Monday, June 27, 2011

Large Families Part 3 - Meet the Roth's

Who does your family consist of (names & ages)?
Mike and Terra
Arianne age 12
Noah age 10
Gracie age 7
Zachary age 3
Sierra 7 months

What does your daily routine look like?
Our summer routine is a lot less hectic than our school days routine. We wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for our day (dressed, teeth brushed, beds made and chores done) and then we attempt to pick up our house or do laundry, or catch up on whatever task needs to be done. In a house with this many people there is ALWAYS laundry to be done. We try to play in the afternoon – Swimming, board games, video games, or playing outside are some of our favorite things to do.

Do the older children help with the younger children?
Yes, they are great helpers. Arianne has just started babysitting a little bit, and she is a great help when I need her to watch the baby so I can cook dinner, or take Zach to the bathroom, or run downstairs, etc. We have also let her start “watching” Zach while I make quick runs to the grocery store, since it’s only a few blocks away. Noah and Gracie will entertain Zach for me when needed and are always willing to snuggle with Sierra, run and grab a diaper, or an outfit, or whatever I might need. They are happy to help out.

Have you ever had any hard feelings with the older children?
Yes, at times. Zach is often jealous of the attention Sierra requires. Sometimes he just wants his mommy and he just can’t have me at that exact moment. Arianne told me once when Sierra was first born that she was afraid that I would forget her because I was so busy with the two younger ones. At times we have behaviour that isn’t the greatest from the older three and those are the days when, if possible, we just stop and play…it doesn’t matter if the laundry is stacked to the ceiling and you wouldn’t be able to see the sink because of the dishes, or the lawn is so tall we can’t find the weiner dog. Growing up is hard…I think a little jealousy towards the younger ones is pretty normal.

Do you feel that having a larger family brings you closer together?
I do think that is true. They all love to play with their dad, and there is no age limit to wrestling him down to the floor and tackling him. It’s been fun watching the progression as we have added to our family. Soon dad won’t stand a chance when little Sierra gets in the middle of the action too. We also eat as many meals together as possible, and most nights we take time to pray together before bed.

Do you have any tips for families teaching their children to work together?
We make sure everyone has a task and a goal to work towards, and we try to make things fun. We’ve tried to teach the kids that working together makes things get done faster and then we can play.

Tell us a few of your favorite stories of the kids interacting.
My favorite days are the ones where I go downstairs and see all 5 of the kids playing together in one room. Usually we have an elaborate plot, and everyone is a character and watching Sierra giggle and Zach belly laugh and knowing that the older 3 are genuinely enjoying playing warms my heart.

When we first moved into this house, Zach was 17 months old. There were stairs and we had no baby gate. Gracie spent one entire day teaching Zach to go up and down the stairs safely. It was very sweet. This summer, she has also taught him how to ride her little bike (with training wheels of course) and enjoys taking him outside and playing “jail” with him.

The older three love to draw and work on art projects. There is never a shortage of paper scraps, origami creations, and drawings laying around my house (which makes me nuts btw! Haha)

Tell us the funniest story of someone making a comment about the size of your family.
We constantly get the comments from people about “how busy” we are. (Yes we’re busy, but isn’t every parent?) How “brave” we are for taking the kids places (what do you expect me to do? Leave them home in cages?!) And of course the old tried and true, “You do know how that happens, don’t you?” (You’re kidding!! I thought it was the tap water, so I’m only drinking bottled now…) But my very favorite reaction is when Mike and I are out with just the two little ones and someone asks us about our family. Their eyes get wide by the time I get to “…and Arianne is 12.” At least people don’t ask me if I’m babysitting anymore – or maybe that’s not such a great thing. lol

By Terra Roth

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