Yesterday I watched three of my younger siblings: Miriam (8), Faustina (5), and Thomas (2). Overall, it was a success (nobody was hurt, everybody was fed, and everyone seemed to have a good time). In some ways, I was surprised how little extra work was involved by adding three other kids to the mix. On the other hand, I was surprised how much more effort was involved in some tasks (I wouldn’t have guessed that feeding four children, who can physically feed themselves the meal being served, would be so much more time consuming than just taking care of myself and Gabriel at meal time).
Caring for four children simultaneously helped confirm my belief that I would be capable of caring for more than one of my own children at the same time by myself. Gabriel and Thomas are just under a year apart, and I managed to care for both of them well – AND it would be unlikely that we’ll have children that close in age. From my experience, parenting is a skill that needs to be learned as you go, at least on some level. For example, even though I have found it to be nearly impossible to load the dishwasher with only Gabriel to keep from climbing into it, I need not abandon hope now at ever having a clean sink should we be blessed with another child – I’ll figure out how to accomplish tasks that seem nearly impossible now, just like I did when Gabriel came along. I probably wouldn’t have dreamt that I would became capable of carrying the groceries and Gabriel inside a couple of years ago – since carrying all of the groceries in at the same time was a daunting enough task, and I figured that out.