I've always wondered what life would've been like had my husband & I not made the decision to stop having children after 2. Though, I absolutely hated pregnancy & am happy not to go through it, again, there are times I am just a bit envious of those with big families. While I love my children & wouldn't change them for anything, they are such different people that disagreements are inevitable and as they've grown, the gap between them has widened quite a bit. They fight about everything, lately, from the games they play to the shows they watch. They see the world in completely different ways, which makes it difficult, sometimes, to find that middle ground. Having other children around for them to interact with would certainly help at those times, by broadening their perspective and eliminating the boredom that comes with only having each other on a day to day basis.
After spending an evening with 6 children (my 2, plus 4 belonging to our neighbors), I can totally see the benefits of having a big family. Though, I'm sure things are much different around bed time, there is that sense of safety in numbers. Not only do they keep each other entertained, it's a far easier feeling when sending them out to play in a pack vs. sending them out as a 1 or 2. For about 2 hrs, last night, there were no injuries, no fights, and no one asking mom/dad to get them anything. I gave them each a flashlight, sent them outside, and the rest developed out of their collective imaginations. It was joyous watching them run around the house, playing some form of hide & seek in the dark.
While my body is done having children, the experience of numbers has spurred a realization that the best way to get my children past their fighting is to give them far more exposure to other children. So today, as a trial, I have a 5 yr old boy coming to stay with us for about 5 hrs. I'm hoping it goes well, as if it does, I have the option to become his regular caretaker, 2-3 evenings/week, through the summer and in to the school year. I am a tad bit nervous about the prospect, as I haven't taken on a position like this since having children. However, the idea of having a permanently scheduled play date for the kids, in addition to extra income, is pushing me to really want this to work. I also feel as if fate is once again trying to show me the direction I need to go. The boy's parents contacted me out of the blue, right when I'd been considering such an idea. That perfect timing is difficult to deny. No matter what happens tonight, I'll know I at least did my best to go with the flow and trust that something worthwhile will come out of the experience.