I'll be honest, I don't know which part of the latest chapter in the Duggar family saga to react to first. Apparently, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting were in El Salvador recently when their youngest child Josie who is now 18-months-old. She was born premature and has struggled on and off with her health. Josie spiked a high fever, which triggered a seizure (eldest sister Jill rushed her to the hospital).Okay, as a mom, the horrible, panic-inducing thought of being a plane ride away from my sick baby makes me feel horrible for Josie's parents. No question. On the other hand, as a mother of two who already feels hopelessly overextended -- like, maybe the laundry will get done if I figure out how to clone myself someday -- I sort of feel like once you get to kid #19, you have to accept the fact that you're going to miss some pretty significant moments in each child's life, both good and bad.
I'm going to refrain from making any judgmental comments about the Duggars' faith or the health consequences of having so many pregnancies in a row or whether or not it's appropriate for parents to leave a small child and go away. Because what really interests me here are the pros and cons of the large family dynamic. I'm an only child, so I've always been fascinated by big families: Always lively, never lonely. But at the same time, I know kids in big families miss out on the kind of individualized attention children in smaller clans get.
Still, I have to think that overall, having 18 older siblings to watch your back if Mom and Dad aren't around generally means you're not going to suffer any signs of neglect. Then there's the added plus of being exposed to so many different types of personalities and approaches to various situations: Who knows, maybe sister Jill is better in an emergency than mom Michelle. Watch this clip and see what you think.
Editor's note: This post has been amended to correct original version.