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SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


A lot of people are upset about Nadya Suleman’s decision to have a large family, because she’s heavily in debt and seems to be living largely off the largess of the American taxpayers. I understand the fuss. There’s nothing wrong with being a single mother, but giving birth to your own baseball team, and charging your neighbors for season tickets, is another story.

Personally, I think she needs heavy psychotherapy and a subscription to the Condom of the Week Club, but karma will take care of things. Now that she’s given birth to octuplets she has fourteen children -- the way I see it, their puberty will be punishment enough.

The story tickled my memory, so I went back and found another article about a large family. This was a more, um, normal family, in that they didn’t get eight of the little tykes at the same time.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Arkansas welcomed their 17th child into the world last year.

Okay, I’ll wait while you get your yucks out about “Jim Bob from Arkansas”. Are you quite done making fun yet? Okay, my turn.

“We’d love to have more,” Michelle said, less than half an hour after giving birth to their 7th daughter. (Which would just about have to mean they have ten sons.)

Huh.

Apparently she’s concerned that the girls are outnumbered, and she wants to catch up. The problem is, how do you know the next one will be a boy? Play the laws of average? If she has a boy next time, does that mean she has to get pregnant at least four more times?

My first thought was that the woman must be crazy for not having taken a baseball bat to her husband by now. I suppose she’s just too busy, not to mention tired.

But, like a woman with a hundred cats, she’s happy and clearly doesn’t understand why other people are fainting at the thought. A lot of people with more “normal” sized families aren’t happy at all, but who’s to say what’s normal? My Dad’s parents had ten kids, and they did okay.

Michelle Duggar went into labor at 5 a.m. and had the baby about half an hour later – I’m surprised it took that long.

The kids include two sets of twins, range in age from 19 on down, and all have names beginning with the letter J. I suppose that’s the major limitation – sooner or later they’ll run out of names.

They’re all home schooled, which means mom doesn’t get any break at all. Well, hardly any; you have to think that at some point one of the oldest has said, “You want me to babysit again? But mom, I can’t keep track of them! Last time I didn’t realize one was missing until he didn’t show up when we formed a chain to unload groceries from the semi!”

Sibling rivalry could involve a riot. I mean, if these kids went to public school they’d have their own bus. Bath night drains their town’s water tower. They have a separate building just for dishes. Toys-R-Us sent a private jet to bring the Duggars over at Christmas time, and when the kids found out there wasn’t a Santa the store went bankrupt.

We’re talking a lot of kids, so many that there’s a show on the Discovery Channel about them. Here are some facts about the family, according to Discovery:

There’s been a baby born to the family in every month except June – assuming nothing has changed since then. They’ve gone through more than 90,000 diapers, and when the kids started getting older the tooth fairy had to bring an armored car.

The family owns a cell phone tower, which makes sense considering how many cell phones they must have.

Jim Bob is a former two-term Arkansas State Representative. He decided to resign out of fairness: He could win an election if nobody voted for him except for this family. The local congressional district consists of his block.

The Duggars do about 200 loads of laundry every month. Every laundry day the Mississippi River drops three feet.

The entire family is fed for less than $2,000 a month. Which seems impressive, until you realize that’s more than my entire take home pay for a month.

Every child learns to play both violin and piano. Their neighbors are not amused.

Michelle, who’s only 40, has been pregnant for 126 months. That's ten and a half years, over a quarter of her entire life. It must feel odd to her when she’s not pregnant.

But here’s the real kicker: The Duggars are debt free.

That’s right – they don’t owe one dime; they’re doing just fine, thank you. The way I see it, as long as they’re not demanding taxpayer money to support their kids, why not? If they’re really happy, let ‘em be happy; there are a lot worse things you could do with your life than have a big family. I may not understand the attraction, but they seem to have their priorities in order.

Besides, who’s going to argue with them at this point? There are so many of them that, when they’re all adults, they could each run for Congress and take over from the regular politicians. If they’re all being taught to live within their means, maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
roonblah
Feb. 25th, 2009 10:31 am (UTC)
Woah. And Lol. Followed by more Woah.

Very funny article.

But rather them than me. Eish. I'd go nuts.

I don't know how the Duggars manage to remain debt-free. I don't even have kids and I can't manage that.

My friend seems to be on the same kick. She's trying for a boy. They've had 3 girls and she's just found out she's preggers again. The rest of us are not really taking bets about gender though, we keep wondering when their luck is going to give them twins. Their are twins on her side of the family and on his.

Of course, I've never felt the need to procreate, so maybe I'm just too cynical about it. I'd rather welcome more pandas or tigers into the world.
ozma914
Feb. 25th, 2009 11:25 am (UTC)
Agreed, I'd go nuts too. I can barely deal with my two kids, let along that many!

