"Are they BOTH yours?" The host at Applebee's fairly cringed when I walked in the door with my one year old on my hip and my 2 year old in tow. My coat slipped open as I bent over to wipe my daughter's nose.
"OH MY GOD!" He exclaimed. "You're PREGNANT!"
"Yup." I responded, really just wanting him to do his job and take me to a table rather than gawking over my reproductive choices.
"Well, you've been busy" He turned on his heel and led us to a table in the back-- furthest from any other customers. I sighed in relief when he walked away, settling into my booth and getting my children situated in the booster seat and high chair provided.
"Hey I'm Nick. I'll be your server today." I look up and see the same host who brought us to our table. Great. He's going to be my waiter. Well, maybe he's gotten all his gawking out of the way and now he'll just take my order and get on with it.
"So you look awfully young to have so many kids. How old are you anyway?" No such luck. Uh oh. He's not done.
"WHOA! You ARE young! That is just crazy. So, I mean, why?" Why? Really? Does he really want to get personal? Should I launch into a 10 minute explanation of the fact that I'm super fertile and seem to fall pregnant as easily as I blink my eyelids? Should I tell him how most women stop ovulating while they're breastfeeding but my body continues to have a cycle, meaning that I become fertile again very shortly after delivering my babies? Should I tell him that I'm not all that comfortable with hormonal forms of birth control and that in my research I've found that the ways in which it prevents pregnancy are questionable at best and contradict my views on life and its very value? Should I just laugh him off and tell him I like sex? Should I get angry with him and just tell the kid to mind his own business and serve me my lunch? Should I call security?
I'm ashamed to say I didn't have a good answer for him. To be honest, he caught me off guard. I gave him some ridiculous answer about wanting to have my kids close together so they'd grow up close. True, but not the best thing I could have said, I'm sure. I think anyway he got the message that I wasn't interested in talking about it. And other than a few smart comments throughout the meal about how messy my kids were, he mainly shut up.
But he got me thinking.
Why am I due to have 3 kids under 3 just after my 23rd birthday?
All those reasons I thought up in my head certainly have something to do with it. But are any of them really the underscore? Do any of them truly define the reason my family is growing as rapidly as it is? No. I don't suppose they do. None of those reasons offer enough conviction and motivation to choose and continue a radical life style.
At the end of the day, whenever my husband and I discuss the size of our family, or the speed at which we are adding to it, there is one thing and one thing only that comes out of both our mouths.
Why did people hug me, jump up and down with joy and slap my husband on the back when we got pregnant with our first.... but then look at us with apologetic eyes when we announced both our second and third pregnancies?