Duggar Family to Welcome Grandson in June
Filed under: Celeb News & Interviews
On last night's episode of TLC's "19 Kids and Counting," the Duggar clan took its latest announcement to new heights, skywriting "It's a boy!"
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar's eldest son, Josh, 23, and his wife, Anna, 22, will welcome a son in June, joining the young couple's 17-month-old daughter, MacKynzie.
Family matriarch Michelle Duggar, 44, tells ParentDish the couple decided to let "Grandma" tell the family the baby's gender.
"Being a grandparent is the greatest joy," she says.
ParentDish caught up with Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, 45, this morning by phone from their Arkansas home (after a mini-timeout for Michelle to change the diaper of the littlest Duggar -- 15-month-old Josie -- followed by Jim Bob cleaning up a little spit up.)
"She's not feeling well today," Michelle Duggar says of her youngest, who passed a significant milestone when she celebrated her first birthday in December. Josie was born three months early.
An edited version of the conversation follows.
ParentDish: Congratulations on all the exciting news! What's different about the role of of grandparent?
Michelle Duggar: For us, as parents, it is really neat to see our son become a dad and to take on the relationship as mother-in-law and Grandma for Josh and Anna and MacKynzie. But it's different. We have to be encouraging and supportive, but need to be quiet and not give advice unless we are asked. It's a joy to watch your child parent, but you have to honor that he will do differently with his little ones then we would do. It's a new season in life.
Jim Bob Duggar: When MacKynzie comes over for a visit all the aunts and uncles adore her; it's this huge big deal when she just walks in the door. She gets all the attention. Now, my son is a dad; that's a whole new relationship.
PD: When you say a "new season in life," is that a transition from "Mom" to "Grandma?"
MD: Yes. You never know what life will bring, but I am getting comfortable with the idea that the babies from now may be grandchildren. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hold an 8-week-old baby and you never get over what a miracle that is. I thank God for the opportunity to be a grandparent.
JBD: They live only eight miles away, so the grandchildren will be able to pop over any time for dinner and get to be part of this family.
PD: How do you give individual attention to all the children?
MD: We try to create purposeful times for each child, but it's really about giving a safe place to each child to share what is in their heart. I do things like ask one of the children to come with me to the post office, then make sure that I ask questions that will help him to open up and share what is meaningful in their lives.
JBD: People never believe we can give individual time to our children, but we really believe that love multiplies, that they've always got a brother or sister or niece here to play with or talk to. (In June, the Duggar's second book, "A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work," explores that subject, he tells ParentDish.)
PD: What's a typical day like in the Duggar house?
MD: It's pretty routine. We eat breakfast at 8, lunch at noon and dinner at 5. In between is school lessons, (all the kids are home-schooled) music lessons, time to read Scriptures and then fun time after dinner where the family plays games or we go outside. Then, 8:30, it's a snack and praying and then bedtime. The older ones might come to talk to us and then we feel it's a good day if we get to bed by 12:30 a.m.
JBD: The older kids will stay up talking. We've got 1,000-square-foot rooms with two bathrooms each, one for the boys and one for the girls, like dorm rooms.
PD: When do you two get time for yourselves?
MD: Well, I'm lucky. Jim Bob bought me an elliptical machine for my birthday last September, so I get up at 6 and text my very dearest girlfriend from grade school who lives three hours away but is on her machine, too. We're a support team for each other and keep each other faithful to our daily exercise.
JBD: (Laughs, saying Michelle can exercise for an hour.) I go about 10 minutes.
PD: It's big news for Josh and Anna. Anything exciting happening for your other children?
JBD: Our next three oldest, John David and his twin Jana, 21, and Jill, 19, all signed up with the town fire department to be on the early response team. The girls are really into the medical work, and John David loves racing into buildings for fires.
MD: And we've got two other children getting their permits, so that is scary and exciting. (The family's fleet of vehicles includes a 15-passenger van, "a fleet of Suburbans" and a 45-foot-long bus for longer trips that includes 12 bunk beds and "a lot of couches.")
PD: What's next for the Duggar family?
JBD: We're off to Colorado tomorrow.
Publicist interrupts: "Jim Bob, you can't say why."
Guess we'll have to stay tuned for the next episode of "19 and Counting," which airs on Mondays on TLC.
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