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Thursday, October 1, 2009

We Are Family

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photo by the talented Jason of Backroads Photography

For those of you who are unaware, my husband and I have 9 kids. Why do we have such a large family? I am asked that question in various forms more often than expected. And I guess the simple answer is this: Why not?

I have always loved kids, for as long as I can remember. In high school I told everyone I wanted to have 32 kids. I even kept a notebook full of names that I heard and liked. When I was a teenager I would have told you that I would prefer babysitting to going out on a date on a Friday night. (Okay, maybe if I had actually been asked on any dates that would be different.) The fact is, kids just make me smile and laugh and I think they are some of the most fun and interesting people to be around. My husband comes from a family of 16 kids (same 2 parents, no multiple births, and no, we are not trying to match their number) and has always loved being from a large family and wanted one of his own someday. Simply put, we love kids.

However, when some stranger in the grocery store or mall sees me with all my kids in tow and asks one of the many questions I have become used to, they do not want the long answer.

So I now present for your reading pleasure: my favorite responses to give for some of the frequently asked questions I get about the size of my family.

Are all of these kids yours?
  • No, this is not all of them; my oldest is at home with the other 9.
Are you planning on having more?
  • I just figured out what I'm really, really good at. Why would I stop now?
Are you planning to get fixed?
  • Well, as you can see by the size of our family, everything is working just fine.

And last of all, my personal favorite:

Haven't you heard of birth control?
  • Yes, that's great stuff for people with ugly kids.


Richard & Natalie said...

Lol. I think it's wonderful you have a large family and that you have such great answers & comebacks. I especially love the one about birth control. Thanks for the giggle!

Anonymous said...

I only have a few favorite shows on TV. My kids laugh at me because I enjoy watching the Duggar family with 18 children.
You are very blessed.
Marci Carlson

Gerb said...

R&N- Thanks... I must admit that I sometimes hope an inquiring stranger will ask that one just so I can give the answer. Is that terrible? Thanks for the comment. ;)

Marci- I have heard a lot about the Duggars. It is interesting to me to note the differences between their family and my husband's. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Anonymous said...

if i had a dime for every weird/nasty/out-there comment i've received about zoe being "different" than me and tim, i'd be very wealthy. however, we mostly only get the comments from kids. the adults are snide enough to just whisper about us behind our backs.... *sigh* :) rory

jayniemoon said...

This is a totally rad (the 80's are back in right) post. I really love the picture too.

Lars said...

The more the merrier! My brother and his wife want 12, I look at it as at least they are going into a loving supportive family since not all kids get that chance. Too bad society has to look at things with a negative eye and not see the blessings. Too many kids are born unwanted and into unloving conditions. I say if you have the patience and love, why not give as much as you can. Great post!

Infertility Goddess said...

I don't know why I am always shocked by what people say. We had the opposite problem you do. Why don't you have kids? When aversion didn't work we would finally respond with the following: we are waiting to make sure our marriage will work (after 8 years?) We'll have kids when Kenny gets a 2nd wife to bear them (think about that, it kind of came true) and finally the shocker. I can't have kids and had I known I couldn't have kids, High School would have been so much fun. (I am kidding of course but it always did the trick)
Anyway I love your post and witty comebacks.

I think you should have 32 kids; the world will be a better place with more good people like you and your kids in it.
Jen W.

Linn said...

I love it! I have four and I have been asked all of them, except that last one. But now I have even better answers than I have previously given, so I'm crossing my fingers someone who thinks I am messing up the world finds me soon. Thanks!

Mel said...

I love your kids too - interesting people all (and I mean that in the best sense of the word). You guys must have a lot of fun.

Blogful said...

I heard a great comeback for, "Looks like you've got your hands full." which is the one I get all the time now (with only two. Ah, to live in UT.) Just say, "And what better person?" Motherhood rocks.

novidiac said...

Love it... I come from a family of 8 siblings who have all gone on to have only 2-3 children each, I broke that mold by having 5 and oddly enough I get more negative comments regarding 'so many kids' from my own family than anyone else!!

