I'm not sure how to take random stranger's comments these days. Maybe it has something to do with being extremely hormonal. Or, maybe it's that I've had my fill of ignorant comments and just don't know how to take the random back-handed compliment any longer. I'm just to the point, that it's almost become a mission of mine to help the public understand, people with large families have heard it ALL before. And just like your Momma used to say (or should have said), "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."
Thursday evening we were enjoying a fine dining experience with all four kiddos in tow. We ventured out to the local Chikalay (Chick-fil-a) after taking our wild animals to a school carnival. We were all tired and starving. I'll admit, the Hudson Storm was a little wired from all the cotton candy and other refined sugar garbage they had consumed, but overall, all four children were pretty well behaved. It was going to be a super quick dinner. We sat them down, plopped their nuggets in front of them, and wolfed down our own sandwiches, with very little conversation. The usual took place, "No jumping in the booth, please.... Yes, you will eat all your chicken before you can go play..... No, you're not getting a coke. You're going to drink that water because it's better for you..." (and because we're cheap and hate to pay $2 for a drink that you'll only take three sips of and throw in the trash.)
I'm a people watcher, so of course I had already taken in the families around us. None had more than three kids. The fancy-shmancy couple behind us had only two. I have no problem with folks who have only two children. And I don't mean to say "only" as in, "oh, you have it so easy." No. That's not the case at all. Matter of fact, I tell people all the time that going from one to two was my hardest transition. I laugh about that now, but seriously, once you learn how to juggle two, the rest are a cake walk. A cake made of poop diapers, but a cake walk non the less.
Back to the fancy-shmancy couple....
They had only two children, who were GIRLS ages around 6 and 8. Let's face it, girls at those ages SHOULD BE very easy to control. And again, we're in a Chick-fil-a for crying out loud. Not a fine steak house, though their daughters were dressed for such, in matching monogrammed dresses that I would be nervous to send my princess to church in for she would surely decide that magic markers were a must and ruin the thing. When we were finished, Bert and I gathered Her Highness and The Storm, and things fell apart... As they always do when you are trying to pry four children ages six and under from Nugget- Playground Sanctuary. "But I don't wanna go!!!.... We didn't even get to play for very loooonnnngggg!..... I wanna milk shaaaakkeeee!" Were just some of the cries coming from our booth, as Bert and I struggled to get eight shoes back on squirming feet. We finally got our stuff together and headed for the door. The fancy-shmancy lady behind us gave me a half smile, then made the comment (quite snootily I might add) "I'm just watching you thinking, I need to quit complaining about only having TWO!" as she motioned to all four children then back to my 8 month pregnant belly.
What should I have taken from that?? One of my friends suggested that it was meant to be a compliment, and perhaps she was in awe of how we handled such a feat. Though, we don't see it a feat, but that was her point, I suppose. Another good friend laughed hardily and said, "Nope, she was trying to say that y'all don't have control and you should quit having kids." That's what I took from it. And honestly, I don't care what others think. I'm just trying to decide if it's time to quit being the sweet, southern belle I was raised to be and start playing the socially awkward card that so many others feel free to use, as their gums go a flappin'.
For me, it's like this.... I hate to be using the restroom and have all four kids come looking for me. Each with a different request, "Mommy! Where are my crayons?...... He hit me!!!..... Can we go outside?..... What are you doing in here???...." etc. And no, our bathroom door has no lock on it, or else I would use it, duh. When Bert's not home, I usually try to shew the kids away (pun intended). But, if he's here, I call for back up. Often, as he comes to my rescue and forces the kids out, he chooses that moment to tell me a few things himself, "Babe! You gotta come see the score of the Auburn game!! Oh, and is that parent/teacher conference tomorrow? I may have to meet with a client that same time. Can you go by yourself? Seriously, Auburn is now LOSING. Can you believe that?"
What I can't believe is that I'm trying to get some business done and all five of you are in here!!! Completely oblivious to the fact that I could use some privacy not to mention a little more personal space. But, the fact that all of you are treating me as if I'm sitting in a lazy-boy recliner and not on the porcelain throne should be taken as a compliment. You all love me enough to be here, well, for this event and not care. So, even though I should be screaming like a banshee, I'm going to take it as a compliment. But still, remind all of you to "GET OUT! And close the door behind you."
Maybe I should just carry around matches and light one each time a stranger says something goofy to me in public. And when they ask what in the world it's for, I'll simply say, "To clear the air."