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ADVICE: Dear Angel

My wife and I have joined our families from previous marriages and now there are eight children and the two of us. Because my wife and I are almost the same age, and we have triplets and twins our children are within an eight year span of each other in age. All the children are currently between five and thirteen and, I must say, we create a noteworthy sight when we go out together, which is most of the time. No one wants to nor can babysit eight and if we leave them alone, bedlam ensues.

Yes, they didn't ask for this burden but neither did you or your wife. We all know poo poo happens. And it happens to everyone, sooner in this case to you and the elder children, and later to everyone else.

Unfortunately, many of the comments and looks we get are not pleasant. We hear, "Haven't you heard of birth control?" or "Are you a school or what?" or "There are already too many people in this world."

Do we answer back or continue to just smile tightly and move on?

We love our kids and cherish each one but it is not easy with so many mouths to feed, so many bodies to clothe and the costs of the simplest pleasures, like ice cream cones, are daunting. And keeping them under control in public is hard work but for the most part, I think we are successful. But they are children and there are a bunch of them.

Are we wrong? Should we just stay home and hide? Neither of us planned on eight kids. Neither one of us even planned for more than two. My wife had one child and then no more came. She and her late husband wanted one more, used fertility pills and triplets resulted. I wanted two, had them and then, a slip as they say and the slip was twins. No fertility drugs, just nature. My ex-wife and I are divorced because she couldn't take the twins on top of the other two (and they were handfuls) and just chose not to be a mother anymore.

We realize it is probably going to be a ten year slog before we ever get to go out to a nice restaurant with just the two of us. And a vacation for the two of us is impossible for at least a decade.

There are times, not too often, when we finally get everyone to bed and we sit together and quietly cry over our frustrations and exhaustion.

Any realistic advice for us? We aren't desperate but we are wearing out.

Tired Twosome

Dear Tired:

First of all, let me praise you and your wife for the generosity and love, the selflessness and sacrifice and the genuine pluck you show handling this overwhelming blessing as you have done and are doing.

With no sarcasm or ill will intended, please let me beg you to use every kind of birth control you can, to keep your contributions to the world's population where it now stands.

You don't mention any financial hardship, so I am going to assume that while the costs of a family of this size can never be easy to cover, you two are managing that part.

The oldest child or children, male or female, can and should be trained to grow as quickly as possible into responsible caretakers for the other, younger children. And they should all be trained to help you two and the older children and each other to make this a team effort. And the object of this team is for all to survive as an intact, functioning and loving family.

Older children have been substitute parenting since time began. And I realize, the older children may feel this situation isn't fair to them. Yes, they didn't ask for this burden but neither did you or your wife. We all know, poo poo happens. And it happens to everyone, sooner in this case to you and the elder children, and later to everyone else.

Within three years, you should be able to take some breaks from all the togetherness. You two get some time off, the older children get some different time off and the youngest get some treat for good behavior.

Continue to go out together. There are free or inexpensive open spaces everywhere: parks, countrysides and hiking areas. Use the buddy system, pair four older with four younger, to build responsibility and safeguard the smallest. Walking in the best exercise in the world and it helps youngsters and adults work off their nervous energy. When everyone can ride a bicycle, you can expand your outings to cycling.

As for the negative remarks, start keeping track and you will note that many, many more folks are smiling at your family than criticizing it. Don't let a few mouthy nattering nabobs of negativity bother you. Anyone who can raise eight kids is made of stronger stuff than that. You are heroes and your entire family can be a heroic example to everyone you meet.

Keep up the good work, make a few critical changes and realize that life has many blessings to bring you, and sooner than you think.

The very best to you from the,

Angel

©

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Understanding Engineers

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, and that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."

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