Anyone who is familiar with large families would understand the necessity of counting children like a banker counting dollars in the vault. In that case, anyone who has visited a large family would respect the time honored tradition of lining children up like convicts to count and verify that they were all accounted for. We have not left a child behind… yet. Nor have we accidentally traded one. But, like the onset of nuclear war, we do our best to guard against it.
Recently, Wife took #10 out with her to go wedding dress shopping for my sister. The party was made up of five sisters, my mother, and #10. A fun group of women and girls, traipsing from dress shop to dress shop, not like hunters on the prowl, but more like butterflies, flitting from pretty thing to pretty thing, wondering if the wind might guide them to the perfect blossom. All the while, the baby held on like a little chimp, not sure what all the fuss was about.
Several weeks ago I had to work out of town. Meaning, like the traveling salesman, for about a month I was only home on the weekends. Wife had the house and children all to herself. It felt like running a refugee camp without US support. To Wife’s relief, the last week of out of town work had arrived. Only one more week away from home.
We really had no idea how easy-going our boys were as babies until the last seven months. And if you took the time to count back, it would be as plain as unflavored yogurt, that was when #10 made her debut. Not to say she came out with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. No, she was a screech-owl in baby clothing.
When the early winter flu swept through our home, it hit everyone. Thankfully, the household mostly fell ill in twos and threes. Otherwise, I suppose if we all got sick at once, you would have read about it in the obituaries. As it was, we were simply a pitiful sight of sore throats, runny noses, and headaches.
When #8 came down with it, he toddled over to my knee and touched his throat with one finger. “It horwts,” he complained.
“Does it hurt here?” I asked lightly touching his throat.
“Yeaaaah…” #8 whined. “I neeeeed Band-Aid”
Oh yes. Have you forgotten how Band-Aids fix everything at a certain age? Stubbed toes. Cut fingers. Bumped heads. Bee stings. Bruises.
No. To tell the truth, I do not remember either. But, I remember it with siblings. And now, I cannot get away from it. For the last eleven years, I have had children at that age. Whether they need it or not, they want a Band-Aid.
I knew a Band-Aid would not help #8, and told him so. He responded with a, “Noooohohohohoo, I neeeed Band-Aid.”
I realized he was at a point beyond reason, somewhere between laid-up-in-bed and too-stubborn-to-listen. So, I did the next best thing. I took him to his mother.
Wife took her little boy in her arms, laughing out loud as I told her #8’s solution to his sore throat. She kissed the top his head and said, “A Band-Aid won’t help you with your throat, silly boy. But come with me. Mom knows how to help you.”
#8 frowned, and I could almost hear him think out loud, “Why can’t Band-Aids help?”
Wife took #8 by the hand, impossible to escape. She led him to her arsenal of vitamins, oils, and all-around-will-make-you-better. The vitamin C went down easily, and #8 asked for a second. The vitamin D, which is a nastily white goo that tastes like chalk mixed with lime, was a challenge for the little boy swallow. But the purple antioxidant powder caused the most trouble, and #8 did his best to refuse it.
“Good boy,” Wife cooed once he finished swallowing. “Now I’ll get you some vinegar and honey to soothe your throat.”
Oh… why can’t Band-Aid fix everything?
There are a lot of things you hear at the start of the Christmas season, especially with so many small children. There is always the standard excitement. Oohs and aahs when the lights were hung. Happy cries of anticipation. Continue reading
No matter how old we become, or how many children we have, there will always be rude people in our way. I know by having a large family we wear a target. You know, the “Hey! We have a lot of under-aged children, and cannot, under any circumstances, resort to the use of bad language if you say anything rude to us,” kind of a target. But it would be nice if people did not see it so often.
Here is one about such a time. Continue reading
#9 had grown up enough to realize the effectiveness of speech. Like an effective politician, it took little time before he transferred from screaming and pointing, to pointing and demanding. “I aww… miwk!” Of course like some politicians, his oratory skills still have a long way to go.
The time had come. The chains had to be broken. The cycle had to stop. New rules had to be set in motion. For man does not live on bread alone. (Dramatic enough?)
It was time to wean #8 from his bottle. Continue reading
Ever since #10 joined our club, I have had a little trouble with some of our members. Well, really only two, #8 and #9. It is not that they dislike their little sister or resent their mother. It is a problem of space. They cannot occupy the same space at the same time, despite how hard they push each other.