What if Your Preschoolers Named All Your Children?
by Mr. Sheehy
My mom has been mailing boxes of books to us recently as her retirement is leaving her with no place for the collection amassed in her classroom. We received two boxes today (they included two collections of folk tales I’m eager to crack open) and their remains were still scattered about the house at dinner time. While sitting at the table, my eye caught a crumpled article from her local paper; I read it and found it so intriguing I went digging for the page of the paper containing the continued portion. I found it, grateful that my mom used the entire front section of the paper for packing. The article introduced me to meet Gail DeMasi, a wonderful New Hampshire woman with 14 children. Says the article,
She knows some people will think she’s crazy for having 14 kids. She knows they’ll think that’s the only thing worth learning about her, and they’ll feel justified judging her based on only that.
She knows this because it’s happened before, dozens of times. What she would say to every person who made a snide comment at the grocery store might shock them more than the size of the DeMasi clan: Come to dinner.
I adore DeMasi’s response. I’m going to pack it away and use it when someone has a judgmental or doubtful expression about our family’s choice to pursue our kids’ education at home, or to have lots of children. It deflects the criticism and invites relationship, something I would hope to do but something I know I’d fail at if not prepared with some generous response.
After reading the article I turned to A–, our four-year old, and asked her what she’d think if we had 14 children. I explained, “We’d have to get 11 more, you know! That’s a lot.” She nodded while chewing her bread and butter, and I suggested that we begin thinking of names for all these kids. That sounded like a good idea to her, and S–, the two-year old, chipped in as well. E–, our six-year old, and Mommy were out of the house for AWANA, so their input was missing. I will write the list as we wrote it at the table, in the order we thought of them. Our literary influences become apparent by the end, and I’ll leave you to guess the one the two-year old contributed.
- E —
Thanks for reading.