Family makes its own cricket team
By LYNDAL GAWEN MEET the Sims family (in order of age) Amy 16, Nicholas 12, Shaynelle 11, Naomi 9, Bianca 8, Mickayla 7, Madisson 3, Jarred 2, Veronica 15 months, Shirley-Jane five days, dad Michael and mum Cynthia, living the ultimate in family life.
When Cynthia and Michael Sims started dating, Michael joked about having 10 kids together. "I didn't think we actually would,'' he said.
As it happens, Cynthia presented him with their 10th child, Shirley-Jane, on April 30, for his 37th birthday.
"We've decided to quit,'' chuckled Cynthia, who will be making a visit back to the hospital since other contraceptive methods did not work.
Ten children between the ages of 16 and five days is a fair effort, especially in a time when families are getting smaller and the divorce rate is climbing to 50%.
"That's 10 pregnancies and 10 children,'' Michael said, knowing that they are a rare family, "that makes some people angry''.
But with a bit of effort from all involved in the family each day comes and goes just like any other ? just in triplicate. In the mornings the older members get themselves going with breakfast and showers and they feed the younger ones.
"Cynthia gets them lunches and I clean up,'' Michael said. He then walks them to the school bus stop on Elphinstone Street. Amy goes to Rockhampton High School while the younger kids go to Lakes Creek Primary.
Breakfast is cereal ? WheatBix, corn flakes, Rice Pops, muesli ? or toast and an easy three litres of milk, and eight litres by the time the day is through.
Lunch is sandwiches ? about two-and-a-half loaves worth. Michael's job at Coles Supermarket helps to offset the cost of food with a 3% discount.
"Sometimes I walk out of there with two or three trolleys, or I go out two or three times a day,'' he said.
As for outings away from the home they either walk or they make three trips in their sedan.
But being close to parks helps: "We always play a little sports. We can go and play cricket and not have to invite anyone,'' Michael said, thinking of the advantages of a big family.