It's inevitable, upon meeting new folks and seeing my huge pregnant belly, the usual game of 20 questions begins: When are you due? Boy or girl? Do you have a name?
I'm totally accustomed to strangers asking questions, then sharing their wild and crazy birthing stories and tips about breast feeding. One time, when I was pregnant with Her Highness, who decided to hold out FIVE DAYS past her due date, I was walking hopefully around the baby department in Target, trying to get some contractions going, when a complete and total stranger stopped me while I just happened to be making a decision on which type of nursing pads to buy. The following is a true story:
Strange and socially awkward lady: Oh, Honey! You look like you're about to POP! When's your due date??
Me (with huge frown on my face): Four days ago.
Strange and socially awkward lady(pointing towards the box of nursing pads I was holding): So you are planning to breast feed?
Me: Uhhh, I'm going to give it a try. I guess. Ummm. Yes?... I mean, if it works out.
SandSAL: Oh, I see. This must be your first. Well, Suga, let me just tell you! You're gonna need some of this!!
And she hands me a tube of Lansinoh!
I must have looked extremely baffled, but not because I didn't know what the cream was for, but because I have NEVER laid eyes on this woman in my entire life. And here she was, recommending a cream for some of my oh-so-private parts. So, she decided to continue...
SandSAL: Well, Darlin', you see when you're breastfeeding for the first time, your nipples are gonna crack and bleed like crazy! If it weren't for this stuff, I think mine would have clear fallen off my chest! This cream is the best on the market. Just lather those suckers up each time your baby nurses and you'll feel so much better!
Me: Oh, I think I'm going to puke. Late morning sickness, I guess. Gotta run.
And run I did. Okay, here's the deal... she was right. That stuff is great. But again, only my BFFs or my Momma have permission to tell me those details. NOT a stranger.
Once you actually have a newborn, the crazies seem to come out of the woodwork to tell you when and how to make your precious baby quit sucking their thumb; How to get cradle cap off their sweet heads; And that toting a blankie for too long will make them less confident later in life. So, these type comments I'm obviously accustomed to, having four kids in four years. What I wasn't ready for, however, was pregnancy number five. The following conversation has taken place with both Bert and me (together and apart) more times than I can keep track... This part of the conversation usually beings immediately after the series of questions above have been completed:
Strangers: So, is this your first?
Me and/or Bert: Nope. Our fifth.
Strangers: FIFTH?? Seriously? (I'm hoping that part is due to the fact that we still look so young and spry... yea, I'm sure that's why.) What are their ages?
Me and/or Bert: 6, 4, 3, and almost 2.
Strangers: Where do you go to church?
Me and/or Bert: Church of Christ.
Strangers, nodding ignorantly, because most folks don't know a whole lot about the Church of Christ and are probably assuming the large number in a short amount of time is due to our religious beliefs: So, are you homeschooling?
Me and/or Bert, clarifying in one sentence that it's not at all our religious beliefs causing the lack of birth control and quickly answering the question: HELL 'nah!
And, I'm not exaggerating when I say those questions follow every time we meet new people. Every. Single. Time.
I realize big families are a thing of the past. And most people do have a tighter grip on birth control by the age of 29, but the truth is, we LOVE our big family. I grew up the middle of five children. My Mom had the five of us in seven years. Not a lot of difference here. I recall her complaining about strangers asking if we all were hers, or had the same father. Quite insulting. I guess the reason I'm not yet asked that question is because all of my redheads look just alike. It will be interesting to see if this one comes out another carbon-copy, or if he'll throw a kink in my system and create a whole new series of questions to be asked by the fellow Kroger patron.
The religion question I do understand... I think it's rude, however. But, I can see how people would assume that some religious beliefs are what keep birth control at bay, since there are those who believe it is wrong to try and plan a family for yourself, instead of letting God decide for you. Not in our case, but for some, so I'll give the socially awkward nosey folks of the world that one. But, what I don't understand is the homeschooling question...
I have no problems with those who homeschool. You wanna be with your child all day and have to teach long division and who won the Battle of the Bulge... knock yourself out. I for one, have no desire to do such a thing. By the time Her Highness was in the fifth grade, I would have to enroll in a local junior college night course just to re-learn math well enough to teach it, I'm quite sure. Call me selfish. Whatever. But, what I don't understand is, why in the world does having a big family mean you're going to homeschool? Maybe people wonder if we're trying for a TLC series, and going all extremes to get there. Well, folks, shows like "18 Kids and seriously, it's time to stop 'cause your oldest son is having a baby"
is not what we're after. Though, at times, our house would make for a very interesting reality show.