Having 3 kids vs 4 kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just had our 3rd & still not feeling complete (hormones?). If we are brave enough to add a 4th someday, what's it like? Do you feel the "big family" label more? Is it harder logistically? Does it help Baby #3 not feel the odd person out? How has it changed your family dynamic? Thanks for any experiences you can share.
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#2 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 02:52 AM
 
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We weren't planning on a fourth baby because we were "done" after 3. Number 3 was a hard baby and still as a 2 yr old has a big personality. But I got pregnant because we were careless with birth control and it was the BEST thing to happen to our family. It really helps my 2 yr old to have a younger sibling. I had 2 kids 2 years apart and then we had #3 about 4 yrs later so she was the odd man out. She loves her baby sister and she just wasn't meant to be the "baby". Our #4 was born 1 week after #3 2nd birthday so I have 2 and 2 and it is perfect for us.

Some things are harder than other. Our car is offically maxed out. We cannot transport anyone but our family (4 kids+2 adults). Right now our niece is with us visting and if we want to go anywhere as a family unit we have to take 2 cars. I know that will change when she leaves this weekend but I know eventually we might have to get another car as our children grow and want to have friends visit/go places with us.

Dinner/bath/bed is about the same and going places can be hectic but not totally terrible. I go places with all of the kids by myself.

I do feel like a big family and some days are harder than others. Like right now everyone except me and the baby has the stomach bug. It sucks but it would suck with just 2 or 3 kids. I think we are way more laid back with our family now than we were when our oldest 2 were this age. But I think that comes from parenting and know what is best for your family and letting go of the small stuff.

I look at my girls and cannot believe I have four kids and LOVE it.

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I love my girlsMadaline(9), Mary-Grace(7), Georgia(3), & Evelyn(1)
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#3 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 02:56 AM
 
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I kinda do think four has pushed us over to the "big family" label. But that's cool, I like the attention no, but it's not much harder than three. Just a little bit crazier.

I have 3 boys, and 1 girl. My DD is the oldest and then my DS's are all 2 yrs apart. The oldest two play together a lot, and the younger two do as well - so it's like they each have someone to hang out with. Also, my middle two spend a lot of time together.

Four seems like a ton to someone with no kids, or just one, but once you are used to having three, it's not that big of deal, IMO, to add another.

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#4 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 03:14 AM
 
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I am wondering the same thing. I have three but the second my third was born I wanted another one, and still do! I just don't feel like my family is complete yet.

Happily married and unschooling 5 kiddos. Oct. 2004, July, 2007, July, 2009, Oct. 2010, Nov. 2012 
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#5 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 03:37 AM
 
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I want a fourth---SOMEDAY. Preferably a girl, but that is because *I* always wanted a sister.

that said I do my boys big time.

DD was only 14 months when I found out about DS2 and I remember sitting in my CNM's office crying with her nursing at my first PNV. (then I cried at my second PNV with her because I had to tell her I wanted her to be my backup hospital plan, but I was going to homebirth this time...I LOVED LOVED LOVED my CNM and had a FABULOUS birth with DD, but I just cried at the thought of sitting at a hospital for 2 days for NO reason and DH having to choose between me and new baby or releiving my parents of caring for the kids at home...)

Now, with DS2 I am THRILLED and he is the HAPPIEST baby EVER. and DD loves him. They are 5 days short of 22 months apart.

I will *NOT* if I can possibly avoid it have that same spacing again. I feel like I slacked some on discipline with DD because I was hugely pregnant and tired, busy with the new baby, etc etc and am paying for it now. (things she got away with in regard to fighting with older bro for example...)

But I DO DO DO want a 4th...SOMEDAY...I was actually thinking it might be nice for DD to be the same age DS1 is now, 4-5, DS2 would be 3...at the soonest.

I do NOT take all my kids alone places unless we are talking about the playground or other child-centered location. I would if they were older I think.

