Thursday, August 9, 2012

Three is enough!

Or: I almost had her fooled into thinking my baby was cute.

So far, I have yet to take all seven kids out of the house, by myself. I think the most I have manged to go out with at one time is four, while my husband wrangles the ones staying home.

Of course, Stephen being so tiny, he is always with me. Invariably, people at the store ooh and aah all over him, especially if I am carrying him all snug in the sling. I like to make a point to tell random strangers that I have SEVEN children, even though they are not all with me, just for the sake of pushing the "pro large family" button again and again, and pushing back on the societal pressure to have few children.

Today, as I was checking out at the store with just Isaac and Stephen, the woman behind me in line was coming undone about how cute the baby was, all curled up against my chest and fast asleep, oblivious to the world around him. I'm guessing she was about 65 or 70 years old, and based on the bitter lines on her face, she hadn't exactly spent the majority of that time smiling (or even looking indifferent, for that matter). Yet here she was, happy about Stephen. 

I told her: "Yes, he is definitely the easiest of our children so far." 

She: "Really? How many do you have??"

Me (smiling, and with great emphasis): "Seven!"

Ha! I wish there had been a hidden camera to catch her sudden and complete about-face. 

"Oh my G**! SEVEN? Haven't you figured out yet what causes that???!?" she screeched at me. 

Wow, I have never heard that one before! So creative!

Me: "Oh yes, and we like it, so we are just going to keep doing it!" ***smile***

~ Cue laughter from the people in line behind her, and the cashier. ~

She did not answer at this point, but rather just looked spitefully at my suddenly not-so-cute-any-more infant.

Me: "Well, we just think they are blessings!" ***smile***

She: "Blessings? Well, yes, but three is enough!"

Says - who? I'm guessing she must have had three kids herself, so that is the upper permissible limit for the rest of humankind in her mind.

At this point, I proceeded to completely ignore the woman, who was still mumbling to herself under her breath. 

Whenever did it become appropriate to quiz people, publicly no less, on their personal life, extending all the way into the bedroom of complete strangers? Why is it okay to tell me, in front of my baby son, that he would be cute, if it were not for the pesky fact that he is #7, not #2, so he should have never been born in the first place? Why does she care - she is not paying or caring for any one of our children! In fact, they are going to pay for her Social Security and all the free drugs and health care she is sucking up daily.

Thankfully, I am both outspoken, and thick-skinned, so incidents like this just amuse me. Most people that comment on our family size are really well-intentioned and/or sincerely curious, and I never respond unkindly to them. My goal is to answer with joy and pride, lest my children are taught to be embarrassed about their large family size by inconsiderate strangers.  But rude old hags are another story altogether.

The next time someone asks me "Don't you know what causes that?", I'll retort with one of these:

"Evidently, I do, and evidently, you don't."

"No - do you care to explain it to me?"

"I know - can you believe we did it SEVEN times?"

"Practice, practice, practice!"

"Yes, and we decided the world needed more people like us!"

"Yes, it's a great hobby - try it sometime!"

"What causes what?"

"Yes, I know - I need to stop washing our underwear together."

"We decided to have a whole bunch, so if one ends up looking and acting like you, we won't be too disappointed."

"Duh! The stork brings one every year. The ignorance of some people!"

"Well, we just have an alternative lifestyle."

"Yes, but we refuse to quit doing it."

"Yes - my husband."

"Seven hits out of thousands of times at bat is not a bad record"

"Yes, but I don't have time to explain it to you right now."

"Yes, and as you can see, we are quite GOOD at it!"

"Yes, and just where did you learn such astounding manners?"

"Yes, I just can't keep my hands off my husband!"

and, reserved for the ultimate of jerks: "Causes what? Diarrhea of the mouth? Yeah, ignorance."

 Then of course there's the "Are you going to have more?" type of question:

"We're just getting started!"

"Well, I figure I have at least 15 more years of childbearing in me, so YES!"

"I sure hope so!"

"Not sure... we are still engaging in risky behavior"

"We'll keep going until we get an ugly one."

"We have to keep adding one more to keep the baby from getting spoiled."

Lately, I have been answering the "Are they all yours??!?" question with:

"No, I have x more in the car/ at home. Why do you ask?"

"No, I picked up a couple of these on clearance over in the other aisle."

"No! That would be just terrible!!!"

"Yes, and before you ask: they all have the same father, and we are not on welfare."

And, for the environmentalist that thinks the world is overpopulated

"In evolutionary terms, I am kicking your %&$!"

"Have you ever looked out of the window of an airplane?"

"We are trying to take over the world!"

"Do you believe in the Easter bunny, too?"

Do you realize that the society that refuses to reproduce will be replaced by one that doesn’t?”