The things people think they have to comment on and what they say when they do... Having such great comeback comments ready is good for personal sanity! I've been arming my son with comeback comments as well... not because he has 4 siblings but because he has a scar from a surgery at birth that zigzag's across his head from ear to ear.. It's rather noticeable to everyone who meets him... although until he was 4 he was quite oblivious to it.. Now at 8 he loves to tell people it's the mark the aliens left after his abduction! (Most really don't care about the real reason anyway and why do they need to know?)

BTW.. came from TeachinFourth.. enjoyed your blog about comments and linked to here now I'm comment rambling... part of why I don't comment!

PMC said...

LOL....for people with ugly kids...good one. I am using that. Some guy told my husband and I that we were just like rabbits. For real! Rabbits. That is guy is lucky to have his nose still. I should have yanked it right off his face. Love the post!

Gerb said...

Rory- Some people can be pretty insensitive. I wish you didn't have to go through any of that. It's obvious to me that Zoe is a beautiful little girl who is well-loved by her parents. Does anyone need to wonder about anything more than that?

Janiemoon- Thanks. We're trying to come up with a new look for this year's picture to top that one but we're not sure if we can do it. And BTW, I love the word rad.

Lars- The more large families there are, the less weird we seem. Hooray to your sister! And thanks for your thoughtful comment.

Gerb said...

IG- I LOVE your awesome comebacks! And thanks for the compliment on my family. It means a lot.

Linn- It's kind of fun to be insulted when you're armed with a comeback! (Kind of.) Thanks for commenting!

Mel- Thanks. I worry sometimes that we have too much fun and that I have no business being a parent! But, too late. ;)

Gerb said...

Blogful- I love that. I'm going to have to use that one! Once when I was in a KMart in California, pregnant with #9 and with only 4 of my kids in tow, the cashier asked the, "Are these ALL yours?!" question and I simply had to give the honest answer of "No, the other 4 are at home" for full shock value. It was grand.

novidiac- Wow... my now 13-year-old has that same scar. Cranial Synostosis? Except, her being a girl, all her hair covers it up pretty well. And BTW, I love comment ramblings. It's like we're having a conversation. Thanks!

PMC- I remember the student housing at BYU being referred to as the 'Rabbit Hutches'. Nice.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

b. said...

This photo is AW.some!

Camille said...

I think you're an excellent mom- and the more children you have the more children that will be happy and grow up using an imagination and learning all sorts of really good things.
You're an inspiration. I'm not married yet, but I want to be like you when I finally do start a family. You make life sound really fun. I know there are challenges, but your attitude determines a lot of your positivity!!

Gerb said...

b.- Thanks! I am a bit biased, but I totally agree.

Camille- Thanks for your kind words. And you're right, it's like Teachinfourth said in his last post on here, your attitude determines your altitude. I'm certainly not anywhere even close to perfect, but I try to be the best I can at whatever I'm doing. (most of the time) ;)

Corine said...

LOL - I absolutely love your answers! :D

YOU ARE SO BLESSED! :D I told you that already in another comment. I too love kids. I planned on having 12, but alas, I only have 4 :(. Oh well... The four I have a are blessings and I can't imagine life without them. Maybe one day I will get lucky with a few more. :D

BTY: I used to get looks, not for having 9 of them, but for having 4 and looking like a 16 yr. old (though I was actually 26 when I had the 4th). I wanted to wear a sign to the grocery store that said, "yes, they are all mine, yes they are from the same father, and yes we were married beforehand. And besides, as you can see, they are killer well behaved, so I think I'm enough older than they are to do the trick!" (Secret: they were better behaved in the store than they were at home... shhh... :D)

Life is definitely interesting. :D

Amanda said...

LOL!! :D I like the answer to "are all of these kids yours?" hehehehehehe :)

Brown Thumb Mama said...

Awesome. I love your answers! The birth control one is my favorite. =)

Gerb said...

Corine- I have gotten the same looks. I think it's fun! And thanks, I do consider myself blessed with a great family.