I DO love taking the boys (ages almost 5 and 10 months) they are super-easy to handle together. I thoroughly enjoyed a mom's evening with video with the two of them back when DS2 was a little baby--he nursed through the movie and slept and smiled while we chatted, and DS1 disappeared with the other kids most of the evening. *Perfect*

It's not that I don't ADORE my dd it's that she is 2.5 and she is INTENSE....she runs out the door at will throughout the day here. She still has potty accidents--oddly enough NOT when she is out, but at home. And she WON'T take herself to the bathroom--she will SCREAM until I escort her. And she and her older brother fight CONTINUALLY....with OCCASIONAL moments where I have a GLIMMER of hope that SOMEDAY they just MIGHT be able to communicate....

but she also comes up behind me and says "I kiss your butt Mom!" while doing it. She's full of hugs and love. She is sweet.

Wouldn't give any of them back for anything and someday, even though now it seems a little crazy....I would like to expand the love....

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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#6 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 10:58 AM
 
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Well, I'm pregnant with my 4th so I haven't yet had to deal with them all together. The thing that makes me consider a 4th to be a transition to a big family is that we won't all fit in most standard cars. Right now we can all squish in a Hyundai Elantra. We'll be needing to upgrade to a minivan by the time the new one arrives. I guess lots of people get minvans before they actually need them for the extra seats, we just prefer cars.

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#7 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 11:56 AM
 
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Well, we just transitioned to 4. So, I have a 6 yo, 4 yo, 1 yo, and 4 week old. Some moments I am really overwhelmed, and if I stop to actually think about it I get overwhelmed- but I think I like it better than 3. I feel like I've taken the pressure off myself for everything to be perfect, and I'm just sort of embracing the fun and craziness of everything. I feel like I just have more of a sense of humor and I'm more laid back. Or maybe I've just lost my mind and I don't realize it !
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#8 of 36 Old 09-24-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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I have 4 but its more like 2+2 as they are 16, 12, 6 and 3.

Four is more tricky with the car as you need more seats but other than that 4 has been good for us. I agree with Drummer's Wife that once you have 3 adding another isn't much trouble.

That said, our fourth is the craziest of all our children in terms of personality and that wears us out.
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#9 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, it's great to see other happy big families out there. Maybe someday...
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#10 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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I think it really depends on the family. Esp. what your parental tolerance level is and the ages/spacing and temperaments of your kids. My two boys are easy peasy as far as their personalities, but very high energy and that sometimes poses a problem. I'm waiting & curious to see what this little girl will be like. I think how well we all fit together and how well we handle this size family financially, will probably dictate if we have anymore.

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#11 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Here, four is definitely a big family and some days it's hard work. Then other days life just runs itself and I wonder what all the fuss is about. (My eldest is coming up to 11, and my youngest won't be 2 until January- we have a fifth due at Christmas as well.)

There aren't many things that we won't do as a family, with one parent wrangling all four kids. Ice skating. Anything involving safety equipment, and I really dislike taking all of mine swimming at once.
And as for the rest of it, family dynamics are constantly evolving anyhow, so : It's sorted itself out for us, I find.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#12 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 05:41 PM
 
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I have four (7, 6, 3 1/2, and 17 months) and I'm pregnant with #5. Going from 3 to 4 was a piece of cake. She just fit right in with the rest of the loving insanity around here. My third never felt sibling rivalry because there is always someone to play with (or gang up on).

People do make plenty of comments when we are out and about (you've got your hands full is the most frequent and are they all yours is second), but I just smile.

The funny thing is... I refused to take just two to the pool by myself...but now I take 4 with no issues. Taking two kids places caused stress...taking four is no big deal. I couldn't ever possibly get anything done or the house clean with two, but manage just fine with four. Maybe I've changed!
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#13 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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i have 4 and personaly don't find it very different to 3, it is hard at times but then it was with 3, it was with 2 hell it was with only 1, we all have hard times if you want 4 and really bellieve that having 4 is for you , why not.
i still want more, i'm always broody

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#14 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 06:43 PM
 
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People do make plenty of comments when we are out and about (you've got your hands full is the most frequent and are they all yours is second), but I just smile.
i get those comments too all the time kind of gets annoying doesn't it

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#15 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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I have 4, ages 5, 4, 3, and 10 mnths. And for us it's not any harder than 3. But then again I'm already thinking about a 5th. The more the merrier!!! They have so much fun together!

