the joys of having a big family

Holly Pierlot, author of A Mother’s Rule of Life, has a website as an extension of her book. Moms who have questions about how to apply a “mother’s rule” to their life can ask Holly, and other readers are encouraged to respond as well. Recently, one woman, pregnant with her 5th child, asked for advice on handling those annoying people who feel like commenting on the size of your family.

One person offered this link which has some pretty funny retorts – not that I would ever remember any of them when the opportunity presents itself – as it does…OFTEN. And from there I found this t-shirt and suggested (to Bill) that it would be a great gift for mother’s day for the next time I have to spend all day in a public place – like the zoo – and I’ll meet person after person who will say the same thing (with some slight variation) all day long.

Meanwhile, my advice to those who are not as thick-skinned as I: leave a couple of kids home or with a neighbor whenever the opportunity presents itself. I try to do this to make errands a bit faster and less stressful, even though the comments are pretty amusing to me.

Wednesday, though, all the kids came along for the trip to the doctor for Pete’s 9 month check up.

They waited patiently in the waiting room.
They followed nicely to the exam room.
They used indoor-small space quiet voices in the room (mostly).
They entertained the doctor, who thinks they’re the greatest kids she knows.
They followed closely as we marched across the hallway to the immunization clinic.
They waited patiently again for our turn.
They were good in the tiny room where shots are given (next time, the appointment will be more controversial, but so far the shots he’s gotten are ok).
They said please and thank you for the stickers the nurse gave out.
They followed (again) nicely as we went to another part of the building to drop off the records.
They continued to stick together and not block traffic (too much) as we went to this horrible, huge, central waiting area for multiple offices and purposes including the pharmacy.

Pete has a diaper rash that’s become a yeast infection and I needed stuff to treat that. I got my “number” and found seats to wait. My ticket estimated my wait time to be 6 minutes. I thought we could manage that. We had been at the hospital for 1 hour and 20 minutes at this point. Six minutes was probable do-able, but seven would be pushing it.

Sure enough, 6 minutes came and went very quickly with no indication that our turn would ever come up. In those 6 minutes I managed to nurse Pete to sleep, which was really good because I needed to focus my attention on Jenny who wanted to be home eating noodles and everybody knew it because she was telling me so in a very loud voice. Even the other kids started to push the limits, but responded well to my lowly voiced death threats. We waited for about a half hour altogether, the latter 10 minutes of which I held a squirming toddler on my lap (with Pete sleeping on my chest). FINALLY, our number was called and we picked up the lotion and left. Boy, did I need a nap.

Yesterday, I really needed to go to the grocery store, but was not up to taking the whole crew after that whole deal at the doctor’s. Plus, we really needed to do school work. So I waited until last night when Bill was home. I took Pete, who wouldn’t have behaved as well for him as for me and drove my relatively empty 12 passanger van to the commissary.

In the store, I was happily pretending that I was a normal mother. One of those women who has one little baby. Remember those days? Quiet baby interested in all the sights and sounds. Nobody climbing on the cart. Nobody selecting other products from the shelves. Nobody walking backwards with his eyes closed.

Ah, peace.

And then, about 90 seconds into my bliss, a woman I have never seen before in my life with her toddler in the basket of the cart says, “So, are the other 4 children not yours?”

She was smiling. I was pink. “Oh, you’ve seen me somewhere with the rest?”

“Yes, I saw you yesterday at the pharmacy.” eeks!

“Oh. Yes. They’re all mine. Not the best day, yesterday. Bye.” And I hastily turned to the honeydew and canteloupe.

Gee, God, couldn’t I have had just a half hour to pretend to be something I’m not?

2 thoughts on “the joys of having a big family

  1. <>We had planned on two; my spouse just can’t count.<>BWAHAHAHAHA!🙂I think you’re the best mom I know and you have my utmost respect. As I’ve told you repeatedly, I do NOT know how you do it. Really. There are days when T is driving me insane and I just can’t imagine even being pregnant or having another baby right now. You are superwoman.

  2. Having another kid FORCES you to wean an older child of your undivided attention. Your kid(s) will take ALL of your time, energy, milk, bed, money, etc. It’s just divided up into smaller pieces when you have more (and fortunately, THEIR love, time, and energy (but not the money part) factor in to the equation.You have it MUCH harder than I. One or two kids are pretty manageable, and there is a risk that you never stop waiting on them hand and foot. It seems so selfish to tell a 3 year old that he needs to start getting himself dressed or a 4 year old to start getting herself a snack or a 5 year old to start making his own sandwich for lunch without another, more helpless child being the excuse.So, you’re just as super a woman as I am. And we’re both put to shame by super moms without super dads…or super moms with kids with disabilities…or super moms with their own disabilities…etc etc etc.

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