Published May 12,2008
Michelle Duggar of Arkansas is pregnant with her 18th child.
Yep, 18. A dozen and a half.
But, wait, it gets better.
The names of the 17 she already has all start with the letter J — Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jeremiah, Jedidiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah and Jennifer. There are 10 boys and seven girls, ranging in age from 20 years to 9 months.
The family lives in a 7,000-square-foot house in Tontitown, in the northwest corner of Arkansas, not far from the spot where Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas meet.
And if that isn’t enough to make your head explode, I have even more.
She homeschools them all.
Maybe you already know about the brood of Duggar and her husband, Jim Bob. They’ve been on cable TV reality shows and have made appearances on network news shows like “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.”
I must have missed all of that because the first time I heard about this family was last week when we carried a story about her latest pregnancy — just in time for Mother’s Day.
I always thought I accomplished a lot raising two kids. Kind of put me in my place as a mother.
I tried to figure out how they could afford all those kids.
They claim to be able to feed the entire brood for less than $2,000 a month but, shoot, even if all they eat is toasted cheese sandwiches, it would take two loaves of bread just to give them each one sandwich.
Maybe money isn’t an issue anymore what with their celebrity status and all — but it still made me wonder.
When Jim Bob, a former state representative who made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, was asked what he did for a living, he didn’t give a direct answer. He just said he is still guided by a seminar he went to 20 years ago that blends finance and religion.
Hmm. Somehow that brought into focus the fact I would never understand any of this.
And, seriously, who has 18 kids?
The family is taking it on the chin all over the Internet. It’s getting pretty nasty. They say the parents aren’t taking care of the kids, the kids are taking care of the kids.
And Mama Michelle — called “Jichelle” by bloggers because she’s the only one in the family without a J-name — didn’t help herself when the first words out of her mouth after delivering little Jennifer last year were that she couldn’t wait until the next one.
This warning was posted on one blog: “Please note that we will not be hosting a discussion on whether their number of children is right or wrong, as the last two posts we've attempted to run have been closed due to fighting.”
It’s a hot-button issue, all right, the question of just how many children one set of parents can adequately care for.
There has been a continuing story in The Chronicle about a woman in Sheffield Lake who had more than 80 cats.
She really loves all those cats, and they seem to be well-cared for, but Sheffield Lake says 80 cats are just too many — and to show it is serious, it has vowed to levy fines against the woman until she gets rid of all but four of them, the maximum number of cats one person is allowed to have.
Now, I’m not suggesting the Duggars be fined until they get rid of some of their kids, but, hey, maybe Sheffield Lake has an idea about what a kid-limit should be.
Patti Ewald is managing editor of The Chronicle. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. BTW, the Web site that shut down negative comments on the Duggars is www.celebrity-babies.com. However, it did recommend people with a beef check out the forums on www.televisionwithoutpity.com.