Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jury Duty

After 41 years in this sweet city, I received my first summons.  A part of me truly is crazy-hyper-strongly pro-civic duty, I live in a democracy and this responsibility is part of the privileges we have as citizens of our great country, etc, etc.  A more current, bigger part of me is the mother of 5 kids, ages 7 and under, who instantaneously became annoyed when I only looked at the envelope and was already figuring out the logistics necessary to make this work. Seriously.  I opened the mailbox, did the quick flip of the mail to see if anything interesting (ice cream coupon?) was there, saw the envelope, and within a microsecond launched into irritable planning mode.

Attitude adjustment necessary.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Are You Catholic?

Well.  Of all the ridiculous comments I've received while out with the kids, this one is new and probably the most obnoxious and offensive.

Let's back up.  I was unfortunately at Sam's Club yesterday.  Unfortunate because the place makes me crazy, but I keep returning because milk is nearly $1 cheaper than the grocery store and - what with us barreling through 8+ gallons/week - you can see why we go.

So there I was in the checkout, with 4 gallons of milk and some strawberries, surrounded by kids (and they were being very good), when this not-so-young man turns to me, surveys the brood, and asks me if I'm Catholic.  I immediately knew what he was implying - my Idiot Radar is fine tuned - gave him the hairy eyeball and my very best smirk and said "No Sir.  I am not".  To which he replied "Well, I thought only Catholics had that many kids.  God help you".

So I said "Well He does, thank you very much" and turned away.

For. Real.

John and I are pretty used to the comments and staring and I'm sure we do look a little odd when we're at the grocery or Target.  I'm talking and gathering and regroup the entire time, and the kids are actually pretty good when we're out of the house, but the constant movement and noise gives us the appearance of a beehive. And I have to admit, when I see other biggish families when I'm out, the first thing that pops in my wee little head is "Wow - that's a big family! Looks sort of weird".  So I'm aware we could be a bit of an oddity. But really not that odd.  There are lots of families out there with more kids.

But beside the ignorant stereotyping from this guy, the thing that bothers me most is that these strangers have no qualms about asking me ridiculous questions or making equally ridiculous comments with my children present.  My children who - for the most part - do not have auditory issues. My kids were all staring at this guy and who knows what they were thinking?

And what almost made it worse for them (but better for me) is that the cashier barely waited until the man was out of earshot when She.Went.Off. with the "Who does he think he is?!! Did you hear what he said to you?!!? You can have as many kids as you want and as long as you take care of them (I thought the "take care of them" part was funny) it's no one's business!  Do you hear me??!?".  I laughed and told her I was used to it, all the while thinking about how my kids think their world is normal - bless their little hearts! - and here, at Sam's, they hear from strangers that we aren't.  It happens all the time.

Good grief.