I think its because Cora is a proper baby now, rather than a newborn, or that maybe its because she is nearly one, but recently I have had quite a lot of questions about adding to our family. I was getting them over here but when we went back to England in July not a day went by without at least someone feeling the need to comment on us and our large brood. It makes me laugh writing ‘large brood’ as I’m sure some of the people reading this are like ‘er right, 5 kids that’s nothing compared to my 11/the 8 I grew up with/my grannys 12 children’!
|The Clev’s do the Tullamore Show sheepdog display.
I want a sheepdog that herds my children when I’m in Penny’s.
I get that to most people we are a big family and having 5 kids is pretty unusual, I get the looks and stares when we all go out. I clearly remember being about 17 or 18 and being horrified on hearing that one of my mums old students was 24 and expecting her THIRD baby – and it was planned. I also distinctly remember calling her a slagbag even though she was married and owned her own house at the time and was generally faring a lot better than I would be when I hit 24, funny how the ole universe catches up with you isn’t it!!!
|Sunset walks around the village|
On the ferry trip back home from England an older lady watched us the whole time. We somehow managed to commandeer an entire table and set up with our pillows and blankets and iPad to watch Frozen. I became aware of her watching about 30 minutes into the journey and turned to Ian and rolled my eyes, I thought we were being pretty good and certainly a lot better behaved than some of the families we were traveling with. Anyway, at the end of the journey she came over and said “I couldn’t take my eyes off your family, all so beautiful and so well behaved, I only wish I would have had more children myself, enjoy every moment with them”. I of course felt guilty for my earlier eye rolling and got a bit emotional and babbled my thanks over and over. I love when people comment on our family and I love when we make other people smile because we are all well behaved and loving each other, and not demonstrating some of our less fortunate qualities!!!
Its not all nice comments though. On a day out back in Surrey with my brother-in-law and niece a woman in the queue in-front of us looked down at the children and asked open mouthed if they were all mine. I instinctively answered ‘YES’ before I had to go back and say that actually one wasn’t and was my niece (although she does just jump in and fit right in with my crew!!). Yummy Mummy of one perfect child commented in her plummy Surrey accent along the lines of ‘yes six kids would be too much chuckle chuckle chortle chortle’, to which I replied “oh well we are hoping to make her (pointing at Cora) the middle one, and have at least 10, we cant possibly stop at an odd number”. Suffice to say that shut her up!
Even my own father has to ask me at least 3 times a month when the next one is coming, or if I’m already pregnant, or even more awkwardly when Ian is going to get castrated. I’m pretty sure that up until we moved over here my Mum was on edge about the possibility of more grandchildren, but she seems to have calmed down a bit now! Mr Clev’s mum on the other hand can always be relied upon to encourage us to go forth and procreate. Her words as soon as Luis’ First Holy Communion mass ended were ‘ohhhh please have more children, they are all so beautiful and lovely and you are just the best parents and I love coming over here and spending time with you all”. I do love her!!!!
I never got asked when I had one child, or two children if I would have any more. It seems the more kids you have the more questions you have to field, the more personal they become and the more fascinated people are by the state of your uterus.
I don’t have any plans to become pregnant, I also have no plans to permanently prevent another pregnancy like getting sterilized or making Ian chop his balls off – which is actually something I threaten, a lot. Spending time with our extended families back in England just highlighted to Mr Clev and I how happy we are when its ‘just’ us 7. I’m not trying to say we don’t love nanny s and granddads and cousins and siblings because we do, but we both come from pretty drama filled families and its nice to be just us and the kids in our own space. We love our large brood and we love parenting them and all being together.
We support them financially ourselves, we will put them through university if they want to go (even though I joke they will have to draw straws!), and I personally don’t see them missing out on loads of stuff because there’s more than one of them. They do classes and camps and all sorts of fun stuff, OK so we have not had an abroad holiday in 8 years but we have plans to, and its my mission in life to not die until I leave them with a property and some kind of money in a bank somewhere. My hands are full, and my purse is empty, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, in answer to those most common questions about our children, our family, and our future plans….
1) We love them all the same with no favourites. Some days some of them are harder to get along with than others, and some of them are in harder phases of life than others (Miss terrible twos 2012 I’m talking about you there), but it doesn’t mean we love them any less.
2) We try and spend individual time with them all. It doesn’t always happen, but we do make an effort, even more so now that Mr Clev works at home. 1 on 1 time and whole family time is something that is super important to me as a parent and something I have been consciously working on for a few years now.
3) I don’t know how I do it either. I’m certainly not mad or crazy (well I guess that’s down to personal opinion, but for one I know people who have less kids than me and are waaaay more mentally unstable) and I do have my hands full both literally and most of the time figuratively so thanks for pointing that one out.
4) No we aren’t trying to be like that huge family off the TV (The Kardashians or The Duggars) but if you want to pay me millions to have a film crew follow me around Aldi and to various kids activities 24/7 then have your people call my people and we can sort something out.
5) I’m not sure if we will have any more children and what number we would stop at if we did, and to be honest its really not any of your beeswax, but I’m glad I’m approachable enough that you feel you can ask me that.
6) Yes we do know what causes it, if by ‘it’ you mean producing beautiful children thank you very much!
7) Yes we do have a TV and no we don’t need a bigger one, but seriously???come on – if you think TV is better than sex then you are doing it wrong!!!!!