Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In which I make a bid for normalcy

I have four kids.

And while this is somewhat shocking to me, I still don't get why this is so fascinating to other people.

I began to appreciate the Wow Factor just recently. It was especially apparent when we took a family outing to the Renaissance Festival. We went just the week before NBC was born, and I was - um - EXTREMELY pregnant.

Still, I didn't think I was all that interesting. At least - not interesting enough to merit shouts from afar like

"Dude, whatever you're drinking, I don't want any!"
"Don't you know when to stop?!"
"I don't envy you at all!"
"Don't you know what causes that?"
"Can't believe you risked it again!"

(Although, to be fair, there were copious amounts of ale around.)

Yet despite the general state of inebriation, I found it strange that perfect strangers were suddenly intensely interested in our methods of birth control. Or lack thereof. (Ahem.)

I just don't think of myself as having a large family. Or having children particularly close together. For me, we are the epitome of normalcy. I mean, doesn't everyone define "normal" as however they are? I'm quite sure that you - sitting there at your desk, reading this blog, yeah, you - think you're normal. Whether you have two kids or eight kids or no kids. (Unless you have like fifteen. Sorry. That's not normal, no matter what you think.)

My kids are what I breathe, day in and day out. It's like someone shouting out bawdry comments about the fact that I have two eyes. Really? I look at them every day. Didn't realize it. Thanks for pointing that out.

Same goes double on the issue of whether or not we're going to "go" for a girl.

Why does EVERYONE ask me this?

Lately I've begun to tell people that I'm just waiting for an angel to appear to tell us what to do. Because I honestly don't know. Do I want a daughter? Yes. Of course I do. Elder Ballard's talk pretty much killed me. (And if we don't end up with a sweet little princess to coo over and coddle, then it will be an extremely sensitive subject that I do not wish to discuss with the checkout lady at the grocery store.)

On the flip side, why is it that people assume I'm disappointed with my boys?Because I'm so, totally, NOT. I wouldn't trade a single one of my blue bundles for a pink one.

(When some dumbonthestreet person asks me if I'm sad that I have four boys, I love responding "Of course not! Couldn't be happier with my little men." Nothing kills criticism like happiness.)

Not quite sure where I'm going with this. Just that I'm buggered about the whole thing. And buggering makes for good blogging. (Or so I tell myself.)

So instead of ending with some astounding philosophical conclusion, I'll just post a few more pictures from the Renaissance Festival. Because despite me waddling around with three wee ones in tow, we still had a ball.

Now that's normal.


Tamsin said...

1) People are always poking their noses - and their big mouths - where they don't belong. They shouldn't.

2) Urrr.... speaking of that. Maybe look up what "bugger" means? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugger

Kristina P. said...

Four kids is a lot, but it's not A LOT. That's odd.

elesa said...

So cute. And since when does four kids make for a huge family? I'm pretty sure that doesn't start until you hit 6.

LisAway said...

I just don't get it. I didn't realize Americans are so like this until I started reading blogs. I've never raised children there. It's so weird.

Also, not normal, not ordinary, but extraordinary.

Amy said...

Although in Mormon land 4 is a good size family, I’m afraid that it’s not the national average. My mom got shock and appall after she had her 4th, and it only increased when she had her 5th. We were the only family in our elementary school that had 4 kids enrolled at the same time (5th, 3rd, 2nd, and K grades). But you’re right, it’s none of their business.

The boy/girl thing is a valid question, although still not appropriate (especially from strangers)! I have a friend that has 4 boys as well and she’s still devastated that #3 and #4 are boys. It’s so sad because the older boys know it/understand it and will tell especially #3 all the things mom would trade him for. “We’d trade you for candy, we’d trade you for toys, I’d trade you for poop! Yah POOP!!!”

Glad you’re happy with your boys, even if you still would like a girl. I would want one too! In my perfect world we’ll have a girl first followed by a boy and it will continue switching back and forth until we’re done. Or a boy first, followed by a girl… I’m not too picky as long as it’s healthy!

