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Octuplets, Schmoctuplets!!

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Guest blogger Christine Bartsch: Growing up with five sisters and three brothers was a lot of fun, but believe me, it's not all cute and cuddly. Here's a rundown of what growing up will be like for the California octuplets.

christines family of nine children
Pros:
Friends in Family
- The beauty of so many siblings is that you're never at a loss for a playmate or barhopping buddy you can trust. My sisters have become some of my best friends -- now that we've survived the large family chaos of eleven people yelling.

Expanded Wardrobe - Once I hit the teen years, it was kinda nice to have five other wardrobes to pull from. Of course, we'd end up fighting over the same sweater -- because when you share clothes with so many, you tend to forget who owns what.

Less Parental Supervision - When fundamental family activities have to function in military fashion to get accomplished in a timely manner, parents become exhausted and easily distracted, so it was easy to sneak off into trouble. Unfortunately, my oldest brother and sister picked up the slack, so they became almost like a second set of parents who were hip to our schemes. I can't imagine having seven or eight other kids my own age fighting for supremacy. I mean, how much of an edge can being fifteen minutes older than your siblings really give you?

Cons:
Stretching Food - I grew up drinking powdered milk and plenty of pasta to supplement the more expensive meat and veggies. It wasn't until my twenties that I realized people made chili without noodles -- ours was basically tomato soup dotted with hamburger, kidney beans, elbow macaroni and a dash of chili powder.

No Privacy - For several years, all six of us girls were stacked three high on two sets of triple bunk beds in one tiny bedroom -- so much for secrets.

Forever "One Of"
- When I visit my hometown, people don't remember me, they remember that I'm one of the Bartsch girls. At least I had the individuality of being the youngest. If my siblings had all been my same age, it would have been a bloodbath as we struggled to be individuals on the conveyor belt of large family life.

Waiting in Line - If you think waiting in the bathroom line at major sporting events is annoying, imagine waiting in one every morning. At least as I grew up, the numbers dwindled. I can't imagine the drama with eight teenagers fighting for mirror time. Despite the not-so-great parts, I wouldn't trade being one of nine kids for anything in the world -- but thinking of the California Eight, I'm glad I wasn't a twin.

What do you think the pros and cons of being one of eight would be? Comment below.


next: Saying 'Bye Bye' Kills Kids Every Year
30 comments so far | Post a comment now
teresa January 28, 2009, 1:27 PM

I too am the youngest of nine. In my family we were three girls and 6 boys. Growing up for me, it felt more like I was an only child. My sister was five years older than me, so the age gap left me pretty much on my own. I was spoiled rotten and I always got my way!

clarza January 28, 2009, 2:19 PM

Not quite as bad as I was the eldest of 5 children with 9 years between my youngest brother and me although my 4th sister died of cot death but I certainly agree with all of the above also with one of my aunties only being 7 years older than me I got all her hand me downs because money was tight. I would definately say though we have all grown up now and all hold down decent jobs, all still live in the same town and family occasions are always special because we all get on really well. They are the best friends I could ever have!!

JackieMacD January 28, 2009, 2:40 PM

There is no bigger love and no bigger drama than that of a large family. I’m the 11th of 13. This is a fun thing to talk about with other kids from big families. In fact, I think I will start a new group in the momlogic community for us!

Mary January 28, 2009, 2:49 PM

I am one of 10 kids, 6 girls & 4 boys. I was the 7th child. I can certainly relate to her description of how they ate chili. My mom also mixed it with spaghetti noodles. When we would have just chili (without the noodles), she also would add a can of water. I grew up thinking that’s how chili was supposed to be. Should have seen my husbands face the first time I served him chili!

jenny January 28, 2009, 2:50 PM

I’m the oldest of 8 and agree with all of the above. Another pro for the oldest is that after they helped out with supervising the younger ones, they can rope those same siblings into helping with their own. My 19yo sister is the best babysitter in the world for my 3 boys!

Anonymous January 28, 2009, 3:16 PM

i’m the baby of nine (5 girls and 4 boys)…..granted they are all “half-siblings” i consider them my brothers and sisters and we all lived together and loved eachother, and played and fought. it was always so much fun. now that i have 2 boys, i wonder how the heck my parents did it with 9!!!!

Mona January 28, 2009, 3:49 PM

I’m one of nine. My two brothers have an edge on how to talk to relate to girls. They each had 7 sisters.
We ate oatmeal for dinner, put hotdogs on pizza (peperoni), and drank powdered milk.We lived in a three bedroom house and my parents slept on a fold out couch in the living room for 12 years. One bathroom!! I never needed to make friends, because I always had a sister. It was a life.

Virginia Johns January 28, 2009, 6:09 PM

I’m number 4 out of 8 sisters, and I laughed out loud when I read some of the other comments. We had a two-bathroom house for 8 girls, and you can imagine what it was like trying to get ready to go to school in the mornings. My sisters and I are great friends despite the chaos of our growing up years. Not surprisingly, as adults none of us wanted big families. I have only 5 nieces and nephews, and have two grown sons of my own.

8th from the top 4th from the bottom January 28, 2009, 6:35 PM

We had 11, 8 girls 3 boys. We grew up in a 3 bedroom one bath house, don’t ask me how we made it but we did. We were fed a lot of potatoes, beans, and homemade bread. My mother always had us dressed nice and made most of our clothes. My father would work two jobs just to provide. The boys had one room, mom & dad had theirs and we too were two to a bed with two sets of bunkbeds. I had a girl and a boy that was it for me.

