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A Few Too Many, Indeed! - Karen's Musings
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estherchaya
estherchaya
A Few Too Many, Indeed!

So, we went to Target today.  All six of us.  Brilliant idea, right?  Ahem.

Many of you reading this don't know me in real life.  So many of you have never seen me out and about in the real world.  But those of you who have can vouch for the fact that I'm generally pretty put-together.  I'm not all harried and stressed out looking - most of the time.  My kids are usually very well behaved - all of them.  (In public, anyway)  I usually have a smile on my face when we're out in public, because, really?  What else can you do when you're getting all those stares than just plaster a smile on your face and accept that you're a bit of a freak show?

So *most* of the time, we get sweet comments, or just simple nods of acknowledgment at our notable family.  We get a lot of "God Bless You" comments.  We get a lot of people saying, "Oh my gosh, are they twins!?" and they nearly pass out when I say, "no, actually, they're triplets!"  We have many people who tell us how cute or beautiful the babies are, or how lucky we are (we know).  We get the occasional "You sure do have your hands full" comment or "Better you than me" comment (darned right!  I wouldn't trust you with my babies!).  I obviously get hundreds of "are they natural?" remarks.   This is one that every HOM mom needs to decide for herself how to answer.  I suggest having a catalogue of several stock answers to use depending on context and what kind of mood you're in - everything from the truth (either, "yes, they were spontaneous" - if that's the case for you, or "yes, we had some fertility assistance" - if that's the case) to humour ("well, they're not made of a space-age polymer, if that's what you mean") to evasion ("all babies are natural") to pointing out the etiquette error ("We prefer not to discuss the means we used to conceive our babies, just as I'm sure you'd prefer not to discuss your sex life with me").

Most of the time, people's comments do not bother me.  I know that - for the most part - people mean well and don't realize when they've overstepped a personal boundary.  Few people have encountered triplets in their lives.  Personally, before I became pregnant with triplets, I had never encountered a set of triplets, though I now know about 50 sets of triplets.  So it's not surprising that sometimes people don't know how to respond appropriately when they see triplets gallavanting around in public.  We do create quite a spectacle, especially when you add in the fact that we have a fourth child as well.  And let's face it, our kids are so freakin' cute that it's hard not to notice them.  I understand this, and I understand we have a certain obligation to our adoring public. 

So there we are in Target, minding our own business.  We've already gotten a few nods and smiles and "Oh my's" as we've made our way about 50 feet into the store.  I was pushing the double stroller with the girls strapped in and I was wearing Sam in the mei tai.  J was walking next to me and Seth was pushing the cart in front of us.  J was distracted by the gift wrap aisle all of a sudden because he noticed that one of the gift bags had a Transformer on it, so the triplets and I stopped to "ooh" and "aah" at it with him while Seth waited ahead of us.  I told J that a boy would be very lucky to receive a present in that gift bag, but we weren't going to buy it today.  We were in the aisle for about 15 seconds, before I turned to get back out of it. 

Standing behind me, obviously annoyed that we were blocking the aisle was a woman and her (presumably) husband probably in their late 50's or early 60's, blocking me in.  I excused myself and asked if we could get by so that we could let her get through.  No sooner was my back turned and I was probably no more than a foot away from her, did she turn to her husband and say, "Well that's just a few too many!"

Excuse me?  Huh Wha?    My four perfectly well behaved children were doing exactly what to grate on your nerves?  Because really, I woke up one morning and thought to myself, "Golly, I think I'd like to have an extremely high risk pregnancy and have three babies all at once just so that a year later I can annoy a lady in Target."  How dare she?  Couldn't she at least have waited until I was out of earshot?  Or at least until my five year old was out of earshot?  What a witch!

But all was not lost.  We got the things we went in for, and bless Target for having enormous elevators that can accommodate 2 adults, a five year old, a shopping cart, a double stroller, and another baby strapped to mama.  We got lots of smiles and coos and happy comments.  And on our way out, one woman with a single infant passed by me and said, "Congratulations!  It must be so hard for you!"  I smiled and said, "Oh no!  They are easy, and so much fun!"  And I meant it.

A few too many, indeed.

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Comments
osewalrus From: osewalrus Date: November 24th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Hopefully, said witch had not herself reproduced.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
here's hoping. Jo suggested that perhaps she herself COULDN'T reproduce and she was jealous of my brood, but I'm all out of empathy today.
marag From: marag Date: November 24th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Right, because it's obviously her place to decide how many kids is right for you. I mean, she was *right there* in the doctor's office making the hard decisions, wasn't she?

