I'm sure by now everyone's heard me talk about how difficult it is going out in public these days. Nothing has changed in that regard. In fact, just for fun the other day, I counted how many people approached me in the grocery store. I had a pretty short list of eight items. A trip like that, mid-day after the lunch rush, would normally take a person about 15 minutes. For me, with four babies in tow, by myself, from the time I parked until the time I was ready to pull out of my parking space, it took one hour and 14 minutes. During that time, I had 28 (TWENTY EIGHT!!!) people approach me to ask questions about my babies. (This count does not include the additional pointing and staring or the comments made about us but not directly to us. My brain can't calculate all of that AND get shopping done AND care for my babies all at once. Sorry.)
Now, I could definitely blog about how this count, combined with some other invasive questions sometimes makes me want to be a hermit and how if I could have groceries delivered at a reasonable price I would; but today I want to talk about a few questions that I often receive that pretty much send me through the roof.
Let's start with an easy one: "Are they quadruplets"?
Variations of this questions include: "Are they all twins"?, "Two sets of twins"? "Are they all triplets"? and "Are they quatriplets"? (In case you didn't know, quatriplets is not a word.)
How I answer: "Yes they are" or "Actually, they're quaDRUplets".
What I want to say: "Yes". Or on a particularly stressful day "Nope. I run a daycare."
Next up, one that really irritates me: "Is it hard:?
Variations: "Is it really hard"?, "How do you do it"?, "You must have a lot of help".
How I answer: "I don't know any different" or "It's what you'd expect having four babies would be like". And, on a stressful day, "I've actually said, the hardest part is going in public and not being able to get my grocery shopping done because of all the attention:. (What can I say? Sometimes the truth has to be told." "Is it hard having one baby"?
What I want to say: "It would be a lot easier if I didn't have to stop every five feet to fend someone off from touching my children or to answer questions that I've probably already answered a half a dozen or more times today." "If I had a lot of help, do you think I'd be here in the grocery store alone with four infants frantically trying to get everyone on my list before someone has a dirty diaper or it's time to eat"?
Next, more of a statement posed as a question: "Oh, so you're done"?
Variations: "Are you going to have anymore"?
How I answer: "We're very blessed and we're not trying right now."
What I want to say: "Thank you for deciding how many children is right for our family". Adam has actually answered this one with "We want four more".
But the real reason for this post, and the question that tops them all is: "How did this happen"?
Variations: "Did you get artificially inseminated or something"?, "Did you take medication"? "Are they natural"?
How I answer: "We had a little bit of help in the form of medication".
What I want to say: "Why? Do you struggle with fertility"? "How did you conceive your child"? "No; we did it four times in one night." "No; they're plastic".
I'm not kidding. The other day, Adam and I were out shopping for some items for our home and an entire sales team from one particular store gathered around us as we were trying to leave. One lady walked up to me and basically screamed out "So did you get artificially inseminated or something"? I'm pretty sure there's only a few times in my life where I've ever been so embarrassed. I had an entire store staring at me, my husband, and our children asking about our intimate relationship. I looked at Adam and then my children before I answered. I was thankful that at this time, my babies couldn't understand the conversation, but imagine being older and hearing this question asked of your parents. In my opinion, it certainly shouldn't matter how my babies were conceived. I mean, does anyone walk up to parents with singleton babies and ask what position they were conceived in? Now don't get me wrong, if someone is truly struggling with fertility, I'm more than happy to share my fertility struggle and the battle we went through with them. I'm happy to pray with them as well. But I don't think it's asking too much to expect a little bit of respect and common courtesy when I'm in public.
I'm not sure what it is, but seeing four babies at once must do something to the human mind to suddenly think there are no etiquette rules for what is and is not appropriate to ask someone. The other request we often get is to take pictures of our children. I can assure you that at no point in my life I have gone up to a family that I did not know and ask them to take a picture of their child. It's weird. It's awkward and what the heck would I want a picture of someone else's family for? Now, I get that most people have never seen quadruplets before and they want to be able to share their experience with their friends and family. Most people are quite respectful when I tell them no and explain why. I understand that in today's culture, it's just human nature to take our your cell phone and snap a picture of every cool thing you see. BUT, please try to remember that we are a family too. Having strangers snap your picture in public is weird. I try to envision what they're going to do with our picture and some of the thoughts just creep me out.
All in all, we are able to take most of these questions in stride no matter how many times we hear them. I try to remind myself that most likely, it's the first time they've ever seen four babies at once and my everyday reality, is something that they've likely only seen on TV. Still, it can be particularly frustrating when one just needs to grab some milk and be on their merry way!
That's all this time.
Until my next post,
Love & Prayers,