For all of you who are busy with one or two children, and look at me and wonder, How does she do it?, I'm going to let you in on a little secret that mothers of four or more children know.
You might even know this if you spaced your three children widely apart. I didn't, so I'm only starting to experience the real benefits of a larger family now that I've had four.
In a house where the children outnumber the adults, the parents learn to creatively delegate the work (which really feels like play to our children). I've heard people say that in larger families, it isn't fair to expect older siblings to help. Seriously? It's not like we're taking them out of school to pick rocks in the fields or something. It's always voluntary, and we always relieve them when they don't want to do it anymore.
Last week I left Norah in the girls' room with Margot for company while I washed the dishes. Surrounded by pillows, she played for twenty minutes while Margot repaired the undercarriage of her bed (in a ballgown, of course). Making breakfast is a cinch if Norah is driven around the kitchen in a cardboard box. Jude proudly wears his alien pajama pants and his little sister (and I think of the wonderful dad he'll be someday). Violet takes her responsibilities seriously, and handles the baby with all the gentleness and confidence of the mother I hope she'll some day be.
So, for those of you who wonder, that's how we do it. We wash the dishes fast while an older sibling plays peekaboo. We send them upstairs to entertain her when she wakes up in order to finish folding the laundry. We know that through Norah's eyes, the world is full of loving faces and arms that want to hold her.
It's a beautiful world, through her eyes.
(Thanks to my friend Erin for inspiring this post!)