I'm always stunned when someone tells me they have more than two kids. By the expression on my face, they may as well have told me they grew an extra arm and used it to build a rocket and fly to the moon. My jaw drops, and I take on a look of incredulity, while I scope them out and try to see whether they possess any super-human characteristics.
I think, in my head, there's a scale of jaw-dropping-sock-knocking-off-ness.
1 or 2 kids = a sympathetic nod and a sigh of understood weariness.
3 kids = might as well have scaled Mount Killmanjaro with a giant orangutan on their back.
4 kids = might as well have crossed an African desert barefoot for six months with just one bottle of water, rescued an endangered species and built a hospital with whatever was lying around.
5 kids = must have supernatural powers because really what other explanation is there.
So imagine my reaction when, yesterday, a mum I see every day at preschool pick-up let slip she had five kids.
No, wait. Think about it.
I think my jaw dropped to my chest, as I stared with a new feeling of awe and admiration at this woman who always looks so put together and calm.
Turns out she has some help, but still, with five kids, nothing is easy.
Funny how bewildering it is to me - having that many kids in this age. A hundred years ago it wouldn't have been at all uncommon for someone to have five or more children. But people still do it today (evidently), and more importantly, survive.
As for me, most of the time I feel like I'm just about keeping my head above the water with two very busy and demanding young buys, with a far-off fantasy - probably to never be realized - of a third child. And even that seems impossible.
Perhaps some people just manage chaos better than others.