Big Dude and Little Dude had the time of their lives going on water slide after water slide at Legoland Water Park. I was keeping up, but after the fifth time landing on my butt going down the little kiddie slide into the wading pool, I decided to take a break.

I was happily sitting in a chair in the shade when a lady and man pulled up to the chairs next to me. They were pushing a double stroller with two little girls wearing matching pink tutu swimsuits.   Big Sister was about three and a half, Baby around eight months.  These were the cutest children EVER. All dimples and pigtails and smiles. Dad took Big Sister in the water while Mom stayed playing with Baby, trying Big Sis’s heart-shaped pink sunglasses on Baby and capturing it all in pictures with her phone. Smiling at this little family unit brought up all of my thoughts about having a baby #2.

When Dad came out of the water with Big Sister, two other boys (about five and seven) seemed to be tagging along. ‘Where are these kids’ parents?’ I’m thinking. ‘It’s sure nice of this man to play with these boys while still taking care of his daughter.’  The two boys followed the man and Big Sister all the way over to Mom and Baby.  When Mom opened her bag and started handing out towels to everyone, the extra two boys included, I realized that those were HER kids.  My cute little family of four was actually a family of six!

I know many of you manage three plus kids with ease and grace.  Personally, that idea scares the bejeezus out of me.  I would love to have two, but more?  I don’t know if I could handle more kids than there are parents.

I watched this family with fascination.  The kids kids listened, didn’t squabble and genuinely seemed to enjoy each other’s company.  And no, Mom did not have alien superpowers or some kind of force field with which she controlled her children (at least I didn’t see anything.  I guess a force field would be invisible?  Maybe.)  She seemed happy — serene even — completely in control of and in sync with her family.  She even had a manicure.  A french manicure and her hair in a cute braid and big silver hoops in her ears.

I had to remind myself it’s not polite to stare.

Here I was with only one child, lounging in my stained Old Navy tank top that’s coming apart under the right arm, in desperate need of any kind of manicure.  I wish I was as fabulous as QuadraMom!

I watched as all four kids had lunch, lined up in their chairs.  I watched Dad hand out quesadillas and juice boxes.  I watched Mom make sure all four pairs of shoes were lined up under the chairs, and all four towels were laid in the sun, ready for the next break from the water.  Effortless, smiling.  Baby was now fast asleep in the stroller, Mom sitting serenely in a chair watching her brood.  I kept watching, thinking, ‘Maybe she gives lessons?  Or maybe she has a how-to manual I can borrow?’  I was impressed and awed.  She made parenting four children look easy.

I will remember this experience the next time I am dealing with my one child having a tantrum.  I will remember that it could be four crying, overtired children who have had one too many s’mores.  But then again, I would have the benefit of the invisible force field because they must give that out after the third child is born, right?

Guilt Goddess says: Haha, it just comes with practice, honey.  Practice and patience and taking things as they come.

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