Oh wait...she wasn't. ::eyeroll::

::whaps her with a large trout::
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
yeah. I just wanted to whip around and say something to her. I mean, seriously. If my kids had all been screaming and out of control, or I'd been totally stressed out looking, I could actually understand where she was coming from. But my kids were totally happy, completely well behaved, and I had a smile on my face. WHAT WAS THE DEAL?
(Deleted comment)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It's because I've got two in the stroller and I'm wearing the third. They don't realize it right away.

Actually, even when I used the triple stroller more (which I rarely did), people still sometimes asked if they were twins - I think people are just so attuned to twins, and so unused to seeing triplets that it doesn't even occur to them that they could be triplets.
yeishlitikvah From: yeishlitikvah Date: November 24th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
A few to many???

NO it's just right.

Did Julian respond as though he heard the woman?

I am awe of all you accomplish on a regular basis yet alone willing will make the adventure to take everyone out shopping at once.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
It's just right for now. And I love every one of them. Which ones would I toss back?

Julian asked me what she said, but he didn't really understand her implication.

Thanks - we don't take them all out together frequently, but I do try to get them out once in a while. It's too tiring to be cooped up in the house all the time.
cellio From: cellio Date: November 24th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Obviously you have a few too many good manners, since you didn't give her the chewing-out she deserved.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)
It's not good manners. It's that I don't think QUITE fast enough to just whip right around and snap back at someone. I was about 20 feet away before I had the retort that I wanted, and by then it would have been lost on her.
real_bethy From: real_bethy Date: November 24th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)

TOO MANY?!

Kein ayin hara!

That lady must have been feeling a mighty wave of jealousy looking at your beautiful, happy family.

Jeez Louise, folks can be so insensitive and rude.

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: TOO MANY?!

I mean, seriously, if she had at least waited until I was out of earshot, that would be one thing.

Or if my kids had been screaming, or if I had been all wrinkled and harried-looking, I'd get it. But I mean, I even SHOWERED yesterday!
malkaesther From: malkaesther Date: November 26th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: TOO MANY?!

Ok, I'm sorry but I can't help laughing at I even SHOWERED yesterday. I know with the 4 kids getting in a shower is tough. It was just the way you worded this that had me laughing.

At least J did not understand what she said.

People can be stupid.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 26th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: TOO MANY?!

Yeah, it was meant to be funny. TRUE, but funny. :)
From: geekosaur Date: November 24th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)
*nnnnnnnngggggggggghhhhhhhh* ...some people...
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know!
kalki From: kalki Date: November 24th, 2008 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I love this post. You know why? Because I'm just starting to experience the phenomenon that D and I call "The Travelling Circus". I can't get through a trip at Target without the "God Bless", "OH, are those twins?", "2 boys?", etc comments. Now, honestly, I love it. I waited my whole life for these babies, so I don't mind that they get the attention. But what I don't like is how some people will *interrupt* my phone conversations to ask me questions about them, stop me dead in the center aisle to talk, etc. Be cute, ask questions, but don't make shopping at Target longer and harder than it has to be.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the positive attention; what I don't love are the rude, personal comments, and the disgusting ones like these. And you can imagine the spectacle that I make with four kids, three of them only a year old, so we draw quite a crowd.
happyduck1979 From: happyduck1979 Date: November 24th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
yes...

a few too many rediculous comments!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
indeed.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: November 24th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I understand this, and I understand we have a certain obligation to our adoring public.
i love you forever for this comment :)

i can imagine staring though. when you said you all went to target, the first thing i thought was "HOW!?" 4 kids do not fit in a shopping cart. at costco you could do it with 2 carts...but 4 kids in target shopping cart...

i'm glad you explained how! so are you able to do shopping if it's just you and the tribe?

j sounds like such a sweet and well behaved big brother!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I kind of adore myself for that comment. :)

I can go shopping by myself if I'm just getting things I can fit in the stroller, or if it's things that can fit in a hand-carried basket (Julian can carry it, or I can carry it with a spare hand). Now, I CAN pull a cart along behind me while pushing the stroller in front of me if I *need* to, but I hate doing that because it creates an even *bigger* spectacle, and frankly, none of my shopping is ever so desperate that I can't wait until Seth is home and can watch the kids or can go with me.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: November 24th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
HA! :)

you seriously are amazing, despite your disagreement :)

i can picture you when they are walkable with 3 kid leashes. ha! :)

if i waited for dan to go shopping, we'd starve
ginamariewade From: ginamariewade Date: November 24th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Are they natural?"