"Contraception feeds social decline. You're living proof of that."

"Procreate and dominate!"

What are your favorite comebacks to the same old stupid questions? 


  1. Zsuzsanna...

    I'm incredibly sorry that you had to bump into a sorry @ss idiot who managed to ruin your day.

    Stories like this happened to me too.

    Just to let you know I'm childless, but I have received nasty comments over: buying too much vegetables (Are you a rabbit?(See, sex does not even have to come up.)) Wearing pink. Wearing heals. Wearing sneakers. Having my hair up. Having too short hair. My nail paint. Wearing skirt. Wearing buggy jeans. Bla bla so over petty, irrelevant, stupid things.

    From strangers.

    Look. Some people are so pathetic, miserable, lonely and bitter that they are ready to jump at anyon's throat over ANYTHING.

    They have NO ONE to talk to. You can guess why.

    You have an army of fresh kids so probably a man who wants you and finds you sexually attractive and this fact itself triggers bloodthirst in some miserable idiots.

    I'm sorry you had to bump in one of these.

    The best thing to do is smile, brag, smile more, even laugh, show satisfaction. They want others to be miserable just like them.

    Even it they ruin your day they are content.

    Keep smiling. And... hard as it is, watch out before talking to strangers. Bitter frowns won't promise anything good

    Take care and cheer up. That hag doesn't have a thing on you.

  2. I only have four and I've gotten those comments! I haven't got a chance to use this retort yet: "I'm not trying to overpopulate the earth, just outnumber the idiots."

    I feel nothing but pity for that woman you encountered, given she thinks blessings should be limited. What a starved life she must lead.

  3. THIS made me laugh! I don't have anything that could top your list.
    Congrats on Seven, I mean Steven, oops that's Stephen. He's a little cutie!

  4. You should have had triplets if you want people to ask you about your sex life.

    "Are they natural?"

    NOOOOOOOOOOO! Gosh, no. We did IVF. I don't have litters naturally.

    "Did you take drugs?"

    I've taken a ton of drugs in my day, but not since I had kids. Thanks for asking.

    "Did you use a surrogate?"

    Nope. I had them in my own womb. Don't I look great?

    "Did you use your own eggs?"

    I'm sorry, WHAT? (That one stumped me.)

    You should secretly video tape people when you take out all seven. I triple dog dare you!!!! DO IT! People freak out on me and I only have four. Don't they just think your Mormon? Just tell them you are and they'll leave you alone. That's what I used to do if I wasn't in the mood for sarcasm. (Which is almost never, but it happens occasionally.)

  5. I just think it's a bad idea to comment on a person's family size (or their future intentions), whether they have twenty kids or none. You do not know that person's situation and it is frankly no one's business.

  6. Our best answer to "Are they all yours?" is "We left the big kids home with the triplets.". We either get laughter or dumbfounded shock.

  7. but 7 kids is a pretty normal sized family. double digits? now you're talking!

  8. Considering I am #7 of 8 in my family...I am quite fond of 7. My husband is #5 of 7 and I tell you we prayed for at least 8 and complications set in and we were blessed with 4. I always laugh when someone tells me I have a large family. Nope~I respond~we had friends that had 19 kids(before the Duggars)all living and now are raising their own small families. Most have only 8 children!!!

    I love your spunk and am thankful for your stand in glorifying our Creator in your lives!

  9. I love reading your blog! I find it so encouraging and refreshing! I only have three little ones and remember vividly while pregnant with the last one how many negative comments versus positive I received. It was not like that with my first two pregnancies. Being so emotional with the last/third pregnancy, the unkind and unsolicited advice made me feel terrible. I guess I am not as thick skinned as you! It is terrible that we live in a world where people feel they need to put down large families. Anyways, I think you are a great Mom and are doing a fine job with your kids. congratulations on Stephen!

  10. LOL! Love your answers to these jerks who think they have any business in your lives.
    So glad you have a thick skin and don't let these stupid people get you down!
    P.S. Stephen is absolutely adorable as are all of your blessings. :) M

  11. I LOVE your list of comments. People think good Christian women don't have nasty comments brewing in their minds, but we just have enough self control not to say them all!

    The other day I was at dinner with my husband's coworker and I said I am the youngest of 4. Her eyes bugged out of her head and she said "wow! 4! 2 is definitely my limit". My response was a sunny smile and "well, I'm glad my parents didn't think that way"

  12. The good thing about you is that you aren't shy with comebacks : )))))) Nor should you be. What for?

    A good comeback would be:
    When was the last time a man touched you?
    Or: "You're right, you yourself alone are too much for this world to contain."
    I give that darling old lady 10 good years and she'll be teary eyed as your darling teens will help her change night gowns in a retirement home - out of charity.
    And she won't even know who she's thanking. She'll just take it for granted.
    Don't be shy, give them what they deserve. And don't forget to let us know. It's really entertaining, I love seeing dumb people get what they beg for.
    PS: your baby is insanely adorable!

