From The Common Room an entry on large families and siblings:
Another question we ask each other (and others ask us) is ‘how do you make sure your children get some one on one time?’ Several years ago I was astonished when a mother of ten answered that question by saying that she didn’t think it was quite as big a deal as our culture made it. She went on to explain that while individual attention was important, she didn’t see why we acted like that was all that really counted, and it was only a poor second best to read a story to two children instead of one, or to sit down and play a game with five children instead of only one, or to shuck corn or pick blueberries one on one instead of with mom and all the siblings. She pointed out that while sometimes a child certainly needs some private time with mom and dad, more often family times are enhanced by each additional sibling, not diluted by them.
with links to a couple of good articles. One from SpunkyHome School. Excerpt:
A mother once complemented my 15 year old son on how polite and caring he seemed to be. She then asked me, “What do I have to do to have a son like that?” I grinned, “Have a baby at 40.” She quickly responded, “No thanks! I’ll keep my kid the way he is.”
She also links to an article in Time magazine about siblings and socialization.
and another from Holy Experience:
If we agree to the premise that an individual needs 12 hugs per day to thrive, this mother of six and wife to one must offer one hug every 10 minutes of every 14 waking hours to another body in this home.
(Math: 12 hugs multiplied over the 7 other people in this household is 84 hugs a day, and over a 14 hour period, that requires clocking in a hug every 10 minutes.)
Of course, a mother can create efficiencies � and, while I�ve often thought it should be a natural outgrowth of motherhood, I don�t mean sprout more arms. This Mama can encourage all of the arms in this home to be reaching out for each other.
The long and the short of it is, if you really want your kids to be well socialized, give them siblings. Though for now I don’t think giving Bella 12 hugs a day is going to be much of a problem.