Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yes. They are ALL mine.

Okay, my friend Ann left me a comment here about Californians and their incessant need to be shocked by anyone with more than two children. She's dead on, people. DEAD ON! (her advice about being enthusiastic? Well, I'm taking it, but doing it differently...)

I am so tired of answering the same questions wherever I go:
"Are they ALL yours?!"
"You must be so brave!"
"How exhausting!"
"I could never have more than my one. I'd be too tired!"

(And I only have four! My friend has six...I wonder if she gets it, too...)

Now, I can understand the need to speak to a complete stranger while standing in line and it's taking forever, or hanging out on the BART heading into the city, or even if the conversation was started differently and then steered to children because one of my kiddies decided to pull out his sister's hair, and sometimes it truly is a sight to see me and four kids at Costco/Target/The Dollar Store --BUT I truly am getting tired of the staring, the questions, the assumptions. And so, to retaliate, I am no longer answering with just "Yes, they are mine. Yes, I am busy/brave/tired." Here are the latest encounters:

In my post a few days ago I mentioned the "brave" comment. I responded by looking at her like "what are you talking about?" (mostly because I wasn't sure). And then she gestured towards my children and I said "Oh." And then kind of shrugged my shoulders. Instead of saying "Oh, yes, I'm a superhero!" or "No, not really, they were all accidents." I just kind of ignored it. Wasn't rude; wasn't nice, either. I should work harder on that one.

Another person, on BART, asked if they were all mine and I said "They sure are! And we're thinking about having some more."
"We sure hope so!"
That one leaves 'em baffled. Funny thing is, I was being honest.

Yesterday, in Costco, I got "Are they all yours?" and "I only have two..." and before she could say "That's all I can handle" and "they are crazy/hellians/busy/too hard" I said to her, with a straight face:
"And they are wonderful, aren't they?"
She just looked at me like I was nuts and I left.

One shining moment:
Pharmacy lady: "Are they all yours?"
me (sighing inside): "Yep! We're hoping to have more, too."
PL: "That's wonderful! I have six myself and my daughter has two, but she wants six as well."

The conversation then turned to how big families (with kids close in age) are so fabulous. She made my day. Absolutely made my day!

So in conclusion:
THAT'S IT, PEOPLE! I will no longer agree with you that I'm tired/crazy/busy/brave. I don't care if it's true. I am also amazingly blessed/fulfilled/happy/content.

But, if I am going to take Ann's advice, I should still respond nicely and positively. So, for her, I will try. Can't guarantee anything, but I will try. :)


Janiece said...

LOL--I agree about California and not liking big families. The summer we lived in CA with DH's parents and B was a baby, I swear she was the only baby in the whole state. At least, that's what you would think from all the attention she got everywhere we went. So I can't imagine what you're getting--hugs!

Sarah said...

Hi Cheryl! What a small world! We're in south Walnut Creek, so we're in the Lafayette Ward in the Oakland Stake. My roommate from BYU is from Concord, though, and her dad is most likely your stake president - Brother Hunt? I never would have guessed when we were freshman that I'd end up living where she was from ;) It's fun to get to see her when she comes home, though!

I so hear you on being a spectacle with children here! I only have 2 and people stop me all the time with the "poor you" look telling me I have my hands full, etc. I so need to adopt your new attitude! I love it :)


Rochelleht said...

I LOVE it! I posted about this same subject a few months ago. It's pretty funny what people say. Though, being the mom of a special needs child for the last 9+ years, I'm used to ugly looks from people, so for the most part, I just ignore them.

I love your responses!

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Hi Cheryl, I'm Millie. :)

It happens to me too, in the ultra-lib NW. I have five kids. I love it when people ask me if I know what "causes that". I'm always tempted to ask them to explain it to me since I obviously don't know.

When I see big families like mine, I say, "You have a beautiful family," which I think is much more gracious than "Geez, what are you, rabbits?"

Cheryl said...

yes, he's our Stake Pres! However, I wouldn't know him even if I saw him; we've only lived here since March. I was in Cristy's ward in Provo before that... :)

Welcome! I've actually "seen" you around the bloggernacle...
I forgot about the "you know what causes that, right?" questions. I have gotten those, too. I've been tempted to say "wild and crazy sex, right?" :)

Scott and Laura said...

Having been born and raised in Southern California, I can even agree myself. Your entry made me laugh. I remember when I was 16 and had to take my 2 year old brother to the grocery store with me and some lady asked if he was my child, I said, "no, he's my brother." She was surprised to hear that he was my brother, but then replied with, "well, it's good he's not yours at least, you are way too young!" ... People really like asking questions like that in Cali... but sounds like you are handling it well. :) You just got to beat them to the punch. Way to go! :)

julie said...

So funny! I'm from CA, but have been living in Conneticut for the past seven years. Here people wait until they are in their late thirties to even begin having a child. And two children is a BIG family here. So imagine the comments when I show up with my four kids, the oldest being barely five. It's hilarious. I get asked daily how long I've been with the family. I always smile and say, "Since birth!"

Jessica said...

I love your responses! I am in Texas, and I get comments most of the time, usually of the "you have your hands full" variety. I have four, pretty close together (the oldest is six), with #5 on the way. I remember how wierd I thought it was when we first moved out here and I had my first two, a boy and girl, and people would always say "oh, you have one of each and now you can be done" like that was just what was expected. I am not collecting dolls or coins or anything, its not like all I am after is a "complete set".

I get incredibly irritated at the comments that hint toward you being an idiot or not understanding the concept of birth control. Plus I always have at least one person ask each time I get pregnant if this was what I wanted. Like I am going to answer, "no, please help me figure out how to make this stop!!"

I once heard a lady say that she answered the "don't you know what causes that?" questions with "yes, and we are REALLY good at it!". She said it usually shuts people up. I need to try that one out sometime...

Cheryl said...

Julie and Jessica-
Awesome! I'm sorry that it's so constant (I hear you), but I'm glad that I'm not alone.

Funny! I'm sure they had to think a little bit when they realized the age difference between the two of you; what that might imply... :)

Cristy said...

Ah, this is funny. I grew up in Texas with a family of 9. My Mom had her 7th when I was 16, and everywhere I went with her people thought she was mine and would give me these "oh, she's a tramp!" look. Great!

It's great living in Utah so I don't get those looks you get, just the pressure from LDS women to start my own business, stay the perfect weight, wear all the right clothes, cook amazing meals, and look like I have it all! :)