17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From the Tales Inbox: Here Comes the Circus

"Here comes the circus." I actually heard one of my neighbors say this to another neighbor as I walked by with five children under the age of six in tow. He didn't say it in a nice way. Granted, two of the five children come to my home three afternoons a week and don't belong to me. But still that comment has rolled around in my head for months now.

On the one hand, I know its true. We are a boisterous gaggle of free spirits. My six-year-old daughter is a ringleader of no small consequence and the others run after her with great relish. They scream, laugh, chase and bicker with abandon. To try to get them to walk quietly in two straight lines (in rain or shine...) would be a fruitless effort.

So, why did I feel guilt, and even shame when I heard that? Why can't I let that particular comment slide off me like so much water off a duck's back?

I think what it boils down to is a latent embarrassment that I felt during my own adolescence as the third of eight children. Seven girls followed by one boy at the end. I remember one time when I was in high school we were all eating breakfast together at McDonalds on the first day of school. A bus of tourists from China came to the same restaurant and went wild when they saw us. They took pictures of us, with us, and videotaped the entire scene. It was like that (maybe not to that extreme) wherever we went - volume and mayhem followed us.

Now, though, I do revel in the gang of family that surrounds my children and me. Our gatherings are such a pleasure because there are so many to love and play with. But it took time to get to this point and I feel like I have started regressing ever since I heard that stupid comment. Oh, and since I heard this other one a month or so later. A lady on my block told a friend of mine (the lady didn't know we were friends) "and in the end town home is a lady whose got, like, ten kids running around." As if having children running around is derogatory.

I know in my heart that I don't have to care about what my neighbors think - and I do have many wonderful neighbors, some with children and without, who are loving and tolerant of my family. I am raising my spirited children the best way that I know and that involves lots of being outside - walking to the park, racing down the sidewalk, searching for nature treasures and disciplining as necessary. I guess that is just the price you pay when you have us in the neighborhood. But, if you want friends who love to have a great time, who will help you whenever they can and who can provide a good kid anecdote for any occasion, we're there for you. As much as my kids drive me crazy, they are a joy, a riot and my favorite companions. My job is not for the faint of heart, I can attest - and we're actually quite sure that three children is as large as our family will grow. But those three are the best things I've ever been in charge of. So, to all you neighbors, who aren't thrilled with my chaos, either join my circus - we'd love to have you - or please be patient as we pass by.

From Tales reader Corinne.


  • I wish you were my neighbor.
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 8/15/2006 12:08:00 PM  

  • I always love visiting my sister (who has ten kids). Yes, it's a circus, but you can't help but feel the love, and melt into the fun even amid all the chaos. Thanks for your post.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/15/2006 07:11:00 PM  

  • I'm really good at telling people not to worry about what other people think, but really BAD at doing so myself.
    I say dress your kids up like clowns, get a seal, a lion and an elephant, practice some tricks and give that neighbor a real circus!
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 8/15/2006 08:42:00 PM  

  • Ooh! I like melissa's idea --my friends, siblings and I would do just that (minus the seal) and go around doing "parades" and circus "performances" to our neighbors every summer. Some loved it --others definitely did not.

    I get irritated when I hear people even saying "wow, what a large family!" to anyone that has less than 12 kids, so I probably won't be a very calm advocate for your plight, but an advocate none-the-less. :) Don't let what that guy said bother you. (easier said than done!) Because honestly, it doesn't matter what he said/says/feel/etc. I think it's great that you have so many kids and so much love running around your home. I hope to be more like that...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 8/15/2006 09:46:00 PM  

  • I'm one of ten (granted, we've got steps and halves in there, but we all get along), and just spent the last two weeks with my sister (six kids) and brother (six kids) at my home--we've got six, also. We just decided to let the house go to pot so we could play games, visit, float the river, whatever. It was heavenly. The house seems very quiet now.

    My sis and her husband took two of my girls to Disneyland a couple of years ago. They had all kinds of smart-alek comebacks to give to people who asked, "Are they ALL yours?" My favorite was, "Yes, we have rescued them all from orphanages in Romania. Would you like to donate to their college fund?"

    When I get the inevitable questions about my brood from strangers, I just like to tell them that I'm doing my part to keep Social Security solvent.
    posted by Anonymous Idahospud at 8/15/2006 10:09:00 PM  

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