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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Your Two Under Two Response List

... or, What to Say When People Say the Inevitable

There are a few things I hear all the time, having babies so close together. With this post, I hope someone who doesn't have babies close together will take note, and make an effort not to say these things when they see babies close in age out in public (because, yes, we do that 'going out in public' thing on a pretty regular basis.)

"Wow, how close are they?"

-I generally answer with thirteen months, unless I am feeling a little snarky and then I'll say "Oh, about six inches" or whatever distance they are from each other. People never get it. With this question, its not so much the question itself as it is the tone. It sounds more like "Wow, how close are they?"

"Did you plan it this way?"

-Yes, in fact, I did, and let me tell you exactly how it happened. This is the dumbest question ever. Would you ask me if I had planned to have my first two babies three years and two months apart? Or if I planned to have my second and third babies two years and eleven months apart? Of course not. It's kind of a personal question, too, because it almost implies an interest in our sexual habits, and that really freaks me out. This is almost as bad as asking a single mom if she knows who the father of her baby is (and yes, this happened to me too, many years ago, when I was a single mom.) For the record, we didn't plan it this way. When people ask, I normally say, "You mean, people don't?"

"Oh, you must have your hands full!"

-Yeah. So full that I don't have time to be discussing this with you, dear stranger. This one doesn't bother me so much really, because I can pretend to be Mom of the Year. "Why, no, it's really easy having babies one year, one month, one week, and one day apart! Why wouldn't it be?"
On sort of a similar note, my mom met a young couple with their new baby in church. The mother was having a hard time gathering up the baby, carseat, and diaper bag, and my mom bragged, "Oh you should see my daughter, she's like a packmule!" Uh, thanks Mom. I think.

"Wow, your husband must be really fertile!"

-Yes, this has been said to me. I walked away both times someone said it, but if it ever comes up again, I'll say "Yeah, he is. So fertile that I had absolutely nothing to do with the creating of these children."

"You look great for having four babies!"

-I never argue with this one. I also never know what to say, especially if the person saying it is overweight. (I am overweight too, just not really significantly so.) I mean, do you say "Oh, no I don't, but thanks!" all demurely, like television taught us to (back in the much milder eighties) or "Yeah, I have really good genes," or "Thanks, I've worked my butt off!" (even though you haven't)? Mostly I just say, "Wow, thanks!" and kind of walk away, wondering why some old lady in the grocery store is checking out my figure.

"How do you manage?"

-I hate this question, I really do, because it would take me a really long time to explain it, and I can't come up with a brief answer. People who ask these types of questions don't actually care, they are normally just making small talk, but how do you incorporate twenty-four hours of chaos into small talk? "Um, well, we just do is all." That sounds so pathetic. Lately I have taken to using the "Oh, it's really easy!" answer, because it's another opportunity to play Super Mom.

"You must be so happy to finally have a boy!"

-Yeah, we are. We decided before the baby was born that if it was another girl, we were going to drop all of them off in Nebraska and start over.
In all honesty though, this one bothers me, because it implies that boys are somehow superior to girls, and while I would argue that is true in terms of peeing distance, in all other ways it's false, at least for our family. If The Babe had been our fourth girl, we'd have been just as much in love, and life would have been far easier because that would have been our fourth summer girl and we wouldn't have to buy a darn thing. I imagine that people with three boys and then a girl hear the same thing. I don't know if it bugs them as much as it does me, but I don't much care, really.

There you have it. Those of you with no children, or children more than twenty-four months apart, take note. I am not explaining this again.


Jen said...

Brilliant!!! Thanks for the ideas because I hear all those and usually I just half smile with a sleep deprived glaze over my eyes and say uh-huh. . .

Baby Bunching said...

OMG...this is hysterical. :-) I love the 6 inches one. Brillant, indeed.