Once upon a time, I was pretty sure 4 was the perfect number of kids for me. We are a foster family with 3 kids of our own, however, and one day we said “yes” to twins. So we skipped 4 kids completely and now we have 5. Holy 5. My eyes still cross when I see it in writing.
We’ve been doing this 5 kid thing for about 6 months now, and there was no adjustment phase for us when it comes to becoming a large family. We just became awkwardly big overnight. I don’t mean awkward in a bad way. Just in that – we no longer fit at the kitchen table, in my husband’s car, or in our tiny living room – kind of awkward way. We never go anywhere quietly (even when we try) and we get big curious eyes from adults and children alike. We are not the biggest of families, by far. Not even close. But from what I can tell, we are that first step on the ladder towards insanity for many people in the world. I know this because they tell me. Often.
When we had 3 kids, people called us “cute,” but now we have 5 kids, and people just call us “crazy.” So basically, our life changed drastically overnight and now we are learning to be – a little crazy.
When I say “five kids” people get this certain look in their eyes. It’s a look that says “I like you but I am questioning your sanity, and I am trying hard not to show it.” It is usually accompanied by an awkward smile, a cliche’ comment, and a request for more information. A big family is a curious thing and people need details. People need to understand, so they ask questions and they observe. I mean … well, they stare.
We once went into an ice cream shop. My kids were well behaved, everything went perfectly fine. In fact, I was thrilled out of my mother-living mind! Yet two tables of patrons, and the employees, watched us the entire time. They even whispered. I noticed, my husband noticed, and even my kids noticed. Starting that day, we slowly realized that almost everywhere we go people stop to see what’s going on.
I don’t mind their curiosity, in fact, I fully understand it. I have 5 kids and I still want to interview everyone I meet with 5 or more kids. There’s so much insight to gain from these basketball coaches. Err, i mean, mommas. But this is new territory for me. I still have not fully adjusted to the fact that when they see us, many people are thinking some version of “Why would they do that???” The people pleaser and over-explainer buried inside me wants to explain to them ALL THE THINGS we adore about having a big ‘ol crew of kids! But alas, I do not explain myself or my heart or my Joys … I just move on, looking like the hot-mess-out-numbered-momma bear that I am.
At the end of the day, I don’t mind that much what strangers think, and I also don’t assume they are saying anything negative. I have an adorable crew of kids and I like to think they are just overwhelmed by all that cuteness.
Orrrrr …. they are waiting for glass to shatter. Or boogers to fly. Or a brawl to break out. Or for me to go into spontaneous labor?
Who knows. But they are watching … and I have learned to not overthink it.
We do look a little crazy, after all.