Fantastic Four

After we were married, one of my wife’s friends asked us how many kids we will have. Not knowing how much work going into raising kids, I said four. My wife looked at me like I was out of my mind, but it was too late for her to back out. Her friend who has two kids reassured my wife not to worry. The number will drop once the first kid arrives.

Her friend was almost correct. After Đạo was born, I thought we were done. I didn’t think a little baby could turn our world upside down. The day we had to take him home from the hospital, I was terrified. He looked so tiny inside the infant car seat. I was too afraid to hold him. He seemed so fragile that I could drop him or crack his bones. Fortunately, he turned out to be more resilient than I thought.

We were going to stop, but my mother-in-law encouraged us to have a second one so they could have siblings to play together. Sure, one more won’t be so bad. When Đán arrived, he came out quick. We barely made it into the delivery room. We were less frightened because we knew the drill. My mother-in-law is right. Đạo and Đán play together as much as they fight against each other. At the end of the day, they are still close.

As if our family was not chaotic enough with the two boys, my wife’s sister gave birth to a baby boy and their brother’s wife also give birth to a boy. With too many testosterone in the family, we yearned for a girl. I convinced my wife that third time’s a charm and she went for it. Xuân turned out to be a boy. Then her sister has another boy and their brother has yet another boy. When all seven boys get together, the place is beyond chaos.

With seven boys, the chance of landing a girl is extremely slim. My hope and dream for daddy’s little girl were gone and we were done at this point, but life never turns out the way we expected. We just have to take whatever life gives us. Of course, life is giving us another boy and he will meet us later this year.

In Vietnamese tradition, four boys (tứ quý) are considered to be precious, but five boys (ngũ quỷ) are considered to be demons. We definitely want four of a kind, not five demons. So this baby has to be our last. In addition, Đán will no longer be the middle child alone. When he was little, my wife’s dad was battling with terminal lung cancer; therefore, our mind and attention were divided. We were there for him, but not as much as we were with Đạo. I didn’t even realized how big and strong he had become until the day we took some family photos. He was dressed in a pullover without a shirt and he looked so chubby and cute. Despite lacking of attention, he turns out to be more independent. In several months, he will have Xuân as an in-between sibling.

With a new kid coming up, we will face more challenges ahead, but we have enough experience to plow through. We will be fine. The more the merrier. I am still excited even though this will be our four and our last.