Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Manhattan Classic Six

A friend asked me today whether there was much difference having four children as opposed to three. My inital reaction was to say that, in general, the really big change was going from zero children to one child. It was double team (two parents, one child), then man-to-man coverage (two parents, two children), then finally zone defense (two parents, more than two children). So from that perspective, four is not really different than three, because it is a group at work rather than pairings.

In the specific case of Manhattan, however, having four children makes a big difference. It's no longer possible to all fit in one cab, for example (at least legally or safely). And in the trade-offs one makes in Manhattan apartments (e.g., "I'll take light and give up some space" or "closer to Central Park but no doorman", etc.), there are additional factors to now consider. There is the obvious need for bedroom space (we stack 'em up two per room, which works), but less obvious is that there needs to be a pretty large dining space as well as living space. Finally, anytime one leaves the city, a minivan is now required. And gosh, have the car rental people figured out that people who really need a minivan are ready to pay for it, about twice as much.

It's been a little surprising to learn how unusual having a family of six in the city. In fact, what was once a quite normal family size is considered unusual now, perhaps even grotesque by some. Herself and I are both the youngest of five children, and are used to the reaction of "wow, five kids" over the course of our life. I would say that four is the new five, in terms of folks thinking we have produced many progeny.

The non-statistical, non-financial, non-real estate answer is that a fourth child, and our fourth child in particular, is a great blessing indeed.

(The video link shows a good facsimile of our routine at 6:30am).

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