The kid-rich Duggar clan has long been a favorite of TODAY viewers, with Jim Bob and Michelle, along with their army of 18 kids, making no less than eight appearances on the program over the past four years. So it was only fitting that TODAY got to play advance stork in telling the oldest Duggar offspring what the next generation will bring.
The verdict: It’s a girl!
“A little granddaughter, what a joy!” Michelle Duggar exclaimed on TODAY as her 21-year-old son Josh cut a cake to reveal pink layers live on Monday. Josh and wife Anna were married in September, and learned in February they were expecting their first child. They allowed TODAY to spring the news of the baby’s gender on them.
Meredith Vieira was the only person — besides Anna Duggar’s doctor and the baker of the cake — to know the baby’s sex before airtime.
Josh and Anna appeared on the TODAY set, while Jim Bob and Anna and their 17 still-at-home children watched the proceedings via satellite from Tennessee. The animated, deeply religious family star in their own Tuesday-night, TLC reality show “18 Kids and Counting,” and with a new baby on the way, are now preparing for what can be called “The Duggars: Next Generation.”
Josh and Anna proved to be waffling prognosticators on TODAY — and Josh should have trusted his instincts. As Josh held a knife readying to cut the cake, he told Meredith Vieira: “I had a feeling the whole time it’s going to be a girl, and so now I’m for sure it’s going to be a boy.” Anna added, “I think it’s a boy, but a girl would be great.”
M for Meredith?
Sides will become a little more even when Josh and Anna welcome their daughter into the world in October. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s dozen-and-a-half, ranging from eldest Josh to 6-month-old Jordyn, consist of 10 boys and eight girls.
While Jim Bob and Michelle gave all 18 children names beginning with J, Josh and Anna are thinking of going the M route — which left an opening for Vieira to have a namesake. “We’ve talked about M’s, so we’re down the right road for Meredith,” Josh said.
Vieira urged them to go with the name: “Don’t pull my leg here! You know I’ve been your biggest fan.”
Suffice to say, little Meredith — or whatever M Josh and Ann eventually choose — is being born into a loving, supportive extended family. Anna — no slouch herself in the sibling department, with seven back home in her native Florida — and Josh say their families are role models to look up to when it comes to raising their firstborn.
“I think you can prepare only in so many ways, but really just realizing that you’re going to be a role model for that child, and be able to be prepared as you can be to be able to take on that,” Josh told Vieira. “It’s an interesting experience, but I have great parents to look to.”
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No plans for a big family
Chances are, however, the second-generation Duggar clan is not going to rival the sheer numbers of the first. “We’d be happy with two or three; I think children are a blessing, though,” he said. “So we’re just thankful for the one that God has given us, and we’ll take ’em one at a time.”
While Josh and Anna will likely be swimming in hand-me-downs for their daughter, the question of baby-sitting is another matter. When Vieira asked Josh’s siblings who were ready for minding the newborn, only three raised their hands. But dad Jim Bob offered the hopeful assertion that they’re all up for it.
There may be good reason why the oldest Duggar children didn’t immediately shoot up their hands. As profiled on their reality series, the Duggars run what could be an unwieldy household with militarylike precision. The older siblings are all assigned a younger one to help and monitor, so their hands are already full.
And as far as the grandparents go, they may not be done having children themselves. While their youngest, Jordyn, won’t even be a year old when her niece is born, Michelle Duggar has said she and Jim Bob aren’t discounting another addition to their family.
“We would love more,” Michelle told TODAY in April. “We really believe that each child is a gift from God. We would love to receive more gifts if the Lord sees fit.”
Images: The Duggar bunchWhile Josh is certainly no stranger to welcoming babies into a family, he told Vieira he realizes the stakes are higher this time around.
“It’s different than just being an older brother; being a father, you know, it comes with a lot more responsibility. It’s just, ‘Wow!’ ”
For his part, Jim Bob sounded happy about the prospect of welcoming a new Duggar to the clan — but one that won’t be living under his roof.
When asked about the prospect of becoming a granddad, he told Vieira with a smile: “We hear it’s a lot easier than being a parent.”
For more on the Duggars and Josh and Anna’s pregnancy, watch “18 Kids and Counting” on TLC and visit TLC.com.
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