January 21, 2009

It Looks Like You've Been Busy

As the oldest of seven, I grew up believing that a family isn't considered "large" until an extended- length passenger van is required to haul around all of its members. Thankfully, we're not even close to that point. My family still fits in our SUV, as long as everyone sits with their knees together and shoulders tucked into their chests.


(We had a van like this when I was growing up. When I was really lucky, I got to drive it to school).


At Costco the other day, you would have thought I was Ma Duggar by the way that people looked at me and my brood. Granted, my three eldest were hanging onto three of the four sides of the shopping cart, but other than shouting out friendly salutations to fellow shoppers--Move over! We're comin' through!--they didn't do anything to draw attention to themselves, or to me.




During the course of my thirty minute shopping trip, I was stopped by several people of varying ages and mental capacities. Most just wanted to state the obvious--You have four kids!--but others rightly saw my children as the window into my soul.

"You sure have your hands full."
My cup indeed runneth over.

"You are one busy lady."
People do consider me a busy body.

"It looks like you and your husband have been busy lately."

You will be shocked to know that that the last comment came from a balding leprechaun who was standing behind me in the check-out line. He was holding a 300-count box of magic markers.

I flashed the man a sultry grin before chucking a jumbo-sized box of maxi pads onto the conveyor belt.

It's nice to know that I still have the touch.

44 comments

Zoie said...

Isn't that when you smile and say "I'm not married. They all have different Dads."

Kislak Mobile Notary said...

You handled your outing like any mom would, with grace.
I too come from a family of seven, and there never was a dull moment. I was the fifth child and was placed in the back of our huge station wagon growing up in the early 70's. The backseats faced the opposite way, which did nothing for my car sickness.
I dont think the Auto makers back then thought about all of those poor children in the backseats vomiting. lol

Karen said...

roflol You are hilarious but I was totally agreeing with you the entire time. ;)

My dh keeps teasing me that our next vehicle purchase is going to be a "church bus" aka big passenager van. LOL I'm actually dreading how much more attention it will draw. lol

The Mommy said...

My Oldest Boy is in school right now so I usually do my grocery shopping with my two youngest. People are constantly telling me that I must have my hands full! It's all I can do not to say, "Yes, but you ain't seen nothing! I have an older boy and another on the way!" {SIGH}

InkMom said...

My youngest likes to say, "Beep-Beep! Tomin froo!" Occasionally I hear a quietly muttered "Cuse me" but I swear he only says it because he knows I think he's supposed to, and he's only two.

InkMom said...

I forgot . . . my sister's classic answer to this question was, "Yeah, if you'd seen my husband, you'd understand why I can't stop."

Deb said...

I lived in Colorado when I had number 4 and 5. One day I counted over 15 comments from strangers as I did my grocery shopping and errand running. People tended to say things when the kids were dressed, hair combed and done, and really not all that crazy. Maybe folks are too scared to say anything when the fight over the favorite cold cereal is happening - I don't know! Anyway, my favorite came after the "You have your hands full"..."You are DONE, aren't you?". I would smile sweetly, and say, "Heavens no!! I am expecting number 6 right now, we're hoping it is twins, and my husband and I are aiming for an even dozen!" They would look startled and walk away, muttering about "over population" and "don't people know about birth control". Wierd moving to Utah where I am utterly average with my clan of 5!

Jennifer said...

We have only three children, but they are all within a year of each other. My personal fave is when people ask me in the grocery store, "Are they all yours?". As though any mother in her right mind would round up strange,random children dragging them to the store just so the grocery trip will be more fun.

linda said...

out here in oregon I am basically committing a crime by having four kids. I think the school parents are the worst. Just last week when I forgot the name of one of my children's teachers(not their main teacher, come on 5th and 6th graders each go to 3-4 teachers and my preschooler has 3 teachers so give me a break) a neighbor mom told me I had too many kids. Wow, thanks. People act like I have SO many kids and stare and make comments as I walk by. It is sweet and kind. Then they ask if I will try for a boy.

Renny said...

Once, in Jr. High, my teacher found out that I have a sister that is ten years younger than me. So she was two at the time. My mom was also pregnant with my little brother. He said, and I quote, "what are you people from the north were you have nothing to do all day but make babies?" People are amazing.

Wendy said...

When people tell me that I have my hands full (I have 4 kids including 8 month old twins) I tell them "my hands may be full, but so is my heart."

Renny said...

Oh, and I hope you winked at the leprechaun and did a little shimmy.

Crystal said...

People @@. I get the comments too with my 3, they act like I have 20 kids. But I must give off that don't talk to my vibe usually and most the time don't have all 3because most the time they leave me alone but every now and then I get one. Its usually the you have your hands full comment. Like really I didn't know that already coming to the store with a 6 1/2 yr old with autism, a 5 year old and a 1 yr old lol. Gotta say I love Fred Meyers they have a babysitter! For age 2- whenever they cant walk without ducking under their little door lol.

