Lana, the oldest, is standing in her room yelling, “Mommy, you need to take care of me.”  She screams it again every few seconds between sighing sobs.  She’s in her room because she is in trouble and unwelcome to rejoin the fun in the kitchen until she calms down.

Sometimes high-density families are hard to live in.  In most families, children are separated by two, three years or more.  That means one child has at least two years by themselves to be the baby.

I was oldest of three boys.  My parents and grandparents remember the crisis in my little life when I was deposed from my throne at the age of three.

Lana was deposed at age one and a half.  Ada was replaced when she was eleven months — by twins.  Put another way, Zella’s short reign was subverted eleven days after it began.  Tirza was 14 months old before we heard that Judah existed and was a possible entry to our family.  Two days later he was with us daily.

Maybe it’s hard to grow out of babyhood at 18 or 14 or 11 months.  Twins are a special case.  They are usually separated by hours, not days, but that’s too short to really build up a sense of memorable entitlement to exclusive babying attention.  They have to wait until yet another baby arrives to feel deposed together.

So this crazy experiment of ours is to see if we can make sure everyone gets taken care of without the exclusive privilege of being mommy’s little baby for more than a dozen months or so.  Meanwhile, who’s supposed to take care of Mommy?  (Anyone take care of Daddy?)