While Martin was doing his latest adventure at the hospital, I was with the rest of the children at a nearby park and doing a little shopping. As I am not able to hover over one or two children - being so outnumbered - I just opened the park gate and told them to "Go and play!". Then I just wandered around doing my job - "Look at me!", "Can you push me?", "Dad! I did it! I got across in one go!"
This photo is of the 5 middle children all playing on the spinning pole thing. (The pole is meant to be bent - it isn't bending due to the strain)
The children don't get into terrible fights. They have occasional disagreements, but they learn to solve these difficulties in a civilized manner. As we all have to live together, there isn't a lot of room - or sympathy - for selfish grandstanding or retaining animosity.
I asked each of the children individually what it was like having lots of brothers and sisters.
Peter (9): "Fun! Good to play with and you don't have to sleep in a room by yourself, and you can ask people to help you. You can join with your brothers' pocket money to buy something quicker."
Eric (14): "You don't have to visit someone's house to find someone to play with. You can muck around with them without worrying too much about causing offense."
Ariel (17): "Annoying. (then she smiled as she thought further) And fun. You get to have others do your bidding. You have little remote controls" [little children to get things for you]
James (12): "Fun. If you can't figure something out, you can ask your older brother who has been reading a lot for ideas."
Clare (7): "Fun. You can play with them."
That's not a bad response from a question without notice.
(The second photo I took of Peter while we were both on the spinning pole thing. Boy, those things spin fast!)