Sants said...

I was once accosted in Target by a friendly looking old couple who loudly berated me for "over populating the planet" and "using up all our natural resources".

What really confused me is that I only had five kids at the time and for some strange, never-again-replicated reason, they were all behaving like angels. Seriously.

I thought of a million things to say back ... AFTER I LEFT THE STORE. WHY WHY doesn't my brain work when I need it???

Now my standard come back is, "I just can't help it, when they are on sale at WalMart I have to grab another one." I also like to say, "I have six more at home" just to REALLY freak them out.

That Girl in Brazil said...

Hugestly hugest pet peeve EVER. People can keep their birth control comments to themSELVES.

My favorite is when people comment, "Gee, don't you and your husband have television? Three kids all in a row!" *wink wink*

That's when I say, "I see you only have two kids. Does that mean you've only had sex twice in your entire marriage?" *wink wink*

mamagale said...

We have eight and I've been listening to comments like that for years! When I was expecting our fourth, the intern who was filling in for my Dr. said, "So, when are you getting out of the baby-making business?" I had four more just to spite him.

Diane said...

My biggest thrill in life is going shopping by myself, sigh.

brossettelewis said...

Not like it's a contest or anything (multiply and replenish and all) but dude we're totally going to win.

Amanda Panda said...

I love reading all the comments. So funny! And Jana, I remember driving my moms 12 passenger club wagon (that did not have a muffler and was loud as heck!) for my driving test. The tester was shocked I could park that thing. I told him to try it with 5 younger siblings screaming in the backseat!

As for the kid comments, I only have 2 so far, but while I am LDS, my hubby is not, and my in laws are the source of most of the comments. They keep wanting to know when we will get "fixed". Like 2 kids is just crazy! I love telling them we are not done yet, and that if it were up to their son, we would already have more by now! My oldest daughter has autism, so I do get comments as to why I would have more and risk another child with autism. Sad, really. My daughter is a joy, and I can't imagine life without her. she just has some challenges. I tell people when they are being ignorant too.

Chad and Nicole said...

I get the same exact response when I take my kids to any stores. I have 5 girls under the age of 5, and I constantly get stopped and asked questions. Or, people just same random things like the balding man did to you.

Malea said...

My kids aren't quite as close as yours, but I do have all boys; and the last three came in three consecutive years. So, when we travel anywhere in Utah, the comments are, "You need to balance that with a few more girls". When we go back east, I get stared/gawked at, applauded, and instructions on how to prevent any future mishaps.

springrose said...

My new comback when I am at the store with all of mine and I am pregnant is.."I'm not pregnant, I have a tumor!", stops em cold!
I have 5 kids and I love going to the store with them and the 2 or 4 day care kids with me. I especially love going to Costco. You know some one with that many kids needs a store like Costco! Any way I love to hear all the comments. Especially are they all yours. Yes, I have had 3 sets of twins!! Duh!! Great post! April

Momlissa said...

Oh god, thank you so much for the belly laugh. :)

Ma Duggar indeed!

People love to say "You have your hands full!" I usually say "LITERALLY!"

Anonymous said...

From the other end of the spectrum, my husband and I can't have kids, so we get all kinds of comments about "When are you going to have kids? Don't you LIKE kids? Isn't it time to think about starting a family?" (We've been married 4 years) And my personal favorite, "You should't be so selfish. Kids are an important part of a marriage." (Told to me by a trophy-wife type mom who has both her kids in daycare)

People just can't seem to mind their own business no matter what the situation!

springrose said...

Oh, I forgot to put that I have a 12 passenger van! It is red, so we affectionately call it Big Red, my kids wanted to call it Clifford. I had to put my foot down!

Helen said...

Ahh the fun of having lots of kids, close in age :)

My favorites are "how do you do it?" and "Where did you get that thing?" (referring to my Choo Choo Wagon).

A day in the Life... said...

Wow I read every single comment!

I had 3 kids within 3 years and get comments all the time. I have begun to DESPISE when people say "you have got your hands full" I seriously would like to slap them! Maybe one day I will!! lol

Anita said...

Oh that is priceless!!! I have 3 children, and rarely feel that look, but we are Catholic and I'm sure someone is thinking I've only half done my job!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

I have three, all two years apart, and I always feel that "Wow, you must have your hands full" comment is kind of an insult. Like they're saying, "Wow. Look at those three bratty kids. Can't imagine being in your shoes." I just say, "Yes I do, and I love it!"

Mariel said...

I've got 4 kids, live in Utah, and thought I was in the safe-zone from all the stares and comments. No! Going anywhere with my four kids (all under 8) seems to make people think the freakshow is in town. I always want to remind them that we live in Utah and 4 is nothing in comparison!

