Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

I'm talking about our neighborhood park today. And I love our neighborhood park. We hit up the library program at 10:30, checked out some books, and then hit the playground. Where literally every.single.parent. went out of their way to strike up a conversation with me that began with, "Are all those kids yours" and was closely followed by exclamations of, "Wow", or "You have a lot to do", or "What do you do for carseats" (??????????) !!!!!!

Honestly...I was so annoyed. Why can't we play at the park like everyone else? Why are these people not picking up on my antisocial vibe? Funny too how my four kids happily playing somehow gets more attention than the kid running around screaming (and shaking his fist) at everyone else's kids, or a dad's big black dog named Wrigley that kept slobbering all over me and my purse??!!! I also loved how when the guy asked me about the carseats, and told me how that must get expensive (wow I guess I should have thought of that before we had all these kids!) he proceeded to inform me that HE TOO has 4 carseats--so BOTH of their cars have enough carseats for their TWO kids. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I left slightly disgruntled. Not that anyone could tell. I am that person that smiles and acts really sweet even though on the inside I'm fuming. :)

(Oh and the above picture doesn't have anything to do with this post, it was taken in Wisconsin. It's one of the few recent pictures I have of all four of my kids! And in order of descending height to boot!)


Jenny said...

We must be on the same wavelength today, or both surrounded by idiots. I wrote about this exact same thing today! There are just days that I don't want to be noticed.

SDR said...

Hi Brianna -
This won't make you feel better, but I was glad to read your post today :) I only have 1 baby, but in the past few weeks I have been getting an increasing number of comments about how lucky she is and what amazing people we are for taking her in. Are you freakin kidding me? I want to just slap 'em silly. Of course, like you, I just smile and say we're the lucky ones. But its nice to hear that the comments won't stop if/when we add more #s and colors to our little family :)


Brianna Heldt said...

Okay so I LOVED both of your comments!!! It's good to know we're not the only ones out there putting up with irritating people. :)

Mike and Rachel said...

Hey, I got at least 4 comments about having my hands full while in airport bathrooms this past week. As if I am the first woman to take two kids into the bathroom at the same time.

I am Katy, said...

Love the pic. For some reason it reminds me of the saying about "having all your ducks in a row" with them lined up like that along the water front. Too cute.

The Fearnsides said...

The more children I have, the more anti-social I become.

It's too bad people can't keep their nosey-ness to themselves! I often get, "wow, you have your hands FULL," "How lucky you have three beautiful boys (actually, the baby is a girl)," "How nice 2 boys and 1 girl, it's so nice to get them all out of the way and be done at SUCH a young age." And my personal favorite, "you're not going to have anymore, are you?!"

Sorry for the mini-rant. Why are people not more excited about children? And why do the think it's any of their business to begin with?

I think your family is beautiful!


Sandee said...

I love your blog, and stories. I too am adopting from Ethiopia...and hope to bring my daughter home in December....and will then have 4.

I get the comments from am I a saint or am I nuts or what is wrong with me?

On that last one, God knows. :)


Jacquelyn said...

Seems like it doesn't matter who you are or how many kids you have people feel like they need to comment. In Philadelphia most people told me what a great nanny I was or made what I considered disparaging comments about our family size. I think people just want to comment on something they think is unusual or don't understand. Maybe they don't mean to be rude. This is exactly why I am trying to teach my kids to try and see things from other people's perspectives before they pass judgement. Sorry it is so frustrating! When I went to the doctor today and trouped out with all 3 kids even the doctor said (in reference to my pregnancy) "Just what she needs, another kid". I think she meant it as a joke. I guess raising a medium sized family these days is counter- cultural.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Interestingly enough, I get comments too...about actually WANTING 3-4 kids! Anytime I have a rough day with Hen, people will comment: "And you STILL want 4?????" Or, they will proceed to insinuate that I'm clearly stupid and/or naive because once I have a second baby, my opions will INEVITABLY change because it's SOOO much work and I'm completley crazy if I think otherwise. Look, I'm not delusional. I'm sure it will have absolutely insane chaotic moments. Moments that I cry. Because I'm overwhelmed AND because I'm overwhelmingly joyful. So there.

Brianna Heldt said...

What I don't get about all of it is.....why do people go out of their way to make this type of conversation or to say how nuts you are? It's fine to have a different perspective, but why the condescension? In most of these conversations that I have, there is literally no reason for us to even make small talk, much less discuss family planning! Thankfully we've had more positive experiences here in Denver than we did in Santa Maria. So that's nice.

I have four kids. And I want more. And we don't prevent pregnancy. And in the fabulous, wise words of Jeannett, "so there." :)

shell said...

you know i get comments daily.
and i know people talk about us, because people will come up and they know who i am. and i have no idea who they are.
it can be so annoying.
but for me, i remember all the stupid things i have said in my life, which is an extremely high number, and I just move on. Or atleast encourage them to adopt or love jesus.
you are not alone!

Cat and Mark said...

