Re: Four kids makes it like summer camp

1

IIRC, Cala is one of four.

I started to contest this on the basis that I grew up in a three-kid family with a lot of cohesion but then I remembered that we were raised practically as siblings with our mother's sister's three kids so really we were a six-kid family. If four is the magic number then I suspect it's because at four kids many/most/all parents cease having the energy to treat the kids as individuals and they simply must be thought of in terms of a crowd.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:02 PM
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I am Tom, two of four. Resistance is useless, you will be assimilated.

We weren't/aren't a team, though. Both too closely spaced and too spread out for that.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:03 PM
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This seems accurate to me. My mom has three siblings, as did my paternal grandmother, and that team impression comes across in both cases. I suspect that it's even stronger when all four are of the same gender.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:04 PM
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WE ARE TOO A FAMILY.

No, I know what you mean. Mr. B's from a clan of five. I think you're right; four is the tipping point at which they stop being individuals and all start blurring together.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:08 PM
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I'm one of four, all girls. We definitely have a lot of this going on but I think it has a lot to do with personal similarities, physical resemblance (most pairs of us don't look that much alike, but four together accentuates the similarities) closeness in age, all being female, etc. I know a families of six & one of seven that seems less borg-like, as do my parents' families (my dad is one of five and my mom is one of six).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:09 PM
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My wife was an agitator for having four, although after giving birth to one the force of her agitation dropped off. Still, the argument is that one is an only child, with the attendant problems (I'm an only child), two kids are in competition or played against each other, while three kids leads to two-against-one. Only four kids, she argues, become their own child society. The latest post-birth plan involves giving birth to a second, then maybe adopting a couple more if we can afford it. She's put a great deal of thought into this, comparing it to her own two-sibling household and the big families of her friends. Myself, I have only sitcoms to go on, which suggest that the more kids, the funnier.


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:09 PM
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they just feel like a team

My boyfriend comes from a four-kid family. His parents named the kids so that the parents' names + the kids' names, in order of age, spell a six-letter acronym. Team [REDACTED FOR ANONYMITY]!

My family has three kids. No acronym.

This confirms Heebie's hypothesis.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:11 PM
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We really are just like a team!

We fight. We do belly bumps. We slap each other's butts. We cheer for each other.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:13 PM
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I'm on team 4! Whoot!

But we weren't/aren't really a team. Though if you exclude one of my sisters and count my SIL, who's been around since she was 17, you could say we are.

I've always thought the benefit of 4 kids is that you've got better odds of liking at least one of them.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:13 PM
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I have only sitcoms to go on, which suggest that the more kids, the funnier.

The sitcom lesson is to have another kid, preferably a moppy-headed blonde boy, once your other kids grow into their teens. This will ensure hilarity for at least two more seasons.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:14 PM
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Social engineering! Playing God! Nothing good can come of this.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:15 PM
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One of my best family friends is the youngest of 4, although they're a little Brady: his dad's son and daughter from a previous marriage, and his mom's daughter from a previous marriage (to his dad's cousin!). They party hearty and the men are afflicted with severe punniness, but I don't know that I would call them a team.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:16 PM
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I'm the fourth of five, born a little more than four years after my oldest sibling; we definitely formed a team, especially as we made our way through school, even though we have very different personalities. We put up an imposing front as each of us brought mates into the family, and we could practically smell it when someone was intimidated. Yeah, I'm talking about you, BIL. Suck it up, dude.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:16 PM
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My mom had seven, and it verifies Heebie's theory. One thing that she didn't mention is that with four or more you can have multiple shifting coalitions and sub-coalitions, whereas with three you can only have three versions of two against one. I have five living siblings and I'm close to two and reasonably close to three.

Family density is pretty intense in Wobegon, and our family doesn't count. There are a lot of people here with 30 or 40 uncles and cousins in the neighborhood. My parents came from elsewhere and my siblings scattered, so it's not like that for us.

Beyond some rather small number, kinship becomes meaningless, though, except where clans are militarily organized. One small area of Iowa has been settled by my partiline for 150 years, and almost everyone's a cousin of mine, but I only know the five closest kin, and probably have met five more once. A lot of the second cousins and beyond seem to be strangers to one another, if not hostile.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:17 PM
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All four-kid families are alike; each non-four-kid family is unhappy in its own way.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:17 PM
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9c is ambiguous. I meant siblings, but it could easily apply to one's children as well.