I know a couple of guys here in town who tried hard for a boy -- and both have five girls. No matter how male oriented you might be, five is a good place to stop! I think my oldest should stop right now, after her twins.

I never felt the need to precreate, either -- in fact, I was dead set against having kids. See how far that got me? :-)
petzipellepingo
Feb. 25th, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
Now my Grandmother was one of eleven (she was the only girl) but that was in the days of children = free farm labor.

There’s nothing wrong with being a single mother, but giving birth to your own baseball team, and charging your neighbors for season tickets, is another story.

Best line about this sorry mess evah!

ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
That was the very last line I wrote for the column, during revisions! :-)

My grandparents had a little farm, in addition to my grandfather working in the coal mines. It was an interesting place because they were up in a "holler", and as a result the garden was literally on the side of a hill; only half the chicken yard had to be fenced off, because the rest was against a sheer cliff. I'm sure all my aunts and uncles had plenty of chores!
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ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Yes, I do believe she is mental!
winsomeone
Feb. 25th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
OctoMom is a nut! That said, there's nothing wrong with large families as long as I'm not paying for them.

We were at Disney World one time and there was a ginormous family standing in line in front of us-they had 10 kids and she was obviously pregnant again. There is one definite advantage to all those kids-they got their very own boat on the Jungle River Ride.
xenaclone
Feb. 25th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
Well, if you go to the rigidly Catholic parts of South America, you'll soon see that everyone having a large family = drain on resources, housing, medical care, horrendous overcrowding and destruction of the environment.

Even in the West, our financial ability to afford large families if we want them is supported by goods produced by cheap/child labour in places like China, Korea, [and even in the US], etc.
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sp23
Feb. 25th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
The Duggers make the nutjobs at the child free comms absolutely crazy (or, crazier, if you like). But if they're raising their kids without government support other than their ordinary tax breaks, I don't care if or how much corporate subsidies they get. Of course, Corporations are evil, which mean the Duggers would be evil by association. And then there's all the resources that they're taking away from all us ordinary folks.

BURN THEM! BURN THEM WITH FIRE!

;-)
ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
child free comms??? Oh, brother. As you say, they're not getting government support -- leave 'em alone, people!

I can only imagine what those comms must be saying about the octuplet lady.
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millysdaughter
Feb. 25th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
They pay their own bills, AND better yet, they raise their children to do the same, so I will happily invent several new J names for them if they run out of ideas.
"Jingle" bothers me.
ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
I wouldn't want to face the world with the name Jingle. I wonder if they'll end up using Jesus along the way? It's considered okay in Mexico ...
lmzjewel
Feb. 25th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I find it all very intriquing. If a woman who can't afford it has an abortion taxpayers money goes to that and if anyone has a moral quandry about it than the argument is ...Well, it's her body, her life, and her right to choose and it's none of our business. But if a woman chooses to have eight kids and can't pay for it people bitch. Why is that? Isn't it her right to choose too?

She didn't have octuplets by getting knocked up in the normal way so a subscription to condomn of the week won't help her. In the past she had done IVF to get the children she had. She had 6 embryos transplanted into her uterus and they all took and one of the 6 split into twins. When a couple or a woman...whatever the case, has embryos left that they don't know what to do with... You have one of two choices either destroy the remaining embryos or adoption. Now, if the person is adverse to destroying the embryos then there is adoption but it's not like a normal open adoption. You sign your embryos over to the fertility clinic and they basically sell them to someone wanting to get pregnant. If those embryos result in a live birth you will never know it. Their never going to tell you because of patient privacy. It's not like an open adoption and you could have biologically your children alive and well and you won't know about them and your children won't know about them and they won't know about you. So, embryo adoption isn't the great thing they make it out to be. A person may start out thinking it's a good idea but then see their children that they've had through assisted reproduction and think, well man, that could have been him or her left in storage and it just makes it all unbelievably hard. Did, she need psychotherapy? Yeah! But she needed good infertility counselling before she had to make that decision. And, there needs to be a better system of embryo adoption.

It's funny because there are plenty of women out there who will have three or four kids by three or four different men. Never marry and none of the fathers are involved at all and they fully intend to bilk the welfare system for all it's worth. No one, likes to pay for them and no one likes it but nothing gets said or done about it. No one gets pissed off enough about it to make a fuss the way they did over this Nadya Sulleman issue. It just doesn't get drawn to the publics attention the way that Nadya Sulleman did. And, actually I'm a little more sympathetic of her than I am them. She had embryos she couldn't just leave. The other women could have just simply chosen not to sleep around with a bunch of different guys and get knocked up.

