Okay, okay, so I’ve previously mentioned the looks and comments our family gets when we go out. Eight of us total. Two parents and six kids as of this writing. And yes, that last sentence was added intentionally to imply that we might not be stopping at six!
It still surprises me that many people today have the mindset that having more than two kids is waaaaaay too many and those with more than their allotted two kids are nothing more than FREAKS and are a phenomenon that should oft be questioned and prodded so that mankind can be better informed about this strange species and learn from them.
I share with you now, some of my favorite responses when a total stranger sees my family out in public. I would also like to footnote that our whole family need not be out and about for total strangers to make commentary. My wife has been out with no more than three of our little popcorn eaters and the astonishment has still been aroused.
We were just out a couple of days ago at a baseball game and out came the most common,
“Are these all your kids?”
Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?
I’d like to think that when one asks this question, they actually mean something else, but just don’t know how to phrase the words that it takes to ask what they really want to ask. For the life of me I have attempted to figure out what they could really be asking. I have yet to figure it out. So I am left with the bare-knuckle inquiry laid before me without nary a thought to the ridiculous nature of the ponderance. Seriously?
“You know what causes that?”
Most people are well meaning with this one, but honestly it gets really annoying when it happens all the time. I have gotten to the point where I give them the rimshot before they even utter this one out of their noise hole. Again, I believe that total strangers are just trying to form an alliance with me, but I hear it as mocking my choice (I strongly fought the urge to capitalize all those letters and bold it, but I didn’t. See! I have self control.) to have a big family. And if you get down to it, they are also talking down to me. Like I am so stupid that I don’t know the ancient ritual of shaking a zip lock bag full of Emu eggshells over a fake campfire in the middle of my bathtub causes my wife to get pregnant! The jokes on them, though! I know that it doesn’t have to be Emu eggshells. We used regular chicken eggshells for our last three children! So HA!
“You guys are like the Duggars!”
Um, no, we are not quite like the Duggars. No offense to the Duggars, but how are we even close to the Duggars? They have right abouts twenty offspring. I have six. Even with European math, those two numbers aren’t even close. I can count the number of children I have on one hand. If we were like the Duggars, I would need to take off my shoes and socks as well! Twenty has never, nor never will be, close to or quite like six.
***No direct comment, but the eyes give it away.***
This one is similar to my sympathy stare in that it often only happens for a brief moment. It usually closely follows the word “six” and is preceded by a short inhalation of air like the person didn’t anticipate me telling them that I have six kids. I imagine that the total stranger who just asked me how many kids I have simply assumed that I was going to say two and then they were prepared with some other witty comment regarding those two kids. But instead, they are blindsided with the crazy “six” quantifier and then casually try to play it off like they knew I was going to say something crazy. I guess there’s just something about me. Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man.
“What religion are you?”
And finally my most favorite. In our hyper-politically correct world, this gem-dandy busts its way out more often than you would probably feel comfortable with. It is by far the best of the bunch. I still get a chuckle out of this one. On visits to our family physician, I would always find myself in a position to have to remind him how many kids I have. And, I would not write this if it were not true, he would always respond with, “Mormon?” Every. Single. Time! I don’t mind sharing my religion with a total stranger, but other than my doctor, total strangers have had this same response. I will admit it took me a while to figure out why this was even a question a total stranger would ask after they found out that I had six kids.
But for seriously, I would like to believe that most people are just having a conversation with me. Apparently, six kids is quite a topic of conversation. I don’t want to put myself out there as a “big family” spokesperson as I am sure there are bunches upon bunches much more bigger families than mine. But, I would only ask that we take a second or two to think about what we are about to say to a complete stranger. I hope that this would apply to any situation where you engage with a stranger. But, if this stranger has potential to become a friend, then that potential pretty much dies when you utter one of these phrases or some semblance thereof.