Right now, my house is filled with seven children.
My brother and his wife are visiting, them and their three children. My children and my nieces/nephew get along terrifically. All the fights so far have been among my own kids.
The age split works really well too. Kiddo#2 has a nearly-perfect contemporary in Niece#1. They even look like one another. Kiddo#3 comes next, with Nephew #2 at 18 months behind him. And, to be blunt, because Kiddo#3 acts like a toddler sometimes, they play terrific together. Niece#3, she of jackhammer fame, is herself about 18 months older than Kiddo#4, who therefore looks up to her and follows her around the house.
Kiddo#1 is reading a book. He’s been doing that all visit. Definitely (as my mother will attest) my son. Inherited all his mother’s social skills.
It’s fun. It’s fun in part because there are seven children and in part because there are three adults to monitor seven children. It’s fun because I enjoy the challenge of feeding five extra people (that’s the Italian in me) and it’s fun because I get to hear my brother’s stories (he of potato gun fame.)
My Patient Husband, through no fault of his own, has to work these days and will miss the fun.
It was not fun to clean this house and make it look as if a pair of adults live here. That part I could have done without particularly since my kids think ‘help me clean up’ means ‘everyone stand in the foyer slinging insults at one another.’ And Kiddo#1 thinks “Empty the trash cans” means “…and then throw the empty trash can somewhere random in the room in order to show your displeasure at having to do something useful.” (The classic definition of ‘passive aggressive,’ in case you’re wondering. I said, “Sweetie, if you do that ever again, I’ll make it easier for you to have simply done the job in the first place than to have done it badly. Trust me. I’ve got a broad imagination, and I don’t take that kind of behavior from anyone.” Right now, by the way, his trash can is lying sideways in his bed.)
Tomorrow (well, today by the time this posts) we’re going to the zoo, because yes, there’s one “about ten miles away” from here (14) and it should be big enough to hold their interest but small enough not to wear everyone to a nub. Then home again. May it not rain tomorrow. Maybe we can hike that trail through my back yard.
Or, maybe there will be seven children pelting through my house again. Which would be just fine, to be honest. It’s a good kind of chaos.