  13. I was watching "Cheaper By The Dozen" the other day (the original from 1950, not the lame remake) and your experience reminded me of Frank Gilbreath's answer when the whole family was out, with all 12 kids, and people said "Are they all yours?"

    He would reply, "Oh, this is nothing! You should see the ones we left at home!"

  14. It's amazing how much changes in a generation, isn't it? I grew up surrounded by huge families as we lived near several religious communities who favored large families (LDS, Sikhs and of course Catholics. I don't think Fundamental Baptism had really taken off yet, at least not in our area). There was a girl in my class whose mom gave birth to their 14th baby the year we graduated, my classmate wasn't even the oldest in her family. Our family of four seemed puny in comparison and we all felt sorry for the one girl down the street who was an only child.

  15. Well, I grew up in a larger than average family and no one really cared. That is until my special lady started showing, then they wanted to know why she didn't keep her legs closed.

  16. My sister just told me if she saw you in a store, she'd assume you were being held against your will in the Warren Jeffs polyg compound, the third wife of an 87 year old, and she'd stalk you through the store so she could slip you her name and number to save you in the parking lot. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. So watch out for her!!!

  17. You know it's funny I noticed this same thing when I just had my 4th. My cousins in Mexico have been having their 2nd babies and everybody is gushing- I mean crazy gushing over them. My mom post about my 4th and it's like crickets..more comments just like the ones you posted- now you game me some funny answers! lol I have been looking up lately some V.I.P historical figures and they would never have been produced given today's mindset..for example George Washington was #5 of ten and he never attended any school but taught by his father and brother. Look how terrible he turned out..(eyes rolling!)

  18. "Well, I figure I have at least 15 more years of childbearing in me, so YES!"

    ...I've used this one!!! ;)

    What a nasty old lady :( I LOVED your response...hehe!!

  19. I think we need to be careful how we speak to people. Just because they may be rude to us and speak unkind words to us does not make it right for us to be rude back. A funny come back, ok. As long as it is in good fun. As followers of Christ I think we should have lovely words. If we are to think them we should probably speak them as well. People are watching us...lets make Christ look good! Philippians 4:8

  20. I go out with 4 kids and people look at the kids, then up at me and give me a dirty look. It's sad how people just hate children. I love your responses lol

  21. I was thinking about this yesterday and I'm not trying to downplay how rude people are, but imagine the mean comments and accusations Mary must have suffered. I have a really hard time imaging her trying to come up with a clever response as she knew Jesus was from God.

  22. Szuszanna:

    Love her, bless her and pray for her as our heavenly father commands us to in the Bible: (your spirit will feal so much better too!)

    Matthew 5: 43-48
    44 But I say unot you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
    45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
    46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?
    48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which in heaven is perfect.

    In Christ,

  23. I have no children myself yet, but from what I've seen with my sisters is that children require a lot of time and attention. Especially in todays world, where they are surrounded by so much badness and wicked things. And I've known a few girls who ran off with some man who they thought gave them the love, affection and time they never got from their parents. So I really wonder, how do parents with a lot of children manage to give each of them the individual attention they need?
    I'm not even talking about 6 or 7 children, but with more than ten minors at home, I really ask myself how parents handle it. Because according to the Duggars, love multiplies, but well, time doesn't.

  24. Love love love this post wow I have not had a rude comment yet like that but i can tell by people's reactions now when they find out how many kids i have that its not as it was before , like your not supposed to have over three , even my DR. ask me if i wanted to stop having kids now that i am having a boy , she said that usually when people get what they want they don't want to have anymore , i love the answers your going to give these people . Dawn .

  25. I was in Walmart with my 4 yearold twin boys and my sisters three girls who we adopted after she and my brother in law were killed by a drunk driver. An older lady actually had the nerve to ask if I started having baby's at age 12. Then proceeded to tell me its people like me who are ruining the world living on welfare and such. FYI I am a nurse midwife and my husband owns a very successful construction company, so no welfare here. People are so ignorant