I think being close in age is key. I grew up really as one of two. The older two were out of the house by the time I was 10.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:17 PM
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My mom is 1/4, but they've almost always had some kind of rivalry or prejudice floating between them. My grandparents taught mom and her sister (first and second, respectively) the meaning of injustice when they were locked away while their younger brothers were exalted and even encouraged as teenagers to be randy. Now, many years later, 3/4 of them are really tight while the fourth fried his brain on meth and generally disappoints everyone on a daily basis. That said, for mom, there's nothing greater than family, so she definitely has the groupthink down.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:18 PM
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In fact, one room of our house is the boys' bedroom, and another is the girls' bedroom, plus another bedroom for the oldest boy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:19 PM
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13: Catholic birth control is very effective.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:21 PM
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Three sisters, four girls. I do like the suggestion in 1: I am One of Four. But I don't want a cybernetic implant. And the second comment got there first. So: THERE ARE FOUR CALA MODELS.

The dynamic is kind of team-based, but with shifting alliances and roles (we all love each other, but we know which sister is the one to talk to if you want to vent and which one is the one to talk to if you want the problem solved and which sister will be the moral compass, and who inhabits the roles varies on the problem.) as opposed to a monolithic front.

Hypothesis: it's not so much anything special about the number four as it is the slightly larger size of family. That is, I expect one would see a similar dynamic in families of five or six children, too, especially if they're all the same gender.



Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:25 PM
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20: Cindy is the dumb one, Wendy is the slutty one, Marie is the religious one, and Connie is the annoying one.



Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:28 PM
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Heebie's right. I'm the youngest of six. All of the other five were born in Vietnam and w/in 2 years of each other. The Vietnam War meant there's a 7 year gap between the next youngest, born in 1973, and me, born in 1980. So when I was young it felt like having seven parents. But now that I'm older and more of a peer and the go-to nanny for my nieces and nephews, we're all a unit. Everyone mixes up each other's names. We have to identify ourselves when we call, because even if voices are distinct, mom will still assume it's some other daughter.

We are all really different in personality and habits, and if we all met each other we would never be friends. And yet, we're all fiercely protective of the family, mafia like, and we hang out together a lot.

The thing about big families is that it can lead to excessive insularity. My parents were already too overprotective, and so we were discouraged from having outside friends and encouraged to just hang out with each other. Why do you need to outsource your social needs! To this day, there's Saturday family dinner when all the nuclear families combine, and on Sunday we run errands with each other or have dim sum. I am obviously the black sheep who ran away from home to become a nation-roaming academic.

Of course, I may be disowned anyway if I marry my white boyfriend, so that may all be moot.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:31 PM
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Remember when the guy tried to date-rape Cindy and she broke his arm? And then they all debated whether she had it coming or not because she crossed and uncrossed her legs and ordered the lobster and was dressed like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:32 PM
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"Hypothesis: it's not so much anything special about the number four as it is the slightly larger size of family. That is, I expect one would see a similar dynamic in families of five or six children, too, especially if they're all the same gender. "

The odds of an all-1-gender 5 or 6 kid family is much lower, though.

I take back what I said about the 6 & 7 kid families I know not being teams--the 7 kid family has an older four who are very close in age, then a big gap, then three younger siblings born when the others were in high school & college. So that's just bound to be different. And the 6 kid family has a team thing going on even though very few sibling pairs are individually close.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:32 PM
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On the other hand, my father is one of six or seven and that I don't know whether it's six or seven should indicate how well things worked out for them. Rivalries turn into grudges with enough time.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:33 PM
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Kinda, except not really.

If four is the magic number then I suspect it's because at four kids many/most/all parents cease having the energy to treat the kids as individuals and they simply must be thought of in terms of a crowd.

Also, in many cases, the oldest child is helping with the youngest.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:35 PM
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26 to 21 (You callin' my sister dumb? Let me arrange your face. Hehe.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:37 PM
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24: I can't imagine six of one gender. Three boys, three girls, just like the Brady Bunch! The sisters are close, and there's brother-sister bondings, and then there's black sheep, and then there's a "but this is THE FAMILY" mentality, and so it's all very weird. I think there's more of a team-outsider dynamic, and who the outsider is changes per decade. Right now, I'm still an insider.