Amanda- Thanks! I bet your mom has some good comebacks too, eh?

BTM- That's definitely my favorite, too. ;0)

summer said...

We've passed often in the blogger world, I'm a friend of TeachinFourth, and I LOVED and appreciated this post. We moved to NYC recently and with 3 children...I get a few comments and MANY looks from strangers we encounter each day. I've wanted to come up with comments to have on hand, so this is perfect! Thanks for the encouragement...this should make for a fun experiment!

Gerb said...

Summer- Thanks so much for reading AND commenting! I'm always happy to arm others with great comebacks to awkward questions. ;0)

Amber said...

We get those questions a lot in my family too. I liked the birth control answer!

Mom not Mum said...

When I had just the 2 boys and was pregnant with my 3rd everyone said "well if this is a girl you are done RIGHT?" I just told them to ask me again when I was the lady down the street with 8 boys. (We did stop at 3 but it actually had nothing to do with her being a girl)

When I did daycare I would take the 2 babies out with me - I would get the "are these all yours" and I would say - "No, those 2 are my husbands" and then walk away. I always loved the confused looks on their faces.

annette said...

I must wear rose colored glasses cause I've yet to get one negative comment from strangers about my 6. What I find funny is when I go out of state you'd think I could be the first woman president- everyone is AMAZED that I have SIX KIDS, and how do I do it? and I get introduced as "this woman has SIX kids" as others ooh and ahh. I come home to Utah and it's "Ho-hum, 6 kids" or "You're off to a good start" :)

cari said...

Someone asked you if you're going to get fixed? Wow. The nerve of some people! I love your responses. Clever as always! :)

Gerb said...

Amber- Oh, yes, I imagine you do. And I feel your mom's pain. I love that our neighborhood is a safe place for large families since there are quite a few of us!

MNM- Too funny! It's pretty amazing what some people have no qualms about saying to a stranger, isn't it?

Annette- My mom never introduces me by my name. In fact, when I go to visit her at work I am pretty sure that my name-sign is "You-nine-kids?"

Cari- Only twice. Once was at my 10 year high school reunion, once was an old lady at Macey's. The first time it threw me off and I said something like, "Do you seriously care?!" but the second time I was armed with a response so I was able to walk away the less frazzled one.

Angela said...

In the book A Single Voice from Kristen M. Oaks an answer one of her friends used was Im trying to be obedient to my Heavenly Father and living his plan to the fullest and if your eye was on the world you would have fewer blessings and fewer children

Gerb said...

Angela- Well, that would stop them in their tracks, wouldn't it?!

Sister Pottymouth said...

Gerb, I adore you. You have the best comebacks, and you have adorable children. We were always in awe at how well-behaved Cleone & Hardy's kids were. They made having a big family look so easy...(sigh)

Gerb said...

SP- The feeling is mutual. And please, for the love, don't tell Allen you thought they were well-behaved. I already hear enough about how ours must all take after me when they're being scoundrels. But I agree - Hardy & Cleone are my heroes. They are the most amazing in-laws anyone could ask for. On occasion I am compared to Cleone and it is the ultimate compliment!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....still laughing. I love your wit, Gerb. You owe no one any excuses, explanations, etc. Love the birth control dig.

Farscaper said...

Gerb - you ROCK woman!!

I love your comebacks!

I've received comments on both sides of the fence. Before the twins we had a bunch of miscarriages. No one's business but everyone kept asking when we were going to have kids.

After people found out we had g/b twins they all assumed we were done. You would have thought I grew another head when I said "no way! We're having a bunch more".

If we had more $... hubby had stable health and pregnancies weren't so dang hard on me I would love to have more. Kids use to scare me (I'm the youngest) but I've grown to love them so much. I would have an army if things were different. I'm thrilled to have the 5 I have.

EarlGirl said...

Oh, hilarious! I get asked occasionally if I'm still trying for that girl (we have 5 boys) and I look at them like they're crazy and say "isn't 5 kids enough for you?" They laugh and shut up.

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