Half a Dozen the Other

by Stefani on 27-August-2008

Half a Dozen the Other 

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I imagined my future life a certain way.

I was going to live on a ranch, with sprawling acres, fruit trees and horses. My home was meant to be a big white number with wraparound porches top and bottom, with, of course, swings on each side. 

Always in this vision there were at least six little ones running around, slamming screen doors, hanging from tree limbs and tramping through our woods. 

Now please, don't get me wrong, I think children are a blessing of the highest order, but I also think that it's quite possible that I'm not the saint I imagined myself to be. 

3 boys get the better of my patience on a near daily basis. 3 boys are LOUD and they make a lot of mess. 3 boys each have such individual needs and it is HARD to find the time to honor each one, nurture each one, spend real time listening to each one. 3 boys are, I believe, my maximum mommy capacity. 

As much as I miss my boys' baby days, as many times as I was reduced to tears yesterday, reliving my sweet dream of holding one of them again, I do believe that our family is complete. 

It was awfully fun though to spend this past weekend getting a little glimpse of what might have been.

We had our three boy cousins over for a sleepover last Saturday. 

SIX boys in one house! Oh my goodness! 

There was nothing much to do but laugh at the sheer, sweet insanity that ensued.

Lunch alone was a circus. 

"I don't like mustard or mayonnaise on mine!" 

"I'll take both, and tomato." 

"What kind of cheese is it?" 

"I'd like just peanut butter, and can you toast it?" 

"Jelly toast for me!" 

"Peanut butter and jelly, not toasted please." 

Oh my. You know those waiters who can just memorize your order and not write anything down?

Not me. I took notes. 

I was reduced to using paper plates even, which actually worked out really nicely because I could write the boy's names in Sharpie on the plate, so that they'd know which was their order. 

They had sharpie-scrawled names on their plastic cups too. 

Six boys chasing chickens, asking for drinks, and crayons and snacks and more snacks. Six boys playing hide and seek, wanting to know when dinnertime would come, taking turns on bikes, papering my floor with drawings. Six sets of pajamas lined up. Six bowls of ice cream, six bodies crammed on the couch for "movie night." Six blobby gobs of toothpaste dripping off of six toothbrushes. Six goodnights, six little men giggling in the dark, six sweet dreams. Then, six for cinnamon rolls, six(teen) glasses of milk to wash them down. Six sets of church clothes laid out in order of age, six heads combed, six faces washed, six pairs of shoes playing hide and seek. Six little backsides needing every one of our seatbelts, six eager men delivered to six separate Sunday school rooms. 


It was crazy good fun. Loud, sticky, phrenetic fun. 

And in the end, I was left wondering how on earth I ever thought I could manage to mother six kids all the time. 

As well behaved and fun as all our guys were, at the end of the day, I barely knew which end was up and couldn't have told you who brushed their teeth and who ate what and wether or not anyone was wearing underpants.

I'm sure we would have learned the ropes and gotten the hang of parenting six, if that was the hand that we were dealt, but at least in our case, I'm thinking that three of a kind is a full house 🙂
elissa August 27, 2008 at 6:16 am

well, see, that’s why i said what i said yesterday! i always wanted at least 4, but i have found that my three are generally enough of a challenge and most days i wonder what makes me think i can even take care of these knuckleheads properly, nevertheless to add ANOTHER one???? (heck, i don’t always know who has on underwear even NOW!) but there are days…. oh there ARE days when i DO long for a sweet soft baby head to rub and a little one to tuck in a sling and those coos… SIGH.

Regina August 27, 2008 at 6:58 am

I am one of 6 and hubby is one of 7 – and we have just one ourselves. Sometimes it seems lonely – but lots of cousins nearby help round it out, and that’s just what life decided for us.

I remember those crazy 6 kid days of summer, though – they were the best!