My brother has five kids. three girls, two boys, all born within eight years. I predict rivalries.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:38 PM
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My mother said "It doesn't get any worse after four". We had four by the time I was five, and I remember my mother being very stressed at that time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:42 PM
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shivbunny's family has a similar dynamic, though not with his actual brothers. He has a large extended family and was mostly reared by his grandmother (except when he lived with his mom, or his dad), who was the primary caregiver for many of her grandkids at one point or another. So his 'team' is made up of his two cousins, but he's also close with his brothers (who lived with his mom always) and sister (same.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:44 PM
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I wonder if it's more common in the US?*

I don't know anyone my generation who has that many siblings. Everyone I knew growing up was in a family of, at most, three siblings. Three wasn't that common, either. Virtually everyone I know is one of two. I have one friend I know from university who is one of four, but he's the only one. I also don't know anyone my age who has more than two kids.

I'm one of three but my brother is nearly twenty years younger than me, and in many ways feels more like a son than a brother.

My maternal grandparents are both from huge families. Eleven on one side and twelve on the other, I think. Although my grandfather was the youngest, and he's in his mid 90s, so he's the only one left.

* you know, because of teh backwardness ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:47 PM
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Actually, I lie. I have two friends from university who are one of four.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:49 PM
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"It doesn't get any worse after four"

That's hilarious. And terrifying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:54 PM
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I also don't know anyone my age who has more than two kids.

I have a girlfriend who has three (all boys); the first a singleton, the second two twins. It's amusing to listen to her talk about how much she wants to smother them.

I have another friend who has two sets of twins, all boys. They were less than three years apart, too. I've fallen out of touch with her, though, probably because she doesn't have time to blow her nose, let alone write letters. (That's a lie, actually; she sends xmas cards with pictures of the boys, and I don't. I'm the shitty friend.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:56 PM
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Oh, and another friend who, when she got pregnant with her third, announced it to me via an email in which she declared herself a Latina stereotype.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:57 PM
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My family: 7 in my generation, 11 cousins in the next generation (two adopted), and two cousins in the next generation. My parents' seven grandchildren over age 27 have two kids total, and four or five seem unlikely to have any (with four two young to tell). My son is the last of this Emerson line, back to his great grandfather.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:57 PM
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Since it is apparently settled that more than three is good, may I throw in another factor:age difference? I have know families with 5+ children which weren't that close, because the eldest ha twenty years on the youngest.

So all of you ablove with large nuklers: what are the age spreads?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:58 PM
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My youngest bro was 16 years younger, and I cared for him a lot. We're pretty close. I've always liked little kids.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 4:59 PM
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My father was the oldest of four; I definitely got a sense that they were a group, as opposed to a collection of individuals.

I'm one of two -- my sister is 15 years younger. We're close, but we have to work at it.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:02 PM
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38:Of course you loved him, but with a 16 year difference, were you really around him enough to be part of his "team"?

I mean that's the point, for most situations a 15 yr difference means the eldest is out of the house by the time the youngest is social.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:03 PM
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So all of you ablove with large nuklers: what are the age spreads?

My mom's family: 14 years. My grandmother's: 8 years.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:05 PM
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40: Absolutely, it took me about ten years before I could have 'real' conversations with my sister. The last time my sister and I had a late night chat over the chessboard (last month), I was surprised at how deep the talk got.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:06 PM
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I have another friend who has two sets of twins, all boys.

OMG. One set was enough for me; two would do me in. I don't really understand how my parents managed five kids without killing us or each other, or at least divorcing (the spread was four in the first 4+ years, then my younger brother 6+ years later). Then again, our neighbors down the road were a farming family with 12. Catholics, like us.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:07 PM
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My data point in 7 aside, I do think that the difference between a 2-kid family and a 3-kid family is bigger than between a 3-kid family and a 4-kid family. Our 3-kid family is pretty tight, in a teamish kind of way.

I think it's relevant that three kids is the number that will fit in the backseat of a station wagon. To this day, when the five of us go someplace together, it's the youngest, who is now a 6-foot, 190 pound, 26-year-old man, who has to sit in the middle of the backseat. My sister and I each get a window.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:08 PM
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Yeah, I don't think I know anyone of my generation (Awesome!) who has more than 2 siblings. I'm an army of one, my mother was one of three (all girls!), and her mother was one of fifteen (whoa!). My mom is big into family, so she loves the whole extended tribe (I think she's the treasurer in the family "government"), but I don't, so no siblings worked out well for me.


