Monday, September 15, 2008

Poor Mom, Poor Mom, Whacha Gonna Do? Whacha Gonna Do When They Pitty You?

I'm an out and about kinda girl. My pregnancy with Emma was probably my easiest one of the three (minus the kidney stone) and so I was always going out with the kids, running errands, and stretching myself too thin with extracurricular activities--like running the ward's book club, offering to have cooking club at my apartment two weeks before giving birth and two weeks after, etc.

Every time I went out with Megan and Jeremy I noticed a strange trend. Everyone who saw me, especially strangers, would come up to me, put one hand on my shoulder and say, "You're gonna have your hands full!"


Can you say something helpful please? Let's not state the annoyingly obvious.

And since when did having three kids become such a big deal in Utah? Is it because I only look ten years older than my oldest daughter that everyone gives me a pitying look as I walk through the grocery store? Oh my gosh! I just thought of something! They probably think I'm like, 17 years old and got pregnant out of wedlock. I mean, while I was prego with Emma my wedding ring didn't fit, so I couldn't wear it. All of Logan, Utah thinks I'm a Whore! Crap!

What's a girl to do when the entire city thinks she's a whore? Seriously, give me suggestions!

Well, now that Emma's been born and has been around for almost 4 months now, every time I go out people still look at me with curiosity, wonder, and pity. I often have people come up to me in stores, the mall, at the park, or even at Church and they do the shoulder thing again (pat, pat, pat), this time with a huge smile to accompany it, "You sure do have your hands full!" I smile and say, "Yep!" I try to look at myself from their point of view.

Wow. She looks tired. She's carrying a brand new baby in a Snugli and feeding her, has a toddler hanging on her left leg who wants to be held and a little girl pulling on her arm repetitively asking for a Little Pony movie. Her diaper bag fell off her shoulder and is hanging in the crook of her arm, half her hair is out of it's ponytail because her little boy pulled it out while squealing, "Fluffy! Fluffy!" Boy does she have her hands full. I should go tell her; she probably doesn't know.

Are you serious people?!? You really think I don't know my hands are full? But still, this cracks me up that it's such a big deal in Utah. Here in Cleveland I'm not as surprised by people's reactions, but still, it's amazing how many people notice me and my kids even when they are behaving perfectly and then feel the need to come talk to me. And they all say the same thing! Come on! Be an individual! Get creative! How about . . . oh, I don't know, you guys come up with something better and let me know. I can't think after midnight.

Now, you know I took up that babysitting job to pay my way to the LDSStorymakers conference next spring. Well, last week I took my kids and the two I sit down to the park. It's a five minute walk, so not far at all. I put Emma in the Snugli, Jeremy in the front of the double stroller, babysitting kid #1 in his carseat (he was asleep) and put the carseat in the back of the double stroller, and then had Megan and babysitting kid #2 hold hands and walk next to me.

We got to the park and we were the first ones there as it had just opened. It quickly became busy though as other mothers, and a lot of grandmothers this particular day, came with their kids (or grandkids as the situation allowed). Within the first hour all but the one dad at the park and one mom had come up to me to convey their condolences for my apparently difficult situation: watching three kids have fun at the park while Emma slept in the Snugli and babysitting kid #1 slept in the stroller or looked up into the sky, enjoying the nice breeze and never making a peep.

Yes. I had five kids with me all under the age of four. Yes, two of them were under 5 months old. Yes, three wear diapers. Yes, one of them sounds like a squealing pig when he cries, but he's not doing that right now, is he?

Every single person in that park (expect the one mom and the one dad) came up to me and said the same thing, once again. But this time they didn't inform me on the state of my hands. This time it was more of a prayer in my behalf. "God bless you!"

Yes, they asked God to bless me for being such a saint. Two ladies even added, "You look so young!" Well, yes, you see I made a mistake when I was 15, but I'm owning up to it and . . . . No! I'm not in my teens people! I'm almost a thirty something.

Since I'm being blessed now, do you think I could get the Catholics to hold a Mass for me? Do they hold Masses for people who are alive, or are they for dead people? You know, I should know this. . . . It's bugging me that I don't. Mom, do you remember? The last time I went to Mass I was like, 3 or 4. I guess that's what I get for not being Catholic.

Anyway, now I decided to count how many times a day (non-babysitting days) I'm told I have my hands full and how many times a day I am wished (babysitting days) for God to bless me. I think it will be fun to see the results. I've done it before on really busy days where I get to cover a lot of ground. Grocery store, bank, mall, fast food, campus, doctor office. Those there should easily put the score up to 10. One day when I was shopping for Nathan's birthday presents the count got to 7. Let's see if I can break the record this week!

