Friday, February 08, 2013

Reflections of a New Parent of Two, Part 5

6. A family of four feels way bigger than a family of three.

To me it does, anyway. Four is not a big family, but the addition of one makes us feel like an official  "crew" now.

When we had just one child, it felt more like 'us'-- the couple-- as always, plus our son. Now we have kids. KIDS. It feels way different to say "I have kids"; it's a whole new category for me as a parent.

A baby, sure, but am I adult enough to be one of those people who have 'KIDS'?

We can use phrases like "I'm gonna teach THE KIDS to play Settlers" or "That'd be a good place to take THE KIDS" or "c'mon, not in front of the KIDS" and actually be referring to real humans right now, not hypothetical-one-day people as when we'd reference them in bygone days. They're here, ready for raising and big adventures.

Plus, there are now as many of THEM as there are of US. 

Our boys, and their humungous car seats, take up the entire back seat (gone are the days when my own family of five all fit in a K-car). In fact, it now takes some strategy when we run an errand or eventually attempt a road trip as toute la gang, because once you have both parents in the car, it is assumed you have both kids, and then you only have room for either the stroller OR what you want to get/bring.

It is is reminiscent of that riddle about the farmer who has to cross the river with the chicken, the chicken feed and the fox, but he can only carry one at a time. Except the farmer is a suburbanite trying to get en EXPEDIT shelving unit at IKEA.

So it's not a huge deal-- we put the kids in a shopping cart or just don't do certain errands together -- but having to consider it can sure make you feel like you have a big entourage. Even the rare times when I'm in the car alone, I can't give more than one friend a ride because of the car seats. Partymobile it ain't.

But we won't be going for the minivan or SUV anytime soon. We just got our car less than three years ago...when we were still DINKs... when our family was half the size it is now... when our townhouse still had unused bedrooms... and 'the kids' were still just hypothetical-one-day people.

And now here they are. And here WE are. Me and my three guys. Crazy how going from 3 to 4 can seem like a big difference (especially when trying to get out the door!);  A carful, a housefull, sometimes a handful, but most certainly... (wait for it)...wonderful.


  1. I have always maintained that you can go anywhere with one child in tow. As soon as you have two, the logistics become almost insurmountable - especially when you are alone to do so.

    My 2 brothers and I had many trips in the back seat of the family Austin Mini wagon. Today you could never fit more than two kids back there, if you were even able to fit a car seat in -- and I suspect even a booster seat, which all three of us would have had to be in at one point, would have been a tight squeeze.

  2. Yeah, not to mention the front seats have to be moved up to make room for the humungous car seats; Hubs and I are both (at or close to) 6 feet tall, so with the seats in the back, our knees are to our ears!

    And also, I've said recently that traveling with one baby feels as convenient as a chihuahua in a purse compared to two.

  3. With our first, Nadine, the car seats had not yet become mandatory and the one we had was for an older child. In the car she was in a carry cot (a missile if we'd ever had an accident) and it made taking her anywhere easy, if less than safe and secure. By the time her brother was born 30 months later, the hospital in that town was sending the kids home in the bucket infant car seat that had become popular. Today I wouldn't dream of even going down the street without a car seat.

  4. Yep... I can also remember sitting in the front seat, my mom telling me, "buckle your seatbelt! It's going to be the law in January!" I was seven at the time. The kids won't believe it one day!