Tuesday, August 31, 2010

 On my T-shirt: Yes I know what causes this, yes they are all boys, yes I am okay

Everywhere we go - there are stares.

I can honestly say that there was never a time that this wasn't a part of our lives as parents.

First we were the couple with the little baby hooked up to an oxygen tank that sat in the bottom of his stroller. The small baby with two wires emerging from the buttons on his soft outfits which led to a heart/apnea monitor that hung over the handle of the stroller. The baby with a narrow head and obvious bump where the shunt was placed. There were plenty of side glances, questioning looks, and out right stares.

There were a few comments too. Ranging from sweet to rude. Alot of "What happened to the baby?" and "What's wrong with him?" We quickly learned the most kind and concise ways we could answer the questions.

Then we were the couple with the small boy with braces on his ankles and glasses on his face... and the screaming infant. Not alot of comments at this time. We wouldn't be able to hear them anyway. I've said it before; Jay had colic. He was either nursing, sleeping, or screaming. So, at this time we mostly just got  "waitress, can you move us to the booth waaayy over there??"

About the time that we became the couple with two young boys and a baby belly the "Do you know what causes that?" comments began.

No, kind stranger, I do not! Maybe you could explain it to me and really help us out here!

And of course there have been countless assumptions, readily verbalized, that we were/are desperately hoping and trying for a girl.

*Smiles* "Oh, we love having a house full of boys!" But it's like they don't hear us.

I remember the time we went out to a restaurant for the first time after becoming the tired looking couple with the growing boy who walked with a walker, the two very active preschoolers, and the itty bitty newborn (man, after writing that out I'm thinking I would probably stare too...). An older lady approached me as I was just finishing up nursing and she said this "Oh, honey, I do hope that the baby is a girl!" I told her that the baby was not, in fact, a girl and indicated how very much in love with our four boys we were. It was obvious though that she had already made up her mind that I was a woman who should be pitied, so she continued on her little speech about how she had been sitting across form us hoping against hope, for my sake, that the baby was a girl and that I was not so outnumbered by boys.

"Oh, but really - I'm fine - I love i..."      "Honey, I am just sorry for you!"

So often now, so many looks, double takes, and often the "obligatory" statements.

"FOUR boys?? Four of them?? Really?"

No, there are really only two - the other two are just figments of your imagination.

"Oh, you keep trying for your girl don't you! It'll happen, it'll happen. Don't worry."

It will?! Oh, good. In fact, we were just about to go home and try for that girl right now!

"Wow, you guys are busy!"

Really? We are? Thank you so much for pointing that out! What earth-shattering news for our family. Huh, we are a busy family. Interesting.

So, for seriousness, why do people care so much? Do they really feel obligated to verbalize their observations? Why does any of this affect them in any way? Why do they care if they are all boys, if they are all ours, if they were all planned, if we are happy, busy, tired (all of the above thankyou).

Ranking right up there with the frequency of "When are you going to try for the girl" is the "You guys almost have your very own baseball team!"

Less oft said, but still heard more than once is the simple and direct "Are you okay?" - Implications vary.

Only heard once (therefore greatly treasured) was "What did you do for God - that he gave you these four beautiful boys?!" {From a Man, spoken to Dave} He went on to tell Dave that he had three girls, loved them all dearly, but had always dreamed of a son. He kept sneaking peaks at our table at the restaurant.

So, I have accepted it now. Wherever we go there will be stares. There will be some comments stating the obvious, and there will be some statements that are completely false. Some things may be asked that are not any ones business. And every now and then some one will say something really nice.

We've learned the smile and the go-to phrases that seem to meet the requirements of the on lookers. :)

I really need to get busy on making that T-shirt.


Katarina said...

Wendi, you make me laugh! People really don't think before they speak, although sometimes I get the feeling that they want to say somethign but are never really sure what that is so they end up saying things that make us want to roll our eyes (or give some sort of sarcastic response!)
I once had a lady come up to me, loko at me and say (serious as anything) "You know she's crying right?" (I think the whole store knew she was crying by that point!)
You really should make that t-shirt!

Rachel @ Unexpected Blessings said...

Tell me about it! The stares have definitely increased since I added my 4th girl. Last week when Chad's uncle said "That is why you stop after two" after my 8th trip to the table the girls were sitting at, I really really wanted to say something. Do you relized that in the last month I took on a new daughter? I CHOSE 4 more than most people get to choose. I am fine with it. Yes I hop up and have to mess with things constently, but is my choice! I don't know exactly why, but part of our own family saying that really stuck under my skin.
So yes, I understand. When you get your shirt made you should get the opposite one for me! We can wear them together with pride. :)

Amber said...

Oh how I know that look, I had a 23 year old walking with a cane, back pack with O2 and obvious face deforamalities....that was my husband before he passed away but no one had the guts to say anything they just stared.

I say make the t-shirt I wish we had. Mark wanted one that said "I have cancer get over it." Yeah that was is personality yours might be a little nicer...

Cottage Mommy said...

