Apr 21, 2008
Annoying Comments: Updated
As triplets grow, the triplet-related comments and public scrutiny gradually fades. Our family's celebrity status is waning and fewer people feel free to approach us, ask questions, stop us, or comment. The Great Plains culture can be one of silence and indifference when it comes to socializing with strangers. And incidentally, I find we get the least attention in major cities. Click HERE for my original Annoying Comments post. Don't misinterpret, I'm not trying to be negative; on the contrary, the boys have received bands of gushing stares, loving smiles, and wells of adoration from little kids, moms and grandparents, to old and young men (for some reason I find it interesting that men of all types stop to gush at triplet babies). We've had passersby in cars yell out, I love your babies!, people stop their cars in parking lots to ask about them, circles of strangers gawking in stores. Hey, I don't blame, I'd wonder and sneak peeks and might say something annoying too if I saw my family coming. (I often have this fantasy of coming around a corner with my family and meeting head-on another family strolling their triplets; it could've happened one day when we were at a shopping plaza in Wichita and a group of fans told us that within the very same plaza, at a lunch place just minutes ago, there was a family with 2 year old triplet girls.) Yet it feels good to go out a little more incognito and less zooish.
We've had our share of great comments, indifferent comments, annoying comments and a few bad comments; although often what's meant to be "good" translates into the bad comment at my end (in other words, it's not like we've had any downright nasty comments). Like the "Glad it's you and not me" one; they probably thought it was funny, I thought it kind of sucked. Once my mother-in-law, who was out with Jerry and the triplets, had a lady ask her if their mother (Me) took fertility drugs. Poor woman, she's a private lady (classic Great Plains blood) and didn't know what to do other than hang her mouth open. I told her she should have said yes, I took fertility drugs, but they didn't work. At least this is one comment I usually don't hear; you triplet mamas out there who match your children in color--I can only guess you must hear this intrusive question ALL the time. Another time Jerry was in front of me with two in the double stroller and I was trailing behind with one in the single. I watched him pass a black man walking with a white man and the black man looks at his friend, Did you see that white guy with those black babies?! Pretty amusing for me to eavesdrop and then pass these two men with one more.
I can think of a few reasons why the public hoopla is easing up. First of all, the boys are older (they turn two in late June, yikes!). Strangers feel less comfortable and less compelled to ohhh and ahhh over cognisant little people vs babies. Toddlers are often shy and wide-eyed stares without smiles or other inviting body language causes people to back up. Toddlers are often not as cute as babies. Babies are adorable, toddlers are too, but they lose the chubby cherubness that biologically drives people to smile, tickle, and coo at them (OK, maybe my boys are an exception, they are still baby-gorgeous, har har). Also, it's not as clear that my boys are triplets anymore. Tsega is many inches taller and looks older than Bereket & Sira. It's more confusing now: is Tsega an older brother, are these twins, what the heck? Confused people don't like to comment. Not to mention we have longed ditched the Dr Suess triplet stroller so without a line-up of all three (nowadays one is here, two are there), we escape notice more easily. Finally, when we hit the public, I go about my business like nothing unusual; like we are just an ordinary family who blends unnoticed and doesn't make much eye contact because we are too uninteresting to meet eyes with anybody (yeah, right!).
Let me stop here and say it's OK to gush over my children, I think they are worth the attention. If you happen to meet me, please introduce yourself. But it used to embarrass me a little and I had to gather a little courage to meet the public being so high-profiled. I can't even wear red clothes or a dress in public because I find it too eye-catching and embarrassing (not to mention I can't pull either off too well!). At the same time, I hate being ignored and so boring that I can't get anybody's attention (that's me, never happy in the middle).
Anyway, drum roll please, the top eleven Annoying Comments list of spring 2008 (I use annoying loosely here, most of these are more repetitive and common rather than annoying, which makes them annoying, right!?):
1. You got your hands full! (Still everybody's favorite, number #1 comment, can't go very far without getting one of these. I almost feel sorry for the deliverer of this comment because he or she always laughs afterward for being so funny. Rest assured, I am always pleasant back and laugh along with them as I chuckle out, We sure do!)
2. Hmmmmm, now those two look alike. Are they twins?
3. This one has a lot of hair.
4. He's bigger.
5. This one's the flirt. (Yes, they are all referring to Tsega in #3,4, & 5)
6. God Bless You!!
7. You don't work! There's no way! (Yes I do! I knocked off to 30 hours a week after I went back. It's easier than staying at home, although I hate leaving them.)
8. I can't even imagine. Tsk Tsk Tsk (head shaking).
9. Do you have help? You do have help, don't you? You must be exhausted! (The You meaning Me . . .Uh, Jerry's standing right there, he probably works harder at home than me.)
10. And I thought twins were bad enough. (OK, so this one is not so common, but doesn't it sound nasty? Oh, and the lady who said it recently followed with, I'd only want twins of they were boy/girl so I could tell them apart. Huh? What? And did you see the big one here with all the hair? You can't tell him apart from these two?)
11. Look at those two checking me out with those big eyes, they're thinking I must be crazy. (He he, that'd be Bererket and Sira; and no, I don't think they would think that about you; they just look like they do.)
OK, so not so bad. At least we haven't heard the Glad it's You and Not Me in a long time. And it's a wonder, but we actually seldom get asked if they are adopted or any other adoption-related questions (except for the Where are They From? one).