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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Northern Virginia/DC metro area
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    Hmmm. Fascinating. I have a very tentative theory.

    I'm the oldest of four, and there's a huge age gap between #2 and #s 3 and 4. My sister and I have helped babysit/amuse/put to bed/feed our brothers since day one, so I think my mother is probably much less stressed now than she was when my sister and I were her only children. Maybe once you hit four kids, the odds that the older ones will help out with the younger ones increase? That and the religion thing are the only explanations I can think of.
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  2. #8
    I only have 3, but I have heard from many women (before this study came out) that three was their hardest. They said that it wasn't so much that it got easier the more children they had, but that it just wasn't any harder. Part of this is just the plain fact that unless you are dealing with multiples, it is hard to have 4 children under a certain age, that children are much less demanding as they get older, and that they help more. There is also the idea that children do well in a litter. I love it when my kids get together with cousins. They entertain and stimulate each other and then by the end of an afternoon they have tired each other out. My job is to supervise and mediate. I actually think its easier in some ways when I babysit for my sister's kids than when I just have my own. When I had my first, I was down on the floor shaking the rattle and bang on the piano keys to SHOW my baby what was fun just so I could get him occupied long enough to finish the dishes. By the time I had my third, there was so much noise and commotion around the house that I don't honestly believe my one year old knows what boredom is. He's still a Mama's boy and demands a lot of my energy, but he also really loves spending time with his siblings (and they with him). I am pregnant with my fourth, let's hope things go smoothly .
    Mom to Henry, Mollie, Gideon, and expecting Clark Ebenezer in November.

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    763
    A cousin of my mom's says even numbers are best because the children play together in twos (Two's a couple, three's a crowd) Have you read Betsy-Tacy?) She has four kids herself.
    I agree part of it is the religious thing (although my cousins in a big family are incredibly status obsessed, even though they're religious.) Also it depends on spread out they are. In some ways my grandmother had more problems with 2 since they were very close age and than she did with three. A friend of my mom had it easier with 6 because the last 2 were much younger than the first four. It's interesting most of the middle children I know are the easiest. I think its because the youngest are much younger and they are different genders. Like b-g-b, b-g-b, g-b-g, and g-b-b. Anyway if you do want three kids I recommend having the first two closer together and the last one at least three or four years younger. That seems to work well.

  4. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,580
    Quote Originally Posted by geeknamezyo View Post
    Hmmm. Fascinating. I have a very tentative theory.

    I'm the oldest of four, and there's a huge age gap between #2 and #s 3 and 4. My sister and I have helped babysit/amuse/put to bed/feed our brothers since day one, so I think my mother is probably much less stressed now than she was when my sister and I were her only children. Maybe once you hit four kids, the odds that the older ones will help out with the younger ones increase? That and the religion thing are the only explanations I can think of.
    I've heard the same theory from my friend's mom (who has four sons). She said that by the time her youngest was born, the oldest was able to help out so adding another baby didn't make things harder. One thing I read was that somewhere around 4-5 years old is when a child kind of "turns a corner" of being able to help as much or more than needing help, so how much harder life becomes when adding a new baby depends on how many children are under 5(ish) and how many are old enough to pitch in and help with the younger ones, or at least play independently.
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