Nadya Suleman — Playing full house with half a deck


Pity poor Nadya Suleman.

She’s the Octomom from Southern California who’s been popping out children like a Pez dispenser.

Fourteen at last count. Eight at once. There are twins in that group somewhere. All fourteen are under 7. What a brood.

The childhood nursery rhyme goes, “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.” It ends on a grim note. Something about whipping them soundly and putting them to bed.

Nobody knows how many children the woman in the shoe had, but I bet she didn’t have eight newborns. How do you name 14 kids? I’m sure the older kids all have interesting, unique names like Aiden, Caden, Ariel and Bella. By the time Nadya got to number 13 and 14, she probably named them Joe and Mary. How do you remember who’s who?

A friend of mine has twins, London and Grace. She ties one of the girl’s hair in two pigtails because London has two syllables. Grace has one syllable, so she gets a single ponytail.

How do you divide your attention among all 14 kids and make sure that none of them ends up warped? How do you check everyone’s homework? That’ll take all night.

More importantly, and more seriously, how do you guarantee that these poor kids will grow up and lead normal, productive lives? I have a bad feeling that’s not going to happen.

I have two kids, and it was all Diane and I could do to keep them happy growing up. It was all we could do to make sure they had nice clothes on their back — sometimes hand-me-downs — to instill in them the important values they would need to get them to adulthood.

I think back to all those long drives when they would be in the back seat complaining, “She’s looking at me.” Then I would hear him say, “I’m not touching you,” as he held a finger a half-inch away from her face. How is poor Nadya going to deal with that in her 15-passenger van?

OK, I’m making jokes about this, but it isn’t funny. This borders on the criminal. Suleman, who is 33, is setting these kids up for a lifetime of misery. Their lives will be a constant struggle.

The kids will likely grow up wanting. They could grow up with developmental and mental challenges. That’s if they ever leave the hospital at all.

In an interview with NBC’s Ann Curry, Suleman says she always wanted a big family. That’s fine, Nadya, but maybe you should have thought about doing it the conventional way. You know, with the benefit of a father who has a good job, and in a stable environment. Suleman admits she has no idea how she will take care of them and says only, “God will provide.”

That’s precious. Suleman, who some say looks like Angelina Jolie, will, in all likelihood, rely on public assistance to care for these little ones. They will need a lot of attention, something that she is just not prepared or equipped to give.

Dennis Shaughnessey’s e-mail is