Michal said...

i am so with you. and i can see that this is a sore subject, based on all the comments! we are expecting our fifth right now. i love when people ask, cooing, "oh, is this your first?" and the shock on their faces when i say, "no, our 5th," is priceless.

and i am so tired of the "you've got your hands full comment." do people really think that is original? they say it whether or not i have my kids with me, no matter how they are behaving. ugh. it's sad that it is such a mystery to so many people why we would even WANT a big family.

soapymomponders said...

I'm the middle kid of seven. We used to ride around in a VW bug - all nine of us. Parents in the front seat (with the baby - OMG! - not in a restraint), the next-to-youngest in the "boot" (that space behind the back seat that I guess you could put a small suitcase, or child, in, and the other five in the back seat. Two oldest by the window, next child in the middle, and then the two others (me being one of them) on the laps of the two oldest.

Of course, our other vehicle was a huge van. Or, one of those station wagons with the 3rd row seats that came up out of the floor and faced each other.

My mom used to get asked if we were Catholic. She always said no, just prolific.

Lindsey said...

Oh, Jana, I love you! Please don't take that the wrong way coming from a complete stranger. I promise I'm not a leprechaun. :-P

I just can't get enough of how nosey and vocal people are toward moms. I didn't realize it of course until I got pregnant in '07 and now have a 16-month old. People are FULL of (well, they're full of you know what) but they are full of useless, judgmental comments that they just can't help flinging on moms whenever they feel like it!

Hang in there, you did the right thing. The sultry look was perfect!

sticky said...

Just when I'm feeling crappy about my day...you go and crack me up, again. Thanks for the laugh, girlfriend!

Jackie said...

I get lots of comments when I'm with my three -- but the Taiwanese 2-year-old with the practically translucent red-headed mom doesn't help.

By the way, I am one of 13 kids. Our RV would kick your conversion van's butt.

becca said...

One summer we walked to the nearby dollar general. I had two kids in my double stroller and my oldest was walking. Someone walked out of the next door office (Merry Maids) and asked, "Are those all your kids?" I answered yes, and that person walked back inside, only to stand there staring with a co-worker. What is so odd about 3 or even 4 kids? Sometimes people ask me if my youngest two are twins. they are 17 months apart. People are just annoying. I hate the "hands full" comment. Isn't there something new they can say?

How do you get your three kids to stay attached to the cart like that? Mine constantly jump off and I run over their ankles.

amanda said...

argh. i get comments like that all the time. and because mine are all within a little over a year apart it makes it worse sometimes. why can't people just be nice. i get loads of mean comments

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Bwahahahaha. You've so just made my day. Now whenever I get these obvious and plentiful comments I can just smile and think of you looking sultry at a leprechaun.

Steph said...

I have four as well. One of my friends (who had five at the time) gave me a great comeback for those "Are they all yours???!!!" comments:

"No, I was bored with just my two and so I picked up a few extra to go grocery shopping with. It's so much more fun that way!"

Crystal said...

You have me laughing out loud with this post! Thanks for that. In December we took our three kids to Disneyland, plus an older niece joined us. You would have thought people had never seen 4 kids in one setting before, with as many comments we received. I think people might have even been looking around for my husband's second wife. But hey, it's all good...I hear that 4 is the new 8 for LDS families.

Wev said...

We only have the one child, but its odd, if you only have one or two its "When are you having another?" (this is from complete strangers!) and if you have 3 or more its "wow, you have your handsful".

Make your minds up people.

As for the "You and your husband have been busy" comment, nothing's funnier than placing a big bottle of Durex Play lubricant on the conveyor belt (aside from your kid/s asking what its for of course...)

Anonymous said...

When my mom was confronted in the grocery store and asked, "Are all these kids yours?" She smiled and said,"No...I borrowed them from the neighborhood!" I was the oldest of six! Their reaction was priceless.

Deozaan said...

I don't have any children yet, but we've recently officially began "trying" to have children. I'm the youngest of six children, and my brother and his wife have six children.

I remember being shocked when, after telling my LDS friend that my brother's wife had another baby, I heard a comment much like "Don't they know how to use birth control?"

Huh? That one from a Mormon?

Anyway, I think if I ever end up with enough children to get those "Looks like you have your hands full" comments, I'll rudely reply, "Looks like your well of creativity is empty."

But I suppose if I attempt to be more graceful about it, I'd probably make a response such as "These are all just kids I found that were lost in the store. This one isn't yours, is it?"

Jen and Jeff said...

LOL! HIlarious post. Love that last line. Love the blog. Just found it on Jackie's blog - Taiwan-On. I live in Philly, too. Well, in Bucks county actually. We are adopting our first child from Thailand and are sooo excited. Will check in from time to time for witty advice. :-)

Jen