Lauren and I, every so often, talk about the number of kids we would like to have. It does not make much of a difference to me regarding how many, but more importantly that they are close together in age. I think siblings should be no more than 2 years apart. If I had my way they would be only a year a part. I think the closeness in age is good because of the built in friend factor.
My parents had 9 kids in 10 years, no twins, and there is a three year gap between two of my brothers. Do the math. Anyway, growing up, I benefited from having "built in" friends. When I was freshmen in highschool I went through a shift of friends. Besides my best friend Bob, the rest of the crowd I hung out with was constantly changing, except for my brothers.
The brother that is closest to my age is John, AKA LawnWhisperer. When I was freshmen he was a sophomore. We even had one or two classes together. One of the classes we shared was French 1. Due to alphabetical seating arrangements we even sat next to each other. Madame Brust, the teacher, insisted each student pick a French name to address each other. I picked Xavier as my French first name (well you know because of Prof. Charles Xavier the founder of the X-Men) and John picked Jean, because when it was pronounced in French it sounded like John. The teacher, until she learned our names, addressed us by our last names. We, my brother and I, were Monsieur Mitchell*
I remember thinking, "This class is going to be great. John and I could practice speaking a different language at home. We could help each other with homework. We would learn French and have a secret language that no one else in our family would know and we could speak in code. Sibling rivalry will make us compete for better grades. It is so cool that my brother is in my class."
Midway through the school year Madame Brust took an extended leave and we had a substitue teacher for two weeks. Her name was Mrs. Kalmanor (pronounced Cow Manure, No joke). Now, as most times with a subsitute teacher, the class got a little out of hand. The kids, including John, were doing their best to have a good time. If a kid got too out of hand Mrs. Kalmanor would make that student sit in a chair right next to her desk. It was the highschool equivalent of a time out. At one point Mrs. Kalmanor had had enough of John's shenanigans.
"MISTER MITCHELL." She yelled referring to my brother John who was laughing with a fellow student named Jim. "COME UP HERE and sit in THIS chair." She turned her back to the class as she wrote on the chalk board. John walked to the front of the classroom and sat in the chair. I, of course, also being Mister Mitchell walked to the front of the class and sat on John's lap. The class was doing its best to stifle their laughter. It took a few minutes for the teacher to stop writing on the board and return to her desk. She sat down oblivious to the fact that John and I were sharing a chair. She did a double take at us. The class erupted in laughter.
"WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?" She screamed.
"Well," I said "You told Mister Mitchell to sit in this chair. I am also Mister Mitchell."
"I meant the other one." She said through gritted teeth and tight lips.
"You should really have specified then." John said.
Mrs. Kalmanor lowered her head into her hands and with a barely audible whisper she said, "Both of you, return to your seats."
Needless to say, when Madame Brust returned to the class she was not happy with us. She separated us to opposite ends of the room for the remainder of the year. With the separation we could no longer assist each other in French. We both failed the class for the year.
Now that I think about it, maybe it is a good idea that my kids are a few years apart.
*Mitchell is not my real last name. If I used my real last name on the internet my mom would have a bird.