My children are always together. They have never been separated for more than a short period of time. From birth, they been together for school, meals, playtime, and, for some of them, even when they sleep.
When my two older boys were two and four, it occurred to me that they were spending every single moment of their lives together. They shared a room and all of their toys, they sat next to each other at the table and in the car, the only time they were apart was when they went to the bathroom! And sometimes, not even then. I thought it was absolutely incredible that they weren’t trying to kill each other. Much. At least not on purpose.
All of this together time can have some huge benefits. They know each other better than I have ever known anyone in my life. They relate to people of all different ages. They also seem to learn a lot from each other.
It can also have some not so nice results. The practical jokes get to be a bit much, and the closer someone is to you, the faster they can push your buttons. Also pee lightsaber wars are not something anyone wants to clean up after. Trust me.
One of the benefits of all this together time is that I get to hear some VERY interesting conversations. One of the conversations today was so interesting that I thought you might like to listen in.
The children were eating lunch together and I was getting a start on preparing dinner. Seriously, a very large percentage of my time revolves around the feeding of these people. The conversation at the table was about growing up and where they wanted to live.
Firstborn has been thinking about how much more convenient it would be to live in the apartment above the computer store where he works. That way he would have awesome internet service and could be at the job he loves with a passion within moments of waking up. Or, more accurately, he could sleep until moments before he had to work.
Second Son is still weighing his options. He knows that he doesn’t like the thought of having a lot of neighbors, but being a rock star will probably require living somewhere where he can scrounge up an audience.
Spitting image just wants to live in France. Anywhere in France. She is thinking of opening an American bakery there. I always get this image of a bakery that only serves Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, but I’m sure she has much bigger things in mind.
Huggy isn’t sure where she will live. She says she needs a place where she can be a midwife. Or maybe an orthopedic surgeon. Either one is fine as long as they can fund her “ministry”. She’s pretty sure that God has called her to be a dictator. It’s ministry because the world would drastically improve if she were in charge of everything and made all of the rules.
Baby Snarky was listening to all of their ideas very quietly. Finally he said, with great confidence, “I am never moving out of this house. I am going to live with mommy forever.”
His older sibling chuckled at this and then Second Son said “I’ll bet that someday you will meet a lovely young girl who will change your mind.”
Baby Snarky looked at Second Son with a face full of disgust and said “No, I am staying right here with mommy. She will need me when she is too old and I will take care of her.”
He is now my favorite.
Spitting Image laughed and said “Don’t you even want to get married and have your own kids? I don’t think your wife is going to want to live with your parents!”
Baby Snarky looked horrified as he said “No! No girl is ever going to make me leave! If some girl walks by our house and wants to marry me, I will run up to my room and shut the door! If she is pretty, I will go to the store and buy some curtains and hang them over my window so I can’t see her! I am staying here with Mommy!”
The other kids then all shrugged and moved onto a different topic.
It suddenly occurred to me that my four older children are very smart. All of that time together has given them the ability to work together seamlessly. You see, my older children don’t care if they are my favorite. All they care about is that now none of them are responsible for my elderly care. It’s all their baby brother’s responsibility. They even got him to insist on it!
They are like little Tom Sawyers getting out of whitewashing the fence, except they are getting out of changing their parents’ diapers. I have to admit that I am impressed. I wonder how long they have been working on this.
I also wonder if I should take Baby Snarky out for ice cream. We can discuss things like life support and how there is always hope. I also need to start forming the opinion that cruise ships are the nursing home choice of the future. My kids can probably work together on funding that.