SO there with you. EXTREMELY annoying. We really love our church, but it is a little irritating to find out that we've become ... well known (notorious?). Apparently EVERYONE knows who we are (umm.... okay?) Also, I sometimes can't stand the comments we get about how polite our kids are - I know, strange reaction right? But so often it is said with the undertone of "wow, they have 4 kids and they aren't all raving savages - it's amazing!"

Grrr... oh, and I HATE when people ask if there will be more. Why would I want to discuss such issues with an old lady at the supermarket????

Angela said...

yep. took all 4 to the grocery store today, and I think i got 10 comments. 10. 10 comments... I had fewer items in my cart than I had comments today!!
'are they ALL yours?'
'did you adopt some and have some?'
'you are to be admired!' (what?!)
'you've got your hands full'
'you've got your hands full'
'wow. you are sure busy'
'you've got your hands full'
You get the picture. My favorite one was not actually said to me, but to the lady she was with ' you think she is babysitting?' (from the other isle i spoke loudly 'Nope! They're ALL MINE' with a smile in my voice... I heard the embarrassed 'oooooh' echo through the isle.) Really?
Okay. I'm ready. Put on my smile, and just say 'yep! my hands are full of blessings!!"

BJ said...

I have five kids, all biological and I get it too. I have days when I can handle it well, and other where I get so mad! We're also wanting to adopt. You mentioned you don't prevent pregnancy - I have to admit, that's mostly how we've handled things so far, and I'm struggling in this area - I want to adopt, have had some rough deliveries, recoveries, etc. If mine spaced out naturally with longer time in between, I think I might be able to just let go, and keep doing what we working on my faith/trust in that area. So far my average is 19 months apart. After last baby I have been battling PPD, so that's something else I'm trying to cope with. The hardest thing though, is that most people IRL do NOT understand, and therefore if you try to talk about this kind of stuff, you get all the comments that you and others have mentioned. Why can't they just be more considerate? WE don't go up to them and say, you're awful for only having two! Sorry, LONG rant. This one hits home for me. Mind if I link?

joy said...

i love the picture of your kids! maybe you should start coming up with other responses--"no, i'm just the nanny." "no english" "no, i just found them on the corner--do you want to take one home?" "that's none of your business"
i'm sure kevin could come up with some great responses! oh and how are you liking thomas jefferson education? i loved that book. i found it a bit repetitive, but i loved his ideas. and does monica blog, too? hi, monica! it's joy. did you have ANOTHER baby? aren't you done YET? :) ha ha. seriously, congratulations! i didn't know you had a baby!

Brianna Heldt said...

cat, ugh, it's awful when it happens at church, because it feels like of ALL places, THAT should be a safe place where your kids can be without being treated like a circus act. i used to feel that way sometimes at our old church. we were "those people." at the church we go to now, i've never felt that way, and i guess i've come to decide that much of it is just cultural...small town vs. city mindset, etc.

hi bj! please feel free to link. it is good to know we're not the ONLY ones who deal with this (even though i wish none of you had to!) i'm so sorry you've had to deal with such difficulties in your pregnancies/births. that is so hard. i know God will show you what to do! if you ever want to email my email is

joy YES, i LOVED that book! i agree some of it was a bit repetitive but it really was good. i'd read "well trained mind" previously so i already kinda had an idea about some of those things, but he offered such a different angle! and so much insight into the state of our country etc. i loved his point about how teachers can inspire, but not educate, that students can only educate themselves. and yes monica does have a blog! it's linked off kristen borland's (i still need to add it here!)

Kelly and Jason said...

The funny thing is it can be just as bad when you have one or none. It took us 7 years to finally get our baby and in that time people were always saying stupid and thoughtless things. And now I get the "Don't you want him to have siblings?" We are in the process of adoption now, which we were when we concieved, and we get hassles with that too! Arrgh! You can't win with some people!

Adoptingmama said...

Coming out of lurkdom because this issue gets me riled up as well. We have 4 at home: 9 year old girl caucasian, twin 7 year old girls african american and 4 year old boy caucasian. To them they are just brother and sisters but to everyone else they are "adopted". I actually had someone ask me if it was hard for them all to learn to love each other! We got them all as babies, so no, they find it as hard as any other siblings! I've been obviously bugged by the "My! Your hands sure are full" comments so often that one of my kids exclaimed (loudly) after someone said it to us again and I faked a polite laugh/smile/nod, "Mom, I thought you hated it when someone said that us!" Ah, kids!

BTW - I enjoy your blog and look forward to hearing more about your adventures. Aloha from Hawaii

Jacquelyn said...

Wow Brianna! looks like you need to start an online support group! And speaking of comebacks ... the next time someone tells me I have my hands full (the comment I hear most often) I'm going to reply "Well it's a whole lot better than having them empty!"

We know that our children are a gift, it's too bad so much of the world sees them as a hassle.

Lisa Leonard said...

hate it break it to ya, but you guys stand out. four little ones so close in age, not to mention different colors in unusual. we get some comments, but i get more staring. i wish people would engage more. hugs to you!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Brianna
You know I get it too. Lately I've been getting the "You are such a good person" thing which drives me nuts. You don't know me, how the heck would you know what kind of person I am? I try to be the best mom I can be to my kiddos, but I'm not this amazing saint. I'm a mom, plain and simple.


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