Riley Davis s a junior at Kake City School District and one of an extended family of seven. (Jordana Grant/KCAW Photo)

The following personal essay was written by a student in Kake, as part of a special project between the Kake City School media class and Raven Radio. 

My name is Riley Davis and I’m a senior at Kake High School. When my dad got remarried in 2006, I never thought that would later mean five more siblings. My younger siblings were all born in the last decade and our house has stayed the same size. And the craziest part is that four of the five are boys, which has been pretty hectic.

The house can’t seem to stay clean for a whole day. The littlest one likes to take all of the books out of the bookshelf and throw his food on the floor. I also probably step on a lego at least once a day.

My oldest boy is Talen, who is 9. After him, came Sierra, 8, the youngest girl. Then Tyler, 7, Erik, 5, and Dylan, 2. Before they came along, I lived in my two bedroom house with my dad, step-mom, Amanda, and older sister Talia, who is college now. The house fit us well, but it wasn’t long before it started filling up.

As you could imagine, I got pretty good at taking care of kids. And after while, I got used to our quiet house steadily getting more noisy. As more kids started filling it up, I enjoyed it. It’s safe to say there’s never a dull moment in our household. I like helping out and spending time with all of them, and learning about their personalities. They all have different quirks that make them unique.

Listen to Riley’s essay, in her own words:

Downloadable audio.

Our family has gained a sort of reputation around town. Whenever we go to a town event, we walk in and everyone probably thinks, “here comes Amanda and all of her kids”. But not in a bad way. We just tend to make a big entrance since there’s so many of us. I can’t imagine it any other way. I love all of them, even though they’re starting to get older and not wanting to hang out with their lame big sister.

Just to give you a taste of what it’s been like living with this crazy bunch, I’ll try to summarize each sibling the way I see them.

So my oldest brother is Talen, who is 9. He was a cute little skinny baby. He wasn’t the craziest out of my brothers that I can remember. But now that he’s older, he’s definitely gotten to the mean little brother stage. He doesn’t listen to me anymore, calls me names, and occasionally tries to beat me up (even though he’s scrawny). I guess I still gotta love him though.

My sister Sierra, who’s 8, has been a sweetheart since she was born. Even though she is surrounded by boys, it’s only made her tougher. And she hasn’t lost her girliness. She’s helpful and the most creative kid I’ve ever met. You can give her a few random items and she could make it into anything she wants.

Next is Tyler, who’s 7, and he’s a crazy one. When he was younger, he used to love me and like being by me. But now he’s acquired some of Talen’s traits of stuff like “Leave me alone.” Calling me names. Typical little brother stuff. When Tyler is in a happy mood, you might catch him singing. He does it all the time. I love listening to him because he makes such a performance out of it.

Erik is 5 and he’s the outcast out of all the kids in terms of appearance. All of the other kids have brown hair and brown eyes, but Erik is blonde with blue eyes. He’s of course pretty rowdy too, and a mama’s boy. He likes to hang out with Talen and his friends and be crazy with them

The youngest, Dylan, is of course the wildest because he’s only 2. Definitely crazier than all the other kids at that age. He’s loud and likes to play with cars and run around playing with the boys and attacking us. Just the other day he punched Erik in the face and knocked his tooth out.

The boys enjoy doing things like playing their Xbox, and play on their ipods (or iPads). Lately they haven’t been wanting to do much else. In the summer they ride bikes a lot and go jigging at the creek for fish. Sierra likes to play on her ipad, help bake, and create things.

My older sister Talia was the mean one. She would always be rough with the kids and play tricks on them and tease them all the time. I always felt bad, even though I thought it was kind of funny. But she also took them outside to do things to get them out of the house.

I think the best part about having a big family is that you always have someone there for you. And I have all these brothers and sister to look up for me, which makes me want to be a good role model for them. We all love each other and always have a good time. I would say that the only downside for me is that there’s not much privacy, especially in our small house. And when I need to be somewhere to do homework or read, I rarely find a time where the house is quiet. It doesn’t bother me much, now that I’ve gotten used to it though.

Having a large family I think has definitely shaped me as a person. It’s given me the ability to care for kids and definitely the ability to be patient. Patience is very important when dealing with them and trying to remember that they’re only kids and they make mistakes. I think my life without all of them would be a lot less exciting, and I’m glad I have all of them now.

Riley’s media teacher is Jordana Grant in Kake. With production help from Emily Kwong.