Scene: I'm at an afternoon farmer's market with Elizabeth and Cecilia in the double stroller, John Paul sitting on the footrest, and Mary Claire on my back in the Ergo. We walk up to a booth to buy some cherry tomatoes when the vendor glances at us incredulously.
|Kind of like this, minus the husband...|
Vendor: All those kids yours?
Vendor: You been BUSY!
Cue raucous laughter from surrounding vendors. I smile knowingly and walk away (very slowly, because pushing a heavy stroller uphill with 80+ pounds of children isn't the easiest feat), tomatoes in hand.
Now, this didn't really offend me. But I found it extremely awkward. How exactly does one answer that comment?
"Why yes, my husband and I have had intercourse at least 3 times!"
"I just can't keep my pants on!"
"We're like bunnies!"
"I find it's my personal duty to battle the low birth rate in this country."
"Someone's gotta pay for your Social Security!"
Honestly, I thought it was better to just walk away...
The next scene was slightly more offensive, though:
I'm at Costco on a weekday morning with Elizabeth in the seat, Cecilia sitting inside the cart, John Paul riding on the back, and Mary Claire in the Ergo. The children are behaving remarkably well, as they tend to do at Costco because of the samples. We approach a cart of samples of squeezable applesauce and a 50-something male customer glances at us and mutters something to the employee manning the table.
Man: That's like birth control for me...
Employee: Awkward polite laughter
Now, he wasn't talking directly to me, so I didn't respond. But really? Really?
My four adorable, well-behaved children sitting quietly in their cart, smiles on their faces as they approach a VERY exciting sample cart... That convinces you that you shouldn't have any (more?) children?
|Disgusting, they are. Who could possibly want MORE of these?|
Honestly, that convinces me that you probably shouldn't have any (more?) children, too! Because if all it takes is the sight of four children ages four-and-under to terrify you, it's probably a good thing that you aren't procreating. But really, I think this is an example of someone with NO internal filter and I'm just going to assume he had Tourette's.
This last scene though, it was the winner of the awkward award:
I have just spent hours preparing a meal for almost 20 people from Andrew's dad's side of the family and his dad's fiancée's family. We're hosting at our house because otherwise we wouldn't be able to get to dinner at all once bedtimes are factored into the equation. The kids have behaved pretty darn well, especially considering it is now more than an hour past bedtime for the big kids (the babies are both asleep). Cecilia, who has been nothing but adorable, cheerful, friendly, and sparkly this entire time (a HARD feat for one as shy as she is), is throwing a rather ridiculous temper tantrum in the bathroom because first there was too little toothpaste on her toothbrush, then too much, then I needed to wash it off and then how dare I wash it off? I close the door to the bathroom and leave her to decide how she wants to handle this...
Random relative: I don't know how you do it... Four children! You aren't planning on having more any time soon, right?
Me: No, not any time soon (meaning not in the next 9 months, since I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant right now)...
RR: You mean you're going to have MORE???
Mind you, she is sitting at the dining room table in front of a picture of St. Cecilia, an icon of American saints, and an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And she chooses to start this conversation...
I continued going about my business cleaning up after dinner, turning to make an astonished face at my sister who later told me that her other response, which I didn't hear, was as follows:
RR: I would kill myself.
Now that I wish I had heard! Because my immediate response was, "Well then I guess we won't be asking you to babysit!"
|Obviously, these faces would make ANYONE suicidal!|
Apparently she also warned my brother-in-law and his serious girlfriend not to have so many kids. Because, you know, it would clearly make them both suicidal. After all, she had two kids two years apart, and there's NO WAY she could have handled more!
It's not like I haven't written about this before - and Kendra pointed out how much better life is when we don't assume the worst from what people say. But I think sometimes it's raaaather difficult to assume anything BUT the worst!
And it makes me appreciate the fact that I am one of the least emotional people I've ever known - my sister has always lamented the fact, but perhaps God gave me a heart of stone so that I don't get terribly hurt every time someone tells me just how insane I am to have sooooo many kids already (it's like they think I CHOSE to have twins!).
I just figure, at least I'm the one repopulating the earth singlehandedly (well, with Andrew's help I suppose :P) and not them, right?