Welsh Witterings: Our Growing Family
Today signifies the newest addition to our family, baby Beatrice turning four weeks of age. It seems like only yesterday that I was waiting impatiently to give birth to her so I could finally meet her. Now she is here I can’t imagine life without her.
Calculating whether to add a fourth child to our family was difficult as there was plenty of things to consider like a bigger vehicle to transport them in, bedroom arrangements and of course working arrangements. Indeed when I announced I was expecting my fourth baby I was met with a fair amount of negativity and people were generally very eager to tell me how difficult it would be to cope with four children. In fact I cannot recall how many times I was told I was ‘’mad to have another one’ and asked in a prying tone ‘this is your last, right?’ However, there are plenty of things that no one told me about having a fourth baby and these are mainly the positive things.
Fourth time around I am a pretty confident mother and so whilst I still fret over all the normal things that new mothers are designed to do, this time I am able to enjoy being a new mum without the fears I had first time around. I also have a little helper this time around, suddenly my eldest daughter Hattie is old enough and super keen to help out with the new baby. The little things Hattie does such as fetching nappies, clean baby grows or even keeping an eye on the baby whilst I pop the kettle on are a great help and make the new baby rearing process that bit easier.
Thankfully, I have all girls, so whilst my husband is well and truly outnumbered and our home is awash with pink, it does make room sharing arrangements easier. It is certain that there will never be enough mirrors or bathrooms in our home and that my washing machine will never get a day off, but as I listen to my eldest practicing her singing ready for her stage school class whilst her younger sister Olivia twirls around the bedroom, I am certain that I wouldn’t change the fact that I have what is in today’s society termed a large family because a house full of children is as heart warming as it is infuriating on a daily basis.
Having four children means that I will no longer have to worry about ‘middle child syndrome’, indeed now the children can pair up or at least they can when little Beatrice is a little older, but the downside of having a fourth baby is I can no longer drive a car, instead I now have to drive a mini-bus that is essentially a school bus come grocery carrying vessel.
Travelling and holidays are more complicated with a larger family. It is certain that four children now even raises an eyebrow when we go to dine out. My two eldest children, [8 & 6] are well behaved and used to travelling and dining out, indeed even my eighteen month old is a pretty good dinner guest, but it still causes a few side glances when we arrive with four children for a meal out at establishments that don’t offer fish fingers and colouring pencils.
It seems that today it has become more socially acceptable to have smaller families and as your family size grows to four children and beyond you can attract the judgmental looks and unsolicited comments. Indeed, my husband and I have been asked, ‘’you have worked out what is causing these babies, haven’t you?’’ and the more personal, ‘’when are you having him done?’’ I have never before encountered such interest in neither my reproductive system nor my husband in his. I am hoping or an advertising contract from a condom company that could sport a picture of my husband and I and our brood with the slogan ‘’don’t breed like rabbits…use a condom’’. I am serious when I say that the moment you venture out with four children in tow you attract a lot of interest in your fertility and ‘’breeding activities’’ and people are not shy in telling you that you need to find something else to do. I cannot count the number of times that complete stranger have passed comment on the need for a television, vasectomy or else a pair of house bricks.
With baby number four I found that there has been very little fuss made by other people and that the congratulation cards received were largely conspicuous by their absence, indeed mistakenly people assume that you must surely have all the baby equipment you’ll need, gifts and even well wishes are few and far between.
The first four weeks of being a family of six have been largely about adjustment. As a whole family there has had to be changes, both to routines, transport and even sleeping arrangements, but there have also been plenty of the cherished moments of the children welcoming their new sibling into the family and plenty of cuddles and newborn snuggles.
So, to the question of ‘’is this your last?’’ my answer is ‘’I have no plans for more children’’ and to the question of ‘’will you be giving up work’’ my answer is, simply don’t be ridiculous. I work best I chaos and under pressure. As I sit here typing my husband is busy drilling upstairs as he creates me a writers retreat in what used to be the ‘spare room’, not as we have any room spare in our home. I am looking forward to writing more this year on family, travel and food so I cannot express how pleased I am to be getting a room that I can safely store my writing in away from the clutches of chocolate covered fingers.
Well, baby duties call so until next week I bid you a fond farewell from sunny Wales.