As a young girl, my favorite books in the world were the “All-Of-A-Kind” series by Sydney Taylor and “Cheaper By the Dozen” by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. One of these families had six kids and the other twelve which you might have guessed from the latter’s title. At any rate, I loved reading about both the sheer chaos and the madcap merriment that went on in both of these households. And while Ted and I decided that two children were enough for our family, I still enjoy reading about and watching anything I can about large families. (And, yes, I’ve watched every moment ever filmed about the Duggars. Sue me.)
I loved this homeschooling mama of four’s perspective. http://shine.yahoo.com/moments-of-motherhood/parenting-guru-10-little-things-i-love-about-having-a-house-full-of-kids-2445646.html Even though our personal situations differ pretty substantially, much of what she said applied to me. Frankly, some of it applies with just one kid at home.
First of all, I am all about the hand-me-downs. I saved Williams’s clothes for Ryan, I split Ryan’s cast-offs between a cousin and a neighbor, and William still receives a steady stream of clothes from his older cousin. (Thank you to my nephew Phillip!) I’m certain that I’ve saved thousands of dollars through the generosity of relatives and friends, and I’m so glad to pay it forward.
And, even though it’s just the three of us most of the time with Ted gone for work so often, I am never bored. The boys and I really and truly have fun together, and we’ve developed a few little rituals which I treasure. We love to walk around the neighborhood collecting data to later chart at home. (This requires a special shout-out to my homeschooling neighbor Donna who taught me this trick. Just this afternoon, we counted three joggers, zero dogs, and eleven moving cars.)
We love to make stovetop popcorn and old-fashioned hot cocoa and hunker down over old Scooby Doo marathons. I can usually buy myself enough comparative silence for a Diet Coke and a phone call by breaking out the art supplies on the kitchen table, and we love, love, LOVE to read aloud. It is particularly sweet to see William drop everything to snuggle with us on the sofa while I’m re-reading some of his childhood favorites to Ryan.
Finally, the author is right on about the family cooking. We’re not gourmets by any stretch, but I love to see William and Ryan collaborating in the kitchen. I know it may sound trite, but a peanut butter sandwich prepared by my favorite little hands is just about the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. And the first time I saw the boys work together to cook boxed mac & cheese? I still get sentimental thinking about it. We have the most fun, however, throwing things into our slow cooker. The boys are fascinated by this simple appliance’s seemingly magical alchemy. It is just so counterintuitive to their little brains that the food cooks ALL DAY. BY ITSELF. I recently made applesauce overnight in the slow cooker and Ryan is still talking about it. (“You made this while we were sleeping, Mama? Cool!”)
I’m not Pollyanna by any stretch of the imagination, but I am so glad to have these years at home with my boys. The old expression about raising children is so true: the days are long, but the years are short.
I’m curious to know what’s working for you and your kids. Whether you have two or twenty kids, how do you combat cabin fever? What are your favorite things to do as a family? Are you developing your own routines and traditions?
More in a few days,