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Friday, April 09, 2010


Karen Paul-Stern

My 3 children are now 8, 10 and 14, and it's both a delight and utterly exasperating to live with my wonderful family. I grew up with one sister 5 years younger than me, and my husband's sister was 8 years younger than him. We both knew we wanted three, although I'm not sure I can parse the reasons. I love the dynamic of three kids - and we're lucky that our age and gender separations have made them pretty close and there isn't a lot of fighting and squabbling. But boy, when #3 came along and for several years after, I felt like I had fallen into an abyss, never to climb back out. Today, I have a more manageable life, but crave solitude like it was crack.

Amanda Morin

I just had my third child in February. The children are 14, 7 and 2-months old which truly represents an insane age difference. I have to agree with Karen--adding the third child does sometimes feel like falling into the abyss. We can't figure out how this tiny little person makes it feel as though there are 15 children in our house!

I'm one of 3, my husband is one of 4, so we both remember what it was like growing up in a house in which the man-to-man defense was no longer an option. However, I'm the middle child and he's the oldest, so our memories of how it worked are very different. My recollection is of everyone vying for attention and fighting because of it, his recall is of all his siblings getting along and playing together.

What I find extraordinary is that #3 makes me identify with my parents more than I ever did before. I keep thinking that this is what it must have been like for them when they were in their mid-30s and it provides me with a whole new respect.


I've noticed some similarities between families of one, two and three children. The families with one child seem to have the strongest inclination for order, calm, and everything going according to plan. The big families have the biggest tolerance for chaos. What I wonder is, were they like that before they decided on their family size, or was it a consequence?

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