"No, they're cunning little robots. Amazing what they can do with nanotechnology these days. I bet you can't even tell where we put the batteries."


estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
heh heh. I'll add that one to my catalogue!
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: November 24th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
HA! i LOVE that answer! now i want someone to ask me that!
hopeness From: hopeness Date: November 24th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's amazing that even though I know people make these sort of comments on a regular basis, I still get surprised when someone does.

And the suggestion that the woman was bitter/jealous? I'm bitter and jealous of people on a regular basis but I don't feel the need to be rude or cruel to them, so I don't accept that as an excuse.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 24th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
exactly. I'm all out of the hypothetical empathy for this one.
caryabend From: caryabend Date: November 24th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Snark

"Are they natural?"

"Well, all the parts were... who knew we'd have enough spares for two more!"

"Yes and no. We couldn't harvest and consecrate enough $OTHER-RELIGION babies for the triad, so we used un-differentiated stem cells. That meant we couldn't use these three for the $SCARY-RITUAL-INVOLVING-INFANTS, but that restriction doesn't apply to $SCARY-RITUAL-INVOLVING-TODDLERS. Maybe next time, but $OTHER-RELIGION babies can be hard to find - is the sale in Nebraska still going on?"

:)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 25th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Snark

heh.
mortuus From: mortuus Date: November 24th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
When people say stupid things like that, I always wish I had a fast mind that could come up with a snarky comment that makes the perfect hilarious response and puts the person in their place. But alas, I don't.

Then I just wish looks could actually knock a person down ;-)

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 25th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I know! I totally don't think or react fast enough for situations like this!
jeannegrrl From: jeannegrrl Date: November 24th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
No sooner was my back turned and I was probably no more than a foot away from her, did she turn to her husband and say, "Well that's just a few too many!"

And that's when I'd want to turn around and respond with "well *that's* an incredibly rude comment and my 5 year old has better manners than to talk behind someone's back"
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 25th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
see, if I were a faster thinker, I would have done something exactly like that, but I don't react that quickly.
redhotmamainmd From: redhotmamainmd Date: November 25th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
people can be so fucking rude! ;-{

I would have said, "well, bless your heart" (said with total dripping cold sarcasm and the ever not-so-subtle undertone of 'fuck you sideways with a rake sans lube, twice')... yeah, you can tell I grew up in Texas... Texan women are the QUEENS of the "well, bless your heart" comments.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 25th, 2008 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I knew texans couldn't be all bad. :)
missjessyjessy From: missjessyjessy Date: November 25th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)

i hate people sometimes.

"are they natural?"

People really ask that??? As if it was any of their business. Would it make a mother love their child any less? Absurd. I seriously cannot stand the nerve of people sometimes.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: November 25th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: i hate people sometimes.

I get asked this at least once per day. The two things 80-90% of people want to know when they hear I have triplets are:

1. Are they natural?
2. Are they identical/fraternal?

These are the burning questions.

Those that are nice enough to avoid question number 1 get around it by asking "Do triplets run in your family?" and my answer is always, "well, they do now!" (which isn't technically accurate - multiples conceived via fertility treatment are not genetic - my kids will have no predisposition to having multiples of their own except inasmuch as they may inherit my infertility issues and therefore need to seek fertility treatment of their own, thereby risking the whole multiple pregnancy thing themselves... but hopefully by the time they try to have kids, reproductive technologies will be much better and much more accurate and they won't have to worry about any of that.)

Truthfully, triplets are a rare-ish breed for most people and I can understand why they'd WONDER if there were some fertility treatment involved. But the proper question to ask is "Were they spontaneous?" and even then, it's really none of their business. I certainly don't ask about anyone else's sex life when I meet their baby. Can you imagine? "Oh what a cute baby! So tell me, were you and your husband in the missionary position when your baby was conceived, or doggie style? Or perhaps your legs were in stirrups with your reproductive endocrinologist in the room with a speculum?" Because, really? That's essentially what they're asking, they just don't realize it.
missjessyjessy From: missjessyjessy Date: November 25th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: i hate people sometimes.

were you and your husband in the missionary position when your baby was conceived, or doggie style? Or perhaps your legs were in stirrups with your reproductive endocrinologist in the room with a speculum?"


bwahahaha...i love it.
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