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.