You know you have a biggish family when......it's a peaceful treat to go out with only three children.
I should have known that people would take that as a challenge to come up with their own conclusion to that sentence, and they did! So here are their responses, with some additional comments from me now, because, hey, rambling on is one of the things I do best:
From a family with four children (twins aged 10, a six-year-old, and a three-and-a-half-year-old):
...you don't own any small pots and pans and cook EVERYTHING in bulk!
We do actually own one small pot, and one small frying pan! But they're certainly not used for family meals--more for when just a couple of people are home or when a teenager is making a midnight (or any-other-time-of-day-or-night) snack. My husband also often (far, far, FAR too often) uses the small frying pan to make mushrooms and/or onions. He's the only one who eats them.
You count the children as you load them into the van, and occasionally leave one or two behind. (Memories of my childhood)
Well, obviously! Except that we don't have a van. :-( We did have a seven-seater car until last summer, but it died. Now the challenge of making sure we have all the children is made more complicated by the fact that on the rare occasion that we do go anywhere as a family, we have to take two cars, so it's that much easier to leave someone behind, but I don't THINK we've done it...)
When I was about 10 or so, I got left behind after church. I was sitting in a corner of the fellowship hall, reading, and didn't notice that everyone had left and the doors had been locked, until my dad unlocked the door to come in and look for me. (I'm the oldest of five.)
From another friend referring to her own childhood:
You hear your mother say, "Of course you should join us. It's just 2 more potatoes." (I'm the 4th of 5 daughters.)
Or your husband, in my case, since he does most of the cooking for the family and most certainly ALL of the cooking if we're having guests. I'm not quite sure why this relates to large families, though, since we were like this before we had children, too!
From the oldest of eight children:
You hear: "there will only be six people at dinner. It doesn't seem worthwhile to cook."
Well, my husband cooks anyway, even if it's just the two of us. (Um, not that it's exactly often that it's just the two of us, but he cooked every day for the three years BEFORE we had children, too.) It's not uncommon now to only have three children home for a meal, and the table feels so empty, with just five of us! But if my husband and older children aren't home, no, I don't see any point in cooking.
You have 8 nieces and nephews, and there are 20 something people at your family of origin reunion
I'm not even sure how many people we DID have at Thanksgiving in California last November, and one of my brothers and one of my nephews weren't even there.
From the youngest of six:
Cuando te dicen 5 nombres diferentes antes del tuyo (When they say five different names before they get to yours)
...and the same idea, from my oldest daughter:
Your mom calls you three or four names before she hits on the right one.
...and another from the same oldest of eight quoted above:
Your grandparents have to run through about ten names before they get to yours. And you're one of the oldest.
What can I say? I think this is pretty universal. Although also not necessarily exclusive to large families, as I managed to do this when I had only ONE baby: I kept calling her by the name of my youngest sister!! And when I told my mother about it, she confessed that when I was born, she kept calling me by the name of HER youngest sister.
Another from the youngest of six quoted above:
Y cuando los hermanos se van y la casa se siente grande! (When the siblings leave and the house feels big!)
I'm the oldest, so never had that experience. Maybe when/if my children have all moved out?
From the oldest of seven (I think just six at the time) children:
...you're at the park and most of the kids playing there are your siblings!
That's usually the case for my children when we go to the park, since we tend to go at times that aren't popular for other people!
...you say someone else has a "small" family because they "only" have four children.
I don't know...I'm with my mother on the idea that once you have three, you have more than you have hands, so after that, it really doesn't make much difference. (Except that it actually get easier. It's a LOT easier having a baby and/or toddlers with teens in the house than not!)
...the house feels empty because there are only five people home.
I had to laugh out loud at my oldest child saying this, since the vast majority of HER clothes have been hand-me-downs, too. We were given the first two huge bags of baby clothes more than a year before she was even born (and after I washed them--they smelled of cigarette smoke--hung them in the living room to dry rather than in the common drying room, so the landlord wouldn't see them), and in the months before she was born, was given enough baby clothes to clothe at least triplets by another friend. That friend continued supplying us with hand-me-downs until her daughters stopped growing. In fact, my youngest daughter now is wearing some clothes that have been through both of my friend's daughters AND all five of my older children. And many other people have given us hand-me-downs as well. This is wonderful for me, as I have very little (read "no") interest in clothes, detest shopping, and am not that keen on spending money, either.
Um...I started to write a comment on this, and the answer by itself was getting longer than an entire blogpost ought to be, so I guess that confirms the truth of it...
From the same fourth of five daughters above:
The neighbor kids come over to hang out and watch the "Three Ring Circus" that is your family life.
I haven't actually observed this one myself, unless I count a couple of adult friends who like to come over for that purpose...
From a mother of eight:
...everyone you meet has a mock heart attack when you answer the question "How many children do you have?"
I found this surprising from this particular friend, since she lives here in Cyprus, and the response we personally most often receive is "Bravo! God bless you!" However, in Germany and the United States, yes, that's the reaction we generally receive. But then, in Germany, we got that reaction with only three children...
Conclusion: yes, we have a biggish family. :-)