:30 a.m. for the day.

I went to sleep last night, thinking “I should plan some activities for the day,” then of course promptly fell asleep. So much for planning! But we’ve been doing this parenting thing awhile now, watch the kids in our babysitting co-op a lot, and are helped, too, by our co-op preschool experience (weekly work shifts with 30-odd kids). By noon we’d made muffins, a pan of enchiladas to deliver to our friends later, decorated t-shirts to commemorate the day, and fed the four children an assortment of snacks and lunches. Sadly, Eli didn’t nap for very long this afternoon, but otherwise everybody held up well and we didn’t need to resort to videos, computer games, or ropes.

Still, obviously I paced myself today for a sprint, not a marathon. I can gear up for a day or two of being outnumbered, but I wouldn’t want to do this every day.


  1. Mom says:

    It was that grandmother who used to say that you didn’t really know what it was to be a parent until there was one more than you could handle (grab?!)

  2. Daphne says:

    It’s great you could “borrow” two more and send them home at the end of the day! That coop parent nursery school experience really comes in handy, doesn’t it?