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:08 PM
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My brother is more than eleven years older than my sister, but there are only three of us.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:09 PM
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Nine year gap. I'm the third.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:12 PM
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I was always sure I would only have one kid, and having one reinforced that, and then I saw that mediocre movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Luke Wilson and Diane Keaton and Coach where they are a big5 kid family or sme such and they seem so team-ish and interesting and I thought 'well, if anything is going to convince me to have a big family, this is it.' Jury still out.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:12 PM
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43: I know. This is the woman, though, who volunteered to nanny PK, who was the same age as her own boys. She'd nannied for years. She was the most organized mother I've ever known; somehow even with all three of our kids, her house was always clean.

They also moved someplace nearer her mother after the second set was born. But yeah, still.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:13 PM
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My fiancee is similar -- she's five years older than her middle sister, who is eight years older than the youngest. This strikes people as odd, so they ask how that came about, to which my fiancee replies "My mom had a lot of miscarriages," and then people feel awkward.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:14 PM
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My dad is one of 10 and while there is something team-ish about them, my impression is more that there are a few teams and few loners.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:14 PM
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And for what it is worth, my grandparents had four children, around seven years apart, and then another ten years later. The first four all married right after WWII and had three children in around five years. All lived within an hour's walk.

So there were ten cousins in the same High School at once.

As far as close, my aunts and uncles were very close, which means the cousins were around each other a lot, even outside of school. But all the third generation were threesomes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:16 PM
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My mom is the youngest of 9. My pops was the middle kid -- only boy -- of 5. I'm the youngest of three (only girl). My oldest brother is 15 years older than I am and the middle brother is 12 years older.

It was pretty cool having much older brothers, since they would take me to shows in bars in NYC when I was 13 years old and my folks would let me go, 'cause, hey, I'm with my big brother.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:16 PM
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somehow even with all three of our kids, her house was always clean.

Okay, now I'm weeping.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:17 PM
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40: actually, it was a 14 year difference, and I did spend a lot of time with him up until I was 20.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:17 PM
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I'm the oldest of four, and I guess I see what Heebie's saying, although it was more likely others would see us as some cohesive unit than we would. For instance, the word "clan" got thrown around a lot when referring to my family.

My mom is the oldest of 8 and my dad is the oldest of 7, so really our strength is best projected as an extended family. I've had many a girlfriend intimidated by the mere suggestion that a family gathering could be 75+ people.


Posted by: Cain | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:18 PM
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I haven't seen my brother much in the past few years [we live hundreds of miles apart] but he's just about old enough to go drinking with now. So I imagine our relationship will change. My sister and I are only two years apart though and, apart from a few years in our late teens when we were living very different lives, pretty close.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:19 PM
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Today in the store I saw a woman with eight kids younger than five, and they all were well behaved and seemed happy.

I had six brothers and sisters because of the two miscarriages.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:21 PM
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Let me see, as far as those twelve cousins go, all had one's and two's except for the one that married a devout Catholic. They had a football team, I don't know, more than six.

So I guess we are up to Generation awesome, and I don't have a clue. The cousins moved away from each other.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:23 PM
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54: I know. Tell me about it. She also somehow managed to make sure that they all took regular naps and everything. I'm telling you, the woman was like the super mommy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:23 PM
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58: P.S.: They weren't all hers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:24 PM
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61: I was actually going to ask if they were. But *I* thought it would be rude to do so. Apparently you didn't?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:25 PM
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My mom is one of five. My mom feels this weird need to parent her two older and two younger siblings, possibly because they were the children of an abusive alcoholic and a catatonic agoraphobe. One has OCD, one is a compulsive liar/gambler and crack-addict, one is mildly autistic, and the youngest is a severely depressed, insomniac animal hoarder. None of them are getting any mental health care, except for the addict, who just escaped from rehab for the tenth time in two years. As for my mom, she's just nuts.