At the end of the day though, she does piss me off. Especially as a mother. Because she didn't take into account what was good for her children she was just being selfish and wanted what she wanted. She knew she couldn't afford to take care of the children she had. She should have put herself in a more financially stable situation before doing that.

And, I also agree it's nobody's business how many children a family decides to have as long as they are taking care of them.

ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
That's a very good point. I'm not in favor of taxpayer money going toward abortion, but a person can't have it both ways -- certainly pro-abortionists can make the argument that an abortion is way less expensive than having a kid on welfare for 18 years.

I know the condom of the week thing wouldn't make a difference in that case -- but I thought it was funny, and it is, after all, a humor column! :-) Making fun of serious topics is what I get paid for, although you'll notice I didn't stick to the octuplet mom for long, because I really do think she's got some heavy psychological problems and should be a subject more of concern than ridicule. This is why I wouldn't make a good standup comic. As for the welfare kid thing, *I* get pissed off and make a fuss about it ...

My ex-wife was adopted, and after spending years looking for her birth mother she stumbled across her, almost by accident. Even normal adoptions leave mothers and kids wondering, so I can only imagine how much harder it would be for a mother with embryonic adoption.

(no subject) - iamcyber - Feb. 27th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC) - Expand
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ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
A case of "Walton envy", for those who remember that show. :-) I agree, there's someething to be said for those days. My daughters and I still help each other -- I'm doing the twins' laundry right now, because Charis is having problems with her washer -- but it's just not the same.
vilajunkie
Feb. 25th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
For the record, the Duggars have a show called "17 Kids and Counting", and I believe it's on TLC, not the Discovery Channel. Anyway, the title of the show is now defunct as they have 18. I'm just curious why they felt the need to have 18 (and counting). By the way, the 19/20-year-old son, who is an adult and should be allowed to make his own decisions, can only go on chaperoned dates and isn't allowed to kiss his girlfriend--not even on the cheek, I think. The chaperons are his younger brothers and sisters. That kinda pisses me off more than them have 18 kids. It's like they're telling their son (and other kids): "Sex is evil until you get married. After that, have sex as much as you want, as long as it's unprotected and produces babies! By the way, hand-holding and closed-mouth kissing=sex, so none of that either!"
ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
Oh, is it on TLC? I've actually heard the title, but I've never watched the show before.

I agree, that kind of reaction with a son who's over the age of eighteen is just ridiculous. It does make you wonder why he didn't fly the coop as soon as he could, though.
elizalavelle
Feb. 25th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
I agree, if they're able to support 17 kids then that's fine. I don't think I'd want to raise 17 kids but then again I'd still like to foster kids so in theory 17 or more could come through my home. Really I think my issue with Nadia of octuplet fame is that she can't afford to provide any sort of stable environment or care for her kids. It's just not fair to them for her to keep having more. Also two of her previous 6 have special needs, one is autistic I believe. That requires a lot of one on one care to get him/her as far ahead in life as they can go and that child will not get that care in a home of 14 kids.
ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
Agreed. Nadia seems to be one of those people who wants kids, but doesn't have any plans about what to do when she has them, and it's not going to go well for them at all; I think there's a great deal of selfishness going on, on her part.
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(no subject) - ozma914 - Mar. 1st, 2009 10:07 am (UTC) - Expand
sarahkucera
Feb. 26th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, they're debt free right now. Better hope that Jim Duggar never dies or else you'll see them begging for a free house on Extreme Home Makeover in a few years.
ozma914
Mar. 1st, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
Could be. He seems like the time of person who would have contingency plans for that kind of thing, but if his contingency plan was investing in the stock market that could all be gone right now.
iamcyber
Feb. 27th, 2009 07:56 am (UTC)
The Duggars now have baby #18, a little girl.

I've noticed a HUGE difference between them and Jon & Kate (plus eight)...the Duggars don't fight, at least not on television. They seem to have the "getting along" part down. Jon & Kate are always snarky and their kids seem to act up a lot, too...maybe they're becoming too conditioned by their parents' actions?
ozma914
Mar. 1st, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Kids do take after their parents ... from what I've heard the Duggars stay calm and levelheaded, and the kids will pick up on tht. I haven't seen Jon and Kate, but your kids learn what you teach them whether it's on purpose or not.
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ozma914
Mar. 1st, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
Was a little under the weather over the weekend and so was Emily -- and my sister-in-law's mother passed away Thursday. However, the good news is Emily is back! It wasn't planned, but I ran down and picked her up over the weekend -- a long story that I'll get to a bit later.
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(no subject) - ozma914 - Mar. 2nd, 2009 06:58 am (UTC) - Expand
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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