8th form the top 4th from the bottom January 28, 2009, 6:39 PM

P.S. we grew up in Bellflower…..

Anonymous January 28, 2009, 7:32 PM

I’m the youngest of seven (4 girls, 3 boys). This family with octuplets will be sleep-deprived, and overwhelmed for a long time, but they will have more love in their family than most people could ever comprehend. These kids will learn compassion, patience, sharing, and other life skills that only kids from big families can understand. It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Brian Guth January 28, 2009, 7:35 PM

I am the youngest of 11…granted it was easier for us because my parents could afford a large house and we had our own clothes and plenty of bathroom space….

Karen January 28, 2009, 8:50 PM

I can agree with what she said because the writer is my youngest sister. I’m smack dab in the middle of this family. However, the chili was made with a large can of tomoto juice too. We also used tomoto soup to stretch the marinara sauce for spaghetti and lasagna. Good idea’s for today’s economy. For special occasions Mom often sewed us matching outfits (see photo). We were sometimes allowed to pick out the color of the material. I remember standing to get fitted…we had couture clothes and didn’t even know it ~ ha,ha! Don’t forget the great camping vacations; never a hotel but always an adventure. They make for the best stories. Do you remember the buffalo? Ahhh…good times, good times.




MARY January 28, 2009, 10:55 PM

MY GOD!! THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!
I’M 1 OF 7 AND I AM THE ONLY GIRL. THE KICKER IS I ALWAYS WANTED 3 CHILDREN, BUT I HAVE 11 LIVING CHILDREN AND LOST 5. I HAVE A SET OF 12 YEAR OLD TWINS AND A SET OF ALMOST 5 YEAR OLD TRIPLETS ON THE 31ST OF THIS MONTH AND IT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING. I MEAN THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT AND WE GET ALONG FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN. I LOST 2 SETS OF TWINS AND A SON, BUT I’M SO GRATEFUL FOR THE ONES THAT ARE HERE. 6 GIRLS AND 5 BOYS AND MY OLDEST JUST MADE ME A GRANDMOTHER OF A 8LB 1 1/2 OZ BABY BOY ON JAN. 6, 2009 AND IT IS REALLY A BLESSING TO HAVE HIM AROUND. HAVING THESE BABIES MADE ME CHANGE MY LIFE AND BECOME A BETTER ME AND MOMMY. I NEVER HAD TO TAKE FERTILITY DRUGS OR ANYTHING;IT WAS SPONTANEOUS. I WAS A SINGLE PARENT FOR 13 LONG YEARS AND THEN GOD BLESSED ME WITH A FATHER FOR MY CHILDREN AND ME IF I MAY ADD. HAVING BABIES IS TRULY A BLESSING AND I’M HAPPY FOR THE NEW PARENTS. GOD BLESS!

babymakes7 January 29, 2009, 3:25 PM

HA! Funny thing is I was talking to my wife a couple of weeks ago about blogging about this very subject.

I am an only child and love it! I just shake my head and laugh at my wife, friends, and family who have sibling drama. It’s stuff like their brother pissed them off, or their forgetful sister dropped the ball on something important, ______ calls to gripe about their sibling because they did something to upset them. lol I have never, nor will ever have to deal with that.

I try to understand but I truly cannot relate 100%. My grandparents had 8 kids so it was not like I grew up alone as I always had a cousin or 3 to play with but of course it is not the same.

Granted I have five kids and can see the pros and cons by what they go through, but I would not have wanted to grow up any other way. I had fun with my cousins, but I also had fun being able to play Atari all by myself. :-)

Proud single child

Anonymous January 29, 2009, 3:39 PM

I was an only, and boy, was I lonely.

Poppy January 29, 2009, 5:41 PM

Octuplets can’t hand down clothes, so it’s 8 sets of everything!

Lucy January 29, 2009, 7:52 PM

I am the youngest of 12, 7 girls, 5 boys. 25 years between myself and the oldest. Before I was born, I had 2 nephews, now I have 45 nieces and nephews and 3 great nephews! My family is massive and I love it!

JackieMacD, setting up a new group community is a great idea!

Nia January 31, 2009, 9:15 PM

I am the 3rd of 4. Two boys and one girl, I grew up a Tomboy because my sister came eight years after. Things was hard for us and i never had to share anything until my sister’s top size was the same as mine that’s when the sibling fights started because my clothes was always ironed and hanged in the closet while she could never find something to put on. Eight kids is going to be a lot of NOISE imagine with four it got noisy.

J February 1, 2009, 9:31 AM

I am the eldest of seven girls. Fortunately, my full sister and I went to live with our mother after her divorce with my father. My father was married to my mother for a few years, divorced her, married another woman whose kids he adopted, and then had three more with her. It was a bit confusing at the beginning but we managed. The last two of his kids with her weren’t even born yet by the time we left with my mother. I met them when they were babies and I was around twelve. I hardly talk with any of them except with my full sister to this day. When dad died, his inheritance was divvied up in a seven-way split as everything else was growing up. I recall when we ate lunch, it was half a grilled cheese sandwich, no matter how old we were and what we needed. Clothes were usually tatters. I slept in a urine-soaked bed. We were poor but I never will forget the lessons I learned from that experience though. I have one son now. Keep the families small so we don’t overpopulate. I don’t like the fact others aren’t that considerate to the world’s population problem. I don’t like large families. I know it’s mean but I can’t help but look at the kids, then the parents and think nothing more of them as breeders. There’s little time in the day to spend with their kids, one on one. If you spend a recommended half hour with each child, you spent four hours alone just on each of the eight kids.


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