Linn August 27, 2008 at 7:00 am

I liked this post…I always dreamed I’d have five kids, but have ended up after much prayer with just the two boys God planned for me. Now that I’ve accepted that, I’m realizing the gift it is for me to have such a chance to nurture each little soul just as he needs it. I love reading about your crazy boy house!

Stephanie August 27, 2008 at 7:18 am

Sounds like time for a short vacation for the Mama! I only had the one, which turned out best for our circumstances. NEVER did I dream of 6, much less six little boys, but I think it’d be fun to borrow some for a while!

Mama Urchin August 27, 2008 at 7:21 am

I thought I would have six also. You got closer than me.

melissa s. August 27, 2008 at 7:44 am

wow, i can barely manage two, let alone three…let alone SIX!!! i’m impressed that you reserved enough brain cells to document the event 🙂

Annika August 27, 2008 at 8:00 am

I’ve always wanted four but I’ve recently realized that I’ll stop when our family is done, not when we reach some goal. (Right now we have one and want another. After that, we’ll see.) But sometimes, six sounds lovely, if a teensy bit chaotic.

tracy August 27, 2008 at 8:10 am

Some days, even two boys act and sound like six! And yet, there’s still only one mama… All too often, quality time with each individually is hard to come by.

myrnie_twin August 27, 2008 at 8:15 am

We always joke, when newly weds are put in as nursery leaders at church, that it’s the best birth control out there. But…I don’t think your 6 children would be anywhere NEAR as close in age as your 6 little weekend men were! (At least, I keep telling myself that it’s easier when they’re a few years apart as we add to our family!) What fun to have so many kids for the weekend!

Baba August 27, 2008 at 9:09 am

I always thought I would have six boy. Thank you Lord for giving me my one girl and one boy. Lord you know what is best for me.

Danielle August 27, 2008 at 9:20 am

Four seems to be such a popular number! I thought four would be nice, but we’ve made it to two, and sensibly we should stay there. I’m not at peace with that yet, but I’m also not sure what three would feel like for us.

My dad was one of eight, and after the birth of my daughter last year, I finally saw the baby lust that kept my grandma going.

Lera August 27, 2008 at 9:24 am

That sounds a lot like my life, although I only have five boys. I’m starting to wonder if my daughter thinks she’s a boy, too, some days. Meal time (mainly breakfast and lunch) is crazy time at our house. Everyone has different preferences, that is very true. At dinner they all have to eat what I make. At least one meal is “easy.”

tania August 27, 2008 at 9:36 am

this is a fantastic post! We average 6 at our house, our 4 plus 2 random additions! life is busy but blessed! Loved your recap of lunch…lol…

Aileen August 27, 2008 at 9:47 am

Too funny. With my 3 girls (and 1 little boy), added together with my sister-in-law’s 3 girls, we have equal insanity. Sometimes loud, but mostly drama. Drama, drama, and more drama. Whose plate is what color, who is sitting next to who, who isn’t including who, who is only talking to who, who hurt whose feelings. Girls. That’s all I gotta say.

Contrast that to playing with my boy while the girls are off all together. Trucks, running, jumping, sliding, dusting off owwies, getting messy, throwing oneself at life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls, but I’ll take the boy playtime anyday.

YayaOrchid August 27, 2008 at 10:55 am

The Lord knew you’d make an excellent Mom to three boys, and that’s what you got!

Another great post, love, love the way you write!

Jennifer August 27, 2008 at 11:38 am

Kinda makes you wonder how the Duggars do it, huh?

Our second boy is going to be four months soon and were starting the big debate. It’s time to do *something* with the maternity and newborn clothes. Do I give them away or pack them up for the next kid? We don’t know. We feel complete, and we’re certainly busy enough, and old enough to be finished with babies. But I wanted three. But I’m also ready to move on and have them all be big enough to wipe their own bottoms… You see the problem, right? So we’ve decided to pack it all away in the basement, you know, just in case we’re blessed with another one!