My dad is one of four. His oldest brother speaks to no one in the family, his next oldest brother is dead of a brain tumor, and his older sister loves the crap out of everyone from afar, where she lives alone. Their dad and mom both beat the shit out of them on a near-daily basis.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:28 PM
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Nine and a half years between me and my youngest sister.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:29 PM
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So it sounds like you're saying you have one vote for "team five" and another for "no team", AWB?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:30 PM
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That said, large Catholic families always look like sitcoms to me. The kids of the family next door to my parents introduce themselves in age-order along with their own particular quirk. "Hi! I'm Jane, and I'm seven! I can't decide whether I want to be a nun or a movie star!" "Hi! I'm Billy! I'm six and practicing to play World Cup soccer one day!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:32 PM
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65: My vote is that abuse, addiction, mental illness, physical illness, poverty, and ignorance can really fuck with the sibling-team thing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:34 PM
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My oldest sister was twelve years older than I am, my other sister is eight years older than I am. Reportedly my oldest sister laughed when told my mother was pregnant with me, then stopped laughing, then decided they were just trying to piss her off, then got really mad. I sincerely miss her terribly.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:38 PM
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||

The Los Angeles Times reports that the paper supplier to Zimbabwe's currency printer has refused to continue dealing with them. The article is optimistic that this may bring the regime down, once Mugabe can no longer print money to pay his forces.

(Well, Google News tells me everyone's reporting it, but that's where I read it.)

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:38 PM
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re: 58

My brother's old child minder was like that. I think she had three or four kids of her own, but sometimes you'd go round there and they'd have friends for tea, and then there'd be about three kids that she looked after for money. A football team's worth of kids, all getting on with things quite contentedly. Loud and grubby, but everyone seemed to be having a good time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:42 PM
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The drop in family size ttaM noticed was prevalent here too, and took about three generations. Both my paternal grandparents, and my maternal grandmother, born between 1879 and 1885 and on farms, were from families of more than four. My dad was one of five, my mother one of two. Our postwar family had three, and my brother has two, I have two, and my sister has three, the last a surprise.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:42 PM
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@ 64:

I'm 8 years older than my youngest sister. However, I'm only ten years younger than my dad's youngest brother, whom he is 17 years older than.


Posted by: Cain | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:43 PM
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Cala, I should know this, but are you the oldest? We seem to have grown up in the same family.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:45 PM
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Hmm, I should especially know because you seem to have answered in this thread.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:46 PM
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62: They were too tightly bunched, 3 to 5 years old.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:50 PM
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If the Emerson model were followed, population growth would be no problem. Even Elizabeth Emerson's radical, visionary, infanticide/hanging model of population reduction would not have to be used.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:54 PM
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75: Maybe she had been taking hormones.

67: Well, yes. But your mom's family sounds like a dysfunctional sort of team, with your mom as the team coach. Shitty, but teamlike in its own shitty way.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:55 PM
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If she was taking hormones, she should be stricken from the record books and stripped of her medals.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 5:59 PM
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I'm 2 of 4. 8 year spread altogether. I have 2; 8.5 year spread. Pretty different.


Posted by: NĂ¡pi | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:00 PM
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66: I'm Liesl! I am sixteen going on seventeen, I know that I'm naive...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:08 PM
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No, no, you're Liesl, you're sixteen, and you're too old to have a governess.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:09 PM
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"I've had my First Communion, I can wear risque undergarments, and I'm hot to trot."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:13 PM
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83

Oh dear god, that is probably the musical theater song I hate the most in all the world.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:17 PM
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84
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men will want to write on

Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:19 PM
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85

73: Yup. Eternally On The Hook for Advice.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:22 PM
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86

84: The guy who sings that turns out to be a Nazi. Just saying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:23 PM
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87

83: "I Enjoy Being a Girl" is pretty good, too.

84: . . . to . . . write . . . on . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:30 PM
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88

NO SINGING.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:35 PM
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89

The Nazis went too far, but they made the trains run on time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:39 PM
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88: You say that now, Captain Von Trapp. But when nothing but a rousing rendition of "Edelweiss" has the power to turn back the Nazi onslaught, what choice will you have?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:41 PM
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91

I will go find a plane and shoot the Nazis pfhew-pfhew-pfhew and then there will be no need to sing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:45 PM
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92

Liesl, I can make your train run on time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:52 PM
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93

Well, I don't know about oudemia, but I'm in my skimpies about to finish The Human Condition, and I think the only possible encore for our Sweaty Nerd webcam is a bad musical karaoke show.

"Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry
When I take you out in my surrey
When I take you out in my surrey with the fringe on top!
The wheels are yellow
The upholstery's brown
The dashboard's genuine leather
With isinglass curtains you can roll right down
In case there's a change in the we-e-e-e-e-ather!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:53 PM
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94

B, maybe one day every year -- say, when the Hollywood Bowl is doing its Sound of Music sing-along -- you should clear your blog and make it an empty page for men to write on.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:55 PM
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93: Well, AWB, I see your Oklahoma! and raise you a Flower Drum Song (those of you who would like to sing-along at home, please hit your Paypal buttons).

When men say I'm cute and funny And my teeth aren't teeth, but pearl, I just lap it up like honey I enjoy being a girl!

I flip when a fellow sends me flowers,
I drool over dresses made of lace,
I talk on the telephone for hours
With a pound and a half of cream upon my face!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:57 PM
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96

Liesl, I can make your train run on time.

While I take over your Sudetenland.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 6:58 PM
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97

I curse Wall-E for putting this goddamn song in my head for the past week. I was in this show in high school and was only just about to recover from how much I hated it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:03 PM
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98

Is Heebie pregnant?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:06 PM
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99

Not as far as she knows. Is Brock?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:08 PM
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100

I think the feminist answer is "Yes".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:12 PM
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101

||

Aw, Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel broke up.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:12 PM
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102

||
"Broke up" was supposed to be a link.
|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:13 PM
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103

101: Hmph. I wonder which one gets to keep fucking Matt Damon.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:13 PM
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104

I agree about the families-of-at-least-four thing. Certainly not in every case (in either direction), but that's probably a statistical tipping point.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:14 PM
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100: Hey, congratulations! This is your second, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:14 PM
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106

All that fucking Matt Damon came back to haunt her, eh?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:14 PM
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107

106: Clicking through, I see that VF beat both me and Cala to the Damon joke.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:15 PM
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108

Dude, Heebs, where've you been? This is news--my wife's due any day now. (And yes, #2.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:15 PM
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109

"is" s/b "isn't"


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:16 PM
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110

Why, I've been at the Grand Canyon! Since you ask.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:16 PM
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111

Oh dear god, that is probably the musical theater song I hate the most in all the world.

Okay, fine:

I'm Lisa: peppy, blonde and stunning Sophomore prom queen five years running Gooooo Lisa!

Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:17 PM
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112

The question in 98 was prompted by the variance in certainty reflected in the statements "[w]e'll have one" and "we'll try for a second". I wondered.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:18 PM
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113

110: but that was only for a week or so. Babies take longer than that to gestate, in most women.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:19 PM
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114

No, yeah, we do talk about family planning these days. You're not imagining it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:20 PM
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115

||

I'm supposed to be at a Boston-area unfogged meetup right now, meeting Ari, who's in town for the night. But I totally forgot about it, and it's a long way away and leaving now would get me there too late. Drat. Sorry Ari!

|>


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:21 PM
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116

I have 4 kids with an age spread of 6 years. One tricky thing with having that many kids is the current upper middle class love for intensive parenting with organized sports and lessons. That becomes a real pain in the ass when you have 4 kids. My current rationalization is that these things don't really make that much of a difference and we shouldn't bother unless our kids are self motivated to do them. I have not convinced my wife of this yet.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:25 PM
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117

Damn thing seems to be broken. Let me try again.

|>


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:26 PM
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118

Are we off topic already? I'm the eldest of four. I don't really feel I know the younger two all that well, to be honest. The heebiesque sense of the cohesive family unit isn't really present.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:26 PM
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119

There is nothing 116 could possibly say that could be worth the injustice it did to my joke.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:27 PM
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120

119: You got played, it's true.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:28 PM
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121

I'm first of four, and have four of my own, and would really like to make some clever remark but I have none.

Bill Cosby said the big change happens after the third child. That's when the parents have to switch from a man on man defense to a zone defense.

We'll have one, and if it bats its eyes and says cute shit, we'll try for a second.)

That's the thing - for sure it will bat its eyes and say cute things. Then, if you get a pair of girls or boys you could, as my Grams said, fill up the back yard trying to even them out.

