Cheaper by the dozen.

March 23, 2014


As soon as I had given birth to Dexter, I remember saying instantly that I would do it again.
I loved him with all my heart as soon as I knew I was pregnant and after labour I was on such a high.

I come from a big family. I’m the oldest of 7 children and we’re a bit of a mixed bag (2 biological sisters, a step brother, a step sister, a half sister and a half brother) so growing up with so many of us, I always knew I wanted a decent amount of children. I’m talking 3 would be my ideal minimum. I’ve never thought about my maximum but 7 is a good number right? Or maybe 12? – I kid of course. Or do I?
You’ve seen Cheaper by the dozen… Yeah they have their moments but they all love each other and can count on one another when they need to.. Or is that just in movies?

Thinking about this more in depth though actually has me a bit panicked – and not for the reasons you might think!
I’m not bothered about how hard a shopping trip for school uniforms would be, or how many different meals I would end up cooking to keep everybody happy. Those things don’t scare me one bit.
What I’m more concerned with, is the actual love that I would have to find to go round.
Dexter is my pride and joy. I find myself just watching him sometimes and I fall in love with the way he works things out, the way he’ll keep trying at something until he gets it or the way he talks to himself while he looks at his books, as though he is reading them – even when they’re upside down. Sometimes he sees me looking and he does this cheeky smile and it makes me giggle. He learns new skills all the time and it fascinates me. I want to brag about it all the time but apart from Liam, people aren’t all that interested. I mean, it’s what kids do, isn’t it. He isn’t the first to do the action man crawl and he won’t be the last child to make a beeline for the remote but in my eyes, these are amazing little things that he is learning every day and I sit and watch in awe of him.
But lets say I had another baby tomorrow. Dexter takes his first steps at the same time that baby 2 smiles for the first time. How do you then split your attention. I mean, I would of course want to give the new baby the exact same love and attention to all of her skills and developments as I gave to Dexter at the same age or same learning point… But I would’ve already seen them before with him so would it still be new? Would I still be equally as excited?
On the same hand, I would most definitely want to congratulate, kiss and hug Dexter on his first few steps, but what if he does that during baby 2’s feed time. I can’t just put the baby down mid feed. So then by the time she’s done, he’s off doing something else and the moment has passed.
And what about when Dexter goes to school and lets say baby 2 is at preschool and then there is baby 3. Dexter would be independent to a degree. He’d be able to wash and dress himself. Go to the toilet, feed himself, hold a conversation etc. I’d hate to think that I wouldn’t have time to talk to him about his day at school just because b2 is having a tantrum and b3 has and exploding nappy and is maybe a bit colicky or something.

I know people have more than one child all the time, but I don’t know any of these people.
My sisters, Liam’s sister and my friends all have one child each so it’s not something I’ve seen first hand apart from when I was actually a child, and I really didn’t pay any attention to that!

I didn’t think I could love anyone more than I loved Liam until Dexter came along. But I didn’t split Liam’s love, I grew more love. And not just for Dexter, I grew more for Liam too. But if I’m now loving at full capacity, where do I then get even more love for other children from? Does you’re heart just grow every time you have another child? And how do you make sure you don’t love one more than the other? How do you learn to celebrate their individuality and nurture their different personalities but still keep it equal? How do you find activities to do that keep everybody entertained at the same time, whatever their hobbies, interests and ages?
I was always so certain that I wanted a big family with lots of happy kids running around. I’m drawn to chaos. If there is no chaos, I create it. (I think that’s why me and Liam go well together, he is my calm)
But now, thinking about it, I can see why so many people stick at one child. It makes the logistics of it so much simpler. No sharing, no dividing, no comparing.
But I don’t want to stick at one. I welcome the challenge. Alright, so I may never get to have a wee in peace, but at least I’ll never be lonely. And I may not be able to afford the nicest clothes, but at least we won’t be cold with all of that body heat.
How many do you have? What made you chose that number or are you still planning more? What’s the perfect number for a family and how, how, HOW is it done?

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