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#16 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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We're expecting number four very soon.

The car issue is one that we have yet to resolve. We'd have more options though if all of our kids didn't need to be in carseats. We're looking at a year, possibly more, of four kids all being under 40lbs, which two rear facing.

Most people I've talked to have said that three to four was a relatively easy transition. Barring any unusual circumstances (special needs kids, high needs babies, etc), it was the two to three transition that was tough. You have two hands and two parents, so with three kids you're outnumbered. A lot of things are set up for families of four. Hotel rooms easily accommodate four. You get a table faster at a restaurant if you can fit a table for four. At a lot of places, a "family" is defined as two adults and two children.

I'm really looking forward to number four. Sometimes I worry that we will be a complete traveling circus, but mostly, I excited to have another baby and our kids to have another partner in crime.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#17 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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Just had our 3rd & still not feeling complete (hormones?). If we are brave enough to add a 4th someday, what's it like? Do you feel the "big family" label more? Is it harder logistically? Does it help Baby #3 not feel the odd person out? How has it changed your family dynamic? Thanks for any experiences you can share.
I found 1, 2, & 4, to be really easy. It was the adjustment to 3 children that was a challenge. Four was easy after that.
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#18 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 10:04 PM
 
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#19 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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The meanest one I got was "Well I guess you know how to prevent any future children, now don't you?" And that was when I had only three!
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#20 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 11:04 PM
 
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Intereting that a few of you mentioned the youngest being the "odd man out". I'm thinking of adding #4 so that my middle guy won't have "middle child syndrome". DH and I are both from families of 3 and the middle one has such a complex even as an adult. So I never considered the youngest having the hardest time with the dynamics of a 3 child family even though I was the youngest and I did feel like I was the odd man out when I was a child. I thought that was just being the only girl and 4 yrs younger than my brother (the 2 boys were 2 yrs apart).

Can anyone comment on the middle child syndrome issue? Does adding a 4th reduce that dynamic?

Laurie Busy mama to Boo (10/02) DeeDa (10/04) and Belly (10/07) TS 45X
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#21 of 36 Old 09-28-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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We jumped from two to four, but now that we survived most of year one with the twins, I am loving it. DS1 was 8 when DD was born and I thought one was hard, then I KNEW that two were really hard. Now, I know that four is hard and wonderful, and fantastic - all at once.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#22 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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Intereting that a few of you mentioned the youngest being the "odd man out". I'm thinking of adding #4 so that my middle guy won't have "middle child syndrome". DH and I are both from families of 3 and the middle one has such a complex even as an adult. So I never considered the youngest having the hardest time with the dynamics of a 3 child family even though I was the youngest and I did feel like I was the odd man out when I was a child. I thought that was just being the only girl and 4 yrs younger than my brother (the 2 boys were 2 yrs apart).

Can anyone comment on the middle child syndrome issue? Does adding a 4th reduce that dynamic?
The genders matter. If 1 and 2 are opposite genders then it is like having two first-borns in terms of birth order, and no "middle-child", even in a family of 3. I'm curious what your dh family looked like?
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#23 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 04:35 AM
 
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The genders matter. If 1 and 2 are opposite genders then it is like having two first-borns in terms of birth order, and no "middle-child", even in a family of 3. I'm curious what your dh family looked like?
Hmm.. DH's family was all boys. So does that mean if our theoretic DC 4 was a boy then my middle guy would still be the middle guy and DD would be like a firstborn?

Laurie Busy mama to Boo (10/02) DeeDa (10/04) and Belly (10/07) TS 45X
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#24 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 10:41 AM
 
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Of course this depends on the age and gender of the kids, but by the time you get to four kids (a lot of our extended family have four or more) it seems that stereotypical roles (oldest, middle, baby) really break down. The family dynamic doesn't easily fall into a category anymore. It's more unique to the family.