When I first came to MN I was told we were the most productive people in the world because of the long cold winters. In the winters there are only two things to do - work and make babies - and after you have four kids you have to work.

At the time I thought that was a joke.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:32 PM
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My dad, though not a feminist, finds the question 'oh, were you trying for a boy?' (asked as to why he has four daughters) incredibly offensive.

As a younger woman, I thought I'd have a biggish family. When you're 16 you don't really realize that having three or four kids with any kind of reasonable spacing means being knocked up a lot earlier than you planned on being knocked up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:37 PM
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I curse Wall-E for putting this goddamn song in my head for the past week. I was in this show in high school and was only just about to recover from how much I hated it.

Oooh, ooh, what part did you play?

It could be worse. I was in Sound of Music, twice, and have seen it twice already this summer with an obligation to see it a third time.

My very weird dream is to some day play the role of the Mother Abbess. No, I'm no cross dresser, but I love "Climb Every Mountain." Sadly so far I have found no producer who shares my artistic vision.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:40 PM
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My oldest sister is 17 years older, but we're really close now. I was pretty much her charge as a little kid, but now that I'm 27, we're just close sisters. She almost got divorced last year, and I was the only one she told.

The rest of the sibs similarly vacillate between peer and parent. I'd say I'm pretty close to my other sister, who's 10 years older, but not so much to my oldest brother, who's 14 years older--mainly because he's such a parent-type. But now I take care of his children, and he loves me for that. He trusts me with his children, trusts me to proof read docs for him, and that means a lot to me (considering he wouldn't let me make toast as a kid).


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:41 PM
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125

with any kind of reasonable spacing

Wondering what this means to you?

I like tightly-spacing siblings. But it's definitely a lot of work for mom and dad.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:45 PM
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Cala,
three or four kids with any kind of reasonable spacing
I'm not sure I follow your math. It used to be that 2-3 years apart was reasonable spacing. Have things changed?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:45 PM
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Tripp, surely your dream is to play the role of Mother Abbess in real life. And who doesn't want to do that? You just need to find a wayward novitiate, and urge her to climb ev'ry mountain until she finds her dream. IYKWIM. AITYD.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:52 PM
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128

Speaking of big families, the unfogged clan (Boston branch) sends its regards from Deep Ellum. Seated around the table are mcmc, sp, bostoniangirl, Fleur, teofilo, teo's main squeeze, Nathan Williams, Sifu, and yours truly. Ari is AWOL or fashionably late, final verdict still to come.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:53 PM
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129

On the other hand, "High on a hill sat a lonely goatherd" is one of the most fun songs in musical theater, so.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:55 PM
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130

It used to be that 2-3 years apart was reasonable spacing. Have things changed?

My next brother and I are 1.5 yrs apart; then a gap of 4 years, and my sister and youngest bro are 1.75 yrs apart. Hence my relative lack of a connection with the younger two.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:56 PM
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123: I was in the chorus, with a few speaking lines. If you're a bad dancer, Hello, Dolly! is a show unlikely to love you.

Your Mother Abbess fantasy is cracking me up.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:56 PM
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132

Climb ev'ry mountain / Ford ev'ry burn / Suffer a thrombosis / End up in an urn.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 7:59 PM
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I'm the oldest of five, three boys and two girls. My youngest sister is 20 years younger than me and was born when I was away on my Mormon mission. She seems more like a niece than a sister; I barely know her. For years there were just three of us and we alternated fighting and closeness. Now I'm close to the fourth and not really anyone else.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:00 PM
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134

My next brother and I are 1.5 yrs apart; then a gap of 4 years, and my sister and youngest bro are 1.75 yrs apart. Hence my relative lack of a connection with the younger two.

So? Nan and Bert were four years older than Freddie and Flossie.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:01 PM
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135

The family that sleuths together stays together.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:02 PM
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2-3ish years, Brock. I know, I know, everyone has a theory that the perfect amount of spacing is how their kids actually ended up, but even so, I'm 29, and we probably won't start trying for another year. If we even start trying.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:04 PM
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137

When you're 16 you don't really realize that having three or four kids with any kind of reasonable spacing means being knocked up a lot earlier than you planned on being knocked up.

My mom was 28 when the first of seven was born.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:04 PM
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So? Nan and Bert were four years older than Freddie and Flossie.

