The kids are all very excited that we are expecting again. I didn't mean to tell them as early as I did - it happened rather by accident. They were all posing for a picture, and I quickly counted heads to make sure everyone was visible in the photo. I came up with the number eight, but was thinking (and saying): Who is missing? There are only eight kids in this picture? Duh - pregnant mom brain moment. The kids were like - Wait a minute, there are only eight of us, why are you thinking there should be nine? So yeah, the cat was out of the bag at that point. :)Haters of large families will never understand that one of the best gifts we can give our children are more siblings, and the knowledge that all of them are very much wanted and loved. Parents of many are often accused of not possibly being able to spend time enough with each child. This is absurd considering that none of our children have ever spent a day of their lives in daycare, have had a stay-at-home mom all along, and are all homeschooled, which puts our kids home for 40 more hours per week than kids who are in school. We could spend an hour and a half with each of them individually every day of their lives, and still get around to all of them during their waking hours. Such an absurd notion, born of people who are accustomed to shipping their kids off to be raised by others from the cradle up. Sheesh!
But even if it were true that our children get less time with us parents - they get lots more time with their siblings, which is what they really want. I grew up in a family of five, and never once did the thought cross my mind that we were being short-changed in the area of parental attention. I have memories of doing things with just my mom on occasion, but I have far more memories of games I played with my siblings, and the great times we had with each other. Kids are not as keen on having the undivided attention of their parents as some seem to think they are. Siblings are so much funner for getting into mischief with!!
Of course, these same people will then go on to claim that our generally neglected and poorly attended children are made to slave in the family household from dawn to dusk, as we parents are eating bonbons, taking a nap, or busy making more babies. Whoever thinks that any child on the face of this earth will keep working of his own volition, without being supervised, guided, encouraged, helped along, and instructed (again and again), has clearly never worked with children. Or has a hole in their head. Or both. Keeping kids working is a full-time job. In fact, keeping anyone working is a full-time job. It's called being a "manager," and people get paid big bucks to be one. Because as humans, getting us to work is a job in and of itself - at least until personal responsibility and work ethic are developed, something that is a characteristic of a mature adult, not a child. So to say that our kids are doing all the work while we are fooling around is not even possible.
Do our kids help around the house? Of course! Oh the horror - having jobs and being responsible for someone besides oneself! How in the world will they have the opportunity to grow into lazy, self-centered adults, if we do not first squash their natural desire to be a productive part of the family?
Having older kids is such a blessing! They know what needs to be done around the house, and at this point, often help out even without being asked. But believe me - they sure weren't born knowing how to be productive! They also love cooking, especially Isaac. For him, it is a huge treat when he gets to make dinner from scratch, all by himself. Talk about a win-win! The middle aged children help by playing with the younger ones, reading to them, etc. We have definitely reached at a point in our family life where even though we are super busy, life isn't getting that much harder as we add more kids. When you have one child and you add a second, your work load just doubled. When you have 8 and grow to 9, you are only increasing the work load by a little over 10%. The way we see it, we have always had a baby. Then we had a baby and a toddler. Then a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler. Those were the hardest, busiest days. Now, we still have that busy little baby, toddler, and preschooler - but we also have (almost) two teens and three other older siblings to help keep the little ones busy and out of trouble.We don't look at is as adding little people, we look at it as adding older helpers every couple of years, because the little ones have been with us for well over a decade now, whereas having increasingly older helpers is ever new.