Stepper the Mighty said...

That Girl. I love you.

Tobi said...

I've noticed that most "mainstream" Americans are having less and less children. I was recently talking about this topic at a baby shower. An older woman at the shower said twenty years ago having six to eight children was no big deal. She even went on to explain how she never even thought twice about having six children. I personally think it's getting to be a rarity to see families with more than two children.

Happy Mom said...

My mother was constantly on the recieving end of other peoples opinions about her repeated procreation. No, she didn't have THAT many (8 children), but her timing was very unorthodox and so people continually pryed into the why's and wherefores. Every one of her children were eagerly anticipated and adored, but others couldn't quite believe that she wasn't devastated to be pregnant yet again. It made me extra sensitive to the issue. It's such a personal decision that I cannot fathom why dear friends, let alone acquaintances and strangers would feel it an appropriate subject to bring up in casual conversation.
WHAT are they THINKING?!

Wonder Woman said...

What cracks me up is that in a place like Phonenix/Mesa, you're getting comments like that. Between the large Latin culture and the large Mormon culture, 4 kids is DEFINITELY the norm!!!

And honestly, what do you people expect you to say? "Um, yeah, I'd like to return this one and get a girl." Seriously, people. Mind your own business!! It's like no one has filters anymore. (Of course, I've never been great about my own filters...)

Also, LOVE that you went to the renaissance festival. Superman and I love them and were just talking about them the other day, planning when we'd go this year.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

What's so great about being Normal, anyway?

Brittany Ann said...

I get that a lot right now, too. I have two little ones and another on the way in a few weeks. People say things that are just insulting even the woman at the Costco check out looked at me and said "Are you going to be done after this?!" I was kind of shocked. Strange, huh, that something so personal becomes public business...

Rachel Sue said...

I get stuff like this ALL.THE.TIME. (maybe not so bawdy) And I live in Utah. It's kind of funny because I only have one sister, and growing up when people would ask how many siblings I have, and my answer was one, there was shock and awe. (I grew up in Utah. If you didn't catch that.)

My biggest pet peeve is when people ask if we are done. Could you possibly delve into a more sensitive, sacred and possibly controversial subject? Seriously? It drives me nuts.

DeNae said...

Brittany Ann, don't you wish you had said, "Gosh, no. I do this every month!" Then, when she looked perplexed, you could have said, "You were asking if I was done shopping at Costco, right?"

TG, my SIL has five sons, who have so far blessed her with two granddaughters. In my opinion, that would be the way to go anyway. No big weddings to pay for, and when they lose their minds at puberty, you can go on a mission or something while your sons and their wives navigate THOSE whitewaters!!

Love my boys. Love my girls. Love being a mom. That makes me normal, right??

Lew said...

I have been lurking for a while now, (InkMom and Mommy Snark told me how awesome you are and they are right!). Anyway, I could totally relate to this post. I have three boys and a fourth boy on the way (due in 9 days). I get asked the exact same kinds of questions and I usually just say that I've always wanted all boys (which is pretty much true, although lately I've been feeling like a girl would be fun one day). This post was a breath of fresh air...thank you!

Lara said...

People are funny. And I guess some of their mothers never taught them to mind their own business.

People ask me all the time if I am going to try for a boy. They are honestly shocked when I tell them we *might* have another child, but I'd actually prefer it to be a girl at this point. It's what I know. And really? Do we live in the middle ages where if you don't have a son, life is basically over?

You are totally normal.

Beeswax said...

#5 is two weeks old, and it doesn't feel normal yet. It feels like I've jumped in the deep end!

And i've lived in Phoenix for 19 years, and never been to the Renaissance Festival. Maybe next year? Was it worth it?

HeatherKitts said...

Ahem. First of all, I am one of four and I personally think that is NORMAL! Haha :) The other three are boys and here's what my mom always told the randoms on the street who made snide remarks: boys are better because you only have to worry about one 'you-know-what' in the neighborhood. Starts with a D ends with a k...that always shut them up! Ha!! And for the record, she always wanted 5. As for me, I'm hoping to have as many children as God will allow. And that I can afford, of course :)

I almost wonder if they're all just jealous because they wonder how there can be so much love in one family. Anyway, go have fun with your boys!!!