Oh, Wendi! I even understand this with two boys and a girl. Someone commented in Costco once that boy I had my hands full. Eli noticed that people always say that! I guess in this day and age going beyond one or two seems like a lot to people! I remember when I worked at a dentist office before I had any kids and we had a family that would come in with four boys. Seeing their family made me think it would be really cool to have a houseful of all boys like that! I think it is really cool that you have all your boys!

The Brandt Family said...

Wow, some people must not think things over in their heads before opening their mouths!

Wendi - you will get your girls yet (God willing) they may just take another 20 years to join your family :)

Rachel - my mom had 3 girls and people always pitied her. They kept asking if she was going to try for a boy. My mom said that she would get her boys later on in life.

People always tell me "Aren't you glad that you stopped after 1 boy and 1 girl? Now you have the perfect family!" The million dollar family they call it. Little do they know that physically I was advised not to have anymore children to save me from further complications. We would have been happy with 2 boys or 2 girls.

Rachel said...

People just can't seem to keep their comments to themselves, can they ;) You just crack me up! I think your family is just lovely and actually you've made me hope for a houseful of boys (seriously...never thought I'd see the day I was hoping for that!). God has blessed you abundantly and gave you boys on purpose...why would people assume you are just pining away for a girl? I guess everyone assumes you can't just be happy with what you actually have...! Loved this post!

Anonymous said...

Maybe they're just jealous because you & Dave have a better "causes this" relationship than they do? ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I know how you feel about the stares, because I get them too, now. All. the. time. But I keep trying to tell myself that those stares might one day open a door for the Gospel to be shared.

We get a similar question. "When are you going to try for a boy?" Like having a girl isn't good enough. I can't wait to get that question again so I can tell them I'm now physically unable to have any more children. Maybe that'll shut 'em up and make them think before opening their mouth.

Anne Elizabeth said...

This: "No, there are really only two - the other two are just figments of your imagination." Made my mom and I laugh SO hard! My mom had three boys. She got the looks and comments A LOT. She also got a lot of negative comments, because she had 4 kids. I totally remember people saying things about it when I was a kid. I remember them even asking me questions. So rude! I get looks all the time with my two boys. I hate that so many people have such a negative view towards boys.

Annika said...

people don't think before they speak. Keep smiling and ignore it! God has blessed you and He won't give you more than you can handle.

Anonymous said...

Amber, I love how your husband was wired and good for him! "Nice" isn't all it has cracked up to be! Sometimes people need blunt. I can remember wondering if folks new what caused that before I was saved and saw children as a blessing from God.
I can remember leaving the store because I didn't want to listen to someone's kid screaming. *Hanging head* I can remember asking to be moved away from a table full of small children, I was so terribly ignorant!
Love you and all your boys!

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

It always drove me crazy when people said things about having just boys. Just so you know, having a girl wouldn't make it any better.

If I hear "OH! You FINALLY got your girl" one. more. time. I may harm someone. People can't help themselves...even if it makes them sound like idiots ;)

Alyssa said...

i REALLY love this post because just 2 weeks ago i had decided that when shane and i want 4 kids - i want them ALL boys. =) and i LOVE your 4 boys. i can't wait to have some just like them. :]

Amy's Blah, Blah, Blogging said...

Yes, whatever did you do to get four beautiful boys in your arms? They are lovely.

CRJFamily said...

I agree. There are just those people out there who can't help themselves. I don't think it matters what children you have. I've gotten the, "Oh how perfect, you have one boy and one girl! You must be so happy." Well, of course I'm happy...they are my CHILDREN, gifts from GOD. But do they seriously think I wouldn't be happy with two girls, or two boys? I feel sorry for their kids!!

Amy@My Front Porch said...

There is nothing like parenting to bring out the unsolicited advice and unwanted comments! There is a couple in our church that has 5 boys now and I've heard people saying similar things to her -- I'll bet she gets tired of it too!

Nikki said...

I guess no comment is often better than an ill-considered one, huh? I wonder if people (myself included) feel somewhat obligated to acknowledge larger families with some sort of comment, but have no clue what to say, and thus often say things that are unintentionally hurtful and draining.

Krista said...

I SO get this Wendi...since having girl #4, we have gotten all of those comments including, "Do you know how much those wedding will cost?" I want to say that we both have Master's Degree's but for some reason we can't figure that one out OR figure out what causes this :)
I love how you put this into words...you are SUCH a blessed mom to have 4 beautiful boys!!

Kari said...

I love reading... love the fact that your four boys are being raised to know the Lord Jesus Christ and have what sounds like a wonderful father in their lives to show them how to really love a woman. My four girls will need boys like them someday! Thank you!

The Sneaky Mommy said...

I'd like to order a t-shirt, puh-leeeeeze! Then I remember that I was probably one of those well-meaning "advisers"...oi! You know the verse that says something to the fact (sorry, Londa version) of being gracious toward others so they'll be gracious toward me...yeah, that's the t-shirt (and probably tattoo) I need!!!

Tori said...

I would LOVE to have all boys...honestly! I don't think I'd love all the comments though, either. It's great that you've come up with a way to combat all of them :)God knows just what we need, and just what we can handle and he gives us just that doesn't he? Great post.