“It’s beautimus”

So, it’s almost 1 AM and I can’t sleep. I should sleep, because I have to go to work tomorrow (today, I guess), but for some reason I can’t. I’m too keyed up. Also, I am doing what everybody does when they can’t sleep: I am distracting myself with TV. Or, because I don’t have television, I’m watching something I Netflixed. Right now, that something is Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

I love this show. I find people with tons of kids so fascinating–everytime there’s a special about the Duggars, or any other families with way more kids than average, I am planted in front of the screen and rapt. I’m single and have no kids, so I cannot possibly imagine how much work this is, although the show gives you a pretty good idea. I am continually amazed by people’s ability to raise ONE child, let alone EIGHT or TEN or FOURTEEN or even, man, NINETEEN like the Duggars. It looks like total chaos all the time, but I know that it’s not. Kate is incredibly organized, and the amount of effort and planning necessary for such a selfless endeavor (it really is totally selfless, the most selfless thing I can imagine, because the only reward for such extreme parenting is the love you have for your children) is so amazing to me.

I love Jon and Kate’s family for a number of reasons. First, they have a bunch of multiples, and I don’t know why, I think multiples are cool. I think this is a common thing, I don’t think I’m alone in this fascination. The Gosselein children have such distinct personalities, even the sextuplets, who are only two-years-old in the first season, the one I’m watching now. They’re so fun to watch interact with each other, and when Jon and Kate do their interviews they’re often pointing out the little quirks and eccentricities in their kids. Like when the family goes pumpkin picking in the first episode, their son Colin, one of the sextuplets, keeps trying to pick up and move pumpkins that are his exact size and probably weigh more than he does. Jon and Kate get teary with joy when they talk about how that is “so Colin”, how he loves to collect things that are all the same, so he’s trying to gather up all the pumpkins, and how he would of course go for the biggest ones first. It’s completely adorable, and at the same time you just wonder how these people seem so normal–having six two-year-olds, plus two other kids, at one time would drive me nuts in under thirty seconds flat.

That’s another reason I love them. Jon and Kate are just so NORMAL. They fight like a normal couple and they get frustrated with their kids and they look exhausted one hundred percent of the time. The Duggars, while also completely fascinating, always look placid and calm and their kids are extremely well behaved, never a single thing out of place. Jon and Kate are not so, which is why they’re so great. They fully admit to having difficult lives that are only ameliorated by the sheer amount of love and devotion they have for each other and their family. It’s incredible endearing. And also hilarious, because the kids are always getting into some sort of crazy shenanigans.

Plus, Jon and Kate seem like really great parents. They’re always concerned with making sure their kids are well adjusted–they don’t want them to miss out on something just because there are seven other kids in the joint. They will brave so much craziness and confusion and frustration just to do something simple like continue a yearly tradition of pumpkin and apple picking around Halloween, or pinch pennies so that every kid can have nice presents for Christmas. They try to spend as much time with the kids as they can, and create opportunities to go on trips with just the twin girls Cara and Mady (like when they took them to New York to go to the American Girl store for their birthday) so that they don’t feel completely eclipsed by the babies. Usually in the episodes they will be doing some family thing that seems completely unbearable and at the end Jon and Kate will be sitting in the chair, reflecting that “It was really fun, everybody had a really great time, I’m glad that we got to do this and make memories for the kids.” I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that one of the reasons they do the show is so that they’ll have all these videos to show the kids someday, like home videos, because it would be so hard to capture everything themselves.

Sigh. I just love them. But I really should go to bed.

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