When most people think of large families, they usually think the obvious: busy, fun, chaotic, noisy and expensive. Yes, they are certainly all those things!
What people often don't consider is that commonplace things can take on new heights too. I had never really given thought to just how much the ordinary things have become extraordinary in our lives. Perhaps it is because the extraordinary is just ordinary here.
My son Joaquin couldn't find one of his thongs on Sunday, so I prompted him to empty a giant tub of shoes on our balcony to have a good hunt for it. Well he did that and more!
He was ultimately unsuccessful at locating his missing shoe but he did make a startling statement in the process:
We have a ton of shoes!
I returned to the balcony shortly after setting him on the lookout for his shoe to find this sculpture of family footwear, snaking a very long way around the balcony!
Joaquin had organised all the shoes into matching pairs. (There's no better choice of child to perform such a task - he's great at this stuff). His thong was not there. He had disappeared upstairs to the garage to check for it there. (Where another giant collection of family footwear resides).
|Our garage footwear collection. This doesn't even cover what's kept in wardrobes and under beds.|
We could open a store.
So how did it get like this?
When buying items like shoes, I try to limit what is required to the basics. For the boys that means one pair of school shoes, 1-2 pairs of sneakers (a black and white pair for example), thongs and Crocs for Summer and gumboots for Winter. I have a rule that requires any old footwear that is worn out to go directly into the bin. Obviously, my rule has been ignored and for some time!
I do pass shoes down through the boys if they are relatively new. This can cause problems too. I can't keep track of the 100's of sets of footwear 'on hold' and end up buying doubles of things when I had a perfectly fitting pair on the rack ready for the next child. It seriously troubles my brain trying to cope with the enormity of everything!
It's not just the shoes that have got out of hand either. There are 8 people in our family but when I count the toothbrushes in the bathroom, there are around 16! I am not sure how this came about. Asking for an explanation is met with at least five little "I don't know" responses. As they all appear to be new, (the toothbrushes), I have turned a blind eye to the problem and hope like Hell Dad knows what he is doing at bath time. (Let's face it - he has no idea either - even less than me no doubt)!
Towels are another thing again. Logic suggests 8 people, 8 towels? No! There are again mysterious extras. I have a sneaking hunch that the daughter's responsible but she denies it each and every time a new one appears.
Cups, plates and bowls: a dishwasher full of them lightning fast but only 5 kids using them?
Whole packets of 16 biscuits disappear in 2 minutes despite the one only rule.
Things just don't add up around here, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
What chaotic things happen in your household?
Do you house an enormous collection of everyday things when there should only be a few?
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