Monday, October 06, 2008
A Meditation on Children: By the Numbers
Author's note: After reading my friend, Philospher-Mom's, posting on Answer to Challenge Math Problem for Gestational Genuises , I started thinking about some child-related math questions of my own. This is the result.
Last year, a local family magazine ran an article on large families. They wanted to know funny stories and interesting anecdotes that would make people-who-drive-normal-cars-that-still-hold-their-entire-family laugh. They wanted to know things like: how many loads of laundry we do each week (10-12), how many socks are included in that set (168, plus or minus one, since there's always an odd number), how many gallons of milk we drink each week (5-7, same number of loaves of bread), and how many times we've forgotten kids at various locations throughout the planet (Editor's note: deleted for space).
They were too tasteful to ask more personal questions regarding pregnancy and bodily fluids--after all, it is a family magazine!
But you, gentle readers, are eager to know these intimate details, so I have decided to hold nothing back. So pour yourself a cup of coffee, turn down Oprah, and enjoy the math.
How about the total length of time I've been pregnant? 76 months. This includes 8 full-term pregnancies, 1 miscarriage and 2 adoptions. (Math answer: that's 6 years and 4 months).
How long have I been a nursing mom? A whopping 111 months! (That's more than 9 years...and that includes a 14+ hour military transport flight from Naples, Italy to the U.S. via Germany and Iceland with me in uniform and a newborn infant whose diapers I changed on the in-flight tray table...remember that next time you dine at 30,000 feet!)
How long have I been a homeschooling mom? Over 17 years.
We currently have 3 in college. We will have between 1 and 4 in college every year for the next 16 years (assuming all go to a 4-year college after high school).
We currently have 5 teenagers.
I've driven a 15-passenger van for 13 of my 21 years of marriage.
If you add up my kids' ages, you'll find we have 113 kid-years' experience as parents. (Editor's note: we should be honest and subtract the first 2 years of our youngest 2 children's lives because they didn't come home to live with us until they were 2 years old). O.K. That makes 109 kid-years!
So that should make me some kind of authority on parenting, right? All I know is this: before I had kids, I thought I had time. Now that I have kids, I know I don't have time. Before I had kids I thought I knew what love was. Now that I have kids, I do know what love is. Before I had kids, I thought I had patience. Now I have kids, and I'm just beginning to learn the meaning of patience.
Finally, my top ten rules learned after 109 kid-years of parenting:
1. Keep your sense of humor.
2. If it stinks, wash it.
3. "Because I said so," is a good enough reason.
4. They are cuter when they're asleep.
5. No matter how much we try to deny it, the fact is, we do become our mothers.
6. This, too, shall pass.
7. We need these kids as much as they need us.
8. (Often said 9 months later): "What were we thinking?"
9. Tell God (or your mother) your plans; it'll make them laugh.
10. If all else fails, see #1.
copyright Debbie Nowak 2008