So all of you moms out there and future moms, just be prepared, when you have five kids, you no longer get the happy, but pitying smile with the quirky, "You've got your hands full!" You become upgraded to the raised eyebrows, followed by the scrunched up eyebrows, the tiniest of head shakes, and the almost hopeless, "God bless you." Have your comeback ready. Try something like this:

Yes, my hands are full. My hands are overflowing with blessings. My little baby is so sweet. I love looking at her happy smiles every morning when she sees me come into her room and stand near her crib. It makes my whole day and I can't help but feel happy, too. My older daughter is the funniest little creature in the world, always making up funny stories about mixed fruit marriages ending with one of them getting eaten. I love dancing with her to "oldies" like Cake's The Distance or real oldies like The Beatles' Help!. My little boy is just the cutest thing--ever. He has this thing he does and we call it "Jeremy's New Dance". It isn't really new anymore because he's been doing it for months now, but it is hilarious, let me show you. Oh, see how much he loves his sisters? They hug and kiss all the time. Yeah, sometimes he's a little too rough, but usually it's just because he loves Emma so much. Want to know something that's really cute? Megan and Jeremy like to press our apartment's elevator buttons together. When they do, they always cry out, "We did it together!" and sometimes they start singing the Dora the Explorer song, "We Did It" and try to speak Spanish like her. It makes me smile every time. Yes, I do have my hands full--of blessings. Thank you for noticing.


Janelle said...

Too funny. A couple weeks ago, the Shupes walked over to our house to help us out with something real quick. They're only two streets over from us, and they have 3 kids, all about two years apart, plus she's pregnant and due in November. they also happened to be babysitting the Anderson's 3 kids, whose ages alternate between their own kids. So it was Kimberly and Eric, walking with a 3rd grader, a 2nd grader, a 1st grader, a kindergartener, a three year old, a two year old, a 6.5 month old, an a 7-month pregnant belly! Kimberly said someone drove past them in a minivan and just stared. It was a pretty funny sight.

Jen said...

The great thing about the looking-fourteen-syndrome? It totally works to your advantage in the long run.

And surely God will bless you. Just look what kind of people you have to put up with:)

Shellie said...

Oh Kellie God Bless You


Emily said...

O, I was seriously laughing aloud reading this. It is so true! And I love your last response, too...very true. You are indeed blessed!

Jess said...

you are hilarious.. and i can't wait..

janeen said...

When ever Rylee is running around at church, which is every Sunday, I always hear, wow, she's a handful. Yes, kids are a handful!

trublubyu said...

don't you just love people. funny post.

Cathy Witbeck said...

Do you hear, Oh sweetie, enjoy them while they're little. As if they are going to turn into raving hormone machines when they hit twelve and you'll never understand their language again.
Not true. Don't worry. Four out of my five are teens right now with an eleven year old threatening to turn any day and things are grand. Teens are a hoot. So enjoy the littles, but look forward to the next stage too, cause it's all good baby.

Motherboard said...

I had a hard time concentrating cause I kept singing that song... but I like your version better... "Poor Mom, Poor Mom, Whacha gonna Do?..."

That's brilliant!! Now I will sing it the rest of the day!

JereiH said...

Too funny! I get that a lot all the time. In fact, when I was pregnant with Jacob I had a woman ask my "so, you just decided to have a baby at 23?" I was speachless! Here I was married, 23 years old, and a practiced caregiver and she was acting like I was 15!
Another time I was waiting for my paint to be mixed at home depot and a Spanish speaking old man came over and called down Gods blessing from heaven for my unborn child - a little creepy! As for the Mass thing, it is like Sacrament meetting.

Kellie Buckner said...


That's part of the culture. If they see you and notice you're pregnant or they admire your eyes, hair, etc. then they have to talk to you and/or touch your face, hair, etc. If you're pregnant they will often touch your belly. It They believe it will keep the evil eye away and is bad luck if they don't do it. When I was prego with Jeremy I had people touching my belly all the time because I was doing a folklore internship collecting Mexican folktales from people.

Leanne said...

Ah hahahaha! I love you Kellie! I get stares too, And I don't think I look THAT young. I think people are just scared for us, because of the big bad world that our kids have to grow up in. That's where the pity comes from. I truly have not had that happen to me, but wait until I go to Maine, pregnant with 2 boys! Who boy! They don't know what to think about that!!

Anonymous said...

Kellie I love you so much!! This is hilarious and I can't wait to hear about the latest mixed fruit marraiges!! I love children, that their imaginations are so pure and crazy!! I can't wait to have kids like that. I always envisioned me speding hours with them cultivating their imaginations and playing. Is it obvoius that I dont have children yet? We should go out together because since I am tall everyone thinks I am years older so maybe together we can balance them out?!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

You are way funny! But, hey, enjoy looking young despite the weird things people say to you. A long time ago I was asked for my ID to play bingo at father in law's company picnic at Lagoon. I was twenty something, married and a mom. I was mortified. But now passing off as younger works for me :-) So enjoy your blessings!

Dana Sorensen said...

I love reading your posts! They are so freaking funny! I know if I need a laugh there is always something on here that I can read and get a good laugh out of! Thanks for sharing you are an awesome writer! Hope all is well!

The Odd Family said...

Just have to say that I LOVE reading your blog (even though it sometimes takes me a while to get here...) and I totally know how you feel. This summer I had three extra kids besides my own two. Crazy. Good luck!