Friday, November 15, 2013


An initial thought on demographics, as I'm starting to read the book What to Expect When No One's Expecting, by Jonathan Last:

I have a lot of cousins.

Really, I have more thoughts than that, as I've been reading up on demographics and the future population bust since long before it was popular; but my main thought as I was falling asleep yesterday was that I have far more cousins than my children will. I feel very rich to have so many -- 41 first cousins -- and expected that my own kids would also have a large extended family.

As it turns out, that hasn't quite been the case. We're at least halfway through the potential childbearing of my (and my husbands') siblings, and so far we've garnered just 11 nieces and nephews to grow up with our kids. That's quite a generational shrinkage, though I admit it's still a decent number on average. Most disappointingly, a full 7 of those kids were born after we stopped having ours; that is, our fourth child is older than 7 of her 11 cousins, and our older kids have almost no age cohort whatsoever. Ah well, it's not tragic by any means. And luckily, we're close enough with some of my numerous relatives that my oldest daughter has an age-matched second cousin whom she's good friends with.

I'll probably post in-depth after I finish the book, but in the meantime, here's an amusing video that my daughter Sage filmed while Samantha (the second cousin) was visiting us for a month last summer. The two girls were 11 and 12, and they were trying to make popcorn by themselves. (I did not give them permission, though they say I did in the audio -- my younger daughter mistakenly told them I did.) In our house, there's no microwave corn, so that involves a kettle and hot oil. The result, after a slow build, was a hilariously memorable experience.

Hooray for families, and the next generation of cousins!

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