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?