There are seven children in my family, including me, plus Mum, Dad, a dog, a cat and a hamster.
The ages of the children ranges from 15 years to seven months, two are babies born within a year of each other.
Being part of such a big family is hard, but everybody has to pull their weight to make things work for the whole family.
In 1998 my first sister came along, Megan. I was three and having a baby sister was so exciting. I always wanted to help look after and hold her.
Mum would say “Go and get a nappy for the baby.” I was off; I would be back within seconds.
2001 arrived and with it, my brother, Connor. He’s the one I am closest to in my family. He was my first brother; I thought having a brother was amazing but Megan didn’t want anything to do with him.
We have the same personalities; we’re both so laid back although we still do what needs to be done. There are many reasons why we’re so close. For example: I used to play with him and talk to him all the time, which I think helped strengthen our bond.
The most recent arrival is Broghan, born in February. She is the last baby in the Cassidy family, thank God! While it’s great to have Broghan here, the novelty and excitement of a new baby has completely worn off. I’ll still have a bond with her, but now it feels like having a baby is an everyday occurrence. Seven is more than enough. Dad’s crazy; he still wants more!
It’s amazing how so many children from the same family can be so different, no two of us are exactly alike. Erin, who is eight, can be unbelievably unpredictable. One minute she can be very cuddly, clingy and the most compassionate little girl you’ve ever met. The next minute she might turn around and try to bite your head off. She can turn into a manipulative, mischievous, and cheeky little devil in the blink of an eye.
In complete contrast to Erin, I don’t change my personality every minute of the day. What you see is what you get: plain and boring, that’s what Erin always tells me.
Mum says I’m the most level-headed and diplomatic person she has ever met. She often says “How can someone surrounded in madness stay sane?” My answer: “I must be insane then, I don’t mind it at all.”
Having nine people living in a house naturally makes the space cramped. Every child has to grow at some point, when they do the need for bigger clothes, shoes, and more space in general increases. Having a huge family means that you have to share absolutely everything you own with each other, from your bedroom to your hairbrush.
Hand-me-downs are a big part of living with siblings. My youngest wears clothes that were mine and they still look new.
The only thing about being the oldest is that I tend to get the blame for virtually everything – I’m so used to it now I immediately nod my head and walk away.
Time to yourself tends to be limited as everyone has to help with things such as walking the dog, looking after the babies, doing the dishes and the general tidying of the house.
Outings are very hard to plan and seldom happen in my family as there are so many people. When they do happen it takes two cars to transport us all as we have to take so many things like – my wheelchair, buggy, clothes for the babies and nappies.
Dad has a tendency to forget things so we usually have to turn back, which adds time to the journey.
When we get to our destination the atmosphere turns extremely chaotic. Children running left, right and centre, Mum and Dad screaming at the little ones to stay put. It takes forever to get anywhere as one of us has to push the buggy, someone pushing me in my chair and everyone wants to stop and look at different things. With a family as massive as mine, everyone agreeing on the same thing is practically impossible. My family life is always “fun”, without a doubt.
Trouble is inevitable in my clan. Never a day goes by in my house in which no-one has been in trouble.
I can’t imagine my house without a crowd of people in it. Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to the noise, to the point where it’s actually comforting for me to be surrounded in a racket.
Although I sometimes wish for privacy I don’t think I would like to be an only child. It would be pretty boring to have no-one else to talk to, except my Mum and Dad. To have no-one for company or to tell my problems to would mean a lonely childhood – parents are not always sympathetic towards their kids when it comes to their problems. My parents just call me a “terrible teenager”. I swear they don’t know anything about being a teenager.
It does get crazy in my house. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s annoying now and then when no-one leaves you alone; however, it wouldn’t feel normal if my babies didn’t pester me all the time. I love them all and would never dream of being without them.