Kelly August 27, 2008 at 1:45 pm

just loved this post 🙂
we just welcomed babe # 5 and i can relate to your story, lol.

Relyn August 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Oh, wow. Your post made me laugh and grin. I have only one child and I love having a house full of people. For example, every Christmas we have my husband’s journalism (high school) staff over for a party. This year our tiny (1400 sq. ft.) house was bursting with 18 teenagers, two adults, and one very excited six year old. Heaven! I loved every minute of the noise and chaos.

I also adored the ensuing peace and quiet at midnight when they all headed home. Back to the little nest for three. Both were heaven.

The Mommy August 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm

I saw a vinyl wallhanging online the other day that read “Boy: A Noise With Dirt On It”. I think that about sums up my experience. I have one boy and three girls, and hubby and I have had a frw of those “how ’bout just one more?” conversations lately. I think I’d love another dirty little noise running around!

SpiderWomanKnits August 27, 2008 at 6:08 pm

LOL! I have always had a similar dream of a house overloaded with children. I love that the neighborhood we moved to has kids that just bike over, hang out all day and usually end up staying for dinner. It’s like a taste of things to come. Although, I think 6 would definitely be pushing it!

Tracy August 27, 2008 at 10:27 pm

I always saw myself with two and that’s how many I have. I do feel a little bit envious of moms of large broods. I think it would be really nice to have four or five *grown* children. I just don’t have what it takes to get that point! My two wore me right out when they were tots.

Amy August 28, 2008 at 3:57 am

I think understanding your limits and your own needs is an extremely important part of becoming the parent you wish to be.

You write beautifully. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

Mandy August 28, 2008 at 5:52 am

Whew girl… you just mad me tired! I have three daughters as you know and I feel the same way every day. I always said if I could afford it , I would have a dozen. Now I’m not so sure.

Our Green Nest August 28, 2008 at 6:26 am

I’m one of 7 (eldest female:)…so I know what you’re talking about! We are blessed to have one currently – talked about 3-4 total, but we’ll see 🙂 Your boys are precious!

Katherine August 28, 2008 at 6:39 am
Leslie August 28, 2008 at 10:44 am

that must have been crazy…i cannot imagine. I do not have nearly the patience that i always thought that i would either..

Hannah August 28, 2008 at 11:47 am

Ha! Ha! Boys are great!
I’ve give away my maternity clothes twice and passed on baby clothing so many times! I even sold the swing and highchair after number two!

Boys are something else though. I wouldn’t trade ours for anything! One thing that encourages me to keep going when times are crazy are all the comments I get from my parent’s generation on how they’ve always regretted not having more children.

golightly August 28, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Wow, I only have one [that’s like 3 somedays] luckily he doesn’t have a friend yet that makes it like 6!

You are supermom.

It was time to come out of – what’s it called? Lurkerville?

hanna August 28, 2008 at 2:00 pm

oh my! sounds like fun! I think I have a noisey busy house sometimes and then I go and visit my sister who has three boys – boys are loud aren’t they. And 6! wow, I can’t imagine!

Grace August 29, 2008 at 7:17 am

I love this. I’ll just fave this post. Thanks.

Lynn August 31, 2008 at 8:45 am

I love hearing people’s stories of how many kids they wanted vs. how many they got. I always *knew* I’d have two girls (just as MY parents did). After the high-intensity babyhood of my firstborn (a BOY), we said, No more! But when he was four or five, I began to feel The Urge. My husband thought I’d lost my mind. Finally, seven years after Boy #! (on the verge of my 42nd birthday), Boy #2 was born. Who knew it would end up this way!?!

Thimbleina August 31, 2008 at 8:55 am

You have a bigger Mummy capacity than I have. My limit is the two I have. They are both very spirited children pulling me in different directions all day and each day I feel exhausted with the demands and I always feel like they haven’t had all they need from me, it is not quite how I dreamt it would all be in my rosy little mind. But for all the demands there are lots of special moments

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