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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Yes, the second child is a significant difference.

    The first changes your life drastically as you learn to deal with the responsibilities. But eventually you get to a point where you can manage things pretty well. While there are regular interruptions to other parts of your life, you can work around them easily enough.

    The second one doesn't require the learning experience, but doubles the number of interruptions. And for a number of years, the difference in ages means that the nature and timing of interruptions from each is quite different, so they rarely overlap.

    After Jordan (our first) was born, we regularly would continue to go folk dancing. Jordan would "dance" in my arms or on my shoulders, and spend the last part of the evening sleeping. When he needed to go to the washroom or to play, one of us could take care of him while the other danced. When Katrina arrived, we more or less stopped. One person changing a diaper, the other playing with a child who has gotten bored with dancing, leaves noone to dance.

    Of course, that is not to say it isn't worth it. Nowadays, we can go contra dancing - I get to dance with Katrina and Chris with Jordan. They're each better dancers than most of the adults there and fully able to take part in the advanced sessions.

    So, hang in there. The degree to which the rewards outweigh the work increases all the time.

    I once saw a bumper sticker: "If I'd known how much fun grandchildren were, I'd have had them first.". I still have a long wait until I can verify that for myself. :-)

    The increased difficulty for subsequent children tapers off. My mother's cousin had ten children - the oldest was my mother's age, the youngest was five years younger than me (and 3 years younger than the first grandchild). Most of the work taking care of the younger children was done by older children, although the mother was very effective about managing things so that it all got done. After the third or fourth, things get easier. (But I'm not going to test that theory, it probably only works for people like Aunt Mary.)
    • It's good to know that the rewards:work ratio grows in favour of rewards. That'll keep me going through more housebound days. Thanks.

      I love that bumpersticker. I think my parents will love it too.

      --Nat
      (we also have no desire to duplicate the large families of our grandparents--we are weaker than they were, and fear to be outnumbered by the Little People)