  26. I'm really fond of the number 7 seams how I am the 7th of 16 (well, 18 if you include the twins my mom miscarried, and I do). I find it amazing how people can bash down others with large families or even accuse 4 kids as being a large family. I overheard some ladies talking about how so-and-so was having their 5th child and how it was so disgusting. I find alot of people think it's disgusting. Why!? Why is it disgusting to have 4 but not disgusting to have 3? The 4th came along the exact same way the first 3 came along, there's no way to change that (at least not naturally). Do you feed them differently, change their diapers differently, or take care of them differently in some way that makes it disgusting or appalling? I don't understand their logic, Oh that's right! There is no logic behind it! Silly me I forgot that they're just idiots that don't have the brain capacity to think. And by the way, my mom always found time for every one of us 16 kids. She knows all there is to know about each and every one of our styles, our taste in food, our temperment, our likes and dislikes, even our biblical standards. It is not impossible or even difficult to give an appropriate amount of attention to each child. The only way it becomes difficult, is if the mother and father play favorites with the kids or are more concerned with their own desires and ambitions than they are of God's desire, ambition, and command that he gave them as a mother and father. I got pregnant two months after I got married with our adorable little girl, and a man asked me "you're pregnant already?" And I replied with "Yup, I gotta start early if I'm gonna build an army." Watch out "overpopulated" world, the Abram army is comming!

  27. I'm so sorry that you encounter such rude people. We truly live in a culture of death. I would like to ever-so-gently caution you to consider responding with the love and patience of Jesus. The verses in Romans 12 come to mind about overcoming evil with good. You may be able to be an encouragement to someone simply overhearing you. I love the quote from Mother Theresa about saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.

    In Christ,
    Julie D.

  28. Hi Zsuzsanna-
    I will admit that I found your blog through FJ and that disagree with pretty much everything you say. I've never commented before (because it seems strange to type out a complaint rather than just stop reading your blog.) However, I am commenting this time because I have to say I like your list of responses to people asking "You do know what causes that, right?" and/or snide "Are they all yours?" To ask somebody either of those things, especially when you are just chatting with them in passing, is extremely rude. I have my own feelings on your family size, just as I am sure you have your feelings on mine- but it makes absolutely no sense to be degrading or derisive.
    I imagine that if you wandered up to me in the store and started criticizing my use of contraceptives, I might feel justified in responding rudely, but even then I cannot imagine criticizing your children's existence while they are standing right next to you. That's just heartless and horrible.
    If we ever do meet I am sure we can have some intense and charged conversations about a variety of things, but absolutely zero of them would start like the conversation you listed above.

  29. As an adoptive parent this reminded me of the strange questions we get and the snappy answers we want to give:

    "Is he adopted?" No, two white parents brought forth an asian child.

    "Do you have any of your own?" None at all. This one is just on loan for the season.

    "Do you have any natural children?" No, just this unnatural one.

    "Do you have any real children" No, just this highly advanced action figure.

    "So you know about his real parents?" No, as holograms, we don't have such intelligence.

    "Why didn't his real parents keep him?" Well, let me share that with you, but first, you tell me the darkest point in your past.

    "So is it you or your husband who can't have children?" I don't know, why couldn't your parents have any? [ok, that one is mean, but really the question is as personal as walking up to a pregnant person and saying, 'what happened, did the condom break?')

    And a question and answer that a fellow adoptive parent actually gave:
    "Why didn't you adopt an American baby?" "Because God said my baby was in China"

  30. This made me laugh! Like uncontrollably laugh!!

    I have never gotten any comments on my family size, although right after my 3rd was born someone asked me how many I had and I answered "2" to which I received a very strange and puzzled look(I have a 12yr old, 9yr old, and 15mos old...that's 3...and all 3 were with me ;-) I guess I was just over tired and very used to saying 2 for so many years(in my defense, the baby was 3wks old, it was my first time out with her, and I was recovering from a c-section).

    However, my husband is multi-racial(am. indian, white, black) and I am white. Right after my son was born I was often asked "What is he mixed with?" I guess it isn't a "typical" mix and therefore confused people-so they just had to ask rather than just accept that my son was just a baby boy-with a great natural tan ;-) My replies were:
    "His Daddy"
    "Why? Do you want the recipe"

    The very best was a man in the grocery store who walked up to him when he was 2 and started speaking spanish, my son replied with a bunch of "blah blah, ya ya" etc etc I almost burst into laughter but couldn't because I didn't want any hurt feelings, even if it was wrong for the man to be presumptuous that my son spoke son figured if he could speak in "gibberish," he could too ;-)

    Many rude people, I say IGNORE THEM!!

  31. I'm all for big families, don't get me wrong :) I'm the oldest of 9 children my parents had, my husband in one of 7 children and Gad blessed us with 6 so far, but why do you like to make fun of old lady that doesn't understand the joy of children for what ever reason, or to judge her wrinkles and look on her face just because of the comment she gave you? I'm little disappointed here. We as Christian should try to be a light and salt to the world around us and not make fun of them for what ever reasons they just don't know better a lot of times. Just my humble opinion.

  32. you are so blessed to have a large family, I only have two and pray the Lord blesses me with more. :)


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