Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In preparing for our first big move with the military, my husband and I decided to go to the base to talk with the people in charge of moves. We figured they'd know what they were talking about since we continued to get conflicting info. We were wrong. They were even less help there. The guy there even suggested we "load our house into our car," so we could make money off of the move. I don't know how he failed to see we were a family of five (almost six). Who knows how he thought we'd be able to pack our belongings after we filled our van with our kids. We found out later, almost all the advice he gave (and he didn't give much) was wrong.

I should have suspected as much, especially after our last trip there to get our military ID. That was when the serviceman was adamant that I was born somewhere in Nebraska (or somewhere like that) because apparently my social security card started with the digits people born from Nebraska have. While he was right about each card's first few digits being the same as other people who were born in the  same state, he was pre-tty far off about where I was born. After politely telling him he was mistaken, he insisted he wasn't. I ended the conversation as he passionately defended his argument by going into some spiel about how it was clear I'd been born in Nebraska, or at least Ohio. 

I should have said, "Hmmm, interesting. Yes. You're probably right. Why would I know where I was born. My parents must have lied to me all this time. How could I have been fooled by them this whole time?" Or maybe I should have started crying and said, "I always thought I was adopted!"

Needless to say, the inefficiency and lack of knowledge mixed in with an extra measure of arrogance in some of these people is astounding! I have great respect for those serving our country, but in moments like these, I wish those serving in offices were trained to at least know what they were talking about, supposed to be doing, or at least know be able to point us in a helpful direction. It would save a lot of people's time and the government's money.

Here I am getting off track though. So as I explained earlier, Daniel and I were there with our three (almost four) kids. Yep, the fourth little bugger happened to be all toasty and warm inside my womb. We weren't familiar with the military quite yet. Daniel had a scholarship through them and hadn't experienced training or anything yet (doing his PhD had excused him from training or doing anything besides paperwork for a couple of years [the man didn't even know how to salute]). We were getting ready to have the baby and then say goodbye to Daniel as he headed off to officer's training while I got us ready for our big move out East. Anyhow, we obviously had no idea what we were doing and decided to get a feel for what military life would be like.

Part of this included looking at the exchange store they had on base. So we got the youngest in the stroller and then had the two older kids hold our hands as we walked/waddled inside. Now, anytime you go anywhere with children (whether you have two or 20) you tend to get attention. However, we were in Utah at the time and there are a lot of bigger families there, so we usually were able to avoid getting too many stares. Usually, the stares and awkward conversations happened when I was tending to our three kids alone in public.

After getting my girls in and out of the bathroom for a potty break, I waddled over to meet up with my husband. As we continued walking to get inside the main store an Asian woman walked right beside and kept right in stride with us as she began one of those awkward conversations:

She began asking one of the questions parents with big families get asked most, "Are all of these yours?"

Me: "Yes, they are."

Lady: "Wow! You look to young to have this many kids."

Me: (Not knowing whether that is a compliment or not) "Thanks."

This conversation happens to me all the time and it usually ends soon after; However, instead of just letting us wander off and go on our we she continued:

Lady: "And look you have another baby on the way!"

Me: "Yes I do."

Lady: "So you have four! Wow!"

Me: "Yes. We'll have four."

Lady: Turning to Daniel, "Wow! You a baby making machine!"

Daniel didn't know quite how to respond to this and nodded and continued walking.

Lady: Turning to my kids and bending down a bit, "Your daddy a baby making machine! Your daddy is baby making machine!" and just to make sure she told Daniel one last time, "You a baby making machine!" before we parted ways.

The "Baby Making Machine" and family...


I died laughing inside and barely made it out of her earshot before I bust out laughing. Normally, I'd have found this engagement a bit awkward, but since I'd watched my husband squirm and turn red not knowing how to react, I couldn't help finding it hilarious. I'd had many conversations about how awkward and even annoying some comments about the number of children I have can be. He never quite got it until this moment.

Who knew three kids (almost four) should be considered such a big family. I think what gets responses like this one though is the fact that mine are all pretty close in age (around 20 months apart), and I bring them out in public every week to go shopping, or run errands. I admit I don't see many other moms or dads willing to brave the stores alone with more than two, so I suppose people are just shocked to see someone brave enough to be so outnumbered in a store.

What responses do you get when you bring your kids along?

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