Yeah, if you have three teenage girls and a four year old boy, the boy is probably the odd man out. Also, spacing and gender can sometimes mean that your large family actually breaks down into two smaller families with more traditional dynamics. Really though, with the number of relationships that you have formed between two adults and four or more kids, the dynamics are complex enough that you just don't get the stereotypical positioning.

One thing I like about families with four or more kids is that there are a lot of relationships. If a child doesn't click well with one sibling, they probably get along better with another. With more relationships there is less pressure on any single one.

I've read that there is less fighting between individuals in larger families. I think this makes sense. If you have one sibling you only have one to argue with, but if you have three siblings, you have to spread your arguing and bickering around more.

I don't think that families with two kids breed issues, or that big families circumvent them simply by being big, but it does seem to me that families with four or more kids are more relaxed about family roles and tensions. They seem to have more perspective on it. And in contrast, we seem to know a lot of smaller families (two or three kids) where even as adults there is still a lot of sibling rivalry and competition.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#25 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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We have found that 4 is not hardly different than 3, in terms of chaos and logistics.

Other than that, boy does our 4th add a LOT of love! My boys are totally in love with their baby sister, have been since they first learned I was pregnant. It's really beautiful and fun to have them adoring her, clamoring to hold, hug, and kiss her all day long. They are so thrilled with her very presence in their lives. Me too.

And although we were done at 3 and #4 was a surprise, it finally feels as if my family is complete. My DD needed to be here. We all needed her. She has rounded us out, somehow.

I don't usually feel like a large family, though we are, but perhaps that's because #4 is still an infant. Perhaps when she is running around like her older brothers, then it will feel BIG to me. Or maybe not.

It just feels right. It feels just right. I love my family!!

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#26 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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We're due with number 4 any day now. It's reassuring to see some of you comment that going to number 4 was easiest. I think for us, it will definitely be that way. When we had #3, #2 was only 12 months, so that was a big adjustment. Now, we'll have a 6yo, a 2yo, a 1yo, and a newborn. So, I worry more about #1 being the odd man out than I do either of the toddlers or the newborn.

We're facing the car issue as well. We're getting a tax return in December (we filed for an extension just so we'd have the money available!) and we're planning on using it towards a mini-van. Right now, we have a Grand Am, and we've already squeezed 3 carseats in the back, so we'll definitely need an upgrade!

Jen...wife to Shawn...Radically Unschooling Mommy to Connor (4/03), Autumn (1/07) Aiden (1/08) and Ella (10/14/09) Just had the of our dreams!
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#27 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 08:05 PM
 
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Intereting that a few of you mentioned the youngest being the "odd man out". I'm thinking of adding #4 so that my middle guy won't have "middle child syndrome". DH and I are both from families of 3 and the middle one has such a complex even as an adult. So I never considered the youngest having the hardest time with the dynamics of a 3 child family even though I was the youngest and I did feel like I was the odd man out when I was a child. I thought that was just being the only girl and 4 yrs younger than my brother (the 2 boys were 2 yrs apart).

Can anyone comment on the middle child syndrome issue? Does adding a 4th reduce that dynamic?
I agree. I was the middle of 3 kids, and I was always the odd one out. I remember a trip to Disneyland when I was a little kid, and we were riding Space Mtn. Brother rode with dad, sister rode with mom. Guess who got stuck riding with a complete stranger? Yup, middle child. I think it's better with an even number of kids, that way nobody feels left out.

I had 4 step siblings, and they seemed to have a better balance.

"The decision to have a child is momentous because it is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.''
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#28 of 36 Old 09-29-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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The genders matter. If 1 and 2 are opposite genders then it is like having two first-borns in terms of birth order, and no "middle-child", even in a family of 3.
My experience is quite different here. #1 is a boy, #2 is a girl, #3 is a girl. And #2 has some pretty bad middle child stuff going on right now. She's driving DH and I a little crazy. But she's always been high-needs, from day one, so maybe that's the difference? I don't know. All I know is that when #3 was concieved, DH said, "Now we have to have a 4th so DD2 won't have middle child syndrome!"

