Jon & Kate and the Magical Number 8

I read it over and over again - "give Kate a break - she has eight!" "Don't judge until you have 8 kids!" "8 kids! 8!!!"

I'm not saying having 8 kids is easy. I'm not saying having one kid is easy. I'm sure if a doctor told me I had multiple developing embryos in my uterus, I'd spend the rest of the day huddled under a comforter with a box of tissues. If not a whole week. And then crawl out, square my shoulders, and deal with it.

But why does the number 8 give Jon & Kate a pass on the quality of how they speak to their family? Why is Kate's behaviour supposed to be excusable if she has 8 kids?

What if it were Jon & Kate Plus 6? Is that when we can all agree that it's selfish for parents to fly across the country for a free hair transplant, leaving six sick kids in the care of a relative?

What if it were Jon & Kate Plus 4? Is it still forbidden to criticize her for threatening to throw Collin's bear because it had a bit of gum on it? Would everyone look at Collin sobbing and begging, and feel for the little guy then?

What if she hadn't gotten pregnant for a second time? Is it okay then to go "WTF?" when she uses a hypothetical forest full of sizzling and burning small animals, to explain to a 7 year old why they can't shoot off fireworks?

When the parents drive 75 miles to a bakery, then the mother helps one of the girls finish her supper, but nobody tells the boys they haven't eaten enough to get a cupcake, is 8 kids really a good defense?

You know, there are lots of people who deal with 8 or more children at a time, all day, who still treat people with dignity and respect. Day care workers. Teachers. If you witnessed your child's teacher shouting at them for sneaking pieces of strawberry while decorating a cake, would you shrug it off because s/he has to deal with 8+ children at a time?

Doctors and nurses and dentists deal with a parade of children all day, but they don't shrug off the kids by saying they have low blood sugar (I hope). If the child has a problem, they deal with it.

"Sure", I can hear some of you thinking, "these are professionals. They have to be patient and courteous to the children because they're paid to be."

So Kate doesn't have to be patient? Because she has 7 other children? (Which she has a nanny for).

And what about the McCaugheys? They have 8. They have 7 children the same age. Two of which have cerebral palsy. They're not on TV, whining. They limit themselves to yearly updates. The parents work for a living. They're dealing with 8. Why can't Jon & Kate?

So why is 8 so magical? What is the number of kids that she has to have before her behaviour can be brushed away by saying "She has "X" kids!!!"

They're Not Meerkats

As a follow-up to our recent blog entry (here), we noticed that Paul Petersen of A Minor Consideration has spoken again regarding the Jon & Kate Plus 8 show:

"Jon & Kate Plus 8" is not the same as "Meerkat Manor." Children are not the same as animals being filmed in their natural state. There are, or at least there should be, rules when children are employed [or participate in] the Entertainment Business. Make no mistake, after four years of their most private moments being broadcast to a nation of voyeurs, the eight children who make up the "+ 8" are 'performers' in every sense of the term. They need and deserve the protection of the Law. But what if there are no Laws? Children in the entertainment business, in case you didn't know, are exempt from Federal Child labor law, and have been since 1938. Pennsylvania has no published child labor laws for kids in entertainment. Ask yourself the following: If anyone in the Gosselin home is being paid, who owns the money? Are there limits to the number of hours a child may work per day, and anyplace they can't be filmed? In the end there is only one question worth asking. "What will become of these children?"