Two months ago, Joanna Savard had just given birth to her fourth baby when her husband, Marc, turned to her in the hospital and asked, “Are you ready to start on number five?”
The Savards love having babies.
On Thursday night, I dropped by their pretty house before dinnertime.
Marc — the comedy hypnotist who performs today through Thursday at Planet Hollywood — was holding 2-month-old Lorelle while cooking vegan chili, between checking his beloved Edmonton Oilers on TV.
Joanna talked to me while her left foot rubbed the belly of a cat splayed on the kitchen floor.
The three older daughters were ever-so-politely coloring on the kitchen counter — Isabel, 9, Renee, 7, and Genevieve, 5.
The initials of the children’s names spell G.I.R.L.
How many kids can one Vegas headliner and his wife have?
“If the last one was a boy, we probably would have stopped,” Marc said. “But if we have one more, we may need two more, because everyone needs a Disneyland ride partner.”
Joanna answered my “why-so-many-kids” question before I asked it.
“It’s not a religious thing. We just like kids,” she said.
Unlike some of us who came from crazy families, the Savards did not. Marc, 39, grew up in Grimshaw, Alberta, a town of 2,500 people, and his giant family sometimes rented halls to accommodate 70 family members at Christmastime. His parents have been married since 1967.
Joanna grew up in Killam,Alberta, when the town was population 900. Her parents were together 42 years before her mom passed.
In other words, the Savards are repeating happy family behaviors. Joanna explained this to me in her hypnotist husband’s terms about the subconscious mind.
“What’s expected tends to be realized,” Joanna said. “This is all we’ve seen and all we know. We don’t know dysfunction. I mean, we’ve seen it, but I don’t know it.”
“We’ve had some family members (face troubles),” Marc said. “But that’s what family does — it binds together. It’s not always perfect for us. We’re so overwhelmed some nights. But we care about foundation.”
Joanna is a stay-at-home mom. Marc changes poopie diapers. Now and then, they bring in a nanny or a baby sitter, but never full time. Every night, a tutor comes at 6, not for struggling kids but for striving kids. The daughters get good teacher reports.
I asked the G.I.R.L.s if they want more kids in the family,too. They screamed “yes.”
“Seven! I want seven more,” Genevieve said.
You would expect this family-at-home not to cuss. They also don’t use the word “hate.”
“This child,” Marc said, holding the baby, “you can put her with any race, any person, any nationality, any job, anything, and she will just smile and love. She will be taught hate just like every other person on the planet, and that’s a shame.”
Joanna wishes everyone could experience the “eternal bliss” she gets from being a mom.
“There’s so much hatred and war and violence and shooting going on in the world,” she said. “I wish all these people could experience this joy. Maybe it would shift the way the world is meant to be, more good than evil, and more love than hate.”
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.