On having a big family

We were at the mall last week, trying to find some snowboots for the boys. On our way out of one store, we walked by a woman and her son. Instead of the usual cursory nod and semi-smile, she stopped to talk to us.

To tell us that one of the children’s clothing stores was having a big sale.

Even though I wasn’t planning on buying the boys any clothes, I appreciated her passing along the good news of a sale. I mean if there are shirts and pants on sale for $5.99, I like to be in the know.

I thanked her for the information and kept walking, trying to keep the contingent moving before tears erupted or store property got damaged. Or the new truck we were buying our oldest got dropped on the floor…again.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the woman was still going on about the sale to the professor. Apparently she really sensed we needed to know about this event because, in her words, ‘I see you have a big family.’

A big family?

The thought hadn’t occurred to me. Nor had it been uttered by a complete stranger. Until now.

Is a family with three kids – a five person family – big?

I guess I’ve been operating on the assumption that it’s not. Because when people ask if we’re going to have a fourth, I usually answer ‘no….because four kids….that’s a LOT!’

Three kids….is sort of middle of the road isn’t it -the 21st century version of the 20th century’s two parents-two kids configuration? I mean, (in my best Carrie Bradshaw voiceover) isn’t three the new two?

I’d assumed that the Johnson party of five was still within the parameters of a small-ish family. But the woman’s comment put us in Duggar territory, practically.

Curious, I conducted a very scientific poll. I made a list of the names of families I know reasonably well. Of the fifty-five names that came to mind, twenty-one (21!) are families with three children. And twenty-five (25) are two-kid families. That’s a fairly even split.

Either that or I’m hanging around with a bunch of Duggar-wannabes.

I will say the grocery cart is a lot fuller than it used to be. With kids – not food. Now, when I do the shopping with all three in tow, the cart is entirely filled with boys. I barely have room for groceries. Yes, the alternative is to insist my oldest boy-child walk through the store instead of ride in the cart. But then his brother will want to walk as well. And I’ll end up with more mysterious, unwanted food items in my grocery bags.

Like the large can of ‘fruit cocktail’ that made it all the way from the shelf to my grocery bag without my noticing.

I mean I’m used to the professor filling the cart on the sly with things like sweetened condensed milk or butterscotch ice cream topping. Or pop-tarts. But now the children, too?

As I was pushing my cart in the Superstore parking lot last week, a chicly dressed woman whizzed by me. Not a difficult feat by any means, since I was moving at a pace of roughly one mile per hour: trying to push the cart while corralling the oblivious-to-traffic-children focusing on their respective candy bars (bribes).

‘You’re my hero!’ she called to me over her shoulder. ‘I have one at home, and don’t even bring him….you have three!

We made breakfast at home last weekend: eggs, bacon, french bread. Jason was in the kitchen manning the stove and when he finally came over to the dining table, where the two bigger boys and I were sitting, munching on bread, the baguette was nearly gone.

He picked up the remaining crust and gave me a look. ‘What?’ I pseudo-apologized ‘I’ve hardly had any.’

Which was true. The blondies had eaten about eight pieces…each. Dejected, the professor walked back to the kitchen for a slice of loaf bread.

Big or small, one thing is certain. We are no longer a one-baguette family.

6 thoughts on “On having a big family

  1. I just purchased another fridge for the basement so I can have a place for all the giant sized (but oh so much more affordable) Costco run purchases.

    It is the fear of feeding 3 teenage boys that has me worried about my bank account.

  2. Carrie Bradshaw voice-over comment= perfect! But, the real question is, did you buy any clothes? I use to nanny for a family of 4 kids, and they seemed to know every other family that had 4-5 kids. There were always kids over and it was crazy chaos/fun. Now that their kids are ages ranging from almost 8-16, they can never keep enough food in the house and the kids always complain their mother never makes enough food. Geesh, makes me tired typing about it…. You are my hero too!

  3. Hey

    I know how you feel. I still remember being asked not long after I had Sophia if we had always wanted a BIG family???? I did not think i was a duggar wannabe either!

    Jaqui x

  4. We realized recently that we are no longer a one frozen pizza family. We now require at LEAST two. AND a baguette. I, too, am slightly worried about what our food bill will look like when the kids are teenagers. I don’t even like to think about clothing. $5.99 sounds pretty appealing.

    I think strangers comment about your family so much because ya’ll are so dang cute! Seriously.

  5. See, I don’t think ahead (a problem of mine)…haven’t even thought of food bills in another eight years or so. I’d better go back to work I suppose. And I love that Jaqui, Erin and Kim all have ‘big’ families. I guess I really am associating with a bunch of Duggar wannabes 🙂

    jsj…great idea on the show. I’ll put in a call to Jon Gosselin. I hear he’s available these days.

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