#3 will be one this week, so we're looking at TTC in the next 3-4 months and hopefully they'll be 2 or a little more years apart. My first 2 are 26 months apart and I liked that spacing a lot.

Wife to a great DH, SAHM to 3 great kids
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#29 of 36 Old 09-30-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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My experience is quite different here. #1 is a boy, #2 is a girl, #3 is a girl. And #2 has some pretty bad middle child stuff going on right now. She's driving DH and I a little crazy. But she's always been high-needs, from day one, so maybe that's the difference? I don't know. All I know is that when #3 was concieved, DH said, "Now we have to have a 4th so DD2 won't have middle child syndrome!"

#3 will be one this week, so we're looking at TTC in the next 3-4 months and hopefully they'll be 2 or a little more years apart. My first 2 are 26 months apart and I liked that spacing a lot.
Yeah- it's so much more complex than just one set formula isn't it? In my case the middle is a boy, flanked on either side by girls, and the fact that he gets so much attention for typical boy stuff (good coordination etc) leads me to believe he won't have so many "middle" issues. I wonder, though, if my last had been a boy, would he have needed to seek identity through attn. seeking behavior instead of just gender.

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Originally Posted by LaurieG View Post
Hmm.. DH's family was all boys. So does that mean if our theoretic DC 4 was a boy then my middle guy would still be the middle guy and DD would be like a firstborn?
So what are your kids genders?
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#30 of 36 Old 09-30-2009, 02:56 AM
 
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I love having 4. They are all pretty closely spaced (the closest are 19 months apart, the farthest are 2y5mo.). I did get lucky with genders though, 2 boys followed by 2 girls. They are all so close and love each other so much that I just LOVE watching them interact. The fight too of course, but the good moments far outweigh the bad. Just last night the 6 year old insisted on putting his sisters (age 4 and 2) to bed. He snuggled up with them, held their hands and sang them lullabyes. The youngest wasn't satisfied until I came in to nurse her but the 4 year old happily went to sleep. Then I woke up this morning to the 8 year old complaining because his roommate slept in another room all night!.

I find that 3 was a harder dynamic. Too much competition or something. Just like when as a child I had 2 best friends, no matter what 2 of our 3 would pair off to play and that always left someone out. With 4 there is always someone left to play with. Even the 8 yo will happily play with the 2yo if the other two are involved in some sort of game. It works out great.

I also like how dh and I can split them. He can take 2 while I take the other 2. One for each hand And 4 really doesn't seem like many. I take them everywhere except the pool (without help) on my own all the time. It isn't difficult at all.

I will say though that there is a certain kind of chaos that comes from having more kids. You just have to expect noise and mess. And laundry. Lots of laundry But also, Four kids who light up MY face when they enter a room. Four versions of every experience excitedly relayed to me (all at once). Four giant goodnight hugs and kisses. I can't imagine how much poorer my life would be without any of them.

I also look ahead to the future. I am also one of four children. I have 3 older brothers and as the only girl I was always the outsider. My bros are also all close in age whereas I am 4 years younger than the youngest (7 years younger than the oldest). Being a bit younger and a different gender always made me the outsider, though as we got older the age difference didn't seem so big. My oldest brother had an adverse reaction to an antibiotic which destroyed his liver. As his health has deteriorated his siblings have really rallied around him. Having so many siblings has really helped as the financial burden of caring for someone who can no longer work (and doesn't receive enough benefits to even cover rent) is shared. Taking him to appointments falls to the siblings who live closest and there is always someone to help when necessary. If there were less of us it would definitely be more of a strain. Also, this would all be too much for my parents who have health concerns of their own. My dad is also in poor health. It is nice to know that there are four of us to pull together when my mom is left on her own one day (she is 11 years younger than my dad and he is in poor health currently).

I just feel that more is better! I love my family of four kids. I would totally have more if dh was on board as the ones I have fill my life with so much joy that it is hard to imagine NOT having another one to add to the love and chaos of our lives. And once you get used to the mess and noise (and did I mention the laundry?) it hardly matters if there is just a little more!


 

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