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The Fourth Kid Phenomenon

Somewhere is an unwritten rule that families should be comprised of two kids, preferably a boy and a girl, two parents, and a dog.  It’s also widely acceptable to expand into a third “wild card” kid if you’re feeling adventurous.  But after that, you’re cut off.  Any subsequent children cross the threshold of normal and venture into TLC series territory.

Those of you who have four or more kids know exactly what I’m talking about: that sideways glance in the grocery store, the comments about birth control, the “are you done?” interrogations.  And sure, judgement aside, maybe there is some validity to some of their questions.  After all, having a large family IS challenging.

In my case, I never expected to have three children, let alone four, but multiples will take every plan you’ve ever made while playing MASH or taking magazine quizzes as a tween, and smash it into a million tiny pieces. Let me tell you what a shock DOUBLING my children in one swoop was, especially since I was totally guilty of being that judgy mom at Target, not even trying to disguise my horrified look at the sight of another mom with a million kids in tow. I was convinced I’d NEVER be a “breeder,” but karma smiled down on me as I now stroll leisurely through aisles wearing one, pushing two, and beckoning for the fourth.

Obviously there are quite a few significant areas of our lives that were impacted with four children.  We can no longer drive any old car since we need spots for six, plus all the car seat configurations have to function while still leaving some trunk space for that massive double stroller (which is ironically the size of the cars most people drive).  Then there is our living space in general; almost all homes come in three or four bedroom options, which means at least two of our kids will be sharing for the foreseeable future, and that a guest bedroom is out of the question.  I’ll spare you the details of shopping carts, bathroom stalls, airplanes, and so on.  I think you get the idea.

In spite of everything, there is something magical that happens with the birth of a fourth child that the grocery store gawkers will never understand.  A fourth baby somehow understands that your hands are full and just sort of slips on into the family, ultimately causing your heart to fill to a capacity you never knew possible.  A fourth child adds symmetry, which eases so many little conflicts in the household: which sibling has to be left out?  Which parent ties which kid’s shoes? Who sits by who at dinner? Even numbers simplify so many things. My kids always have a playmate, even if they’re mad at one or two of their sisters; the numbers prevent them from ganging up on each other.  Oh, and sharing? They have no choice but to be pros.

And then there are the changes that I’ve noticed within myself.  Not only am I more patient, but I’m also more organized since a 2:1 kid to adult ratio can quickly become a logistical nightmare. Finding childcare and feeding a small army has forced me to be more frugal, and I can now honestly say that I feel supremely victorious when I snag a bargain. And just like the Grinch, I’m convinced my heart grew two sizes the day I had twins, and now I feel even closer to my older kids. Four kids drove me away  from having two children as a wardrobe accessory and pushed me to be a MOM.  To actually love, enjoy, and appreciate my tiny creations.

Sure, my house is messier and my bills are a little higher, but none of it equates to the phenomenon of having four children.  I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not for everyone, and that you should probably reread the first half of this post if you’re considering adding on to your family.  But all the stress, preparation, worrying, sleepless nights, and utter chaos, has been 100% worth every last drop of love that resonates in my home.  I am THAT mom at the store, so stare away because I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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3 Responses to The Fourth Kid Phenomenon

  1. Amy C. January 12, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    This is perfect.

  2. Anna January 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    100x yes. To all of this. We did a little doubling action at the also. A little surprise doubling action. Love this post!

  3. MEGHAN January 20, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

    Love this!!! We are expecting baby number 3 and my husband keeps saying 3 is the limit!!! We shall see…..