The "Hence" in 130 is of course short for, "My general lack of interest in my youngest siblings except as objects of vicious teasing, and subsequent skiving off to America, are between them no doubt directly responsible for"


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:05 PM
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138: Yeah, Nan and Bert never teased Freddie and Flossie, either. Sometimes Bert tugged on Flossie's braids, but never past the point of gaiety.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:08 PM
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137: Yeah, Cala, you've got plenty of time. My mother-in-law had five between 30-something and 42.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:08 PM
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141

Yes but Nan and Bert were black-haired whilst Freddie and Flossie were ginger. They teamed up along those lines.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:13 PM
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Further to 128, Ari just showed up and pointed out that I neglected a third possibility: that he could be in the bar, sitting in the corner by himslef for 45 minutes because he didn't recognize anyone.

A toast to our West Coast guests...


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:17 PM
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143

Your Mother Abbess fantasy is cracking me up.

Well, face it, after Rolfe and Max what is there left to do? I mean if your frigging gay brother-in-law ALWAYS plays the leading man! The guy can sing though, I give him that.

I'm starting to get the itch again. Urinetown was awhile ago. I'm thinking a comedy, something like Greater Tuna would be a blast. I've put the bug in a few ears but now it is out of my hands.

Along with taking rejection theatre also teaches patience.
And restraint.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:20 PM
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22: Rock on Belle Lettre - I'm also the youngest of six. I totally understand the 7 parents thing.

Can't say we have much in the way of cohesion, though. I have a system for describing my four sisters - The Nice One, the Cool One, the Crazy One, and the Bitch.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:38 PM
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145

Four kids is good because there is no middle child to get Jan Brady syndrome.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:39 PM
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I'm one of two, but I spent a chunk of my developmental years alone (by which I mean no family at all, not no siblings). Even before that, when I was younger, there was no extended family, just the 4 of us.

A long time ago I was bitter about some of that, however much it was my own damn fault. With a little distance though, I mostly feel like I don't really relate to large families.

I also don't relate to big family happenings at all. I spent xmas in a bus shelter once, and it didn't feel that odd.


Posted by: John F. Kennedy | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:49 PM
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142: You think it's awkward to run around hollering "Who wants to sex Motumbo?" but the alternative is more awkward.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 8:50 PM
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||

Post-meetup live-blogging: I'm tired, and Ari, Ari's newly-minted lurked friend, teo's girl, and all the people I already knew were terrific, just like the cocktails. Skoal!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 10:44 PM
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149

Er,

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-14-08 10:45 PM
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150

Hmmm... Functional/dysfunctional families?

My dad was co-youngest of 5 in a close but conservative (basically Edwardian) family. They lived for each other until they died. My wife is one of 5 from a grossly dyfunctional rabble, and I can't remember any occasion when they were all on speaking terms. I wonder if there's a danger of over-generalising?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 2:23 AM
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Four is about the point where you absolutely need the older kids to help take care of the younger kids. This is clearly a solidarity building exercise that your family can either pass or fail.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:07 AM
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152

four sisters, i'm the second one, we are very close, though all are very different, but our voices are very similar people say
3.5 yrs difference between us, like very planned family :)
my parents wanted a boy maybe, they even thought that i'm a boy, at that time there was no echo to know before the birth


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:19 AM
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||

Crap, I missed teo+teofriend? Crappity.

|>

I'm the oldest of four. My mom was the second of four, and her older sister also had four. 2.5 years from me to my sister (with whom I'm close) then another 3.5 years to the twins (one of whom doesn't quite fit in).

My wife and I are planning to stop at two.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:53 AM
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154

||

You did! They were great!

|>

My wife and I are planning to stop at two.

But they're twins! Cheater.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:56 AM
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155

Both of my parents are one of four (eldest and second-born). It was.... not like summer camp for either of them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:58 AM
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156

154.3 to 154.1


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:13 AM
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157

Yeah, my 4 are very much a foursome. There's 5y 10m between #1 and #4. (Don't ask me what was I thinking, I have no idea.) If one's missing, the dynamic is very different.

In some ways I'd love more - I love it when we're having big family meals and everyone's laughing, or being out and watching the kids run as a pack. But the biological urge has completely gone. Vanished as soon as #4 was born. And, practically, it would be stupid.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 5:35 AM
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