Melanie J said...

I think it's funny that four is considered large. I'm going for four and it seems a bit small even though I'm only one of three.

This also makes me wonder how often I'm guilty of these unthinking comments to others. I'll do better.

Melissa P said...

I used to live in Vegas and I had only one and baby sat a little boy about the same age. I always got weird looks taking those two everywhere. I think people just don't have more than one or two anymore.
I think four boys sounds like a lot of fun. People outside of Utah think kids in general are kind of weird, I think. That was the idea I got living where I did.

Just SO said...

That is just weird. We have four kids as well and I don't think anything of it. In fact sometimes I think I'm slacking...I came from a family of eight. I don't get why anyone feels the need to comment on how other people choose to have a family. Unless it's a positive comment like "What handsome boys you have!"

I mean sure I've been curious about some of the people that I've met but I would never question someone about if they were "going for a girl" or "are you going to have more than one...or two..." or "So is eight enough??" unless I was their really close friend or relation... and then I would qualify it with something like "I have a question for you and you can tell me I'm rude for asking or tell me to bug off if you think I'm horrid." Is that bad??

Mostly though I keep my questions to myself and try to keep the positive comments flowing...because who can't use more positivity in their lives??

MommyJ said...

So, I'm one week and two days away from having five children, and it feels completely strange to me. When I'm out with all my kids, especially now that I'm pregnant, people CAN'T not talk to me. It makes me insane. My favorite?

"Five kids? On purpose?"

I always, always make sure to respond with some sort of outpouring of love on my kids... assuring big mouth stranger person that my kids are the best ever and I love having a big family and it's so much fun...

People also ask all the time if this baby, currently in utero is the last one. Uh, can you maybe let me get through this pregnancy first? DO I really need to decide right now? I'm all about hashing out the issue with friends but when strangers ask like I should be perfectly willing to discuss my reproductive efforts like it's small talk, it bugs me.

And now my long comment is over.

Lisha said...

I love my three boys and wouldn't have it any other way. My husband is one of 4 boys, so it was inevitable that I have boys too.

It doesn't only happen in America, people ask the same questions (or accusations) here in Australia. I have a few friends at church just having their 4th child, although they are 10 years younger than me, ...I think I'm happy with just my 3 boys for the moment, and you should be proud to be a mother of 4 beautiful boys...wonder woman I think!!


Felicity said...

I'm pregnant with my fourth child now and I get comments ALL THE TIME from total strangers like the ones you mentioned! The most common is, 'oh wow 4 children - was it planned?'....and the 'funniest' (rudest) one I got was from a lady at the checkout in a supermarket who said, 'oh 4 kids, don't you own a TV or something'. I quickly responded with some comment about enjoying 'the baby making process' too much to stop at 3 which seemed to stop her rude remarks pretty quickly. I think I shocked her more than her me. I laughed all the way home after it happened :)

Stephanie said...

I only have two kids, and I can't go ANYWHERE without hearing, "Wow...you sure have your hands full." It always makes me want to say, "Hey friend, I'm just getting started!"

Love the pictures of the boys!

Melissa Bastow said...

When I tell people that I don't feel "done" with just our 4 kids, they really don't mask their feelings of appallment.

And I seriously don't envy you the brood of testosterone you're raising, but who would ever not want their children because of gender? And who asks those kinds of questions? So rude. (Although I have to admit that I was majorly relieved/thrilled to find out Number Four was another girl.)

Denece said...

I live in Utah, and have gotten lots of rude comments about using birth control (7 kiddos) and my standard response is "it's too bad your parents didn't believe in it." My hubby's favorite answer is "we found something we're good at so why stop?"

People, ya just gotta love 'em.

prashant said...

So cute. And since when does four kids make for a huge family? I'm pretty sure that doesn't start until you hit 6.
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