Daily Newspaper and for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Friday, December 5, 1997
By Mac McKinnon
Taking care of seven babies can get hectic
There has been more than a little publicity about the Iowa couple that
produced septuplets (seven). For a brief time, nobody spoke up to
question the wisdom of having seven babies at once.
There was a very interesting column by Barbara Brotman of the Chicago
Tribune that brought the whole situation into focus, at least for me.
One quote from the article may be rather rough but it makes a point. She
writes "But what did the septuplets' birth really mean? It is medicine
as sideshow: Step right up, folks, and see how many babies we can give
to one mother."
She also wrote....."Yet, the relieved doctors are smiling, the Iowa
townspeople are rallying and the septuplets' father is praising God - an
odd response considering that the McCaugheys used science to circumvent
God's presumed intentions."
She starts out the article by saying, "Am I the only one who doesn't
think the birth of septuplets is cute?
"A general ooohing and aaahing has descended. Imagine: Seven pairs of
baby booties, seven cribs, seven sweet Christmas outfits.
"But imagine this instead: Seven infants who will get only occasional
moments of a parent's undivided attention. Seven babies who are unlikely
to ever spend a single day as the sole beneficiary of a mother's cooing.
Seven children whose every milestone will be part of a chorus, not a
"And an almost 2-year-old sister whose childhood has just turned into an
older sibling's worst nightmare."
Brotman writes, "It doesn't take an expert to see that the McCaugheys
will be unimaginably short on time. New parents often feel exhausted and
overwhelmed caring for one infant. Feeding, bathing and changing seven
babies will be a Herculean task, even with a solid roster of family and
"And food and clean clothes aren't the half of what children need. What
about the quiet bedtime talk after a tough day at school. What about a
parent who notices which child has had a tough day at school? These
children will have to wait in line to hold a parent's hand on a family
walk - and that's a long line."
I don't normally quote something as extensively as I have this article
but it is done so well that I believed it to be necessary.
This doesn't mean that I don't believe in large families but families
who resort to infertility treatment sure need to give this serious
thought. Children in large families almost always get special treatment
when they are at certain stages because they are the only one in the
family at that stage.
This can't true for the septulplets. And while all of this is new, there
will be lots of help and financial assistance. But what about when the
new wears off and the constant day to day care and expenses take their
Raising children is a time consuming process and expensive. The days of
big families for the most part is a thing of the past due to expenses. I
wish the best for the McCaugheys and their seven new little ones and the
older sister but they have a difficult time facing them.
Editor's Note: Mac McKinnon is the Editor and Publisher of the Pecos
Enterprise whose column appears each Friday. He can be e-mailed at:
Retailer speaks up for all vendors
To The Editor:
In regards to the concerned parent, that was pleased because of the
investigation by the T.A.B.C. (Pecos Enterprise, Dec. 3, 1997).
You say you want names to businesses that sell alcohol to minors. Maybe
you should ask your children, the name, or names of winos, or junkies
they pick up on the street on any corner to purchase alcohol for them.
For a five dollar fee.
Don't blame the retailers. You're children are smarter than what you
A Concerned Retailer,
Name Withheld by Request
Find the courthouse
Reading Mary Katherine Earney's anecdotal history of the 83rd Judicial
District is like sitting down to chat with old friends, I recognize so
many of the characters - at least by name.
One of those has appeared in news stories off and on the 27 years I've
been in the news business, the latest a fresh memory. Alvaro Hernandez
Jr. first drew notice in 1975 when he was accused of killing a clerk at
the Ramada Inn in Alpine. Earney remembers that as her husband, Judge
William H. Earney, convened the trial, rumors flew that Hernandez was
going to kill the only witness. With tension high in the courtroom lined
with law officers, "the brittle silence was broken by a metallic clatter
in the back of the courtroom. Leather slapped. A child wailed. He had
dropped his toy car."
Hernandez was convicted, but later escaped from the Fort Stockton jail,
only to be re-captured near the Rio Grande in Mexico. (Hernandez spent
some time in the Reeves County Jail and sued his jailers. He was in the
news again last year when he took a gun away from an officer in Alpine
who was attempting to arrest him and again escaped. And again captured.
He continues to file lawsuits from his prison cell).
Earney fills her paperback book, "First Find the Courthouse," with such
anecdotes as she describes each judge since Pecos County was organized
in 1875 through the current judge, Alex R. Gonzalez of Fort Stockton.
She is on a book-signing tour that will cotinue through Dec. 9, when she
will be at the Annie Riggs Museum in Fort Stockton. On Dec. 8 she will
be at Cafe Ocotillo in Alpine and the Farrior House in Fort Davis.
Order from Listo Publications, P.O. Box 35038, Houston TX 77235-5038.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise